Silicon Valley News Notes
San Jose Councilwoman Nora Campos made a brief appearance at City Hall recently when she parachuted into the middle of a council committee hearing, asking the group to vote a second time on a plan to extend living wages to all airport workers. The vote had already gone her way, mind you, but why shouldn't city government drop everything to make her feel included? Campos, who has been out on maternity leave, was watching the council meeting at home with her newborn when she decided to call a baby sitter and drive over to City Hall. About 20 minutes after the group had closed the issue with a 2-1 vote to bring the living wage proposal to the full council later this month, Campos, who is hugely supported by labor, came marching into the meeting and requested they do it once more, with feeling. "Being able to make a decent wage in this valley is challenging and continues to be challenging," she said after taking her seat. "I thought it was important to be here for this vote." As she took her seat, Councilman Sam Liccardo, the lone dissenter on the living wage plan, left the room. While he was outside the room making a brief phone call, the committee went ahead and quickly revoted with Campos supporting proposal. The new vote was 3-0. Liccardo says he wasn't ducking the revote; in fact he was surprised to come back into the room and learn that the committee had voted while he was out. "I didn't anticipate that if there was going to be another vote it would be taken in my absence," said Liccardo who supports extending living wages to airport workers in phases. "It doesn't seem to be collaborative to wait until someone is out of the room."
If It Bleeds, It Leaves
Is the San Jose Mercury News building up for sale? Merc publisher Mac Tully didn't return phone calls, but news staffers said that they've heard the building is on the market, although it could take years for any sale to happen. City Planning Director Joe Horwedel told Fly that a broker recently contacted the city's economic development department, but he isn't sure if that was initiated by the newspaper's owners, MediaNews Group, which bought the Mercury News and Contra Costa Times two years ago. "We have not had any meetings, but I heard rumors through the building they have been discreetly talking," Horwedel said. The city wouldn't mind if the newspaper pulled up stakes, since planners have long considered that area near Interstate 880 ripe for retail development, particularly big-box stores. The city is already expecting a Lowes to go up across the street from the Merc building. "We obviously would like to keep the Mercury News headquarters in San Jose," Horwedel says. " But that location at 880 sits itself really well for retail and retail pays sales tax."