Santa Clara County Local News: Local Governments

All Local Local Governments News articles contributed by our local media allies and other local newsrooms.

Image caption: The California mental health crisis is tied to both homelessness and rising crime.
UPDATE: California’s Mental Health Crisis: How We Got Here

How the California mental health crisis emerged out of the state’s history of deinstitutionalization and laws designed to protect the mentally ill, as well as the communities around them.

Image caption: California has a goal of 6 million heat pumps cooling and heating buildings by 2030.
6 Million New Heat Pumps: Essential to California's Climate Future

Heat pumps, an energy-efficient way to both heat and cool homes, are a necessary element of California's climate goal of net zero carbon emissions. Here's what they are, how they work, and how to get one.

Image caption: The 1965 law known as the Williamson Act has been responsible for keeping about half of California's farmland out of the hands of developers.
The Williamson Act: How the Law That Protects California’s Farmland Works

The Williamson Act, passed in 1965, now keeps more than 16 million acres of farmland out of the hands of developers. Here's how the law puts the brakes on the development of California agricultural properties.

Image caption: Does California’s signature environmental law protect the state’s scenic beauty, or cause more problems than it solves?
CEQA: The Surprising Story of CA’s Key Environmental Law

The California Environmental Quality Act, CEQA, is both the state’s signature environmental legislation, and is also often named as the villain in the state’s housing shortage. But the story may not be that simple.

Image caption: The Baldwin Hills area in South Los Angeles is one region where a state conservancy would keep open land accessible to the public.
California’s 10 State Conservancies: How They Protect Parks and Open Land

How California’s 10 state conservancies buy up open land and shield it from developers to preserve the natural environment for public use.

Image caption: Long-duration energy storage, such as this thermal energy storage facility, allows renewable energy sources to operate at full capacity without overloading the power grid.
How California Leads the Race For Long Duration Energy Storage

Long-duration energy storage is essential if renewables are to become the basis for a future, carbon-neutral power grid. Here's how California is leading the race to store energy from solar, wind, and other clean sources for use whenever it's needed.

Image caption: Translated from the Greek, ‚ÄúDemocracy‚ÄĚ means ‚Äúpeople power.‚ÄĚ How much power do the people have in California?
People Power! What Is Democracy, and How Does It Work in California?

Democracy is a 2,500-year-old system of government still looked on today as the best system, because under a democratic system, the people govern themselves. But is that all there is to it? What is democracy? And how does it work …

Image caption: Since 1972, the California Coastal Commission has ruled over the state’s shoreline.
California Coastal Commission: Where It Comes From, What It Does

What is the California Coastal Commission? How one of the state’s most powerful agency protects public access to the state’s scenic coast from Mexico to Oregon.

Image caption: The Pajaro River levee broke during the 2023 atmospheric river storms, flooding the town of Pajaro.
Is California Ready for More Extreme Weather Driven by Climate Change?

This year, a series of extreme events in California and around the country have wreaked havoc, driven by climate change. How prepared are we for things to get worse?

Image caption: Since the Gold Rush era, land reclamation has cost California 90 percent of its wetlands.
How Land Reclamation Hurts California’s Environment

Since the Gold Rush era, land reclamation projects have helped to build California, but they are also damaging the state’s environment for people, plants and animals by eliminating essential wetlands.

Image caption: How California reclamation districts turned millions of acres of wetlands into fertile agricultural land, starting in the earliest days of the Gold Rush.
Reclamation Districts: Turning ‚ÄėSwamps‚Äô Into Farmland

California has used reclamation districts to turn millions of acres of unusable swamps into fertile agricultural land, starting in the earliest days of the Gold Rush. Here’s how it happened.

Image caption: Zoning laws tell you what you can and can't build on the property you own. How does government get away with that?
How Zoning Laws Shape California and Society

Zoning laws determine what can be built and where. These laws have shaped California, but are they really just tools for social engineering? The history of zoning is closely tied to racial segregation, as well as the state's shortage of …

Image caption: The California Supreme Court has defined the state’s legal and political agenda for more than 170 years.
How the California Supreme Court Blazes Legal Trails

The California Supreme Court has kept the state at the forefront of legal issues surrounding abortion, the death penalty and same-sex marriage, starting in its earliest days in the Gold Rush era.

Image caption: Owning homes is the primary way the middle class builds wealth, and an option no longer available to most Californians.
Is California’s Housing Crisis Making Inequality Worse?

California has some of the worst economic inequality in the United States. Is the housing crisis a cause?

Image caption: Moss Landing in Monterey Bay is the world’s largest battery storage facility for solar and other renewable energy.
Solar Power and California’s Clean Energy Goals

Solar power, and a network of giant battery storage facilities, are playing an essential role in moving California toward its goal of exclusive reliance on renewable energy sources.

Image caption: California transportation history runs from railroads to today’s car culture.
California’s History of Transportation: From Railroads to Highways

The history of transportation in California has shaped the state, from the railroads to today’s highways, making the need for planning increasingly urgent. Here’s how it all happened, and where we stand today.

Image caption: Over two weekends last October, residents of Santa Cruz and Watsonville  participated in demonstration rides aboard an electric streetcar on rails.
The ‚ÄėRail Trail‚Äô Movement, Explained

Thousands of miles of railroad track, including some in Santa Cruz County, now sit idle. The fate of those largely abandoned tracks has become a burning controversy.

Image caption: California continues to work on legislation that would make voting easier.
Voting Rites

California keeps on taking legislative steps that will keep it ranked in the top 10 of voter-friendly states.

