Dear Mayor Liccardo,
I am genuinely concerned about the process being used to push through a change to our City Charter without allowing sufficient time for significant public engagement. The proposed changes are substantial enough to mandate a Charter Review Commission. I kindly request that you drop the efforts to place the Charter Change Initiative on the November ballot and convene a Charter Review Commission composed of a cross-section of our community to determine what, if any, changes ought to be made to our City Charter. Their focus should be on changes that would improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of our City government.
Thank you for your time in this matter.
<your zip code>
cc: <your representative>
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Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility (CFR) endorsed Jim Zito in the contest to represent the residents San Jose City Council District 8. We did so for the same reasons cited by Mayor Liccardo and the Mercury News: Jim’s breadth of experience serving the community, including being a founding member of The District 8 Community Round Table, serving eight years on the San Jose Planning Commission and serving on the Evergreen Elementary School District Board for the past ten years makes him better qualified to help guide San Jose through the difficult times that are looming on the horizon. Additionally, CFR believes that Jim’s history of fiscal responsibility, along with his fierce independence and willingness to ask tough questions will serve San Jose well when the going gets tough, as it inevitably will.
On February 11th, a local on-line news source published a story reflecting one side of a very messy divorce that Jim and his ex-wife suffered through after 16 years of marriage. The article included documents filed by his ex-wife, but none of the responses filed by Jim, nor anything about the final terms of the divorce. The article also recounted a story about a 2010 family matter that included involvement by officers of the SJPD. The next day, some of our members received a political mailer, paid for by the San Jose Police Officers Association, making essentially the same claims.
Beginning the next day, people and organizations began withdrawing their endorsements, including Mayor Liccardo and the Mercury News. Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, after careful examination of the facts has elected to allow our endorsement to stand for several of reasons:
1) There are two sides to every divorce, and they can be very messy, especially when minor children are involved. While we do not dispute the documentation behind the article, it provided only one side of the ordeal. Available court documents show a radically different outcome from what one would expect having read only the documentation provided in the article. After reading the full story, it has become clear that the article and mailer are part of a coordinated smear job to take down a candidate who, as the article’s author put it in a subsequent interview, “is making Councilmember Arenas work hard for reelection.”
2) As in the divorce case, hand-picked details of the incident between Jim and the SJPD have been highlighted in order to mislead the public. Police officer files are not usually made public, so we won’t know if the officers involved were ever disciplined for their overzealous behavior and following non standard procedures.
3) The individuals and organizations who pulled their endorsements did so in knee-jerk fashion, without getting all the facts. These same people and groups once strongly endorsed Jim Zito because he is supremely more qualified than his opponent. As Mayor Liccardo noted in his March 2019 Budget Memo, San Jose faces an uncertain future. The City budget is tenuously balanced, at best. The unfunded pension liabilities exceed $3 billion, in spite of annual payments roughly five times what they were before the recession. Our city needs people like Jim Zito on the City Council to help guide our city through the next downturn.
It has been a decade since this difficult time in Jim’s life. During that time, he has remained dedicated to our community. CFR denounces the ugly and abusive tactics of the Police Officers’ Association and hopes Jim and his children can heal quickly from the pain they have been subjected to at the hands of those who are sworn to protect and serve. We urge voters to join us in supporting Jim Zito, and in telling the people and organizations behind this blatant attempt to besmirch an otherwise upstanding resident that voters will not stand for such tactics in San Jose politics now or in the future.
Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility (CFR) works to ensure that our city government responsibly allocates our tax dollars with a primary focus on core services we call the three P's: parks, pavement, and public safety.
In the upcoming March 3, 2020 election, CFR believes the following candidates represent the best choices for ensuring a fiscally responsible City Council focused on doing what's right for our residents. We urge you to support them.
Additionally, CFR also advises voters to reject San Jose Measure E, the real property transfer tax. Read our in-depth explanation here.
Public parks play a central role in neighborhood morale.
There are over 2,400 miles of road in San Jose. It is critical to our economy and our public safety that roads be maintained. No one should have to buy a 4 wheel drive offroad vehicle to drive to the store.
If there is one thing we absolutely entrust the government with it is to maintain law and order. We must ensure our police and first responders are well funded to keep the community safe.
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