San José Spotlight

UPDATE: Council approves Police reform, tax hike, meals aid measures

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As COVID-19 continues to ravage the economic system and discussions of race and police brutality dominate the nationwide dialog, metropolis leaders accredited measures for the 2020 poll to handle meals insecurity, police reform and financial hardship in San Jose.

In its first common assembly for the reason that July legislative break, the San Jose Metropolis Council voted Tuesday to ask voters in November whether or not to increase the authority of the metropolis’s police auditor, improve taxes on card rooms and restructure the planning fee.

Councilors additionally accredited extending the lifetime of public meal applications to help residents missing entry to meals through the pandemic.

Police reform and a extra numerous planning fee 

Voters in 2020 will get to determine whether or not or to not improve the powers of the town’s Unbiased Police Auditor. If handed, the measure will enable the auditor to evaluation studies of officer-involved shootings, examine use of power allegations and different investigations in opposition to law enforcement officials. The council voted unanimously to maneuver the measure ahead.

Throughout public remark, San Jose resident Paul Soto mentioned he was bored with making an attempt to persuade folks that systemic racism exists in legislation enforcement.

“Why do we have now to permit or actually have a poll measure to offer the police auditor extra energy? Right here’s the explanation why: as a result of the police division shouldn’t be following the legislation,” Soto mentioned. “If you use the legislation to interrupt the legislation, you’re not match to implement it.”

The IPA presently has the authority to evaluation complaints despatched to the police division and decide whether or not investigations are full and truthful. The workplace can advocate insurance policies primarily based on its evaluation of the division and it’s liable for neighborhood engagement and outreach.

“Hundreds of individuals have taken to the streets in San Jose, in California and throughout the nation to protest and grieve the loss of life of George Floyd and different Black lives. Now could be the time to start a re-imagining of policing,” Carol Watts, president of the League of Ladies Voters, wrote in a letter to the council. “We sit up for a broad neighborhood engagement course of to assist decide the way forward for policing in San Jose.”

The identical measure will ask voters to restructure the San Jose Planning Fee, altering its dimension from seven members to 11. The bigger fee would comprise one member from every of the ten council districts and one at-large member.

Lawmakers accredited the plan in June after going through criticism over the dearth of ethnic and geographic variety on the planning fee.

Feeding San Jose

As of July 31, greater than 52 million meals citywide have been provided to seniors, low-income youngsters and households, folks experiencing homelessness and others who’ve been economically impacted by the pandemic.

The meals have been distributed to residents because of the town’s partnership with a number of organizations, together with World Central Kitchen, Crew San Jose, Starvation at House, the Well being Belief and Deloitte Consulting. The aid effort was a short-term answer for fixing the fast drawback of starvation in San Jose, amplified by unemployment and lack of entry to shops throughout shelter in place.

Many of those applications have been scheduled to finish this month, however the Metropolis Council accredited renegotiating meals supply agreements that enable organizations to proceed feeding folks by means of September and October.

However councilmembers, together with Maya Esparza, expressed concern in regards to the high quality of present meals supply applications.

“We’ve had a lot of situations the place supply vans are arriving one to two-plus hours late,” Esparza mentioned.

And when the containers do arrive, Esparza mentioned they’re sparse, containing a head of cabbage and possibly some lemons and limes. “I don’t suppose they’re sufficient to feed a household for every week and typically even the meals within the containers could not all the time be, frankly, edible,” she mentioned.

Mayor Sam Liccardo prompt the town look into how dietary worth of meals may be elevated along with offering fundamental meals safety.

New cardroom tax might fund metropolis applications

If passes by voters, a measure to lift the town’s cardroom tax will have an effect on the San Jose’s two casinos, Bay 101 and On line casino Matrix, and would improve the town’s basic fund by $15 million yearly. Applications the tax would help embrace: fireplace safety, catastrophe preparedness, 911 emergency response, avenue restore and youth applications, in accordance with metropolis leaders.

The measure would elevate taxes on cardrooms’ month-to-month revenues to 16.5% from 15%. The it will additionally tax Third-Get together Proposition Participant Providers and permit San Jose casinos so as to add a further 15 tables per institution.

Mayor Liccardo was the one member to oppose the measure, citing issues about including extra tables and selling casinos usually.

“There are ample research to reveal the enlargement of playing is correlated to — if not causative of — severe issues in our neighborhood, and it isn’t value the associated fee,” mentioned Liccardo, after referencing research about  playing dependancy. “The long run prices are too nice and too important. They’re not simply recognized. They’re usually behind the scenes behind closed doorways, not instantly identifiable to anybody on line casino’s exercise.”

The 2019-2020 Cardroom tax was on observe to generate $18.9 million for metropolis applications, however following COVID-19 shelter-in-place mandates, casinos have been pressured to shut, resulting in an anticipated $5.four million loss. The tax hike would assist make up for the deficit.

This story will probably be up to date. 

Contact Carly Wipf at [email protected] or comply with @CarlyChristineW on Twitter.