Image caption: There are more than 300 community service districts in California.
Community Services Districts, Explained

Community service districts can do most anything a city government can do. Here’s how they work and how to start one.

Image caption: Mosquitos kill about 725,000 people every year, worldwide.
Taking a Bite Out of the Mosquito Population

The pesky mosquito can be deadly as well as annoying. Here’s how local governments in California have been waging war on mosquitoes for more than a century.

Image caption: RCDs look after the land, whether it’s used for grazing, growing, or getting out into nature.
California Dirt

What do resource conservation districts protect? Pretty much everything that’s worth saving.

Image caption: Water is a human right under California law, but it doesn’t always work out that way.
Agriculture and Water Shortages in the State’s Breadbasket, Explained

Residential wells are drying up in the state’s main agricultural region at the same time that agricultural businesses consume almost 90 percent of the water there.

Image caption: States have expansive powers to protect the health of the general public.
The State’s Broad Power to Protect Public Health, Explained

Since long before the COVID-19 pandemic, states have possessed broad authority to protect public health, even to suspend laws and commandeer private property. Here’s why, and how it works.

Image caption: California's sprawling public education system encompasses approximately 10,500 schools.
California’s Education System: How the Bureaucracy Works

How California's extensive public school system is organized and managed, explained.

California Local Pin Marker From The Mercury News...

Cupertino and Vallco developers have reached an agreement over fees associated with The Rise housing development.

California Local Pin Marker From The Mercury News...

A $400 million bond to fund infrastructure upgrades and repairs in Santa Clara is advancing to the November ballot.

San Jose Spotlight logo From San Jose Spotlight...

Image for display with article titled San Jose Ramps Up Funding to Enforce ‚ÄėNo Return Zones‚Äô

San Jose is set to pay for more employees and police patrols to enforce "no return zones" for homeless camps along the Guadalupe River and those surrounding temporary shelter sites citywide.

Gilroy Dispatch logo From Gilroy Dispatch...

Image for display with article titled Valley Water Postpones Decision on Homeless Encampment Ban

The Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors on July 9 held off on a decision regarding an ordinance that would prohibit homeless encampments along waterways in the water district’s jurisdiction.

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Image for display with article titled Santa Clara Asks Voters to Pass Multimillion-Dollar Bond

Santa Clara voters will decide in November whether to give the city roughly $400 million for various infrastructure fixes around the city.

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A lawsuit filed by a group of Palo Alto Police Officers claiming harassment over certain images in a Black Lives Matter mural has been dismissed.

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Image for display with article titled Knudsen Announces Resignation From MHUSD Board of Trustees

Terri Eves Knudsen on July 2 announced her resignation from the Morgan Hill Unified School District Board of Trustees, nearly two years into her four-year term.

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Image for display with article titled Santa Clara County’s Property Values Climb 5.4%

Driven by increasing residential values and despite a ‚Äútroubled‚ÄĚ commercial real estate market, Santa Clara County‚Äôs overall property assessment roll grew by $35.6 billion, or 5.4% in the last year, according to Assessor Larry Stone‚Äôs office.

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Image for display with article titled 405 Alberto Way Project to Grow by 26 Condos

The developer behind the first project in Los Gatos to fall under the SB330 law designed to streamline housing production statewide says it’s adding 26 homes to its mixed-use project at 405 Alberto Way after Los Gatos introduced a new overlay zone.

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Image for display with article titled Santa Clara County Bond Brings Thousands of Affordable Homes

Eight years ago, Santa Clara County had less than 300 affordable apartments that served homeless individuals with disabilities. Thousands of homes have been built since then due to an affordable housing bond measure.

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Image for display with article titled Gail Pellerin Among Top 4 Stock Investors in California Legislature

The total stock portfolio of the Legislature was worth as much as $112 million last year but experts say the public should know more about a politician’s total wealth.

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Image for display with article titled Cupertino Weighs Moving Location of Aging City Hall

Cupertino City Hall could move from its decades-old location ‚ÄĒ but it may not be long term.

California Local Pin Marker From CalMatters...

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, California’s Democratic leaders moved fast to shore up reproductive rights: They persuaded voters to enshrine the right to an abortion in the state constitution, approved a dozen bills strengthening abortion protections and passed a law in May to enable Arizona doctors to temporarily provide abortion services for their patients in California.

California Local Pin Marker From The Mercury News...

Findings and conclusions from the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury report of "irreconcilable differences" experienced by the Santa Clara City Council were disputed.

California Local Pin Marker From The Mercury News...

To meet its state mandated housing element obligations, the Saratoga City Council approved changes to zoning in its July 3 meeting.

California Local Pin Marker From CalMatters...

Taking advantage of new state funds, some California healthcare providers are starting to offer what their homeless patients really need: housing.

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Harnessing clean energy is a venture of unprecedented scope in California, bringing big changes to Humboldt and the Central Coast, and requiring 26 ports along the coast.

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Image for display with article titled 49ers Dole Out Millions in Santa Clara Community Benefits

For a decade, the 49ers have worked to help uplift the community surrounding the city the team calls home.

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Image for display with article titled San Jose Officials Support Retail Theft Crackdown Reform

San Jose’s top political leader supports harsher penalties for drug dealers as voters consider new measures to hold thieves and drug suppliers accountable.

California Local Pin Marker From CalMatters...

In three rulings the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a body blow to the federal bureaucracy. From healthcare to climate to workers’ rights, California’s rules often go farther.
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