San Jose, CA — On behalf of The Silicon Valley Organization (The SVO), I am writing to support Mayor Liccardo’s memorandum to implement Accountability & Better Government Reforms for the City of San José. By way of background, we are the Silicon Valley’s premier business advocacy organization representing nearly 1,200 local companies that employ nearly 300,000 local workers. We represent our membership as the region’s largest Chamber of Commerce.
San José is the 10th largest city in the United States, yet it is stuck in the 1980’s with a management structure more suited for small cities. In times of crisis, we need government to be nimble, responsive, and accountable to the community for results and to bring local government into the 21st century. As we face the greatest series of crises in our lifetime – a global pandemic and the deepest economic recession since the great recession – we must have the people’s choice, an elected Accountable Mayor, be directly responsible for the city. The public must have confidence that their elected officials are the ones driving the community’s priorities.
The proposed measure would also curb the influence of powerful special interest groups, who have dominated San José politics for far too long. The measure would implement a strict conflict of interest provision that would require City Council members to recuse themselves on a vote that would benefit their special interest donors. Furthermore, professional lobbyists would be banned from making contributions to a politician’s campaign.
These good government reforms will be transformative for San José. Local government works better when accountability lines are drawn straight to elected representatives and it is transparent that the community is driving the political priorities of the city. For these reasons and more, we strongly urge you to vote in support of Mayor Liccardo’s memorandum to implement city charter amendments for a more accountable, transparent, and efficient city hall.