San Jose Council Calendars Missing Lobbyist Meetings
Maybe they just stopped meeting with lobbyists….
About a decade ago, scandals over backroom deals rocked San Jose and led to the city’s elected officials posting their calendars online showing who they are meeting and why.
But now, the Contra Costa Times revealed that every member only the San Jose City Council has had “contacts” with lobbyists that never appeared on their calendars.
The interactions are known to have taken place since the lobbyists have to disclose such information in quarterly reports.
Council members offered a defense saying that chance run-ins, unexpected emails, and ignorance of the lobbyist being a lobbyist were the reason for the lack of reporting. The policy does not require those things to be reported.
That is understandable to an extent, but when you see that almost all the “contacts” related to the issue of allowing rideshare services to access San Jose International Airport were never listed on the calendars, you start to cock an eyebrow and tilt your head to the side.
Mayor Sam Liccardo argues that updating calendars with chance meetings is impractical. Except Councilmember Johnny Khamis does just that, saying, "I've got nothing to be hiding. We don't want to take votes with the public thinking we had undue influence."
The Contra Costa Times also noted that while lobbyists face fines for filing late reports, there is no punishment for officials with less than thorough calendars. That is something that former Councilman Pete Constant, the first one to publish and update his calendar, has come out in support of. "There needs to be some punitive pressure to get someone to do it," Constant said.
For more on the mystery meetings or chance contacts in San Jose, see here.