Rumor Control – Civic Center “Plans”

We’ve been hearing a lot of misinformation circulating the city in recent months, some of it propagated by uninformed individuals, some of it being deliberately spread, unfortunately.  At any given time, there’s always someone making bizarre claims about the city, and you can’t do this job very long before you develop a thick skin to this kind of nonsense.  But sometimes the rumors gain legs, and it becomes important to set the facts straight.  I’m going to spend some time over the next couple of weeks trying to knock a few of these things down.

One of the rumors I keep hearing is that the city has been secretly negotiating with developers to build the Civic Center, and that the city has even developed new plans for the Civic Center, specifically for private high-rise offices on the Civic Center property along El Camino.  There was even a rather bizarre claim of 140′ tall buildings on El Camino.  I’ve now heard a number of variants of this – that we want 6-10 story offices, 6-story apartments, you name it.

For the most part, this is all nonsense.  But I’ll explain where it came from, and how reality is now being (deliberately) distorted.

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04/21/2015 Council Preview – Art and Mixed Use Projects

Another diverse night.  We’ll be holding this meeting in memory of Sunnyvale resident Michelle Philips, who passed away last month.

We start the evening with another closed session regarding ongoing labor negotiations.  This is followed by a study session on transportation policy and process.  This is obviously a pretty broad topic, but the discussion should be more focused than it sounds.

The general meeting starts with special recognition of the Serra Little League program.  The Serra All-stars won the District 44 and Section 5 championships last year, and we’re recognizing that. The consent calendar is pretty typical.  We’ve got a couple of public works-related contracts, including the replacement of the roofs at four of our six fire stations.

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State Issues Sunnyvale Water Reduction Requirement

The State Water Resources Control Board issued its draft recommendations for mandatory water cuts for the various CA jurisdictions today.  If I’m reading it correctly, they are telling Sunnyvale to achieve an additional 16% reduction in water use.  They based their cuts on needing to reduce urban water usage by 25%, adjusted according to how much jurisdictions have voluntarily reduced their water use in recent years.  In other words, areas that have already cut back aren’t being penalized for the work they’ve already done, and areas that have not are being told to do their share.

We will be addressing this in Council in the next few weeks, after staff has digested this and the legal requirements and developed a specific plan.

Bay Area Housing Development

The Silicon Valley Business Journal has a story on housing development in the Bay Area, and it’s an interesting read.  They took a look at how cities are building housing as compared to their Regional Housing Needs Assessment – basically the extent to which cities are supplying the housing to meet their projected housing needs for population growth.  From the article:

Cities like Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Redwood City and Dublin have plenty to brag about. They at least build close to the number of housing units they needed to. Cities like Oakland, Palo Alto and Berkeley? Pretty dismal failing grades.

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04/07/2-15 Council Preview – Leaf Blowers

Note that tonight’s general session will be opened and held in honor of fallen San Jose Police Department Officer Michael Johnson.

Looks like a pretty diverse night.  We start the evening with another closed session to discuss ongoing labor negotiations.  This is followed by an important study session regarding our sidewalk repair program. It will likely include an overview of how we schedule and prioritize our repairs, but the focus will almost certainly be on the budget for sidewalk repair.  This is one area where our 20-year budget doesn’t cover the anticipated cost to maintain the work that we need done.  This has been an ongoing area of concern.

We then go to the general meeting, where we start with two special orders, the first being recognition of National Library Week, the second being recognition of Fair Housing Month.

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