Businesses, budgets, courts, testing, trains, and scams – no fluff, just the facts.

*Be sure to check the sidebar for important upcoming events and other announcements


Have you ever wondered how I voted on a particular issue or why I voted a certain way?
 


Dear Neighbors,

In the midst of COVID-19 or any other calamity that befalls us – one thing is certain in California – each jurisdiction must approve a balanced budget before July 1st. In the City of San Jose, that means closing a projected $72 million budget gap. It’s important that you learn more about what’s proposed, so tune into the Mayor’s Community Budget Meeting this week (see flyer in side bar). On Thursday, at 1:30 PM, we’ll be holding a virtual public hearing for the budget, as well, with details to be found on the City website. Please weigh in with your thoughts on the proposed budget. 

You may view all the budget documents here

The City Manager, with guidance from the City Council provided through the Mayor’s March Budget Message, has proposed several solutions to this pandemic-induced shock to our budget. These consist of a hiring freeze, eliminating budgeted positions that are unfilled, eliminating four hours of library time each week at all branch libraries, eliminating the SJPD hire-ahead program, cutting spending in the Mayor and Council offices, cutting $1.5 million in water costs for parks watering, and eliminating some services that were funded on a one-time basis. We will also use money that was set aside in our financial reserves. 

I will be looking for ways for us to save money while preserving services, such as by reworking contracts at Los Lagos and Rancho del Pueblo golf courses and slowing the growth of expenses driven solely by City Council policies. With the savings, we may be able to maintain library hours, parks watering, and, if possible, the hire-ahead program for the SJPD. I’m encouraged by the efforts of the City’s own employees who have also recommended several savings or revenue-generating ideas that can help the City get through what may be a challenging couple of years.

Please feel free to share your budget ideas with my Chief of Staff, Shane Patrick Connolly, at district10@sanjoseca.gov. 

Our City budget will recover only when our economy recovers, since much of our City funding relies on taxes on business activity – such as sales taxes, business taxes, cardroom taxes, and hotel taxes – in addition to the small percentage of property tax revenues that we receive. This is why I continue to advocate for the reopening of as many businesses as possible, with safety protocols in place to avoid spreading the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 by wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing, and sanitizing hands and common surfaces. (Oh, and a face coverings mandate is on tomorrow’s City Council agenda, so thank you to those who responded to my surveys on social media)!

Speaking of budgets, please watch my social media feeds on Nextdoor, Facebook, or Twitter for the flyer for Wednesday’s Community Connections Zoom meeting focused on your home budget: Navigating Financial Uncertainty, with special guest Jeffrey T. Raegan of Ameriprise Financial – a District 10 resident. 

Sincerely,

Johnny Khamis
 


Pavement Portal

Many of you know that I’ve not only been the “financial guy” on the City Council, but the “pavement guy”, as well, ensuring that $350 million of the Measure T bond was set aside for street maintenance. I’m therefore happy to announce that our great team at the Department of Transportation (DOT) has provided a new pavement “story map” on their pavement maintenance website which contains an overview of paving operations and detailed information on the three-year pavement plan that I shared with you back in December 2019. 

The “2020 Paving” tab allows you to track progress of the current construction season on specific roadway segments. It shows what segments are scheduled for completion, what is currently underway, and what work has been finished, and can be broken down by Council District. The “Pavement Maintenance 2019-2022” tab provides a general overview map of roads scheduled for restoration through 2022. 

This year, a total of 205 miles of streets will be addressed throughout the City, and 17.6 of those miles will be in District 10. By 2028, we will have repaved every road owned and managed by the City, well over 1500 miles of local and major streets. That is the equivalent of paving a two lane road from here to Dallas! 

We face new challenges managing roadway construction with shelter-in-place impacts, however we have a slate of new pavement contracts we are set to approve at Tuesday’s (May 19th) Council meeting. These contracts will commence in July and conclude in October. 


