Measure O, the Public Safety Bond.
AVCA by a vote of five to one, supports this Measure.
In the Almaden Valley, the two factors that most concern the community are
public safety and the quality of the schools, with traffic probably coming
This bond addresses public safety. It is difficult to put a price
on public safety; hardly anyone could be against it. Those in opposition
are addressing the method of funding, preferring that the money to be spent
on a new city hall be used to finance the public safety infrastructure instead.
If passed, additional taxes to cover the bond will be $9.00 per $100,000 of
assessed property value.
AVCA is not addressing the method of financing, but rather the value of the new
infrastructure to the Almaden Valley itself.
The Almaden Valley, being on the edge of the city, benefits directly from
the new Police Department Substation to be located in the Almaden Valley
area, a new 911 facility, and additional fire stations. These facilities
will help improve response times.
Currently all police officers, whether starting their patrol or responding
to an emergency, are dispatched from the Police Department located on Mission
Street (north of downtown). Due to geographic distance and additional
restrictions such as commuting traffic, and the number of controlled intersections
(stop lights), the officers have a significant number of factors that may
impact their ability to respond in a timely manner.
The same is true for firefighters. The ten additional stations will
enable the "first due" service area to be smaller for each station.
This is the area
of service surrounding each station where their engine is responsible to
arrive on the scene first. This means that when called out, an engine
shorter distance to travel to reach the emergency and a shorter distance
to return to "in service" at the station house.
The question has been raised about staffing, particularly fire stations.
This bond is for the infrastructure only. Staffing is an operational
matter, and it is illegal to finance staffing with this bond. If this measure
passes (it requires a two-thirds vote), then the staffing should be addressed,
and this will be another item for our community’s attention.
Trent Engler, San Jose firefighter and AVCA Public Safety Advisor, points
out that in San Jose the number of firefighters, at 0.70 per 1000 residents,
is below that of Santa Clara at 2.55 and San Francisco at 2.50 respectively.
The staffing of the ten additional stations will increase San Jose’s ratio.
Bob Boydston, AVCA Past President