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June 7, 2016 — California Primary Election
Local

City of San JoseCandidate for City Council, District 10

Photo of Johnny Khamis

Johnny Khamis

Councilmember/Businessman/Father
15,983 votes (76.08%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Public Safety
  • Fixing and Maintaining Our Roads
  • Fiscal Responsibility

Experience

Experience

Profession:San Jose District 10 City Councilmember
Councilmember, City and San Jose (2013–current)
Councilmember, District 10, City of San Jose — Elected position (2013–current)
CEO, Western Benefit Solutions (2004–2015)
Chair, Small Business Development Commission — Appointed position (2010–2012)
Commissioner, Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission — Appointed position (2002–2011)

Education

San Jose State University Bachelor's Degree, Business Management and Communication (current)
San Jose State University Bachelor of Science, Business Management (1991)

Community Activities

Member , Almaden Valley Kiwanis (2011–current)
Volunteer , Boy Scouts Troop 262 (2010–current)

Biography

As immigrants from war torn Lebanon, Johnny and his family fled to the freedom of the United States in 1976 when he was only eight years old where they settled in San José. Johnny spent most of his childhood in the City of San José and fondly remembers the orchards that stretched over so much of the City. From George Minor Elementary School to Leonard Herman Middle and on to Oak Grove High School, Johnny spent much of his youth exploring San José on his bicycle, going to the movies or swimming at the Oak Grove pool.

After graduating from high school, Johnny went on to San José State University to earn his degree in Business Management and Communication. He used his education, knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit to start his own company, Western Benefit Solutions. Johnny was also a financial advisor and personally managed more than 200 individual and business accounts.

Johnny began his political career by serving on Santa Clara County’s Human Relations Commission and the San José Small Business Development Commission. Out of his deep concern for the financial health of his beloved city, Johnny ran and was elected to the San José City Council in November 2012 and took office January 1, 2013. As the District 10 Councilmember, he represents the Almaden Valley and Blossom Hill areas of South San José. Johnny has been dedicated to fiscal responsibility, community engagement and Safety for who live in our city.

Johnny now serves on 17 committees (http://www.sjd10.com/committee-assignments.html) and frequently attends all neighborhood and community associations meetings in the District, as well as volunteering his time with organizations like Almaden Cares, Almaden Kiwanis, his sons’ Boy Scout troop and the Martin Fontana Parks Association.

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

Organizations (2)

  • San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility

Elected Officials (1)

  • Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters (5)

What experience related to city government would you bring to the City Council?
Answer from Johnny Khamis:

I have served as the San Jose District 10 City Councilmember for the past three years, and I believe that my focus on fiscal responsibility, building community pride, and the level of accessibility and accountability of me and my staff are ample reasons to re-elect me for four more years. In addition, I have also served on the City's Small Business Development Commission as well as the Santa Clara County Human Relations Commission. My experience living and working in as well as representing the City qualifies me to serve in this position.

San Jose budget difficulties have resulted in unprecedented cuts to staff and services. How will you deal with coming shortfalls? Restoring some of the City services? And, if you think the City needs additional resources, what are your ideas for increasing revenues?
Answer from Johnny Khamis:

To save the City money, I spearheaded the effort to open the southern police substation. This previously unopened city asset is now being used as a training facility for our police academy and also to house Community Service Officers, saving our city more than $542,000 per year. I restored the Employee suggestion program so that we can learn from our employees how to more efficiently provide services to our residents. This program is expected to save time and money. I also supported a dedicated sales tax to support pavement maintenance.

I would continue to streamline the City’s permitting process and provide accountability through more automated processes; continue to support business incentives for our Airport, large employers; and continue to develop other incentives to attract manufacturing and small businesses to stay and succeed in San Jose. 

I supported volunteerism and have worked with community leaders to adopt five parks in my district, and to supplement library staffing to allow libraries to be open six days a week. I have requested an evaluation of the Fire Department to determine if we can go to three-man crews in some areas to allow limited staffing to be better distributed. I have also used my own excess budget to open Almaden Lake Park on Mondays and to provide wireless Internet services to the Almaden Community Center.

To ensure we can provide core services, I would continue to seek additional efficiencies within the organization. After bonds are paid off, I would use the savings to continue to pay down unfunded pension liabilities.

I have successfully lobbied two mayors to spend millions of dollars on our street pavement needs, including more than $24 million for needed paving projects. I will continue to push for road maintenance dollars.

What concerns are of particular importance to the city and how would you address them?
Answer from Johnny Khamis:

I have supported the construction of various housing projects as well as the temporary shelter program, which allows religious organizations to house and care for up to 15 homeless individuals with the hope of housing them permanently.

