The Podlight features a weekly look at the top headlines and in-depth conversations with San José Spotlight reporters about South Bay policy, politics and government, delving into critical issues such as housing, technology, business, homelessness, land use and development.

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Coyote Valley: Both sides of the preservation debate

Coyote Valley: Both sides of the preservation debate

On this episode of The Podlight, host Nick Preciado speaks to environmentalists pushing to preserve Coyote Valley and those who say private landowners have a right to develop it. The discussion, which features Green Foothills Executive Director Megan Fluke and attorney and ex-San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, follows a historic City Council decision this week to preserve the open space.

Santa Clara County redistricting debate heats up

Santa Clara County redistricting debate heats up

On this episode of The Podlight, host Nick Preciado and Senior Reporter Eli Wolfe dig into the county’s redistricting process which is sparking heated debate. Then, reporter Tran Nguyen details a fight to reopen The Dragon Mountain, a treasured park that’s been shuttered for two years.

San Jose employee blows whistle on city contracts

San Jose employee blows whistle on city contracts

On this episode of The Podlight, host Nick Preciado dives into a report by reporter Tran Nguyen about a San Jose employee’s claims that lucrative contracts were given to a company because of its ties to Mayor Sam Liccardo. Then, freelance reporter Lorraine Gabbert explains how South Bay students are struggling with homelessness.

Redistricting raises ire in San Jose, mayor faces bullying in Los Gatos

Redistricting raises ire in San Jose, mayor faces bullying in Los Gatos

On this episode of The Podlight, editor Nick Preciado talks to reporter Lloyd Alaban about San Jose’s redistricting process and why some new maps are angering residents and businesses. Then, Senior Reporter Eli Wolfe digs into bullying and harassment faced by the Los Gatos mayor.

San Jose struggles to save mural, Liccardo email fight continues

San Jose struggles to save mural, Liccardo email fight continues

On this episode of The Podlight, host Nick Preciado chats with Senior Reporter Eli Wolfe about the city’s push to save a beloved mural near downtown San Jose. Later, reporter Tran Nguyen details the latest developments in San José Spotlight’s fight for emails related to Mayor Sam Liccardo’s lobbying group.

Exclusive: Sheriff Laurie Smith opens up about jail scandals

Exclusive: Sheriff Laurie Smith opens up about jail scandals

On this episode of The Podlight, editor Nick Preciado exclusively speaks with Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith about alleged mismanagement of county jails, warehousing mentally ill people behind bars, severe understaffing issues, looming investigations into her leadership and calls for her to resign.

Masks required indoors, Liccardo’s PRA violation draws response

Masks required indoors, Liccardo’s PRA violation draws response

On this episode of The Podlight, host Nick Preciado digs into the county’s decision to require masks indoors with reporter Lloyd Alaban. Later, reporter Tran Nguyen explains how a San Francisco law firm and a free speech advocacy group are responding to Mayor Sam Liccardo’s attempt to skirt public records law.

VTA faces workers’ comp claims, Viet Heritage Garden languishes

VTA faces workers’ comp claims, Viet Heritage Garden languishes

On this episode of The Podlight, host Nick Preciado chats with Senior Reporter Eli Wolfe about the VTA facing workers’ comp claims — and possible lawsuits — from families of the mass shooting victims. Later, reporter Tran Nguyen hops on to explain why plans to build a Viet Heritage Garden have stalled.

A growing San Jose homeless camp

A growing San Jose homeless camp

On this episode of The Podlight, host Nick Preciado is joined by reporter Lloyd Alaban to discuss a growing homeless encampment in San Jose — and federal demands to clear it. Later, he’s joined by reporter Vicente Vera who explains how special interests are already lining up to support candidates in the 2022 elections.

San Jose mayor’s advocacy group, gun control measures

San Jose mayor’s advocacy group, gun control measures

On this episode of The Podlight, host Nick Preciado digs into Solutions San Jose, Mayor Sam Liccardo’s secretive advocacy group, with Senior Reporter Eli Wolfe who broke a story about its connection to a consulting group linked to a racist ad. Later, reporter Lloyd Alaban hops on to recap Liccardo’s new gun control measures — which are already being challenged.

Contentious vote on San Jose Flea Market delayed

Contentious vote on San Jose Flea Market delayed

On this episode of The Podlight, host Nick Preciado chats with San José Spotlight reporter Lloyd Alaban about why the City Council delayed a controversial vote to redevelop the historic San Jose Flea Market. Later, he’s joined by reporter Tran Nguyen to break down a new report that reveals racial discrimination and income inequality in Silicon Valley.

