Greater Downtown San José Economic Recovery Task Force

Background

The Greater Downtown San José Economic Recovery Task Force was brought together in May 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic with support from the Office of Councilmember Peralez.

Composed of Downtown businesses and community groups, the 60-member Task Force met virtually 65 times over nearly two years, ultimately delivering a comprehensive slate of recommendations to the City, County, and State, many of which have helped inform COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Their work also spurred the creation of a citywide COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.


Return to Source” Report

As a coda to their work, the Task Force commissioned an 18-month study by independent consultants at Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS) focused on financing tools and resources to support Downtown San José’s recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the broader goal of ensuring San José’s Downtown continues to grow as a regional economic and cultural hub. EPS documented the results of their study in a May 2022 report to the Task Force.


Mission Statement

To inclusively put forth solutions that will safely revitalize the Greater Downtown San José area by supporting the recovery of businesses and community organizations while fostering interest and confidence in public life in a COVID-19 impacted world


Scope & Framework

The work of the Task Force focused on three general areas:

POLICY – Create recommendations for the long-term recovery of the Downtown economy that will:

  1. Triage the immediate business impacts from COVID-19 
  2. Reduce barriers for businesses and organizations to safely maintain a sustainable consumer base.
  3. Foster once again vibrant public life in the Greater Downtown San Jose area through creative uses of public and private spaces

COMMUNICATIONS – Engage in a strong collaboration between the relevant local government departments.

TACTICAL – Explore on how to continue on-going cross-sector projects focused on the long-term success of Downtown

Learn more about the scope and framework of the Task Force.


Timeline

APRIL 10, 2021 – TASK FORCE UPDATE
The Task Force received its first report out from Staff on an implementation plan for its recommendations and a general update on citywide COVID-19 recovery efforts.
Meeting Recording
Meeting Slides

Previous Updates

DECEMBER 9, 2020 – CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL
The San José City Council unanimously approved the Task Force’s recommendations. Staff was asked to return with a response and informational memo in the new year on how the recommendations would be implemented. Watch the meeting here.

NOVEMBER 18, 2020 – FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS PUBLISHED
Following two and half months of meetings, the Task Force approved its final set of recommendations and sent it to the following:

For more information, read a press release. The San José Rules and Open Government Committee approved Councilmember Peralez’s memo to add recommendations for the City to the December 8th City Council agenda.

OCTOBER 31, 2020 – DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION BUDGET
Council District 3 made recommendations to the City’s Office of Economic Development based on a Task Force survey on how to allocate the $100,000 Downtown Revitalization Budget set aside in the City’s 2020-2021 FY budget.

OCTOBER 30, 2020 – DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS RELEASED
The Task Force was given an opportunity to review the first draft of its recommendations. Following discussion, Task Force representatives were asked to report back to their respective committees and solicit additional feedback. The goal was to approve a final package of recommendations by the November 18 meeting.

OCTOBER 21, 2020 – RESPONSE FROM THE STATE
The Task Force received a response from Chris Dombrowski, Acting Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), to the City and Task Force’s September 17 Letter.

SEPTEMBER 30, 2020 – ECONOMIC IMPACT SURVEY
The Task Force conducted a second survey to collect feedback from small business owners and community organizations in the Greater Downtown area on the ongoing impacts and needs resulting from COVID-19. Survey results were used to craft the Task Force recommendations. Results are available here.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2020 – LETTER TO STATE
Per recommendation #8 from the Greater DTSJ Economic Recovery Initiative, and after a follow up meetings, the City of San José submitted an advocacy letter on behalf of the Task Force to the State of California. See the letter here.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2020 – PHASE II COMMENCES
Phase II of the Greater DTSJ Economic Recovery Task Force kicked off on in response to the continuing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the press release here.

