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Dear Neighbor, 

Our team is diving deeper into the issue of homeless encampments, which continues to be a common topic in the conversations my staff and I have been having with residents. 

This week, we returned to the encampment at Monterey Rd. and Branham Ln. in the Deer Run neighborhood to meet with the BeautifySJ team as they completed their weekly trash removal. We also happened to run into an outreach team from HomeFirst, a local nonprofit that provides shelter and services to unhoused residents, and had an opportunity to speak with one encampment resident. 

Most of our conversations centered on barriers to placing unhoused residents in shelter, even when it is available. According to City staff, approximately 85% of our available shelter beds are used on any given night. Why not 100%.? There are many reasons people might refuse a shelter bed, including a lack of storage for personal belongings, no pet policies, uncertainty about how long one they can stay, and lack of privacy and personal safety.  

While addiction and mental illness often contribute to service resistance. We know from research that safe and stable shelter is a prerequisite for successfully treating behavioral disorders. We need to get unhoused residents into shelter that works for them (i.e., safe, stable, sufficiently flexible) to have any chance at helping them overcome the other challenges in their lives, which may range from addiction and depression to unemployment and low income.  

We’ve scheduled follow-up conversations with City staff to better understand these barriers and find ways of reducing them so that more of our unhoused residents can take advantage of our existing shelter options when they are available.  

As I think most of us understand, truly solving homelessness will require our entire region to build significantly more housing and invest more resources into in- and out-patient mental health and addiction treatment programs (and mandate their use, when necessary). Over 80% of our unhoused residents last lived at a residential address in our county; they may face myriad personal challenges that contributed to or have been exacerbated by homelessness, but their housing status is largely a function of housing costs.  

However, it will take years and billions of additional, currently-unidentified dollars to provide housing and services at the scale required (there are over 10,000 homeless individuals in our county and permanent supportive housing currently costs about $700,000 per unit to build, not to mention the cost of ongoing services for those who need them). 

In the meantime, we can’t wait to address the immense human suffering that exists on our streets and the broader impact of unmanaged encampments on our community. Our team is working to identify opportunities to better manage encampments, help more people transition out of our streets and creeks faster and more cost-effectively, and keep our entire community safe.   

Speaking of which, last week City Council voted to proceed with a pilot program of the encampment setback ordinance I put forward during our Priority Setting process in March. To start, this program will focus on creating a setback or buffer around schools, which has taken on new urgency as many of our local schools are resuming in-person instruction. Just this week, City staff began clearing the area immediately around Gunderson High School, which has been a major concern for families in the neighborhood. We expect staff to return to Council with a fuller proposal for setbacks in the coming months.  

Of course, all abatements do is shift people around without offering a solution. The other half of my “setbacks and services” proposal will be taken up by Council through the budget process next month. I and others, including the Mayor, are pushing to dedicate more resources to routine trash removal and hygienic services for encampments, which should be a win-win for our entire community.  

Thanks to everyone who has reached out with questions, concerns, and feedback related to homelessness and other pressing issues. Keep it coming. We appreciate hearing from you and will continue working hard to represent you at City Hall.  

Sincerely, 

Matt Mahan

We recently launched a YouTube channel for video content that our office creates, including the weekly chat my team and I have recapping City Council meetings. Check out this week’s episode and subscribe for future episodes at bit.ly/MattOnVideo 

Effective Council Discussion - Council established a new speaking order for Councilmembers in which each member may speak for up to ten-minutes per round of discussion, with no limit on rounds. While I would have supported a limit on the number of speaking rounds, this is a step toward more focused and effective dialogue

Street Racing and Sideshows – Council directed the City Attorney to explore a “Promoter Ordinance” that would hold online promoters of street races legally accountable. We are also evaluating increased investments in police staffing, automatic license plate readers, and “quick-build” infrastructure to deter street racing and sideshows.  

Annual Progress Report on the General Plan Housing Element – Council accepted staff’s annual report on housing production, affordable housing preservation and tenant protections. New building permits were down over 40% in 2020 (vs. 2019) due to COVID-19, worsening a long-term trend of underproduction relative to population and job growth.

City Manager’s Report – The City Manager’s monthly COVID update noted that due to supply constraints and allocation decisions at the state level our County is only receiving about one-third of the doses that it is capable of delivering (70k doses per week vs. a 200k per week deployment capacity). The City’s vaccination role primarily consists of identifying under-vaccinated communities and conducting manual and digital outreach to increase utilization.  

Advocate Referrals: Connecting More Survivors to Services – The City Auditor reported on how SJPD connects survivors of sexual assault, child abuse, and domestic violence with support services. Consistency and language accessibility were highlighted as areas that could be improved upon, and I asked questions about including text messaging as a new tool for sharing resources with survivors. 

Opinion Survey for Cannabis Dispensary Locations - The City is asking for your opinion on cannabis retail businesses and their locations. Complete the survey here. This survey should only take 4-6 minutes to complete. All answers will be kept strictly confidential. 

