Op-Ed by Mayor Sam Liccardo, Mayor London Breed, and Mayor Libby Schaaf

As the Bay Area recuperates from the COVID-19 pandemic and enters into the ever-expanding wildfire season, planning for the future of our public infrastructure will play a critical role in the strength of our recovery and ability to respond to the climate crisis.

It is clear: the level of need across the Bay Area is vast and local resources are limited. We need federal investments that improve our communities, create good-paying union jobs, and tackle climate change head-on. …


After the passing of this pandemic, 160,000 Californians will remain mired in another epidemic: homelessness. As encampments become an increasingly ubiquitous feature of our urban landscape, Californians of all ideologies consistently identify homelessness as the state’s most pressing problem. The crisis most acutely appears on the streets of our state’s thirteen largest cities, which contain 28% of California’s population, but 59% of our unhoused residents.

Too often, our greatest crises afflict us when we have the least resources to address them. Today, however, we encounter the rare collision of a problem of historic magnitude and an unprecedented, $76 billion budget…


I just voted to hike electricity rates in San José. Many other mayors and public officials sitting on boards of municipal and community-choice utilities — serving tens of millions of Californians — have done the same in recent weeks.

You should be mad as hell about it — especially because local utilities’ wholesale costs to provide electricity have not increased a dime. They’ve actually dropped.

So why increase rates? The California Public Utilities Commission doesn’t give us much choice. Over the last decade, state regulators have consistently rubber-stamped requests by large investor-owned utilities for higher fee revenues for the Power…


For more information, visit Solutions San José.

The Board of Directors for the Santa Clara Valley Water District (“Valley Water”) will vote on May 11th to increase wholesale drinking water rates by 9.6% this year — and will impose similar increases every year thereafter for the next decade, for a total 146% increase, ultimately borne by every residential ratepayer.¹

We urge belt-tightening solutions for Valley Water that will save all of us money, while still enabling sufficient water supply for our growing population. We don’t purport to have all of the solutions, but here’s one we’d like the Valley Water…


Throughout this pandemic, we have been urged to “follow the science.” The medical experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, U.S. Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Rochelle Wollensky, and top California Department of Public Health officials have roundly concluded that schools — particularly elementary schools — can safely reopen without vaccinating teachers.

Research conducted internationally and throughout the United States consistently reveals dramatically lower infection rates among young children in congregate settings — without increasing infection rates among teachers or child care providers. …


Much has been made of the “Silicon Valley Exodus.” The conventional wisdom holds that the discovery of feasible remote work arrangements during this pandemic has employers — and their employees — fleeing the Bay Area for more affordable destinations. While true, that narrative remains incomplete; Austin, Texas, for example, isn’t a particularly cheap housing market.

More important, it evades harder questions. Policy choices got us here. We can change those policies — if we’re willing to do something other than blaming tech for them. …


San José has many urgent and critical priorities in this moment: a pandemic, a deep recession, and an affordable housing crisis, among others. They deserve our undivided attention. They also require the strength and focus of an undivided community.

For the third time in three decades, debate over the Thomas Fallon Statue has reopened old wounds and deepened divides. I am calling for the commencement of the City’s standard process to remove the Fallon Statue. At the conclusion of that public process — barring some startling and dramatic change in the facts — I’ll support the removal of the statue…


Political sanction did not deter the president from abusing his power again, nor should we believe it would deter anyone else. A criminal conviction will.

The second impeachment of President Donald Trump has concluded, not with a bang, but a whimper. Whether it results in a Senate conviction or not, impeachment amounts to a feeble punishment for a man who will have left office anyway.

While the forces of decency, democracy and good government prevailed in this impeachment vote, we should ask what gain this battle will have wrought. The Senate debate will distract that body at a time when…


“What do we do now?” -Bill McKay, “The Candidate”

The smoke has cleared: the Electoral College has certified the result, the highest courts have refused to intervene, and even many leading Republicans have accepted the inevitable. As if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris didn’t have enough difficulty securing this hard-fought election six weeks after the last vote was cast, the toughest turf lies ahead: governing.

Despite their victory, there appears little hope for a Pax Democrata. Biden will enter office with a divided Congress, and a divided nation. Worse still, the Democratic Party will splinter in the absence of a…


Amid our nine-month pandemic, political forces have swung open the doors of California’s bars, card clubs and marijuana dispensaries while we closed schools and stranded our children. Meanwhile, most nations in Western Europe prioritized keeping schools open safely, even while imposing curfews and closing businesses in recent weeks.

They got it right; we didn’t.

We now face spiking infection rates that have put 40 California counties back under the most restrictive conditions for public activity. Yet this storm, too, will pass. And when we reopen again, we must put our kids first.

When our children read the history of this…

Sam Liccardo

Mayor of San José, California

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