The Phase II Task Force Co-Chairs were:
Wisa Uemura, Arts & Special Events Co-Chair – San Jose Taiko
Dalia Rawson, Performance & Entertainment Venues Co-Chair – New Ballet

Alternates supporting the Co-Chairs were:
Alan “Gumby” Marques, Personal Care Co-Chair – Heroes Martial Arts
Jimmy Sarfraz, Hotels & Hospitality Co-Chair – Hilton San Jose

JUNE 30, 2020 – CITY COUNCIL ACCEPTS TASK FORCE REPORT & NEXT STEPS
The San José City Council received the Task Force’s recommendations along with a response from City Staff.  Four of the nine recommendations were chosen to be implemented. Three required further follow up from the Task Force. The remaining two were referred to the annual Council Priority Setting Session. In response, Councilmember Peralez asked that Staff explore other methods to implement Recommendations #1 and #7 rather than going through the annual Priority Setting Session. The City Council ultimately accepted both the Task Force’s report and Staff’s recommendations, including Councilmember Peralez’s modifications. Click here to watch the June 30 Council Discussion.

JUNE 24, 2020 – RECOMMENDATIONS AGENDIZED FOR CITY COUNCIL
San José’s Rule & Open Government Committee, chaired by Mayor Liccardo, unanimously agreed to agendize the Greater DTSJ Economic Recovery Initiative for approval at the June 30 City Council Meeting. Click here to watch a recording of the meeting.

JUNE 17, 2020 – GREATER DTSJ ECONOMIC RECOVERY INITIATIVE
Following five weeks of meetings, the Task Force approved a list of recommendations to be sent to the San José City Council. On June 18, the Task Force sent a letter to Mayor Sam Liccardo and the City Council outlining those recommendations. Shortly thereafter, Councilmember Peralez submitted a memorandum entitled the “Greater Downtown San Jose Economic Recovery Initiative”, asking that the recommendations be agendized and discussed as soon as possible. Click here to read both the memo and the task force letter.

JUNE 5, 2020 – LETTER TO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The Task Force representatives cosigned a letter with Mayor Sam Liccardo representing the Silicon Valley Recovery Roundtable and the members of the Health & Racial Equity Task Force. The letter called for better collaboration between the County Public Health Department and the community. Read the letter here.

MAY 27, 2020 – TASK FORCE CO-CHAIRS
The Task Force voted to elect the following Co-Chairs:

  • Wisa Uemura, Executive Director – San Jose Taiko
  • Cache Bouren, Owner – Haberdasher SJ

They were supported by two alternates:

  • Meaghan Karabatsos, Owner – WESTCA Gym
  • Chris Patterson-Simmons, Owner –Neu2U Thrift Boutique / Urban Kiosk

MAY 20, 2020 – ECONOMIC RECOVERY SURVEY
The Task Force conducted a survey to collect feedback from small business owners and community organizations in the Greater Downtown area on the ongoing impacts and needs resulting from COVID-19. Survey results were used to craft the Task Force recommendations. Results are available here.


MAY 20, 2020 – PRESS RELEASE 
Click here to read the announcement of the Greater Downtown San José Economic Recovery Task Force.

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Task Force Public Meetings

All at-large Task Force meetings were open to the public. Please see below for links to meeting agendas, minutes, and recordings as available.

Task Force Update #1
Thursday April 8, 2021 // 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Meeting Agenda | Presentation | Recording

Previous Meetings

Meeting #12
Wednesday November 18, 2020 // 1:30pm – 3:30pm
Meeting Agenda | Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

Meeting #11
Friday October 30, 2020 // 1:00pm – 3:00pm
Meeting Agenda | Approved Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

Meeting #10
Wednesday October 22, 2020 // 1:00pm – 3pm
Meeting Agenda | Approved Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

Meeting #9
Wednesday September 30, 2020 // 1:00pm – 3pm
Meeting Agenda | Approved Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

Meeting #8 (Phase II)
Wednesday September 9, 2020 // 1:30pm – 3pm
Meeting Agenda | Approved Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

Meeting #7
Wednesday August 19, 2020 // 1:30pm – 3pm
Meeting Agenda | Approved Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

Meeting #6
Wednesday June 17, 2020 // 1pm -2:30pm
Meeting Agenda | Approved Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

Meeting #5
Friday June 12, 2020 // 9am -10am
Meeting Agenda | Approved Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