Regional Park Facilities Resume Parking Fees - Effective April 1, 2021, City of San José Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (PRNS) will resume paid parking at regional parks and destinations, following a temporary halt in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes Almaden Lake Regional Park, Alum Rock Park (Penitencia Creek Road entrance lot, Eagle Rock and Rustic Lands lots will remain free, as they were before the pandemic), Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, Kelley Park, Japanese Friendship Garden, and Lake Cunningham Regional Park. 

Parking fees are $6 per day, and subject to change as normal operations resume. Discount cards and hangtags issued from April 2019 through March 2020 will be honored to receive a full year of value. 

Library Reopening - Starting April 5, 2021 the Dr. Roberto Cruz-Alum Rock Branch Library and Tully Community Branch Library will be providing limited technology access to the public. 

Computer and printing access will be available Monday-Saturday from 1-6pm. Library members will be able to reserve a public computer for 45-minutes and can print up to 10 black and white pages for free.  Customers will be required to reserve a computer in advance. More information can be found at, sjpl.org/computers.  

The San José Public Library has been working with the City’s Emergency Operations Center and City Manager’s Office to review resumption of service plans and discuss how to safely reopen libraries. Their technology access proposal included 11 branch libraries with the highest community need for technology access, but it was recommended that to start with 2 locations and phase in additional locations. They also submitted a proposal to allow for reduced capacity opening, however, that proposal is not being considered at this time and until we are moved into City Stage 9/Santa Clara County Yellow Tier.   

Interested in joining a working group or forming one of your own? Click here: https://forms.gle/PBGwwKvonehPXiVy9 

Safe Streets
The Safe Streets Working Group will be meeting this Saturday, April 10th to determine how we can take our working group to more of our neighbors within District 10. Reach out to Matthew Quevedo (matthew.quevedo@sanjoseca.gov) to learn more.

Laura's Law
The letter signed by 40 members of the community and submitted to the March 24 meeting of the Health and Hospital Committee of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors got a mention in the news this week!

Monday, April 12
AVCA Cook Along with Matt & Vandana 
7:00 pm, Zoom registration 

Spend your Monday night making dinner with us! Councilmember Matt Mahan will be learning to cook Tandoori Chicken and Aloo Sabzi via Zoom with AVCA’s own Vandana Kadam. Find the ingredient list here.


Wednesday, April 14 
Community Meeting: Green Stormwater Infrastructure 
7 pm, Zoom link

The City of San José is holding a Community Meeting via Zoom on Wednesday, April 14th at 7pm to inform the public about the City’s implementation of Green Stormwater Infrastructure. City Staff will also present potential projects within the City of San José, including at Sycamore Terrace at Almaden Lake Park. 


Monday, April 19 
Charter Review Commission Meeting  
6 pm, Zoom link  

The Charter Review Commission was established to examine the City’s governance structure and solicit community input on strong mayor and other potential charter reforms to improve and update the City’s governance structure including but not limited to evaluating if the mayoral seat should be transitioned to the presidential cycle; evaluate transition of the election cycle for Council Districts; and consider additional measures and potential charter amendments, as needed, that will improve accountability, representation, and inclusion at San José City Hall. 


Monday, April 19 
Inside City Hall: Olympia Williams, Beautify SJ Program Manager 
6:30 pm, Zoom registration

Please join us for the second episode of a new monthly series, Inside City Hall, where I'll be inviting policy experts from City Hall and beyond to dive into relevant issues with us. Our April installment will feature Olympia Williams, Program Manager of the BeautifySJ Initiative, to let us know how her team works to address blight and encampments in San Jose. Zoom registrants will be able to use the live Q&A feature.


Saturday, April 24 
Chat with Matt 
10:00 am, Zoom registration

Join me and the District 10 team every second Thursday and fourth Saturday of the month. Bring your questions, comments, and concerns about our neighborhoods and your City government. 


Is there an event you'd like to add to our calendar? Email us at district10@sanjoseca.gov.

As of April 7, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a plan to fully reopen California's economy on June 15 if current COVID-19 trends hold. About 42% of California's over-16 population has received one dose; 23% are fully vaccinated. 

On March 24, we entered the Orange Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. What does this mean for our neighbors and local businesses?   

  • Restaurants can open indoors with a max of 50% capacity or 200 people and live entertainment is allowed  

  • Wineries, breweries and distilleries can open indoors with modifications: a max 25% capacity indoors, or 100 people, whichever is fewer.  

  • Bars can open outdoors with modifications.  

  • All retail can open indoors with modifications, at 50% capacity  

  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums can open indoors with a max of 50% capacity.  

  • Places of worship can open indoors with a max of 50% capacity.  

  • Movie theaters can only open indoors with modifications: a max of 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer.  

  • Hotels can open with modifications. Hotels may also open dining and fitness facilities at 25% capacity.  

  • Gyms can open indoor operations with modifications: max of 25% capacity.  

  • Stadiums are allowed to open with modifications: permanent venues with live audiences must be outdoors only, capacity must be limited to 20%, and additional restrictions.  

  • Theme parks are to stay closed; however, starting April 1, 2021, they can reopen by adhering to limits including capacity and worker testing.  

