First San Jose Human Services Commission Meeting

Tonight is my first meeting as a Commissioner on the Human Services Commission for San Jose after a joyous swearing-in on Tuesday. As a way of sharing this experience with my friends and fellow District 2 residents, I’ll be posting updates before and after commission meetings. Here’s tonight’s agenda.

After reviewing the commission’s FY18 work plan, I think the sub-committees our district needs the most action on are:

  • Children’s Rights: specifically the impact that capricious and cruelly-enforced federal immigration policy is having on families in the South Bay.
  • Human Trafficking: I need to get a better sense of what specific trafficking networks are most active in South San Jose; my fellow commissioners probably have a good sense and if not, I can reach out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. From my years working in the anti-trafficking movement, I know that every community is hurt differently by this crime which degrades our common humanity.

My big question: There’s a vote on the commission doing work to support the city’s new (and needed) Women’s Bill of Rights. The San Jose city ordinance incorporating the UN’s Women’s Bill of Rights (i.e. the The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women or in NGO-speak, CEDAW) uses the term “sex” in the “Purpose of the Charter” but uses “gender” predominantly throughout the document, except in the most powerful section, “Powers and Duties” which switches back to “sex.” The text is a done deal for now since council has passed it, but I’m curious about how this mix of language choices will impact gender non-conforming and transgender residents. If it impacts our community members negatively, I would ask council to fix the language to be as inclusive as possible. Specific action on this question: Confirm whether commissioners will be required to examine both gender and sex harassment/discrimination/violence in the annual report, if approved.

As Ross Hunter, the chair of the Washington State Appropriations Committee whose office I worked in during the 2015 Legislative Session, always used to say:

“When in doubt, read the bill.”

So read it for yourself here, along with the resolution in support, letters from the Vice Mayor, the memo from the City Attorney, and the actual CEDAW convention,

If you have questions or just want to see how a commission works, you can find me and the other commissioners at 6pm tonight at San José City Hall Tower, Conference Room 1753, 200 E Santa Clara St, San Jose, CA 95113.

I’ll have a commissioner’s email soon, but if you want to get in contact with me about this or anything else before that goes live, feel free to reach out at 650-804-9044 or

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