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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sam Liccardo
Sam Liccardo - Jan 2020 (1).jpg
65th Mayor of San Jose
Assumed office
January 1, 2015
Preceded byChuck Reed
Member of the San Jose City Council
from District 3
In office
2007–2015
Personal details
Born
Samuel Theodore Liccardo

(1970-04-16) April 16, 1970 (age 50)
Saratoga, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jessica Garcia-Kohl
EducationGeorgetown University (BA)
Harvard University (MPP, JD)
WebsiteOfficial website

Samuel Theodore Liccardo (born April 16, 1970) is an American attorney and politician from California, serving as Mayor of San Jose, California.[1] Liccardo was elected mayor in November 2014. He was reelected in 2018 with 75.8% of the vote.[2] As the leader of the California Big City Mayors Coalition, Liccardo has advocated on statewide issues including homelessness and COVID-19 response.[3][4][5]

Early life

One of five children to Salvador and Laura (née Aceves) Liccardo, Sam Liccardo grew up in Saratoga, California and graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory in 1987. Liccardo received a bachelor's degree in government from Georgetown University, where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.[6] He later earned his Juris Doctor and Master of Public Policy at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to his election to public office in 2006 he served as a criminal prosecutor in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office.[7]

Political career

San Jose City Council

In 2006, Liccardo ran for San Jose's District 3 Council seat. After placing first in an eight-candidate June primary with 43% percent of the vote,[8] Liccardo went on to place first in the November runoff election, this time with 61.3%.[9] In June 2010, he won his reelection to the City Council with 80.16% of the primary vote.[10]

As councilman, Liccardo pushed for more affordable housing, championing an inclusionary zoning ordinance in 2008 that required developers to either build 15% of their units in any project to be affordable and rent-restricted, or to pay fees to finance affordable housing construction elsewhere.[11] The statewide homebuilding industry vocally opposed the measure in part because it would make San Jose the largest US city with a citywide inclusionary requirement, and sued after its passage; subsequent litigation prevented its implementation until the California Supreme Court eventually sided with the City of San Jose in 2015.[12]

He advocated for more high rises in San José's downtown, including the construction of the $135 million, 23-story high rise at One South Market.[13]

Mayor of San Jose

2014 election

In 2014, Liccardo ran for Mayor of San Jose to succeed termed-out Mayor Chuck Reed. He placed second to County Supervisor Dave Cortese in a five-candidate June primary with 25.7% of the vote,[14] but placed first in the November runoff with 50.8% of the vote.[15] The contentious run-off election focused on the City’s chronic budgetary challenges, as well as Liccardo’s support for pension reforms led by Mayor Reed that had City employee unions and their allies heavilying support of Cortese.[16][17][18] Liccardo’s financial support that emanated primarily from the tech business community, but he also had support of several environmental organizations.

Settling pension reform and budgetary battles

In his first year in office, he helped guide negotiations on an agreement with all 11 of city's employee unions[19][20] that closed the retiree healthcare plan to new employees, and which could save the city $3 billion in employee retirement costs over the course of three decades.[21] In the 2016 elections, voters approved the agreement by passing Measure F with more than 61% of the vote.[22] This measure replaced Mayor Reed’s contentious pension reform plan, which has faced a series of legal challenges since its 2012 passage.[23][24]

Transportation

Sam Liccardo biking in downtown San Jose
Sam Liccardo biking in downtown San Jose

Since his election in 2015, Liccardo has pushed forward a range of transit-oriented policies. Under Liccardo, San Jose has constructed more than 20 miles of bike infrastructure, including bike boulevards and buffered bike lanes.[25]

Liccardo advocated for a half-cent sales tax increase called Measure B on the 2016 November ballot,[26] which passed with over 70%.[22] The tax is devoted to transportation, with funds dedicated to expanding BART, reducing traffic congestion, and filling potholes.[27] Despite the majority vote, it has become a controversial topic throughout Santa Clara County as the tax measure has also attracted negative reception from Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, and Mountain View as well as San Jose Sharks Sports & Entertainment, LLC who have harshly criticized Liccardo with wasting millions of dollars on insufficient roadway projects, lack of focus on local transit and bus service, and insisting that the BART subway through Downtown San Jose be a single bore rather than the traditional double bore.[28][29][30]

