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2004 Election Coverage
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Check Marks The Spot

Metro's list of recommendations in several key local races

Pickings are slim for wags interested in regional elections this cycle. Most of the excitement is obviously occurring at the national level and on state ballot initiatives. Even so, conscientious voters should make sure to weigh in on several closely watched contests.

SAN JOSE CITY COUNCIL
Most of the city races were over in the March primaries. Only the Rich De La Rosa-Nancy Pyle tussle in District 10 remains. Both would represent the district competently, though De La Rosa would be less likely to acquiesce to politics as usual at City Hall. The small businessman would bring some common sense to free-spending, ethically challenged, secret deal-compromised municipal leadership set to inhabit the new Astrodome on Santa Clara Street. Fresh blood and new ideas are healthy, so we recommend De La Rosa.

MILPITAS CITY COUNCIL
Even if Bush wins re-election, all will not be lost on Election Day if Milpitas can find competent councilmembers. Trish Dixon is petty and parochial, dating back to Nov. 16, 2000, when she appeared in these pages to complain we had somehow set her up for a bad photo she'd taken in 1997. (We didn't, honest.) Mayor Jose Esteves is a similar sad sack. Incumbent Councilmember Bob Livengood has been around forever and knows the ropes. And pundits sing the praises of Debbie Giordano. Choose one of these or Deepka Lalwani or even Ed "Mr. America" Connor. But, for crying out loud, retire Dixon and Esteves to greener pastures.

EAST SIDE UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT
Delving into the East Side mess is like wading into a pit of vipers. For years, the district has was rife with low-level financial scandals and incompetent leadership. Superintendent Esperanza Zendejas arrived last summer like a Santa Ana wind but quickly fell out of favor with the teachers' union. The two incumbents, Juanita Ramirez and Craig Mann, who back Zendejas, are now seen as the old guard, part of the problem rather than the solution. Trouble is, nobody seems equipped to replace them. Thus, despite reservations, this is a de facto endorsement of Ramirez and Mann.

MEASURE A PREVAILING WAGE
Prevailing wage, as currently interpreted, forces the county to pay its army of lawyers the same kind of money barristers get paid at firms like, say, Wilson Sonsini. While putting criminals behind bars is important stuff, it shouldn't command IPO wages, especially on the public's dime. Prevailing wage means the county would be able to evaluate salaries based on other public agencies instead of the private sector, which is the current practice. Vote yes.

MEASURE B VOTER APPROVAL OF BINDING ARBITRATION
Measures B is an underhanded attempt by county management to undercut Measure C by forcing salary matters onto the ballot. The same county management that permitted county execs to raise their salaries last year while pleading poverty to the rank and file, then refused to disclose executive salaries to the public. Vote no.

MEASURE C BINDING ARBITRATION IN LABOR CONTRACTS
San Jose and other cities have binding arbitration, which provides an independent mediator to resolve issues between management and employees in the event of an impasse. County administrators don't like it, because they say it will put budgeting issues in the hands of the unelected. It's just as likely employees will receive adequate compensation exactly like county administrators—during good times and bad. It's a speedy way to resolve disputes that will save the public money. Vote yes.

MEASURE G SAN JOSE/EVERGREEN COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOND MEASURE
Evergreen and San Jose Community Colleges want $185 million to complete expansion and improvements begun during a 1998 bond measure. Give it to them.

MEASURE H WEST VALLEY/MISSION COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOND MEASURE
Mission College in Santa Clara and West Valley College in Saratoga want $235 million to upgrade electrical systems, replace fire alarms and build new classrooms and a tech center. Give it to them.

MEASURE S SAN JOSE LIBRARY PARCEL TAX
San Jose has an excellent library system because voters passed an additional tax on each real estate parcel in 1994. With that tax about to expire, voters must keep money flowing to their libraries if they want to continue top-notch services. San Jose libraries count on the tax for 20 percent of their funding. There's no good reason to oppose the measure—ideological opponents say library patrons should pay for the services they use. But democracy needs an educated public, one that can obtain free info Monday through Sunday. This is a strong recommendation in favor of a yes vote on Measure S.



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From the October 27-November 2, 2004 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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