California High-Speed Rail Authority: San Jose to Merced Project Section

The long-envisioned and still-awaited California High Speed Rail (CAHSR) met its most recent milestone – the release of the Draft EIR for the San Jose (Diridon) to Merced section on April 24th. If you haven’t already, there is still time to check it out and see the four alternative paths for the rail, including the CAHSR-board-preferred alternative #4, which was informed by public input and the City’s consultations with VTA, Caltrain, and CAHSR. The 45-day public review period runs through June 8th, with the next and final online open house webinar (accessible here) to be hosted from 4-7 PM today – May 18th. The Draft EIR public hearing will be held May 27th, 3-8 PM. The webinars will serve as informative sessions, whereas the public hearing is reserved for public input on the merits and standards of the environmental review process and document itself. 

There has been considerable controversy around the CAHSR project and one might question the wisdom of pushing ahead with the project given other state priorities, but those decisions are made by state lawmakers, not at the City level. At the City level, we can help ensure that the best possible project is delivered here in the most expeditious, fiscally prudent, and environmentally sensitive way possible.  

Up through February, my colleagues and I on the City Council reviewed the Diridon Integrated Station Concept Plan - a vision for how we will upgrade and enhance our flagship Diridon transit station in the coming decades. BART to Downtown San Jose, an electrified Caltrain, CAHSR, and VTA, all in one station. We made the decision as a City to endorse the plan (which CAHSR adopted as alternative #4) to maintain and expand the existing at-grade track and approach from Diridon station heading south. We believe the viaduct option would be too intrusive on neighborhoods, would likely involve more construction time and expense, and would run the risk of greater delays and cost overruns. This project is a massive  undertaking, with functioning service at least 13 years away, so there will certainly be more to discuss in the coming years. 

In the meantime, my transportation deputy, Enrique Navarro-Donnellan, will be posting information and updates to NextDoor as they become available. Feel free to reach out to him with your comments or questions at enrique.navarro@sanjoseca.gov. 


D10 Announcements

District 10 Open for Business  

The stay at home order has certainly taken a toll on business – especially our small locally owned businesses (within District 10 and citywide) that are foundations within our community. 

To assist you, I am providing the list of businesses that are Open for Business in District 10.  Each business is listed with name, phone number, address and website (if there is one) to help make it easier to utilize.  Please call first to ensure curbside pickup or delivery is available. Most grocers are providing an early hour for seniors or those with underlying conditions to shop first. Lastly, some of our small family owned businesses are not allowed to be open during this time – like Imelda’s Animal Grooming, Music Village, etc.  Once our reopening begins, please keep businesses like these in mind to patronize. 

If you know of a business that should be added to our list, please email Denelle Fedor from my staff at denellem.fedor@sanjoseca.gov. Thank you for your support. 


City-wide Announcements

Paving the Way to Economic Recovery

Mayor Liccardo recently announced the launch of the Silicon Valley Recovery Roundtable  (SVRR), a group of Silicon Valley leaders who will set the path for economic recovery in the region. The Roundtable will be tasked with making policy recommendations to local and regional governing bodies that ensure political leaders harness state and federal resources–helping  families get back to work and prepare for the economy’s “new normal.” Comprised of 59 leaders across the valley, the Roundtable is calling on small businesses to offer critical insight in a survey to help advise a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery.

The SVRR is co-chaired by five high-profile leaders representing business, labor, and philanthropy, including:

  1. Bobby Alvarado, Executive Officer, NorCal Carpenters Regional Council

  2. Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group

  3. Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO, Cisco 

  4. Lisa Su, President and CEO, AMD

  5. Nicole Taylor, President and CEO, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Who else is on it?

Members of the Roundtable belong to many industries, including business, education, healthcare, innovation, retail, real estate, construction, and financial institutions. For a full list of names, please see the Silicon Valley Recovery Roundtable website.

