Bay Area/ San Jose/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 25, 2023
San Jose Seeks to Distance Politics & PACs; Close Election Loophole amid Rising ConcernsSource: Getty Images

San Jose and Santa Clara County have been grappling with their respective share of political entanglements and controversies in recent times. One such issue concerns a troubling election loophole, which has recently come to light, prompting city officials to take action in an attempt to close this gap and reduce the likelihood of inappropriate politics from thriving in the city.

As San José Spotlight reports, city leaders are pushing to prohibit elected officials and their staff from working on political action committees (PACs) that raise funds for local races. This move comes after questions were raised regarding the political activities of Jim Reed, former chief of staff to Mayor Sam Liccardo, and his involvement in raising over $1.5 million for city council seats with the help of Liccardo through their PAC, Common Good Silicon Valley.

However, the loophole in question appears to be tied to the definition of a "candidate" in the current city policy, which only prevents someone running for office from working on PACs. San Jose is now considering redefining this term to include elected city officials, their employees, and any City Hall employee, aligning with state law, as also mentioned in San José Spotlight.

The proposed rule change is an increasingly pressing matter as tensions are mounting in Santa Clara, with the influence of powerful entities such as the San Francisco 49ers putting strain on the city's political structure. A recent corruption case involving indicted Councilmember Anthony Becker has highlighted concerns over the 49ers' impact on local politics and civic leadership, as captured in my Hoodline article from earlier today. Amid all these developments, the need for transparency and strict regulations in the realm of politics is becoming more apparent than ever before.

In the face of potential corruption and undue influence, San Jose City Council officials are working to restore public trust in their government. According to another recent San José Spotlight article, Councilmember Domingo Candelas believes that "maintaining the integrity of our political system and preventing corruption and undue inputs from special interest groups is paramount."

The move to align local election policies with the state law is just one step in the process of ensuring fair elections and maintaining public trust. While the council has shown support for the proposed rule change, the timeline for its implementation remains uncertain, as the first hearing is scheduled for June 13, followed by a council vote on June 20.