Sam Liccardo

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Sam Liccardo
Facebook F8 2017 San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo (profile cropped).jpg
65th Mayor of San Jose
Assumed office
January 1, 2015
Preceded byChuck Reed
Personal details
Samuel Theodore Liccardo

(1970-04-16) April 16, 1970 (age 49)
Saratoga, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Jessica Garcia-Kohl
EducationGeorgetown University (BA)
Harvard University (MPP, JD)
WebsiteOfficial website

Samuel Theodore Liccardo (born April 16, 1970) is an American attorney and politician from California, serving as Mayor of San Jose.[1] Liccardo was elected mayor in November 2014. He was reelected in 2018 with 75.8% of the vote.[2]

Early life[edit]

One of five children to Salvador and Laura (née Aceves) Liccardo, Sam Liccardo grew up in Saratoga, California and graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory in 1987. Liccardo received a bachelor's degree in government from Georgetown University, where he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.[3] He later earned his Juris Doctorate and Master of Public Policy at Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School. Prior to his election to public office in 2006 he served as a criminal prosecutor in the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office.[4]

Political career[edit]

San Jose City Council[edit]

In 2006, Liccardo ran for San Jose's District 3 Council seat. After placing first in an eight-candidate June primary with 43% percent of the vote,[5] Liccardo went on to place first in the November runoff election, this time with 61.3%.[6] In June 2010, he won his reelection to the City Council with 80.16% of the primary vote.[7]

As councilman, Liccardo advocated for more high rises in San José's downtown, including the construction of the $135 million, 23-story high rise at One South Market.[8]

Mayor of San Jose[edit]

2014 election[edit]

In 2014, Liccardo ran for Mayor of San Jose to succeed termed-out Mayor Chuck Reed. He placed second in a five-candidate June primary with 25.7% of the vote[9] and placed first in the November runoff with 50.8% of the vote.[10]

In his first year in office, he helped guide negotiations on an agreement with all 11 of city's employee unions[11][12] that could save the city $3 billion in pension costs over the course of three decades.[13] In the 2016 elections, voters approved the agreement by passing Measure F with more than 61% of the vote.[14] This measure replaced a contentious pension reform plan, which has faced a series of legal challenges since its 2012 passage.[15][16]

Liccardo advocated for a half-cent sales tax increase called Measure B on the 2016 November ballot,[17] which passed with over 70%.[14] The tax is devoted to transportation, with funds dedicated to expanding BART, reducing traffic congestion, and filling potholes.[18] Despite the majority vote, it has become a controversial topic throughout Santa Clara County as the tax measure has also attracted negative reception from Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, Cupertino, and Mountain View as well as San Jose Sharks Sports & Entertainment, LLC who have harshly criticized Liccardo with wasting millions of dollars on insufficient roadway projects, lack of focus on local transit and bus service, and insisting that the BART subway through Downtown San Jose be a single bore rather than the traditional double bore.[19][20][21]

Smart city vision[edit]

In March 2016, Liccardo unveiled a Smart City Vision, with the expressed goal to make San Jose the "most innovative city in America by 2020."[22] Liccardo hired Shireen Santosham to be his Chief Innovation Officer and lead the newly-created Mayor's Office of Technology and Innovation (MOTI).[23][24] The Smart City Vision received unanimous approval from the City Council in March,[25] and in June 2016 the city created an Office of Civic Innovation to meet its goals.[26] Since then, Liccardo formed a partnership with Facebook to deploy the company's wireless, high-speed internet technology called "Terragraph" in downtown San José,[27] and the City of San José launched a project to bring free wireless internet to two schools in San José's East Side Union School District.[28]

In 2019, Liccardo launched the San Jose Digital Inclusion Fund, a $24 million initiative to connect 50,000 households with broadband internet access over 10 years.[29]

Housing crisis[edit]

Liccardo also advocated for ways to house the homeless, including rehabilitating two deteriorating motels, the Plaza Hotel[30] and the Santa Clara Inn.[31] According to a city staff report, such motel conversions represent a cost-effective way to house homeless households.[32]

On Veteran's Day in 2015, he also launched a campaign to get homeless veterans off the street called "All the Way Home" with non-profit Destination:Home and Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese.[33] One year after launching the program, the group announced it had found homes for more than 500 homeless veterans.[34]

2017 flooding[edit]

On February 21–22, 2017, after one month of heavy rainfall, Coyote Creek flooded parts of San Jose, displacing 14,000 people. Residents complained that the city failed to uphold its duty to protect and warn its citizens. Liccardo and other city officials accepted responsibility for failures in their emergency response, but also put some of the blame on the Santa Clara Valley Water District.[35][36]


In May 2017, the San Jose City Council unanimously agreed to start up a Community Choice Energy program, becoming the largest city in the country to do so.[37] Mayor Liccardo advocated for the adoption of a Community Choice Energy program as a way to take action against climate change while President Trump's administration turned back to fossil fuels.[38]

2018 election[edit]

