The San Jose City Council is grappling with scores of pressing issues, but with little time and limited resources, lawmakers each year must decide which priorities to push forward.
Following hours of pitching policy proposals they consider the most imperative for the city’s progress, elected leaders on Tuesday voted to add seven new policies to the city’s growing priorities list, which includes ideas from previous years, such as anti-displacement, wage theft, smoke-free housing and a downtown zoning code update.
The seven items will now be included in the city’s top 12 new and existing priorities for the current year, but there are 22 total priorities the council settled on.
The councilmembers initially submitted 25 policy initiatives for consideration, but one — Mayor Sam Liccardo’s gun harm reduction priority — was removed as a gun study led by Santa Clara County is already underway. The second component to the policy — a proposal to require all gun owners to insure their weapon — will be discussed later this year during budget talks. That left lawmakers with 24 policies to choose from.
For nearly 10 years, the City Council has held priority-setting meetings to determine the city’s top initiatives for the year. During the annual process, councilmembers vote twice — first to determine which items make the priority list and a second vote to decide how the items are ranked.
To be considered, a policy nomination usually needed six votes. But since Councilmember Sylvia Arenas was absent Tuesday, the lawmakers reduced the requirement to five. Councilmembers were not allowed to put all their votes toward one item.
From the 24 proposals that made the cut during the first round, lawmakers chose seven ideas to add to the top of the city’s priority list Tuesday.
Ranking sheet of Priorities pic.twitter.com/agj03YJMLt
— San Jose City Clerk, Toni Taber (@TaberToni) February 26, 2020
The City Council’s new priorities are as follows, ranked in order by the ones with the most votes: