We hosted a “town meeting” for San Jose mayoral candidate Sam Liccardo last night. Had a good turnout, lots of old friends and neighbors and made some new acquaintances. The city of San Jose has come through a bad seven years, since the recession began, and Sam was at the forefront, working with Mayor Chuck Reed, to rein in the number one problem of every municipality in the country: unfunded pension liabilities. They helped institute a new pension system for police, in particular, that would cap pensions at roughly 65% (as opposed to the earlier ~90% of final year salary, and they helped eliminate a lot of the other very sweet benefits that policemen and fireman had obtained from all-too compliant city councils of the past). Sam also is a big “green city” advocate, strong bike advocate, etc. He also is a real pragmatist, and personally I prefer pragmatists to ideologues for most political positions. Yes, I’d like to see a social movement bring top income taxes back to the 40% range, and I’d like to see a more significant wealth tax on estates over $50 million, and I’d like to see more aggressive efforts offering alternatives to homelessness. But social movements also need pragmatic, effective people in office.
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