Over the next100 days, the Roundtable will meet virtually and focus on answering four core questions in order to make policy recommendations related to business operations and job creation, required for a hard reset of our regional economy. These questions include:

  1. How do we reduce risks and reopen safely and productively?

  2. How do we make the recovery inclusive for our community’s most vulnerable members?

  3. How do we enable businesses to survive and thrive?

  4. How do we innovate to build the foundation of the new normal?

We want your input!

If you’re a small business owner or manager, share your thoughts in the survey here. We will use this information to identify the areas of greatest concern and relay data to the Roundtable as they make policy recommendations.

Stay updated and engaged

The Silicon Valley Recovery Roundtable website is the hub for updates and resources. Stay tuned over the next 100 days for more ways to share your thoughts, or join the conversation at #SVRecovery on Twitter. Visit www.SiliconValleyStrong.org for more small business resources, including paycheck protection, grants, and SBA loans. 


ADU Amnesty Program: Your Pathway to a Legalized ADU

Did you construct an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or convert a garage, basement, or room into a separate living unit — also called an ADU — without obtaining a building permit? Or, did you buy a property with an unpermitted ADU? Insurance companies will NOT cover a fire, damages, or injuries relating to an unpermitted unit. Protect both occupants and yourself by legalizing your unit. The City’s new ADU Amnesty Program waives penalties and may help you save more than $10,000 in fees while you take the steps to legalize your unit, improve the unit’s safety for occupants, and reduce your liability. The program allows for using the building codes from the year the unit was built, and provides 5 years to complete items not relating to immediate health and safety issues. You can explore the program without disclosing your name and address by reviewing the Self-Assessment Checklist, and then calling the ADU Amnesty Coordinator with your questions.

Self-Assessment Checklist
Lista de verificación de autoevaluación

Danh Sách Kiểm Tra Tự Đánh Giá

Information: Visit Amnesty webpage here.
ADU Amnesty Coordinator:  408-535-7770 or ADUAmnesty@sanjoseca.gov
Nosotros hablamos español.    Chúng tôi nói tiếng việt.


City of San Jose Releases 2020-2021 Proposed Operating Budget

The City of San Jose has released its Proposed Operating Budget for the upcoming 2020-2021 fiscal year. The City’s $4.1 billion 2020-2021 Proposed Operating Budget successfully closes a $71.6 million General Fund shortfall through a combination of a limited number of new revenue sources, expenditure reductions, and the strategic use of reserves and other one-time dollars. The City has also developed a contingency plan in the event that revenues decline further than anticipated. If needed, another $12 million in expenditure reductions have been identified and would only be brought forward in early fall for City Council consideration once more data has been received that indicates worsened economic conditions. The City Council is scheduled to finalize and approve the budget on June 16, 2020 with formal adoption on June 23, 2020.
Read the full 
press release or the City Manager’s 2020-2021 Budget Message for more information.


Volunteer Opportunities

The Open Space Authority is seeking passionate volunteers who have a unique connection to their communities to serve as liaisons and help fulfill the Authority’s mission. 

The Citizens’ Advisory Committee’s (CAC) purpose is to provide many avenues of input to and from the Open Space Authority’s diverse communities. Members provide a broad representation of interests within the Authority’s jurisdiction and are appointed by the Board to serve two-year terms. Contact: (408) 224-7476  or click here to visit Open Space Authority’s website


Virtual Volunteer and Leadership Opportunities for Youth


New FREE Testing Site for High-Risk Individuals Opens in East San José

The City of San José and County of Santa Clara have facilitated a new drive-through COVID-19 testing site in East San José in collaboration with Verily’s Baseline COVID-19 Program. Testing in San José is now available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday by appointment only at PAL Stadium, located at 680 S. 34th St. This supplements a testing site at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, located at 344 Tully Road, that opened in March and will now also operate Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Santa Clara County residents can use the Baseline COVID-19 Program online screener and appointment scheduling system here 
to screen their symptoms and, if eligible, make an appointment for testing. The website is also available in Spanish here


Currently, this program is focusing on high-risk populations (60 years or older; persons with health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure; or symptomatic individuals with a fever, cough, shortness of breath) and asymptomatic individuals working in high-risk settings (healthcare facility: senior care facility, nursing home, hospital, clinic, or other healthcare facility; jail/prison or working with incarcerated populations; first responders: police officers, firefighters, EMT, paramedics). The screening and testing criteria are based on state public health guidelines and will be updated to reflect the latest guidance from public health authorities. We anticipate the testing guidelines will be updated continuously to allow more and more persons to get tested. 
 