Meeting #4
Wednesday June 10, 2020 // 1pm – 2:30pm
Meeting Agenda | Approved Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

Meeting #3
Wednesday June 3, 2020 // 1pm – 2:30pm
Meeting Agenda | Approved Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

Meeting #2
Wednesday May 27, 2020 // 1pm – 2:30pm
Meeting Agenda | Approved Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

Meeting #1
Wednesday May 20, 2020 // 1pm – 2:30pm  
Meeting Agenda | Approved Meeting Minutes | Presentation | Recording

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Task Force Representatives & Committee Members

Arts & Special Events

Brendan Rawson, San José Jazz
Wisa Uemura, San José Taiko

Committee Members
  • Anjee Helstrup-Alvarez, MACLA
  • Chris Esparza, GIANT Creative
  • Daniel Garcia, Content Magazine
  • Nathan Svoboda, ProjectMORE
  • Nick Nichols, Symphony Silicon Valley
  • Sayre Batton, Museum of Art
  • Trami Cron, Chopsticks Alley
  • Yori and Dana Seeger, School of Visual Philosophy

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Faith Based & Community Spaces

Gabrielle Antolovich, Billy De Frank Center
Phil Mastrocola, Grace Baptist Church

Committee Members
  • Jill Bourne, MLK Library
  • Milan Balinton, AACSA
  • Rev. Benedict, St. Joseph’s Cathedral
  • Rev. Julia McCray-Goldsmith , Trinity Cathedral
  • Rev. Sakamoto, Betsuin Temple

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Food & Beverage

Fernanda Carreira, Adega / Pasteleria Adega
Adriana Amador, Haberdasher SJ

Committee Members
  • Adrian Kalaveshi, Clandestine Brewery
  • Cache Bouren, Haberdasher SJ
  • Jasmine Rast, Roy’s Station Coffee Shop
  • Jo Lerma-Lopez, Luna Mexican Kitchen
  • Jordan Trigg, Spread/JTown Pizza/Bamboo7
  • Liana Ryan, Devine Wine & Cheese

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General Retail & Services

April Gee, Petite Galleria
Chris Patterson-Simmons, Neu2U/Urban Kiosk

Committee Members

Cindy Ahola, Community Cycles

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Hotels & Hospitality

Enrique Fernandez, Unite Here
Jimmy Sarfraz, Hilton San José

Committee Members
  • Dan McGowan, Fairmont San Jose
  • Henry Phan, Hotel Clariana
  • John Southwell, Marriott Hotel
  • Misoon Kong, Doubletree Hotel
  • Tanya Fleming, Holiday Inn San Jose

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Large Employers & Property Owners

Jeff Arrillaga, Urban Community
Jay Ross, Hopkins & Carley

Committee Members
  • Alicia Forbrich, Forbrich Properties
  • Ann Marie Lang, East Santa Clara Property Owner
  • Dan Gordon, Gordon Biersch
  • Edwin Tan, San José State University
  • Gary Dillabough, Urban Community
  • Judy Ross, San Jose Airport
  • Nathan Ulsh, San José Downtown Association
  • Scott Ekman, Adobe

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Performance & Entertainment Venues

Scott Guggenheim, 3Below Theaters
Dalia Rawson, New Ballet

Committee Members
  • Bill Fairweather, 134 IATSE
  • Cathleen King, San Jose Stage Company
  • Chris Burrill, Hammer Theater
  • Dana Zell, Children’s Musical Theater
  • Javier Macias, Club Caribe/Rodeo Club
  • John Ciulla, Team San José
  • Scott Emmert, SAP Center/SJ Sharks
  • Merilee Jennings, Children’s Discovery Museum
  • Matthew Van Cleave, The Ritz
  • Rob Lindo, Casino M8trix

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Personal Care

Takahiro “Taki” Kitamura, State of Grace Tattoo
Alan “Gumby” Marques, Heroes Martial Arts

At-Large Members

Laura Chmielewski, Team San José
Jonathan Perez, Office of State Senator Jim Beall
Stacie Shih, Office of Assemblymember Ash Kalra
Blage Zelalich, City of San José