  • Offices may reopen for in-person work schedules of up to 25% capacity and maintaining 25% capacity in conference and meeting rooms, though the County continues to encourage telecommuting where possible. Employers with fewer than 20 employees do not need a capacity limit but must reduce the capacity necessary to maintain 6 feet of distancing between workers 

  • Outdoor organized and supervised arts, music, and theater performances and festivals may open for up to 50 people maintaining social distancing between audience members from different households, while food and concessions may be allowed for groups of up to 6 people that are at least 6 feet apart from others.  

  • Indoor gatherings are still strongly discouraged but allowed with a max of three households. 

If you need a COVID-19 test, don’t wait! A high rate of testing helps identify and stop the spread of COVID-19 cases and is one of the factors that is helping our county reopen under State regulations. For a full list of COVID-19 testing sites in Santa Clara County, go to www.sccfreetest.org or call 2-1-1.  

The County offers support options for people who test positive or have been in contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive. If you need help with food, bills, or a place to stay while you isolate or quarantine, please call 408-808-7770 to learn about support services from the County of Santa Clara.  

Starting April 1, the State of California expanded vaccine eligibility to individuals aged 50+, and individuals 16+ will be eligible to make an appointment to be vaccinated starting on April 15. Read more here

Currently, the following groups of people are eligible to receive vaccines in Santa Clara County:  

Residents age 50+   

Individuals age 16-64 with high-risk conditions including: cancer, chronic kidney disease (stage 4 or above), chronic pulmonary disease (oxygen dependent), Down syndrome, solid organ transplant (with weakened immune system), pregnancy, sickle cell disease, heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies (but not hypertension), severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2), and type 2 diabetes mellitus with A1c > 7.5%. Note: This list is subject to change in the coming weeks.   

Workers in food and agriculture: Workers in groceries, pharmacies, convenience stores, and other retail that sells food and/or beverages; restaurant workers, caterers, and food delivery drivers; and farmers, farm and ranch workers, and agribusiness support services.   

Workers in education and childcare: Workers of public and private childcare establishments (including daycares), pre-K establishments, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities.   

Emergency services workers (who cannot practically work from home): Workers in a variety of public safety, disaster response, security, protective services, and animal control functions listed in the state’s Emergency Services Sector Index.

Public transit workers: Workers in public transit including airport and commercial airline workers. 

Workers and residents in high-risk group residential setting: Individuals who live or work in a group residential setting such as an incarceration or detention facility, homeless shelter, or behavioral health facility. 


Individuals who are eligible to be vaccinated are encouraged to contact their healthcare system to make an appointment. See below for scheduling options by provider. Check back regularly, new appointments are being added daily: 

Visit sccfreevax.org for updates. Insurance and immigration status do not impact your eligibility for the vaccine. 


For those of us who are not yet able to be vaccinated, you can register for the State of California’s My Turn to be notified when you are eligible to receive the vaccine. 

Vaccine information is constantly changing, so visit sccfreevax.com for the latest vaccine updates from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. 

To track vaccinations across the county, check out the County’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard.

Glenview Park Sunday Series

Thank you to San Jose Parks Recreation and Neighborhood Services for hosting the Sunday Series cleanup at Glenview Park on March 28th. It was a great day to be outside making our district an even more beautiful place to live.

Almaden Playgarden

The City of San José has been awarded a matching grant from the County of Santa Clara to build an All-Inclusive Playground at Almaden Lake Park. Through the grant funding, the total budget to replace and upgrade the existing equipment is $1.3M. We now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand the playground beyond grant funding constraints and invest in a Playgarden & Nature Area – creating a space where children and adults of all abilities can gather locally. 
 
The Playgarden Task Force has set a goal to raise an additional $3.7M to reach a $5M fundraising goal. All contributions will be collected through the Playgarden Fund, housed within the Almaden Valley Rotary Club Endowment, a 501(c)(3) organization. All contributions are tax-deductible and 100% of proceeds will go directly to the expansion. 
 
As additional funding is secured, amenities and features such as resilient safety surfacing, a nature play area, a hillside slide zone, additional musical elements, and new restroom facilities will be weaved into the landscape design. 
 
Based on conceptual designs, our goal is to collect donations and pledges by September 30, 2021. With collaboration and support from individuals, businesses, and organizations throughout Almaden Valley and the surrounding areas, the Playgarden and Nature Area will become a reality. Learn more about how you can help at playgardenalp.org 

Emergency Rent Relief Now Available  

The State has launched its CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, which helps low-income Californians through the payment of unpaid rent to landlords. Participating landlords can get reimbursed for 80% of each eligible tenant’s unpaid rent that accumulated between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, if the landlord agrees to waive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent from that time period. Eligible renters whose landlords choose not to participate may still apply on their own and receive 25% of unpaid rent that accumulated between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. For details about eligibility, rules, and deadlines, and to submit applications for the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, landlords and tenants can visit the State’s Housing is Key website

San Jose Postcard Club

The San Jose Postcard Club, headquartered right here in District 10, is looking for new members! Fittingly, you reach out to them by email (shavlavigne@yahoo.com) or regular mail for more information: 

Shav La Vigne 
San Jose Postcard Club 
P.O. Box 23115 
San Jose, CA 95153 

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