Click here for more information about Verily’s Project Baseline and Project Baseline COVID-19 testing


New Community Testing Site Added in East San José

The County of Santa Clara, in collaboration with OptumServe, has added a new COVID-19 testing site at 2951 Alum Rock Avenue in East San José. Testing at this site is by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, individuals can call 888-634-1123 or click here. The site will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, with the capacity to serve up to 132 individuals daily. OptumServe, a health services business, is working with the State to increase testing in underserved communities throughout California. For more information on testing options in Santa Clara County, click here to visit the County’s new online resource


More COVID-19 Testing Available: Healing Grove Health Center

Healing Grove Health Center is seeing the daily crush of poverty in our community as a result of the shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of San Jose’s low income service workers and construction workers have lost their jobs, families are going hungry, and the stress of poverty is leaving families hurt and suffering. They are conducting easy and free drive up testing at Cathedral of Faith in San Jose on a daily basis.  Anyone with symptoms can call Dr. Angie for a free evaluation, (408) 583-6338.


Free Tax Services Offered by Tax-Aid

Tax-Aid is offering free tax services to people who earn less than $55,000 a year. If you have not yet filed your taxes for 2019, here are the current options Tax-Aid has:

1. Prepare your return on your own using the the IRS Free File Program delivered by TurboTax on the Tax-Aid website.

2.  Have a TurboTax coach review your TurboTax return. When you’ve prepared and saved your return, send them an email with your availability at admin@tax-aid.org.

3. Have Tax-Aid help prepare your return. Visit this page of their website to fill out the questionnaire, and email them copies of your tax documents to admin@tax-aid.org. You can take pictures of the documents if you do not have access to a scanner.

4. Do you have questions on the Federal CARES Act or your economic impact payment? Visit this page of their website for information.

Tax-Aid is a nonprofit that offers free income tax services to people who earn less than $55,000 a year. During the Shelter in Place order, they have shifted their tax services to work virtually with people. Their expert volunteers are eager to help people. 

They also have an information page on their website with important information about how people can access the economic stimulus payment. 

In addition, they are encouraging a complete count in the 2020 Census. They have a special page on their website dedicated to this effort. 


Other Announcements
 

Child Care Support for Essential Workers and Employees of Outdoor Businesses in Santa Clara County

​The Santa Clara County Office of Education in partnership with community organizations and agencies throughout Santa Clara County is coordinating childcare programs for essential workers and employees of Outdoor Businesses. Below are resources to connect essential workers and Outdoor Businesses as defined by the April 29th 2020 Order of the Health Officer of the County of Santa Clara, to childcare options throughout Santa Clara County. 

These programs are for employees in essential businesses and Outdoor Businesses and are not open to the general public. 

All open childcare centers and family childcare homes in Santa Clara County will follow social distancing, sanitation, and hygiene practices specified by the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, the State of California and the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)​. Hours of operation, age requirements and cost vary per program. Click here for more information.


The Sports, Leadership, Arts & Media Youth Conference 

The Sports, Leadership, Arts & Media (SLAM) Youth Conference is a free virtual conference open to all high school youth between 13 to 18 years of age. During the SLAM conference, youth have a chance to explore the sports industry, leadership development, and the arts and media world. This conference will include three workshops during the month of May along with six keynote performances by local Bay Area musicians.

The Virtual SLAM Youth Conference is brought to you by AACI Youth Programs AMPLIFY and Santa Clara County Friday Night Live. This is a great opportunity for youth to engage in an experience of fostering personal resilience and youth development while learning new skills and connecting with positive adult role models.

