Mayor Liccardo Supports More Civilian Oversight of SJPD

San Jose may strengthen civilian oversight of its police force by allowing the Independent Police Auditor to review internal investigations.

The San Jose Police Department has always handled complaints filed by its own officers without outside scrutiny. Last month, in her final annual report before retiring in July, Independent Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell recommended that the city add a layer of oversight by letting her office review those complaints.

Mayor Sam Liccardo agreed with Cordell’s direction and submitted a proposal to today’s Rules and Open Government Committee to hand over SJPD-initiated complaints for the IPA’s review. He also asked that police broaden the scope of inquiry into citizen complaints of bias, as Cordell also found in her yearly report that SJPD has never, in its 166-year history, upheld an allegation of racial bias.

The mayor included funding in his June budget proposal for police body cameras as part of a broader initiative to improve accountability—something Cordell has urged the city to do for years.

“By working together to formulate a policy providing the public a more objective view of police misconduct, we can strengthen the trust between the community and the department,” Liccardo wrote in his Rules memo.

More from the San Jose Rules and Open Government Committee agenda for May 27, 2015:

A couple landlords wrote letters imploring the city not to impose stricter rent control measures. “Punitive rent control measures lead to troubling consequences,”Rongxuan Ye wrote. “There is an increase in the deterioration and under-maintenance of rent controlled rental units as owners reduce or eventually abandon upkeep, creating more dangerous neighborhoods where rental housing is clustered.” At an earlier Rules meeting, city officials were discussing the possibility of updating its rent control ordinance, which currently allows landlords to up the rent by a maximum of 8 percent a year.

Councilman Ash Kalra wants the city to drum up a resolution opposing Citizens United, the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that equated money with speech and granted corporations First Amendment rights.

“Under current law, corporations are be recognized at ‘people,’ vesting them with Constitutional rights that are afforded to American citizens of natural, human birth and existence,” Kalra explains. “Yet, corporations benefit from special advantages not afforded to human beings, such as limited liability, perpetual life, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets.” In 2013, San Jose adopted a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment declaring that campaign money isn’t “speech” and that it should be subject to limitations. California recently added an advisory measure (Prop. 49) that addresses this issue at a state level, but it’s being held up in court.
Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio spent $225 on a radar gun, which he lets his constituents use to monitor traffic.

Four years ago, 12-year-old Colin Montgomery was riding his bike along Hicks Road, as his grandmother told him. But he came upon a truck blocking part of the sidewalk as part of a home renovation, so he rode onto the street to get around it. A car struck him, rendering the boy permanently paraplegic. Liccardo includes Colin’s story in a memo directing the city to increase penalties for blocking sidewalks, a fine currently set at $40 per violation.

WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm today
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.