I have made strides in the areas of public safety, fiscal responsibility and community development in my time as City Councilmember, including the following:

Public Safety

  • Spearheaded the effort to open the southern police substation. This previously unopened city asset is now being used as a training facility for our police academy and also to house Community Service Officers, saving our city more than $542,000 per year.
  • Supported hiring of 54 Community Service Officers to carry out non-sworn duties, freeing up fully sworn officers to respond to emergencies.
  • Voted to increase the pay of SJPD officers to boost morale and improve retention of experienced officers.
  • Raised more than $15,000 for the San Jose Police Foundation to purchase mobile fingerprinting identification equipment
  • Successfully advocated for more license-plate readers (LPRs) for the Police Department.
  • Supported the roll-out of the Safe Communities Multi-Housing Pilot Program in the Hoffman Via-Monte area to encourage community-oriented policing and problem solving through partnerships between property owners, property managers, management staff, residents, police, and other government and community-based service providers.
  • Implemented crossing guards and speed bumps in school neighborhoods, the Walk-and-Roll program throughout neighborhood schools, improved crosswalks and new stop signs, new pedestrian signage, and more than 150 new ADA ramps throughout the District

Community Pride

  • Established new neighborhood associations 
  • Developed initiatives to help end the scourge of both illegal dumping and illegal fireworks in our community through the implementation of administrative fines
  • Established and hosted the inaugural and second District 10 July 4th Fun Festival at Almaden Lake with tens of thousands in attendance
  • Organized the community to conduct clean-ups for weed and brush control at the Guadalupe Oak Grove Park, which will be adopted by the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, saving thousands of our park maintenance budget annually.
  • Collaborated with Councilmembers budget $500,000 in City capital funds from the Parks Department to complete the Guadalupe-Los Alamitos Trails Master Plan
  • Took action to curb the wild pigs that plagued Almaden Valley by drafting an Urgency ordinance and had it passed with a super majority of the Council
  • Pushed for the successful implementation of pornography filters for the children’s section at the San Jose Public Libraries
  • Advocated for funding ($16 million the first year and $8 million the second year) for needed paving projects

Fiscal Responsibility

  • Guided the contract with OpenGov.com to increase the City’s financial transparency by allowing for the online release of City financial data
  • Provided more scrutiny over potentially costly lease revenue bonds, and changed the city ordinance so that a 2/3 vote would be needed to pass the bonds; also required that staff provide a worst-case scenario to avoid negative situations
  • Reduced the cost of permit fees by up to 40% for all small additions and home remodels.
  • Pushed for a new small-project desk for one-stop approvals on small, conforming building projects
How would you balance the needs of the City as a whole while also addressing needs of your district as well as those of special groups?
Answer from Johnny Khamis:

I believe in managing my office like a company, dedicated to constituent needs and preparing for decisions. We aim to respond to constituent concerns within 3 business days. 

I have proposed many programs that positively affect both the District as well as the City as a whole, including stricter loan regulations to prevent future burdens on our children and avoid debts.

My goals for both the District and City include the following: 

Public Safety:

  • Support the opening of all fire stations in San Jose
  • Further develop and implement the Safe Communities Multi-Housing Pilot Program to reduce crime and support safer neighborhoods
  • Continue to support the expanded use of license plate readers to protect our streets and reduce crime.
  • Support increased disaster preparedness within the community and continue developing a disaster plan with volunteers and the Office of Emergency Services for the District
  • Continue to work with tenants and rental property providers to make the Hoffman Via Monte neighborhood safer and cleaner
  • Procure more funds to be spent on traffic and pedestrian safety near all schools
  • Advocate for the remaining funds necessary to beautify and make Chynoweth safer

Community Pride:

  • Continue to advocate for a trail connection from Los Alamitos Creek to Guadalupe Creek
  • Preserve and reopen the Old Almaden Vineyards building, which was California’s oldest winery (CA State Historical Landmark #505)
  • Encourage individuals, families and organizations to adopt all of the parks in District 10
  • Work with county leaders and San Jose staff to purchase and fund the widening of Branham to 4 lanes between Snell and Vista Park
  • Work with local service organizations to adopt and beautify the median on Almaden Expressway.
  • Acquire and build a community garden in the Martial Cottle Park in cooperation with County leaders
  • Work with Pioneer High School and San Jose Unified School District to provide new soccer fields for public use
  • Advocate for additional funds to resurface Meridian Ave, Calero Ave, Blossom Ave and Chesbro Ave
  • Establish new neighborhood associations in areas where there are none to inspire more District 10 leaders to actively participate in improving the community

Fiscal Responsibility: 

  • Obtain more dollars to be spent on core services including fixing our roads and potholes, and to open all City parks seven days a week
  • Continue to push for a better business environment to attract and retain small and large businesses
  • Continue to advocate for the streamlining and automation of processes within the City of San Jose Planning and Building Department, including self-permitting
  • Lead an effort between the Environmental Services Department, Building Department and County Health Department to streamline the permitting process for restaurants
  • Continue to champion congestion-relief projects on Highway 85, 87, and 101
How much money do you expect to raise/spend on your race, and how will you assure voters that financial contributions will not affect your decisions/positions should you be elected?
Answer from Johnny Khamis:

My goal was to raise $70,000 and I have raised about $71,000 so far. I have about $50,000 on hand at this time. 

My door has been open to all points of view, and I have voted for and against people who have contributed to my previous and current campaign. I have recused myself from situations when there has been a conflict of interest. I have also refused to accept donations from some groups that have been involved in issues that have come before the City Council.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I have been committed to serving the needs of the District 10 community, partnering with you to build safe, healthy, and thriving neighborhoods.  With a focus on public safety, fiscal responsibility, and community pride, I have worked toward innovative solutions to the challenges facing our District and city. I am committed to the betterment of our community and the City of San Jose as a whole, ensuring this will be a place we can be proud of for generations to come!

Candidate Contact Info

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