Bishop McGrath urges ‘courage to break silence and help refugees’

The Catholic diocese of San Jose held a prayer service for immigration reform and reunification of migrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border Tuesday night at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph.

Bishop Patrick McGrath presided over the service and began with, “pray for those who can’t come to public service such as this” to an almost-packed church.

The prayer service in Spanish and English presented three sets of testimonials. Diocese Director of Social Justice Ministries Paul Miner requested the assembly not to use videos and cameras, citing the sensitive nature of the testimonials.

San Jose officer union wants police auditor out over maligned report

Community groups rally to support Aaron Zisser amid ongoing controversy over questionable use of force claim

SAN JOSE — After spending the past month denouncing his fitness for the job, the San Jose police union is formally seeking to oust Independent Police Auditor Aaron Zisser over an annual report that made “misleading” claims about racial disparities in use of force.

Police chiefs from across Santa Clara County join community conversation on police reform

A partnership between police and the community is proving effective in San Jose. Their work spread on Thursday night, as police chiefs from across Santa Clara County joined the conversation on police reform.

"It is this dialogue that gives us our framework for our policy work we'll do in the coming weeks and months that follow," said Yeme Girma, People Acting in Community Together volunteer.

PACT Recognized for Voluntarism

PACT Recognized for Voluntarism

On April 17th 2018, The Junior League of San Jose held a Volunteer Recognition Luncheon themed  "Giving Back... Paying Forward" in which PACT was recognized with the Kaiser Permanente Thriving Volunteers Award for our work on Engaging "over 200 volunteer grassroots and faith leaders to collectively address issues that impact our community and to create solutions to pressing social problems including the housing crisis and mass deportation."

The Movement for Housing Justice Continues!

Thank you to everyone who attended Tuesday's San Jose city council vote - we may not have achieved the strongest possible renter protections from displacement + discrimination, but we did achieve some key victories, including showing up in strong spirit + massive numbers, with approximately 200 tenants & allies across our coalition & community.

Your stories and passion sent a clear message: 

The housing + economic injustice crisis is not going away; This issue is clearly tied to race; We WILL be back! 

#TenantPower #SJWeBelong #1People1Fight

**Special shout out to Councilmembers Sergio Jimenez, Raul Peralez, Donald Rocha and Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco for standing up for renters throughout the night!**

San Jose makes changes to housing policy

SAN JOSE — As development in San Jose explodes and housing prices continue to soar, the City Council on Tuesday night adopted changes to the city’s housing polices that could benefit renters and provide protections for landlords.

At the Housing Department’s recommendation, the council agreed to prohibit landlords of rent-controlled apartments from dividing utility costs based on how many people live in each apartment and the unit’s size rather than how much gas or electricity they actually use. So the council is asking property owners to install sub meters at each apartment so families are charged only for what they actually use.

Grappling with soaring housing costs, San Jose again enacts new rules for apartment landlords

As San Jose struggles with its piece of Silicon Valley’s housing crisis, its City Council tinkered Tuesday night with the city’s apartment rental regulations in hopes of protecting residents most vulnerable to the vicious market without encouraging landlords and developers to take their business elsewhere.

It’s the third time in 13 months the council has made changes to the city's rental laws.

As frustrated Councilmember Johnny Khamis — who acknowledged that he comes across as heartless because he views the conundrum from what he calls “a business point of view” — told his colleagues: “We keep creating new laws, we keep creating new regulations, but what we’re not creating is affordable housing. I think our (housing) department is tasked to work on … ways that we can micromanage businesses and we don’t focus as hard on creating new housing.”

Supervisor Ken Yeager is doing something wild to fight AIDS

Sal Pizarro| San Jose Mercury News| Link to Article

 Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, right, talks to Steve Ellenberg about his plans to participate in the AIDS/LifeCycle in June. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, right, talks to Steve Ellenberg about his plans to participate in the AIDS/LifeCycle in June. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

If there’s one good thing about term limits for Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, it’s that he’s not running for anything on June 5. Instead, he’ll be riding his bike — a lot.

