San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith surrendered himself to authorities on felony weapons charges Wednesday night. The 24-year-old, who until Thursday was on indefinite leave from the team, turned himself in to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office after checking out of rehab. He immediately posted $75,000 bail. While sports fans might be more concerned with Smith’s return to the Niners, a report on how his weapons case was handled has raised questions about the possibility of preferential treatment. A source within the county tells San Jose Inside that a dispute is now raging between the Sheriff and District Attorney’s offices.
San Jose City Manager Debra Figone decided last week to end the suspense and remove “acting” from Larry Esquivel’s title as police chief, setting up a dramatic showdown. Not between cops and City Hall, though. An arsenal of memos over how to keep graduates of the police academy from jumping ship were fired off Tuesday. Just last week, it was widely reported that up to 17 cadets are taking their talents to different law enforcement agencies, leaving the city out about $2.9 million in training costs. On one side of the memo melee stands Sam Liccardo, armed with what he calls a “carrot and a stick.” On other other side stand Madison Nguyen and Johnny Khamis, carrying what they call a “first five” initiative. And in the middle, the police union is at the ready to shoot down both ideas.
Nearly half the class that graduated from the San Jose Police Academy a few weeks ago plans to leave for other departments, according to union leaders. And until the city offers a better disability pension plan to new police recruits, the Police Officers Association will keep encouraging cadets to find work elsewhere. On the opposite side of the experience spectrum, the POA is also telling retired officers to turn down jobs that would involve doing background checks on prospective officers.
Police want to use a $900,000 Department of Justice grant to better investigate domestic violence strangulations. A memo from acting Police Chief Larry Esquivel and city budget director Jennifer Maguire proposes a plan that will go before the City Council on Tuesday. Other items on the agenda include a request for a public hearing on the controversial Rocketship school in the Tamien neighborhood and a review of the city’s general plan.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a trio of bills sponsored by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the state’s political watchdog group, making it easier for the rest of us to police our politicians.
A recent discussion within our community has focused on building even more single-family homes in areas that are reserved for jobs or fall outside of the urban service area. The proposal would allow those who convert industrial land to pay a fee per housing unit created. Those dollars would then be used to purchase open space in Coyote Valley. Although this idea may be worthy of discussion in theory, my concern is that such land use decisions would ultimately hurt San Jose’s economy.
Community members will have a chance to weigh in on San Jose’s gang-prevention efforts at a series of town hall meetings this fall. The Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force will host four meetings this month through November to gather input about the city’s efforts to suppress local gang activity.
Hyperbole is the crudest way to make a point. It’s also the easiest way to lose an audience. But there’s a desperate talking point in local political circles going unchallenged. No longer.
After failed past attempts to regulate medical marijuana collectives in San Jose, the city should take up the issue again, says Councilman Don Rocha—just as a voter initiative to legalize the stuff cleared for signature gathering. Other items on the agenda for Wednesday’s Rules and Open Government Committee meeting include Councilman Xavier Campos asking for the city to sponsor a gun buyback event, Voice Mayor Madison Nguyen wanting some pension reform clarification and David Wall doing his best David Wall impersonation.
A nearly 100-year-old Chinese restaurant may get a historic designation, protecting it from new development. The City Council on Tuesday will vote whether to make Ken Ying Low an official historic landmark. Located at 625 N. Sixth St. in Japantown, the building is the last vestige of what was once a Chinese neighborhood. Other items on the council agenda include a $154,000 contract for a company to count trees in San Jose and stricter requirements for healthy options in city-owned vending machines.