Welcome to NeighborwebSJ

NeighborWebSJ is a local online news site that grew out of a need for San Jose’s residents to connect with each other and City Hall in order to promote civic engagement. NWSJ covers local and community news with a focus on the diversity of its residents and their efforts to make their neighborhoods cleaner, safer and engaged. NWSJ is edited and published by Janice Rombeck, a former San Jose Mercury News editor and reporter, and supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation.

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City Connect San Jose Links Residents to Crime Data on Smart Phones

Need to report suspicious activity in your neighborhood? There’s an App for that.

City Connect San Jose, which is a free App available for Apple and Android phones, allows you to access crime maps, submit an anonymous tips, receive crime alerts in real time and link instantly to San Jose Police Department social media.

CityConnectLogoYou can type in your address and view a map of recent crimes in your area by type of crime, from homicide to disorderly conduct. You can view all the crimes or select one type of crime. You can also read a blog from your Division Captain.

You can’t, however, file a crime report. You still have to do that from a computer screen, on the phone or in person. Also, an emergency call – threat to life or crime in progress — on a smart phone uses 408-277-8911, not 911.

City Connect San Jose was one of the crime-fighting tools identified by the SJPD at a well-attended session on police strategies to keep communities safe at the recent Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force Summit at Mt. Pleasant High School.

While praising the progress of San Jose’s national recognized Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force in welcoming comments to the attendees of the February 8, 2013 event, Mayor Chuck Reed added, “ The gangs don’t stop. We need to get better every year. You can help us do that.” Continue reading

Residents Weigh In on Housing Needs for San Jose; More Meetings Planned

View the presentation given by San Jose’s Housing and Planning departments

San Jose residents have a chance to help shape future plans for housing — from sheltering the homeless to creating urban villages – at a series of meetings offered by the city’s housing and planning departments.

57The city needs to address needs for the next eight years because of an anticipated population growth, shifts in age groups and a workforce unevenly divided by income. The first step in updating the state-required Housing Element is getting public input to determine what kinds of housing residents think is important in their neighborhoods.

San Jose needs to plan 35,000 housing units in the next eight years, according to a Regional Housing Need Allocation set by the Association of Bay Area Governments’ projections of where Bay Area grown will be. But there is a wide variety of housing possibilities. Should San Jose build more senior housing or high rises downtown? Should the units be apartments and condos? Should they be rental or for sale?

The first meeting on January 22, 2014, at Roosevelt Community Center drew a small but vocal group concerned that more attention should be focused on the lack of housing for the growing homeless population as well as those classified as very low and extremely low income.

With the economy picking up, the housing market is hot again, with projects that were stalled by the recession moving forward. But builders are not proposing affordable housing projects.

“It’s getting worse and worse,” said Carol Valentine, a Spartan-Keyes area resident who lives near a homeless encampment called The Jungle. Continue reading

Budget Games 2014 Focuses on Spending Money From Possible Sales Tax Revenue

Register to Play 2014 Budget Games Online on Thursday, Friday and Saturday
What do you do when the City of San Jose asks you to spend money you don’t have and may not have in the future? If you’re sitting at Table 4 in the City Hall Rotunda, you spend it quickly but wisely.

Budget Games 2014

Budget Games 2014.

Depending on what table you were sitting at the mayor’s annual budget priority-setting exercise on Saturday, January 18, you were limited to spending $68 million, the amount that would be generated from a ½ -cent sales tax or $34 million from a ¼-cent tax.

In other years, residents were asked to balance the entire operating budget with revenue options and cost-cutting measures. This Budget Games version was focused on setting priorities from a list of services and employee costs using estimated revenue from sales taxes, which could be headed to a public vote this year.

“We’re playing with things we don’t have yet,” said Kymberli Brady, a Downtown San Jose resident, describing the frustration among her team members. She added “This doesn’t necessarily mean we support the tax increase.”

Others wanted more input into the list of spending choices given to players.

“There are priorities in our community that were not reflected on our list of choices,” said Harvey Darnell, North Willow Glen resident. “There needs to be a sub process before this, where community leaders bring together our priorities.”

But Tara Pichumani, a Youth Commission member from San Jose, said she learned a lot about roads and the cost of maintaining them, something she hadn’t thought about because he doesn’t drive. Of Budget Games, she said, “It’s a great opportunity that we all come together.” Continue reading