Smart city vision

Sam Liccardo attends a Google-sponsored computer science education event
Sam Liccardo attends a Google-sponsored computer science education event

In March 2016, Liccardo unveiled a Smart City Vision, with the expressed goal to make San Jose the "most innovative city in America by 2020."[31] Liccardo hired Shireen Santosham to be his Chief Innovation Officer and lead the newly-created Mayor's Office of Technology and Innovation (MOTI).[32][33] The Smart City Vision received unanimous approval from the City Council in March,[34] and in June 2016 the city created an Office of Civic Innovation to meet its goals.[35] Since then, Liccardo formed a partnership with Facebook to deploy the company's wireless, high-speed internet technology called "Terragraph" in downtown San José,[36] and the City of San José launched a project to bring free wireless internet to two schools in San José's East Side Union School District.[37]

In 2019, Liccardo launched the San Jose Digital Inclusion Fund, a $24 million initiative to connect 50,000 households with broadband internet access over 10 years.[38]

Housing crisis

Throughout Liccardo's tenure, many San Jose residents suffer under very high rent burdens attributable in part to the California's housing shortage[39] To boost housing supply, Liccardo led efforts to reduce fees on construction of granny units and Downtown high-rises,[40][41] increase housing densities--including such innovative approaches such as "coliving--near transit, and streamline approvals of "backyard homes," also known as alternate dwelling units. [42][43]

Liccardo has also pushed for more public resources for affordable housing, building on his work on inclusionary housing as a councilmember. In 2018, he led a coalition of affordable housing advocates to propose Measure V, a $450 million housing bond measure which secured 64% of the vote, but still narrowly failed due to California's 2/3 threshold for passage of bond measures.[44][45][46] Liccardo vowed to push to find a successful alternative, and in 2019, he partnered with SiliconValley@Home and other affordable housing organizations to put Measure E--a supplemental transfer tax on properties sold for $2 million or more--on the March 2020 ballot. The measure passed with 53% support, and will generate up to an estimated $70 million annually for affordable housing and homeless response.[47] [48][49]

San Jose's efforts to house its 6,000 homeless residents have been hindered by the extremely high costs of housing construction in the region. [50] In response, Liccardo pushed to find more innovative, cost-effective ways to house the homeless, including the use of prefabricated and modular construction,[51] construction of "tiny homes,"[52] and the rehabilitation of deteriorating motels. [53] and the Santa Clara Inn.[54] [55] With the non-profit Destination:Home, he also pushed to find collaborative approaches with landlords to take more homeless veterans as tenants; on Veteran's Day in 2015, he and Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese launched the "All the Way Home" campaign with Destination:Home.[56] One year after launching the program, the group announced it had found homes for more than 500 homeless veterans, and had housed some 1,772 by 2020.[57][58]

In late 2017, Liccardo called for the construction of 25,000 new housing units in San Jose, including 10,000 affordable units.[59][60] Liccardo since publicly admitted that the lack of housing affordability and homelessness have persisted as crises for which he had made insufficient progress, [61] and is very unlikely to reach those goals, particularly as a severe recession, pandemic, the failure of Measure V, and high construction costs[62][63] have inhibited progress.

2017 flooding

On February 21–22, 2017, after one month of heavy rainfall, Anderson Dam overspilled, causing the Coyote Creek flooded in central San Jose, displacing 14,000 people. Residents complained that the city failed to uphold its duty to protect and warn its citizens. Liccardo and other city officials accepted responsibility for failures to warn residents in their emergency response, but also pointed to very inaccurate flood projections and warnings from the regional agency responsible for flood protection in the County, the Santa Clara Valley Water District.[64][65]

