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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Santa Clara County, CA March 6, 2007 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Council Member, 6; City of San Jose; Council District 6

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of San Jose/Santa Clara in partnership with the San Jose Mercury News and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Growth, Mayor vs. Manager, Public Safety, City Finances

Click on a name for candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

1. There are proposals to add 30,000 houses and more office space in North San Jose, thousands more homes in Evergreen and to build a new community in the Coyote Valley. There has been no in-depth study of how these plans will affect one another or services throughout the city. Should San Jose complete a thorough, public review of its general plan for growth before approving any more major development plans? Silicon Valley needs more housing, but San Jose needs more jobs to strengthen its tax base. How would you balance those conflicting pressures?

Answer from Pierluigi Oliverio:

Development in the North San Jose corridor makes sense since High Tech companies have historically located there. Light Rail runs the entire length so I support companies abilities to build higher and for high density housing and retail to go along with it. We should strive for mixed use development. Jobs and housing are equally important. IN addition I want a vibrant Downtown with high density infill development. I am against development of Coyote Valley

Answer from Steve Tedesco:

There is no question that San Jose will continue to grow but we must do so in a way that allows us to accommodate the growth while maintaining services to our residents. That means that our first priorities should be in-fill projects around light rail stations to reduce traffic and commute times; completely assuring that new developments pay for themselves with tax revenues that will fund facilities and services they require; and making sure that there are adequate jobs in close proximity to new developments. Balancing these interests requires a commitment to the principle that San Jose will grow in a managed and quality manner to assure that we maintain and enhance our quality of life.

I completely support an update to the city's general plan to make sure that all of the impacts of the past fifteen years are taken into account. While quarterly uipdates are fine, a comprehensive review is necessary to review the full unpacts of the growth in housing, changes in our economy, and related impacts on our quality of life.

2. San Jose has a council/manager form of government. Over the past few years the balance of power has shifted toward the mayor and there are some elected officials who support this stronger role for the mayor. Should San Jose move to a strong-mayor form of government or have a strong professional administrator? What kind of city manager will you look for?

Answer from Pierluigi Oliverio:

I believe in a strong Mayor and a strong City Manager; one to be the leader in policy and vision and the other to be the leader in professional administration and quality city services. We should seek a proven professional City Manager with experience in delivering a high quality level of services to citizens and who thinks out of the box. One that has a track record of ethical behavior in working with elected officials and one that is not shy to speak out when necessary for the good of the City.

Answer from Steve Tedesco:

We should respect our current City Charter which provides for a council-manager form of government. It is the best way to have professional managemnent of our city while still retaining the political direction over policies and priorities demanded by the voters. I am opposed to the current system where the powers of the mayor have gravitated to a hybrid. Lets respect what we have.

That is not to say that we should avoid a discussion of the possibility of going to a strong mayor form of givernment in the future. I would support the establishment of a citizen's commission to review and explore these o ptions. But until the voters decide to make achange we must respect the Council-Manager form of government we have, delegate the authoity to the City Manager as required, find the best city manager available, and make certain that the powers of the Mayor are appropriate under the current charter.

3. Safety often includes services such as homework centers and code enforcement for neighborhoods, but the city budget now being prepared could cut much needed services. If there is no other source of funds to maintain safety-related centers and gang prevention, would you consider reducing the funds going to support the police and fire departments? Can the growing costs of police and for pensions be covered without depleting funds for other community service in the future?

Answer from Steve Tedesco:

I am proud to have been a part of meeting the needs of young people at risk by creating homework centers and after schol opportunities through the Boys and Girls Clubs. When I took over the organization these programs were in jeopardy; they are now financially stable and growing.

I believe that we need to enhance programs like these, and use other tools as well, to give young people things to do in order to divert their attention away from being involved in gangs and other activities. That means continuing to fund programs in law enforcement. The growing costs of public employee pensions are a concern but I would not start there as a way to fund gang prevention programs. Instead, I would start by eliminating unnecessary programs, reducing bureaucracy, and making the City fiscally responsible.

We have not been successful enough in growing our tax base. It is business that pays the lion's share of the bill and that is the only way to significantly increase our resources. That includes solving the jobs-housing impbalance and obtaining a larger share of sales tax revenues. That will allow us to grow our budget and to provide the needed services.

Answer from Pierluigi Oliverio:

The only long term solution is to grow the economy. By using technology we could cut waste and inefficiency. After school programs and code enforcement are part of the safety related services we should fund. I cannot promise that these programs are untouchable, but they would not be preferred choices for cuts. Since police and fire are the most essential services the budget consequences have to be carefully evaluated and most likely other services will suffer first.

4. Money to maintain and operate the city’s public facilities such as parks and libraries is in shorter and shorter supply. So while new or expanded community centers have been proposed previously, the city is looking at closing or privatizing up to 30 existing centers it cannot afford to operate. Should the city re-examine its plans to add parks and other public facilities? Are there services the city could cut to find money for these highly valued ones?

Answer from Pierluigi Oliverio:

There is nothing more sad to residents than to build facilities only to close them due to lack of operating funds. But our future will have better economic times and creating new parks is absolutely in that future. As an outsider, I am not beholden to any particular special interest. I am ready to go in and find creative solutions to balancing the budget. I will find new ways to use staff more effectively, re-engineer administrative tasks, and establish a complete line-item budget for the council's review and adoption.

We need to retain and recruit small and mid-size companies to San Jose. This will make the pie bigger so we can afford the services our citizens deserve.

Answer from Steve Tedesco:

There is no sense closing down community centers because we can't afford to maintain them, and then opening up new facilities. Instead, we should focus on maintaining and improving what we have. Only then should we consider new facilities. In addition, we must also make sure that as new areas develop, these developments not only provide funding for the cost of new neighborhood and recreatiuonal facilities, but that they also generate adequate tax revenues to pay for the cost of providing services to those new developments, including public safety, recreation, and neighborhood services.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' responses are not edited or corrected by the League.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: May 3, 2007 07:53 PDT
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