The conference runs from May 14-29. Workshops are held Thursdays at 3 p.m., and performances are Fridays at 5 p.m. All youth interested in this free opportunity can RSVP here.


Santa Clara County Superior Court to Expand Judicial Proceedings and Court Operations in May

During the month of May, the Santa Clara County Superior Court will be adding additional judicial proceedings to its current limited operations. The Court has updated its Judicial Proceedings / Court Hearings information to reflect the addition of these new calendars in Civil, Criminal, Family, and Juvenile divisions. Information regarding changes to court operations will be updated frequently; please visit the Changes to Court Operations section of our site for the most current information.

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court reduced the number of hearings and limited operations in an effort to protect the health and safety of our community. As we move into the third month of Shelter-In-Place, the Court continues to look closely at how we may expand our operations to address the legal needs of our community and provide access to justice for Santa Clara County residents,” said Presiding Judge Deborah A. Ryan. “Our Court has been in close and regular contact with our county justice partners and local bar associations to keep them updated with changes to court operations. The public can continue to find the most up-to-date information available on our Court’s website.”

NEW GENERAL ORDERS:

– Wednesday, April 29, 2020, General Order outlining holidays for purposes of computing time for filing papers with the Court.

– Friday, May 1, 2020, Implementation Order extending deadlines for preliminary examinations and arraignments.

– Friday, May 1, 2020, General Order releasing holds on driver’s licenses for individuals arranging a payment plan. See the press release for additional information.

– Thursday, May 7, 2020, General Order regarding Complex Civil actions.

– Friday, May 8, 2020, General Order on court operations.


Santa Clara County Superior Court Requires Use of Face Coverings While in Court


In order to protect the health and safety of the public, court personnel, judicial officers, litigants, witnesses, jurors, and law enforcement personnel in connection with the COVID-19 threat, 
the Court has ordered that all persons, including Court staff and judicial officers, who enter the courthouses must wear a face covering in all public areas of the Court and shared work spaces.

Judicial officers will have discretion in their individual courtrooms to allow persons, including themselves, to remove their face coverings for periods of time. Any person who believes they have a good cause reason to be exempted from wearing a face covering may request an exemption from this Order. Requests of this nature will be heard by the judicial officer in the courtroom where the person is required to be present or is requesting to be allowed to observe. However, any person who refuses to wear a face covering after being directed to do so by a judicial officer may be removed from the courthouse for failure to comply with the order.

“Our Court has implemented social distancing protocols, enhanced our sanitization efforts, and mandated the use of face coverings in an effort to maintain a safe and healthy environment and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 for all who enter our Court facilities,” said Presiding Judge Deborah A. Ryan.

Please visit the Superior Court’s Covid-19 response website for the most current Court information.


State Provides Flexibility for CalWORKs Enrollment 

Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that provides counties with additional flexibility for enrolling individuals into CalWORKs. Specifically, the order allows counties to accept certain verbal affirmations if an individual is not able to provide a physical signature, allows pregnant applicants to provide a sworn statement or verbal attestation to verify pregnancy, and waives interview requirements if certain conditions are met. 

In addition, the order allows a CalWORKs recipient whose income is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level to qualify for lump-sum financial assistance instead of CalWORKs assistance and disallows Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation from being considered as income for determining CalWORKs grant amounts. 

CalWORKs is a program that helps eligible families become self-supporting through temporary cash aid and assistance in finding and keeping a job. When receiving CalWORKs cash aid, the family also receives Medi-Cal and may be eligible for CalFresh benefits. Residents can learn more here or call the 24-hour automated information line at 1-877-962-3633. 


Covered California for Small Business Premium Grace Period 

Covered California has announced another 30-day grace period for small businesses to make premium payments on their employees’ health care plans. This will help keep thousands of Californians insured during the coronavirus pandemic. For more information, businesses can visit the Covered California for Small Business website or call 844-332-8384 (Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.). 