Environment and Energy

Liccardo's environmental initiatives have focused on preserving open space, halting sprawling development, launching a community choice energy program, and reducing GhG emissions in energy consumption, building design, and transportation. In 2015, Liccardo publicly expressed a desire to halt plans for large-scale development in Coyote Valley--an environmentally sensitive, little-developed area south of San Jose--instead preserving it as wildlife habitat and open space for future generations. [66] Working with the Peninsula Open Space Trust and the Open Space Authority, a plan was assembled to purchase large tracts of land to preserve the Valley, using philanthropic and public sources. In 2018, Liccardo proposed and led Measure T, a bond measure that would enable the use of $50 million for purchase of open space to risks of flooding and wildfires, targeting Coyote Valley.[67][68] After overwhelming support of Measure T from the electorate [69] the City worked with POST and OSA to consumate a transaction for almost 1,000 acres of land, and the Council unanimously approved it.[70] [71][72]

In 2018, the development company Ponderosa Homes sought to build approximately 1,000 single-family luxury homes in the mostly undeveloped Evergreen foothills of San Jose, in contravention of the city's General Plan. They spent $6 million to urge voters to approve Measure B what they characterized as the "Evergreen Senior Homes Initiative." [73][74][75] Liccardo led a coalition of environmental organizations, neighborhood leaders, and community groups to defeat Measure B despite being badly outspent. [76][77][78][79] Liccardo and the group further proposed and won voter approval for another initiative, Measure C, which sharply limits development in the hillsides and rural edges of the city, to avoid future attempts by developers to bypass the General Plan with heavily funded ballot measures. [80][81]

In May 2017, the San Jose City Council unanimously agreed to launch a Community Choice Energy program, becoming the largest city in the country to do so.[82] Mayor Liccardo advocated for the adoption of a Community Choice Energy program as a way to take action against climate change while President Trump's administration turned back to fossil fuels.[83]

2018 election

Liccardo was elected to a second term of office on June 5, 2018, winning support of 76% of the voters.[84][85]

Personal life

Sam Liccardo married Jessica Garcia-Kohl in 2013.[86] He was named for his paternal grandfather, who owned and operated a neighborhood grocery store in downtown San Jose, the Notre Dame Market. Liccardo is descended from the first Mexican settlers in the Bay Area, and is also of Sicilian and Irish descent.[87]

Liccardo made an appearance on Episode 1 Season 6 of the HBO series Silicon Valley.[88]

In January 2019 Liccardo was severely injured in a bicycle accident. He was admitted to Regional Medical Center with a broken vertebrae and sternum.[89]

See also

References

  1. ^ "City of San Jose". City of San Jose. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  2. ^ "Sam Liccardo, Ballotpedia". Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  3. ^ "Coronavirus Among Homeless: San Jose Mayor Liccardo Calls For Removing Regulations To Build Emergency Housing". CBS SF Bay Area. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "The mayors of California's big cities outline state homelessness budget priorities during COVID-19". State of Reform. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "California Big City Mayors Chat Homelessness With Newsom". US News & World Report. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  6. ^ "Voter information for Sam T. Liccardo, June 8, 2010 Election". Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  7. ^ "San Jose, California Official website". Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  8. ^ "Council District 3; City of San Jose Election Information June 2, 2006". League of Women Voters. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  9. ^ "Council District 3; City of San Jose Election Information November 10 2006". League of Women Voters. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  10. ^ "Council District 3; City of San Jose Election Information June 8 2010". League of Women Voters. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  11. ^ "Editorial: S.J. can afford to make room for affordable homes". The Mercury News. June 13, 2008. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  12. ^ "California Supreme Court Upholds San Jose's Affordable Housing Rules". KQED. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  13. ^ Redell, Bob (June 25, 2013). "One South Market High-Rise Building to Change San Jose Skyline". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  14. ^ "Mayor; City of San Jose Voter Information June 3, 2014". League of Women Voters. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  15. ^ "Mayor; City of San Jose Voter Information November 4, 2014". League of Women Voters. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  16. ^ "San Jose mayor: Sam Liccardo wins close battle; Cortese concedes". The Mercury News. November 10, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
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  52. ^ https://www.kqed.org/news/11768261/san-jose-builds-its-first-ever-tiny-homes-for-the-homeless
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External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Chuck Reed
Mayor of San Jose
2015–present
Incumbent
This page was last edited on 13 September 2020, at 03:14
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