For the first time, Yeager, 65, will be participating in the AIDS/LifeCycle, a seven-day, 545-mile bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles taking place June 3-9.

“I’ve been wanting to do this ride for as long as I’ve known it’s existed, which is 25 years,” said Yeager, who was the first openly gay elected official in Santa Clara County. “HIV/AIDS is as much about my life and my community as any issue has ever been.”

The fitness-minded supervisor is an avid hiker and bicyclist who participates in mud runs and obstacle courses. But even with that background, Yeager has been working with the South Bay Blaze training group since October. On April 1, he was among a 51-person group that took a grueling 6-plus hour ride to the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton and back.

A fundraising event for Yeager’s effort was held last Thursday at Deluxe in downtown San Jose, hosted by former Health Trust CEO Fred Ferrer and Paul Hepfer, the Health Trust’s senior vice president of programs who oversees the agency’s AIDS Services. Yeager has raised $7,500, and having blown past his original fundraising goal of $5,000, he’s readjusted his aim to raise at least $10,000.

“Ken Yeager has raised more money for HIV than any elected official in this county,” Ferrer said. “I’m delighted that we have this opportunity to thank Ken and support him on this absolutely crazy, stupid ride.”

SCOUT SALUTE: The Silicon Valley/Monterey Bay Council of the Boy Scouts of America honored a quartet of community leaders Thursday night at the 13th annual Character Awards, which drew a crowd of 275 people to the Rotary Summit Center in downtown San Jose.

This honorees at this year’s dinner, chaired by Brad Baron, were Genstor Systems co-founder Raj ChahalDavid Ginsborg, Santa Clara County’s deputy assessor; Blach Construction executive Tony Mirenda; and Realtor/Broker Elizabeth Monley, who also serves on History San Jose’s board of directors.

HERE’S TO VOLUNTEERS: The Los Altos Community Foundation paid tribute to 19 dedicated volunteers from Peninsula nonprofits at the annual Gardner Awards, held March 21 at the University Club in Palo Alto. There was plenty of applause as each recipient came on stage to get an award and a handshake from Los Altos Community Foundation CEO Joe EyreLarissa Robideaux, executive director for the Center of Excellence in Nonprofits, provided an inspiring keynote that touched on her father’s dedication to nonprofit service, an idea that I’m sure the audience of 250 could embrace.

And on April 17, the Junior League of San Jose recognized more than 100 community members at its 49th annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon at Villa Ragusa in Campbell. Of those, 11 volunteers received the prestigious Crystal Bowl Award, along with something new this year — a $500 stipend for the honoree’s nominating agency.

Phil Mastrocola from Grace Baptist Church received the Voluntarism At Its Best Award, which includes an additional $1,000 stipend. Kaiser Permanente presented the Thriving Volunteers Award to grassroots organizing agency PACT (People Acting in Community Together).

Local clergy show ‘solidarity’ with ICE detainees

Local clergy show ‘solidarity’ with ICE detainees

On Holy Thursday, local clergy leaders from numerous faiths represented in South County performed a foot washing ceremony outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office in Morgan Hill. It was an effort to “show solidarity” with immigrants who have been removed from their homes and separated from their families by federal agents, according to organizers.

The March 29 ceremony was organized by the advocacy group People Acting in Community Together, and led by PACT board of directors co-chair Father Jon Pedigo. Participating in the ceremony were about a dozen other clergy leaders and worshippers from Santa Clara County’s Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist communities.

Downtown San Jose’s Google village takes major step forward with government property deals

SAN JOSE — Google’s planned village in downtown San Jose has cleared a major hurdle, reaching agreement on proposed prices for selling several government-owned properties to a development venture led by the search titan.

The proposed price for the combined property sales to Google is $67 million for nine parcels at six addresses in downtown San Jose, according to a city staff memo. The properties are owned by a government agency created to unwind the assets and operations of the now-defunct San Jose Redevelopment Agency, which once owned them.