San Jose Inside, an independent local news publication, released its first Power Poll survey results today, demonstrating that our Smart Growth San Jose plan has far more community support than Opportunity Housing (also known as the Four-plex Plan).

SJ Inside’s new Power Poll is a panel survey of nearly one thousand San Jose residents in leadership positions representing a wide range of industries and experiences. Its inaugural survey tackled housing affordability, which has been thrust to the fore by skyrocketing home prices and a persistent lack of housing supply relative to job and population growth. …


Family members, neighbors, and mental health advocates gathered together in May 2021 to advocate for the adoption Laura’s Law in Santa Clara County, which was finally adopted on May 25th after years of debate.

[Newsletter readers: my full interview with Brian Stettin is continued below.]

Dear Neighbor,

We won’t be able to solve homelessness in our community until we — and specifically, our County and State governments — adopt stronger policies providing and, when necessary, requiring supportive services for mental illness and addiction. That isn’t to say that everyone living on our streets suffers from mental illness or addiction, or that everyone suffering from mental illness and addiction is homeless, but we know that the overlap is significant.

That’s why it was such a big deal when, after years of debate and delay, the…


Rendering of an intersection in the planned San Carlos Street urban village

[If you’d like to join our campaign for smart growth in San Jose, please sign on to the petition, which will be delivered (names only) to City Council prior to the upcoming vote on zoning changes: https://bit.ly/smartgrowthsj]

There is a proposal coming soon to the San Jose City Council called Opportunity Housing — a blanket upzoning of all neighborhoods in the city. While well-intended, I urge my colleagues to reject it.

This hastily-thrown-together and misguided policy is the product of an out-of-touch political establishment that is not listening to the community. Instead of producing real solutions to build more housing…


Dear Neighbor,

I hope this message finds you well. In recent weeks I’ve been focused on hiring my future office staff, who will serve the more than 100,000 residents of District 10. I’m thrilled to announce our incoming team today.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in building, running, and advising companies and nonprofits is that the quality of the team that comes together around an organization’s mission is the most crucial success factor. …


View of the rolling hills and native oaks of Coyote Ridge, managed by the Open Space Authority.

(Subscribe to Matt’s updates: https://forms.gle/ycvcf3fbKSFU2JfA6)

Dear Neighbor,

If there’s a public resource that I’ve most appreciated amidst the pandemic — and most missed as recent wildfires kept us indoors — it’s the open space we’re blessed with in and around San José.

Walking through Quicksilver, Calero and other local parks has certainly helped preserve my physical and mental health during these difficult times and, clearly, I’m not alone: the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (OSA) reports that usage of their open preserves has roughly doubled this year, from about 325,000 annual visits in 2019 to a pace of 600,000…


As the City’s unfunded pension and health liabilities increase, current operating budgets must be diverted to meet these obligations. Source: City of San José Federated City Employees’ Retirement System, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, 2018–2019

(Subscribe to Matt’s updates: https://forms.gle/ycvcf3fbKSFU2JfA6)

Dear Neighbor,

My last post took a high-level look at how our tax dollars are collected and spent across various levels of government. I appreciate the positive feedback and follow up questions. The top request I received was to dive deeper into the City of San José’s budget and break out costs related to unfunded pension liabilities.

This follow up post will look more closely at how the City’s growing unfunded liabilities impact our current operating budget. Like the last post, my main aim is to provide useful information, but I will offer my perspective…


Dear Neighbor,

Before diving in, I want to recognize Elise Buellesbach, rising senior at Presentation High School, who interned with me this summer (virtually, via Zoom!). Elise did a fantastic job helping me research recent topics we’ve covered and she contributed significantly to this particular post. You can connect with Elise on LinkedIn if you’d like to be in touch with her. Thank you, Elise, for your great work this summer and best of luck in your senior year and beyond!

While canvassing the neighborhoods of District 10 during my campaign for City Council, I started each conversation with the…


The Town of Los Gatos quickly and proactively created additional outdoor, pedestrian-safe space for socially-distanced dining and shopping.

Our family has started venturing out of the house this summer for weekend hikes and takeout from local restaurants (masks on and sanitizer in hand, of course). On these weekend forays, I’ve been impressed by the transformation that has taken place in downtown Los Gatos, just a 15-minute drive from our home. It should serve as inspiration for other cities, like our own, that have not moved as aggressively to support key commercial districts.

Two months ago — and just one week after the County relaxed its shelter-in-place order — Los Gatos deployed concrete barriers (known as K-Rail) along both…


Credit: Bianca Bagnarelli

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Dear Neighbor,

In response to George Floyd’s murder and the ensuing protests for racial justice, I set out to examine how some of our key local systems — law enforcement, housing and education — influence individual opportunity and, more specifically, interact with race. My goal has been to identify policy changes that might promote greater equity while improving government institutions for our entire community.

Government is responsible for maintaining laws and providing public goods (safety, education, infrastructure, etc.) that help our entire community flourish. When the intent of…


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Dear Neighbor,

Happy 4th of July Weekend! I hope you and your loved ones enjoy the long holiday weekend while staying safe and healthy.

Lately, we’ve had plenty of reason to worry about the state of our nation. This weekend, however, gives us a moment to pause and celebrate the bold national ideals — liberty, equality, democracy, opportunity, individual dignity — we share as Americans and that inspire us to demand more of our government and our fellow citizens. …

Matt Mahan

Councilmember, San Jose District 10. Formerly Brigade CEO & Co-founder Brigade, SVLG and Joint Venture Silicon Valley Boards, and SJ Clean Energy Commission

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