San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo capped a difficult year for the city with a State of the City report Thursday that began in somber tones, but ended with characteristically upbeat themes for 2022.
In a live-streamed message, Liccardo spoke of “the pain that so many in our city have experienced over the last year.”
“The loss of loved ones to a lingering pandemic, the horrors of mass shootings, the sight of encampments and shuttered storefronts, and the struggles of too many families unable to pay rent,” he said.
“Through it all, our community has responded with collective resilience and with faith.”
Liccardo identified homlessless, housing and public safety as the city’s biggest challenges in 2021 and in the future.
The mayor candidly took personal responsibility for the city’s continuing problems with housing and homelessness, then pledged “in the Silicon Valley spirit of failing forward,” to “embrace the lessons of our failure and pivot toward better solutions.”
He ticked off a long list of accomplishments and initiatives he said portend a bright future for San Jose.
“For all of our challenges, San José's future has never shone brighter,” he said in the report. “The opportunities for San José are the envy of every other city in the nation.”
Liccardo’s gave his speech on the eve of his last year in office, as he is prevented by term limits from seeking a third four-year term in 2022. He was re-elected mayor in 2018 with 76 percent of the vote.
LIccardo praised the volunteer spirit of city residents, noting that they.delivered more than 200 million meals to families in need and supported testing and vaccination clinics the gave San Jose the highest vaccination rate of any major U.S. city.
“State of the City addresses typically focus a spotlight on the city's successes, but I'd like to start an honest conversation that begins with our greatest failure, homelessness,” the mayor said at the beginning of his speech.
“I take responsibility for that failure and for every unhoused neighbor in camps in our parks, our creeks, and our sidewalks,” Liccardo said. “It certainly isn't their fault nor the fault of any of the resourceful nonprofits or our staff, who have collaborated to help more than 4,900 unhoused residents find permanent housing since the beginning of this pandemic.”
“Rather it's the failure of decisions predicated on the belief that if we just keep doing the same things the same ways, eventually progress would come, contrary to the palpable evidence on our streets.”
Liccardo said the city should look for immediate solutions, “rather than merely waiting for permanent supportive housing to get built to address this crisis.”
He said the $1 billion Measure A housing measure adopted in 2016, “gave too many false hope that it would solve homelessness.”
“At a cost of more than $750,000 per unit, conventional approaches to building housing will not stretch public resources to address anything more than a small fraction of the need.,” he said, noting that the first apartment complex funded with that 2016 measure didn't open its doors in San José until 2020.
“This crisis demands faster, cheaper, and more nimble solutions while we build permanent housing,” he said.
He reported that since the city is accelerating plans to buy motels to house unhoused individuals, the state of California has embraced this model, providing new money for motel conversions.
Liccardo said local government’s second failure in addressing the housing crisis is that “We've chained ourselves to overly rigid processes.”
Inflexible rules, he said, undermine neighborhood support for housing projects and “disincentivizes suburban towns from doing their part to house the unhoused in their own communities.”
“We've also failed to create enough pathways for those unhoused residents who have the ability to get back on their feet quickly.\,” he said. “For some of our homeless, a job can do far more than the most well-intentioned programs.”
The mayor praised the partnership with Google, which will build 4,000 high-density apartments built around Diridon Station, including 1,000 rent-restricted and affordable.
The mayor also addressed issues of crime and public safety.
“San José residents have endured a diverse and daunting set of threats in recent years, including a pandemic, three mass shootings, apartment fires, a flood, and wildfires,” he said. “We've invested in the human and technological infrastructure to improve our preparedness for threats ranging from cyber-attacks to earthquakes.”
“I declined to heed calls from protesters to defund our police department because San José already has America's most thinly staffed major city department,” he said. “Our neighborhoods invariably tell us that they want to see more police patrols in their neighborhoods, not fewer.”
At the same time, he said he will “push to give the independent police auditor broader authority to investigate officer misconduct.”
The city is forging ahead, he said, with two groundbreaking proposals: requiring liability insurance for gun owners and requiring gun owners to pay fees to compensate taxpayers for the cost of police and emergency medical response to gunshots.
“Two essential components of that future deserve our attention: our planet and our people,” the mayor concluded. “This year, San José became America's largest city to establish a goal to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.”
He said the city in 2022 will focus on “incentivizing electric retrofits for homes and businesses,” enabling. homeowners to take advantage of online applications for home solar and battery storage installations and get permits issued the same day they apply online. He noted that San José has the highest rate of electric vehicle deployment in the country.
$13B over 3 years, that’s an average of $2500/per homeless in the state/per month
How much of that $2500 a month is Eugene Blackwell getting?
How much of that $2500 a month is Mark Thompson getting?
How much of that $2500 a month is Carole Roberts getting?
Sandy Perry, Shaunn Cartwright, the multitude of “authors” of these “invite only columns”, the Law Foundation (the worst one?), At Home, and the bureaucrats across the city, county, and state are to blame. As they wag their fingers slenderizing you as greedy residents and scapegoating the landlords who actually house the poor and carried them over the past 20 months, they get rich off the charity and good intentions of the average Californian.
Shame on you, shame on all you grifters who get fat off while you starve these people and use their suffering as your fundraising. You are as insidious as Pelosi withholding relief to those suffering under COVID lockdowns to win a petty fight with Trump.
When will California wake and realize that the government and their NGO grifts are not a solution, but the problem. Never I guess, as you just double down on wrong. Well, you may suffer a bit, but you will make over a hundred thousand suffer regardless of the top line numbers you get headlines over.
San Jose is becoming Detroit or Chicago? Both paths are scary.
That is because the Mayor and City Council in San Jose are delusional. For his “outlook” to be true – I would expect a list of accomplishments and projects, not just in the “pipeline” (tired of that word – which just means “we haven’t done anything yet, but people have ideas”), but already rolled out, implemented and seeing actual success.
It is hard for San Jose residents, especially in downtown to be just as “upbeat” (Sam knows because he lives downtown), as the Mayor because the biggest issues are clearly just getting worse. The reality certainly isn’t as “upbeat” as the tone of a Mayor who is in denial of his failures, and those of the County.
Benz bro bro please I can have sympathy for your plight. You are your own worst enemy on your endless nonsensical rants in every post. Try to stick to the topic. And yes Sam and co are all political turds that dont care about anyone.