San Jose-bred Pierluigi Oliverio works tirelessly for his constituents and is fully immersed in his district’s business. While sometimes too idealistic for his own good, his independence and intelligence make him a strong asset on the dais. Willing to speak his mind even when it has a political cost is rare in local politics, where compromise and backscratching can sometimes lead to lowest common denominator policy making.
He’s paid for himself many times over by driving revenues and reducing costs. Oliverio’s push to outsource park maintenance has saved the city millions, and his ability to get Measure W passed in 2010 was a victory for the city’s fiscal future—even if that measure’s goals have yet to reach fruition. Oliverio’s ideas on opening labor negotiations to the public as well as offering a 401k-style benefits package for new employees also don’t sound that crazy to anyone who works outside of the city’s employ. His best idea, however, was taxing and regulating cannabis sales. Oliverio was the first to see this juggernaut coming and brought the city a new, unforeseen revenue source.
Challenger Steve Kline has made this race about the community, but the issues he’s raised don’t inspire or sound terribly innovative. If he’s committed to community service, honing his chops for 2016 might be a better course.