San Jose reeling from VTA mass shooting

San Jose reeling from VTA mass shooting

On this episode of The Podlight, host Bob Staedler talks to reporter Vicente Vera about a May 26 mass shooting at VTA’s rail yard in downtown San Jose that left ten people dead, including the shooter. Vera was on the ground in the aftermath of the deadly rampage as city leaders, VTA employees and heartbroken families struggled to cope, find answers and honor the victims.

San Jose casinos get stiffed, homeless encampments rejected

San Jose casinos get stiffed, homeless encampments rejected

On this episode of The Podlight, host Bob Staedler and editor Nick Preciado explain why San Jose casinos are paying higher taxes under a new voter-approved measure — but can’t increase the number of table games, as the measure promised. Plus: A look at why the San Jose City Council rejected a plan for homeless encampments and how city-owned golf courses thrived during the pandemic.

Berryessa Flea Market plan moves forward

Berryessa Flea Market plan moves forward

On this episode of The Podlight, host Bob Staedler and editor Nick Preciado dive into a decision this week by San Jose planning commissioners to greenlight a plan to develop the beloved Berryessa Flea Market — and how vendors fear it will leave them behind. Plus: A look at Valley Water’s rate hikes and a backlog in San Jose’s code enforcement division.

San Jose school closures, airport struggles and Thomas Fallon statue

The Podlight: San Jose school closures, airport struggles and Thomas Fallon statue

On this episode of The Podlight, host Bob Staedler recaps the week’s top headlines with San José Spotlight editor Nick Preciado. Learn more about an East San Jose school district’s plan to close two middle schools, the downtown airport’s decline in passengers and an important vote to remove the controversial Thomas Fallon statue from downtown San Jose.

How Derrick Seaver will rebuild embattled business group

The Podlight: How Derrick Seaver will rebuild embattled business group

In this edition of The Podlight, host Bob Staedler sits down with Derrick Seaver, the new CEO of the Silicon Valley Organization, to dig into how he will rebuild the business group after a racist campaign ad last fall led to widespread fallout and distrust in the community. Seaver outlines plans to rebrand the organization, focus on equity, better support small and medium-sized businesses and revamp campaign strategy.

How San Jose mayor’s ally helped Bloom Energy skirt a natural gas ban

The Podlight: How Carl Guardino helped Bloom Energy skirt a natural gas ban

In this edition of The Podlight, host Bob Staedler delves into an exclusive San José Spotlight investigative report about how a San Jose energy company skirted a natural gas ban after Mayor Sam Liccardo’s close friend, Carl Guardino, led a robust lobbying campaign. Staedler also discusses water rake hikes coming this summer.

Urban Catalyst’s Erik Hayden talks Opportunity Zones

The Podlight: Urban Catalyst’s Erik Hayden talks Opportunity Zones

In this edition of The Podlight, host Bob Staedler sits down with Urban Catalyst founder Erik Hayden to learn more about Silicon Valley’s landmark Opportunity Zone Fund which has garnered national attention for driving urban development by transforming and revitalizing downtown San Jose with six major redevelopment projects.

An exclusive sitdown with Scott Wiener

The Podlight: An exclusive sitdown with Scott Wiener

On the 7th episode of The Podlight, Bob Staedler and San José Spotlight senior reporter Janice Bitters recap highlights from an exclusive fireside chat with state Sen. Scott Wiener hosted in November by this news organization. During the event, the San Francisco legislator discussed his most controversial bills, including SB 50 and SB 35, the fight for local control versus state control, fees on developers and how big tech is getting involved with tackling the housing crisis.

The legendary Chuck Davidson

The Podlight: The legendary Chuck Davidson

On the 6th episode of The Podlight, Bob Staedler and San José Spotlight senior reporter Janice Bitters share insights from Bitters’ rare and revealing interview with Chuck Davidson, a legendary San Jose entrepreneur, businessman and philanthropist. Davidson, who helped shape the city charter, shared stories from his remarkable life and career.

Digging into anti-displacement policies

The Podlight: Digging into anti-displacement policies

The 4th episode of The Podlight features the final of a three-part series focused on Silicon Valley’s crippling housing crisis. Host Bob Staedler and San José Spotlight City Hall reporter Nadia Lopez dig into preservation and anti-displacement measures, especially as Google looks to build a massive campus in downtown San Jose.

A look at San Jose’s new Section 8 discrimination policy

The Podlight: A look at San Jose’s new Section 8 discrimination policy

The 2nd episode of The Podlight kicks off the first of a three-part series focused on Silicon Valley’s crippling housing crisis. Host Bob Staedler sits down with San José Spotlight City Hall reporter Nadia Lopez to delve into a new city policy that aims to prohibit discrimination against Section 8 voucher holders.