Millions at Stake in Fight over Fire Safety Requirements for High Rise Buildings

For the last several months, a fight with multi-million dollar implications has quietly been waged over fire safety requirements in San Jose’s tallest buildings. The clash—featuring a tangled array of alliances between elected officials, developers, lobbyists, a monopolistic breathing device manufacturer, a union spurned and an ambivalent fire department—will come to a head Thursday afternoon, when the Public Safety, Finance & Strategic Support Committee meets to discuss the city’s tri-annual review of its fire and building codes.

Disconnect between Mayor Reed, City Manager on Police Chief Search?

In his weekly call-in show Monday with KLIV 1590 executive director George Sampson, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed pulled back the curtain a bit on the city’s efforts to find a permanent police chief. The question is whether or not City Manager Debra Figone—the person charged with suggesting who to hire—was ready for that curtain call. Reed told Sampson he expects the city to officially name a permanent police chief by the end of this year. But, according to the city manager’s office, the search to name a long-term police chief has not been active in roughly eight months.

Number of Missing Fire Response Time Reports ‘Significantly Higher’ than Expected

The San Jose Fire Department has a pretty good idea how long it takes firefighters to get to emergencies. Well, some emergencies. SJFD officials told San Jose Inside this week that thousands of emergency calls in recent years were mistakenly left out when calculating response times. In the 2011-12 fiscal year, there were 52,400 reported calls for emergency medical or fire services, according to current department statistics. But SJFD officials now acknowledge underreporting the numbers, and the total will be “significantly higher.”

San Jose Fire Dept. Slower than Reported

Since 2009, the San Jose Fire Department has responded to emergency calls slower than previously reported. The question is by how much. In a memo sent out Friday by the city manager’s office, Fire Chief William McDonald explains that “data used in the calculation of the response-time measure were excluded in error.”

Prioritizing Future City Spending

At the upcoming Aug. 7 City Council meeting, the discussion will focus on how to prioritize city spending IF revenues increase. So, in the example below, if revenues increase by $10 million—either by revenue growth or tax increase—this is how I think it should be spent by percentage.

First SJPD Chief-Search Meeting Tonight

The quest for SJPD Chief Rob Davis’s replacement kicks off tonight with the city’s first community outreach meeting.

Taking place at the Roosevelt Community Center, the event aims to have citizens weigh in on the type of person they think should be hired to lead San Jose’s Police Department. After tonight’s 6pm meeting, there will be four other opportunities for community engagement through Sept. 2.

“This is one of the most important positions in the city,” City Manager Deb Figone said when announcing the event at today’s city council meeting. “The information we gather at these meetings will help define the characteristics that we are looking for in our next police chief.”