Why San Jose voters should re-elect Mayor Sam Liccardo
By: Mercury News Editorial Board
The Mercury News
Sam Liccardo has done a superb job in his first term as mayor, resolving San Jose’s decade-long pension battle, positioning the city to bring Google to San Jose and raising the minimum wage for low-income workers.
It’s that sort of leadership that makes him one of the star mayors in California. Voters should reward Liccardo on June 5 by voting to give him another four years in office.
Liccardo’s biggest accomplishment was sitting down with the police union and reaching a compromise on their challenging pension issues. The successful effort enables San Jose to rebuild its depleted police department. The April graduation of 47 new officers from the San Jose Police Department’s academy best symbolizes the progress. After years of staffing turmoil, the city is within about 75 officers of meeting the 1,109 authorized positions.
It’s just one example of Liccardo’s inclusive, solution-oriented approach as mayor.
The effort to bring Google to San Jose requires a deft touch, given the potential impact of 20,000 workers on downtown. If successful, it would transform San Jose’s downtown core and help solve the city’s jobs-housing imbalance. Liccardo has also worked to attract smaller businesses — think tech firms such as Zoom, SuperMicro and Splunk — which may not be household names today but are the type of companies crucial to sustaining San Jose’s growth.
Liccardo is also far and away the best choice for voters wanting to see San Jose become more livable and solve its affordable housing and homeless crisis. High construction costs will make that a challenge, but his success in working with Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese and Destination: Home to provide housing for nearly 700 veterans is the type of cooperative effort that offers hope for the future.
The mayor in 2015 called for a regional approach to raising the minimum wage for low-income workers. That resulted in San Jose, Palo Alto, Cupertino, Milpitas, Morgan Hill and Monte Sereno agreeing to a $15-per-hour minimum wage that will be implemented in 2019.
None of Liccardo’s three challengers on the ballot merit serious consideration.
Steve Brown, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for the District 2 seat on the City Council in 2016, did not respond to requests for an editorial board interview and has not mounted any kind of campaign. Neither has Tyrone Wade, a retired counselor with no previous experience in public office.
Quangminh Pham, a 72-year-old Vietnamese refugee, came to the United States in 1975. He is a retired small business owner who is making housing the focus of his campaign. But his notion of crafting an ordinance to allow homeowners a free hand to expand their homes willy-nilly to create more rental units is a non-starter. So is his proposal to give long-term renters living in San Jose an advantage over non-residents when trying to buy a home.
When we recommended Liccardo to voters in 2014, we said “he was by far the most thoughtful, creative and capable of lifting the city beyond its fiscal limitations to thrive as the urban heart of Silicon Valley.”
Nothing has changed to alter that thinking. San Jose voters should re-elect Mayor Liccardo.