Library Initiative Mistake Highlights First Rules Committee Agenda

And we’re back! The Rules Committee gets to business Wednesday after a six-week layoff, and among the items on the docket are:

— Dennis Hawkins’ huge gaffe. When the city clerk realized he provided incorrect information to the Save San Jose Libraries ballot intiative effort, you could almost hear the collective smack against City Hall’s forehead. The Rules Committee will look at placing the proposed charter amendment as an item on next Tuesday’s City Council meeting agenda.

Councilmembers Ash Kalra, Kansen Chu and Xavier Campos penned a memo supporting a discussion of the charter amendment due to the erroneous information Hawkins supplied Peter Allen and ballot initiative organizers on the number of signatures necessary to qualify for November.

As the councilmembers’ memo states:

“Save San Jose Libraries was formed in March 2012 and proceeded with signature collection to gather enough signatures to meet the 5% signature threshold, as directed by City staff, to place a charter amendment on the ballot. Over the past several months, Save San Jose Libraries have collected over 40,000 signatures, from more than 10% of registered voters in the City of San Jose. It was not until June 6th that the committee learned from the City Clerk and City Attorney that they needed to meet a 15% signature threshold for a charter amendment.”

While the charter amendment will likely reach the council for dicussion, it seems unlikely, for now at least, that it will be approved with a majority vote considering Mayor Chuck Reed’s voting bloc has voiced consistent opposition due to the fixed percentage of the budget the charter amendment devotes to libraries.

Councilmember Kansen Chu has asked for a referral to the Elections Commission regarding the disclosure of who paid for political lawn signs, buttons and clothing. Chu argues that these items should fall under free speech protected by the First Amendment. But here’s a question: Wouldn’t you want to know who to blame if Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen paraphrased Charlie Sheen’s catchphrase for a campaign shirt that read, “Nguyen-ing.” Oye.

— A review of calendars for councilmembers and the mayor, as well as those of their chiefs of staff, found that Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio had the most instances of noncompliance with four. (Noncompliance means the calendar wasn’t updated in a timely manner, as mandated by Mayor Reed’s sunshine reforms.) Councilmembers Sam Liccardo and Nancy Pyle tied for second most issues of noncompliance with three.

— Taking a look at the city auditor’s fiscal year workplan.

— And from the public record, apparently SJI reader and City Hall rabblerouser David Wall sent a letter to City Manger Debra Figone on June 8. Here is the title of that letter: “I request appointment to: Director -Environmental Services Department.” To be fair, there were others that seemed even more far-fetched.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.

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