Liccardo was elected to a second term of office on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Sam Liccardo married Jessica Garcia-Kohl in 2013.[40] He was named for his paternal grandfather, who owned and operated a neighborhood grocery store in downtown San Jose, the Notre Dame Market. Liccardo is descended from the first Mexican settlers in the Bay Area, and is also of Sicilian and Irish descent.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "City of San Jose". City of San Jose. Retrieved January 3, 2015.
  2. ^ "Sam Liccardo, Ballotpedia". Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  3. ^ "Voter information for Sam T. Liccardo, June 8, 2010 Election". Retrieved November 12, 2019.
  4. ^ "San Jose, California Official website". Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  5. ^ "Council District 3; City of San Jose Election Information June 2, 2006". League of Women Voters. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  6. ^ "Council District 3; City of San Jose Election Information November 10 2006". League of Women Voters. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  7. ^ "Council District 3; City of San Jose Election Information June 8 2010". League of Women Voters. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  8. ^ Redell, Bob (June 25, 2013). "One South Market High-Rise Building to Change San Jose Skyline". NBC Bay Area. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  9. ^ "Mayor; City of San Jose Voter Information June 3, 2014". League of Women Voters. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  10. ^ "Mayor; City of San Jose Voter Information November 4, 2014". League of Women Voters. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  11. ^ Ramona Giwargis. "San Jose: New legal challenge filed against Measure B settlement – The Mercury News". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  12. ^ "San Jose Reaches Deal with 8 Unions on Measure B Settlement". San Jose Inside. December 4, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  13. ^ Nguyen, Chris. "San Jose reaches tentative agreement with unions on pension reforms". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ Louie, David (December 23, 2013). "Judge hands down Measure B pension reform plan for San Jose city workers". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  16. ^ "San Jose's Long and Winding Road to Pension Reform Takes Another Turn | News Fix | KQED News". August 25, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  17. ^ August 7, 2015 at 6:20 am (August 7, 2015). "Sam Liccardo and Chuck Reed: Measure B settlement is right for San Jose – The Mercury News". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  18. ^ Bay City News Service (October 20, 2016). "County voters to decide on Measure B half-cent sales tax | News". Palo Alto Online. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  19. ^ Noack, Mark. "Lawsuit blocks Measure B funds". Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  20. ^ "VTA, BART agree on one-tunnel option for San Jose extension". The Mercury News. March 31, 2018. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  21. ^ "Highway 85 express lane proposal divides Silicon Valley drivers". The Mercury News. January 28, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  22. ^ Koehn, Josh (March 17, 2016). "Mayor Unveils Ambitious, Vague Plan to Make San Jose 'Smart'". San Jose Inside. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  23. ^ Goldsmith, Stephen (August 21, 2018). "One City's Path to Smart City Leadership". Governing. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  24. ^ "San Jose, CA Official Website - Shireen Santosham". City of San Jose. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  25. ^ "San Jose approves Smart City vision aimed at using tech to better serve residents – The Mercury News". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  26. ^ Colin Wood (July 5, 2016). "Office of Civic Innovation, New City Officials Help Further San Jose, Calif.'s Smart City Vision". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  27. ^ "A look inside San Jose politics and culture". San Jose Inside. April 13, 2016. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  28. ^ Sharon Noguchi (October 3, 2016). "Free Wi-Fi: San Jose, East Side schools to provide intenet in student homes". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  29. ^ Emily Deruy (February 12, 2019). "San Jose launches new fund to bring internet to thousands of off-line homes". Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  30. ^ Ramona Giwargis. "San Jose: Plaza Hotel for homeless housing approved by City Council – The Mercury News". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  31. ^ Ramona Giwargis. "San Jose council approves using Santa Clara Inn to house homeless – The Mercury News". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  32. ^ "Subject: Funding Commitment to Abode Services for the Santa Clara Inn" (PDF). Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  33. ^ "San Jose, Santa Clara County Launch 'All the Way Home' to Get Homeless Veterans Off Streets". NBC Bay Area. November 11, 2015. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  34. ^ Ramona Giwargis. "Santa Clara County effort launched on Veterans Day last year seeks to end veteran homelessness". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  35. ^ Kurhi, Eric (February 22, 2017). "San Jose mayor: Clear 'failure' led to record flooding". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  36. ^ Wadsworth, Jennifer; Koehn, Josh (March 1, 2017). "Floodgate: How the Water District and City's Comedy of Errors Became a Local Tragedy". San Jose Inside. Retrieved March 23, 2017.
  37. ^ Cheng, Nicholas (May 16, 2017). "San Jose approves clean energy program". SFGate. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  38. ^ May 12, 2017 at 8:00 am (May 12, 2017). "Editorial: San Jose should adopt Community Choice Energy plan". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  39. ^ Amin, Lisa. "Sam Liccardo remains San Jose mayor in landslide victory, AP reports". Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  40. ^ "Pizarro: It's a 'Valley of Heart's Delight' wedding for San Jose Councilman Sam Liccardo – The Mercury News". May 28, 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  41. ^ Scott Herhold. "Herhold: Sam Liccardo's roots go back to the beginning of California – The Mercury News". Retrieved December 1, 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Chuck Reed
Mayor of San Jose