Extension of Unemployment Benefits and Property Tax Penalty Relief

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an executive order making workers who contract COVID-19 while on the job potentially eligible to receive workers’ compensation. Eligible workers will have a “rebuttable presumption” if they tested positive for COVID-19 or were diagnosed with COVID-19 and confirmed by a positive test within 14 days of performing a labor or service at a place of work after the stay at home order was issued on March 19, 2020. The presumption will stay in place for 60 days after issuance of the executive order. The Governor also signed an executive order that waives penalties for property taxes paid after April 10 for taxpayers who demonstrate they have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic through May 6, 2021. This will apply to residential properties and small businesses. Additionally, the executive order will extend the deadline for certain businesses to file Business Personal Property Statements from tomorrow to May 31, 2020, to avoid penalties. Read more about the announcements at the State’s website. 


Eased State Restrictions Not Yet Applicable in Bay Area

*NOTE: THIS INFORMATION MAY BE MODIFIED AS EARLY AS TODAY – CHECK THE COUNTY WEBSITE at SCCGOV.ORG FOR THE LATEST!*

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced further details on the State’s plan to allow some businesses to reopen, with modifications to their operations, as the State cautiously moves into Stage 2 of recovery and reopening. In response, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department issued a news release acknowledging the State’s update and clarifying that the May 4 health order issued by six Bay Area counties and the City of Berkeley remains in effect.

As the stricter of the two orders, the local regulations supersede the State order. “The Bay Area orders do not currently permit curbside pickup from non-essential, non-outdoor businesses,” said the County in its statement, “and that is not allowed to begin on Friday, May 8.” The County Public Health Department will continue to study the indicators it has established to learn how the coronavirus is affecting local communities and amend the local health order as warranted in the best interest of community health. 


Scam Alerts

The California Department of Social Services (DSS) and counties has become aware of a fake letter telling clients they must get tested for COVID-19 in order to continue their benefits. It also tells clients that if they test positive, their children will be removed from their homes and placed into foster care. The letter asks people to visit a website, as well. The letter, its contents, and the website listed in the letter, are fake. Please warn your constituents to disregard this letter if they receive it. DSS and Counties will never ask about health status in connection to an application for benefits. Questions or concerns about the authenticity of materials from the DSS can be directed to (916) 651-8848 or piar@dss.ca.gov.

Also, please consider warning your constituents about stimulus payment scams. The IRS won’t be reaching out in person or by phone, email or mail asking for any kind of information to complete your economic impact payment.

The Santa Clara County Department of Employment and Benefit Services has posted warnings on its Facebook page that you can share (click here and here). 


Wildfire Season is Coming 

This week is Wildfire Preparedness Week. CAL FIRE is warning California residents that this year’s wildfire season is going to be more difficult than last due to the lack of late-season rain and snow, so it is important to start building a preparedness and evacuation plan. 

With many people at home and the increased operation of outdoor businesses, now is a great time to create defensible space and harden homes. Defensible space is a buffer created by removing dead plants, grass, and weeds. Home hardening means using construction materials that can help a home withstand flying embers finding weak spots in the construction, which can result in a house catching fire. The Santa Clara County Fire Department has tips and information here. 

Cleaner air shelters such as school gymnasiums, community centers, and civic auditoriums are used by many communities to provide spaces where people can shelter overnight or for extended periods of time during air quality incidents. However, the use of cleaner air shelters can result in congregating of groups of people, including older adults and those with heart or lung conditions, and potentially provide a route for the spread of COVID-19. 

The CDC has provided  g uidance for local leaders to help plan for the use of cleaner air shelters as wildfire season approaches. Strategies include screening and alternative sites for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, physical distancing inside shelters, enhanced cleaning, and more. The Public Health Department will also continue to provide updated guidance as local conditions evolve. 

 

 

Sincerely,

Councilmember Johnny Khamis 

 

*Be sure to check the sidebar for important upcoming events and other announcements!

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