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Week of October 18th, 2021 Constitutional Convention Recap

Updated: Nov 2, 2021

Hello everyone 👋 and welcome to what's happening only in San José: a deep dive into the 2021 Charter Review Commission which I will now refer to as the Constitutional Convention (because it doesn't always have to be so boring) and of course podcast updates on our latest episode drops. This newly structured newsletter is a pilot test on providing the community with my notes on the Charter Review Commission every Wednesday after a Charter Review Meeting from a resident perspective from the last 10 months of observing over 90 hours of public commission meetings. This is for those with a shared interest in the policy process of and amendments to our City Constitution (i.e. City Charter).

🎙️ Only in San José Podcast Updates… Who is listening to the Youth? Are you? Check out our latest interview with the San José Youth Commission, that was entirely youth led. In this episode we asked our Intern Elena Holleman to Co-Executive Produce the episode and lead the interviews, and it was so fantastic that we thought we should pass the mic more! Hmm, maybe everyone should do that more?

⚖️ What happened at the San José Constitutional Convention this week … First off it was nearly 5 and ½ hours long, I was pretty wiped the next day. This past Monday, October 18th the Commission approved its first set of recommendations on governance structure, voting and elections. It was like a scene out of the Bachelorette, which memo will get a rose!? That moment when Commissioner Huy Tran took a hand to the chin, deep pause before giving his vote, then delivered the plot twist of the night 💀! Here's the recap:

  • 🧮 Increasing Council Districts from 10 districts to 14 districts gets its rose. The commission voted 14-7, with Commissioner Elizabeth Monley absent, and Commissioners Tobin Gilman, Lan Diep, Linda Lezotte, Frank Maitski, Barbara Marshman, Thi Tran and Yong Zhao voted not in favor (memo).

  • Establishing a regular Charter Review Commission, every 10 years unanimously passed by the commission, wow! (memo).

  • 🗳️ Vote Choice Ranking makes it past its first hurdle in with an 18-3 vote, with Lan Diep, Tobin Gilman and Yong Zhao voting not in favor (memo).

  • 🪄 Expansion of Mayoral Powers, sees revisions to City Manager Nomination powers. The recommendation passes with 19-2 vote. Commissioner Elizabeth Monley was absent, Commissioners Lan Diep and and Tobin Gilman voted not in favor. (memo).

  • 😎 Elevating the Board for Fair Campaign and Political Practices,formally the Ethics Commission, sees a pathway for it's Hollywood Star placed in the walk of fame of our City Constitution with a 20-1 vote, with Commission Tobin Gilman as the lone holdout (memo)

  • 🚫 Emergency Powers for the Mayor during… civil emergencies, civil unrest, and/or only during natural disasters?? That was the most lively and longest debate of the evening. The motion failed with a vote of 15-6 with Commissioners Lan Diep, Huy Tran, Thi Tran, Tobin Gilman, Linda LeZotte and Barbara Marshman, voting in favor (memo).

🧐 *Disclaimer: all recommendations still need to go before Council discussion and vote on December 14th for approval before making its way onto the ballot for 2022.

Happening in the near future 🔮… a brief round up of only in San José events and what's in store next for the Constitutional Convention.

  • Sunday, October 24th, 2021 @ 10am - 12pm (link) Code for San José Community Incubator Event invites community organizations, advocates, and members to partake in open forum discussion on arising issues and needs.

  • Monday, October 25th, 2021 @ 5:30 pm (zoom link, agenda) San Jose Charter Review Commission Public Meeting: Study Session on Policing, Municipal Law, Accountability, and Inclusion. Discussion and possible action on policing, municipal law, accountability, and inclusion study session. Topics include: City auditing practices, police oversight, artificial intelligence, native land acknowledgement, and climate change. Guest Speakers: (1) Joseph Rios, City Auditor, City of San José. (2) Robyn Rose, Internal Audit Manager, County of Santa Clara. (3) Mark P. Smith, Inspector General, Los Angeles Police Commission, Office of the Inspector General. (4) Mica Estremera, Deputy Public Defender, Santa Clara County Office of the Public Defender; President of La Raza Lawyers local chapter. (5) Gloria Gomez, Director of Development and Communications, Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley. (6) Monica V. Arellano, Vice Chairwoman, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area. (7) Dr. Lawrence Quill, Professor of Political Theory, San José State University. (8) Meredith Muller, science and math teacher and permaculturist. (9) Possible additional speaker on the topic of climate change. ←PSA this meeting is likely going to be VERY VERY long, bring snacks and water.

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