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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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County

Santa Clara CountyCandidate for Supervisor, District 4

Photo of Pierluigi Oliverio

Pierluigi Oliverio

Field Application Engineer
13,328 votes (19.49%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Help the severely mentally ill to reduce homelessness, encampments, and free up police to patrol your neighborhood.
  • Utilize county jail inmates to clean our roads of litter, weeds, and graffiti.
  • Transfer undocumented individuals convicted of child molestation, human trafficking and violent felonies to federal law enforcement.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Former San Jose Councilmember
Councilmember, City of San Jose — Elected position (2007–2017)

Community Activities

Volunter, Friends of the San Jose Rose Garden (2007–current)

Biography


Pierluigi is the son of immigrant parents, Italo and Matilde, who are both retired teachers.  
The Oliverio family lived in an apartment on Willow Street for 10 years saving up to buy their first and only home. Pierluigi is proud to have attended K-12 public schools in San Jose (Booksin Elementary, Hoover Middle School, and Willow Glen High). His strong work ethic started with a paper route in the 8th grade, and continued through out high school where he worked at a fast food restaurant on Winchester Blvd. While attending San Jose State University, Pierluigi paid his own way by working evenings and weekends at a restaurant in Campbell. Pierluigi completed his teaching credential and classroom instruction in the San Jose Unified School District. 

Pierluigi was elected in three consecutive elections to the San Jose City Council. He represented the greater Rose Garden neighborhood, Santana Row, and Willow Glen. In addition to ten consecutive years of service on the city council, Pierluigi has 20 years of private sector work experience in the technology field.

Pierluigi purchased the house next door to his parents on Cherry Ave, and a parishioner of St. Christopher’s church. 

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (1)

  • The Silicon Valley Organization, previously known as the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce

Elected Officials (5)

  • Councilwoman Dev Davs
  • Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed
  • Councilmember Johnny Khamis
  • Former County Supervisor Don Gage
  • Robert Varich, Moreland School District Trustee

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

Fiscal prudence, responsive to constituents, and transparency.

Position Papers

Helping the mentally ill is good for public safety

Summary

The County of Santa Clara is the only local government entity responsible for care of the mentally ill. I believe the County should have a laser-like focus on treating the severely mentally ill, which could be accomplished by prioritizing county spending, implementing state law, and advocating for changes in policy. This focused direction would help those who cannot help themselves, and in turn free up police to patrol our neighborhoods and improve public safety.

After every mass shooting, we have a public discussion about mental illness, but what about the rest of the time?

25 to 40% of police calls nationwide are related to the behavior of someone who is mentally ill, and such instances include a higher risk of injury and death to those involved. This is a constant concern for families of the mentally ill. My brother has suffered from schizophrenia his entire adult life.

The County of Santa Clara is the only local government entity responsible for care of the mentally ill. I believe the County should have a laser-like focus on treating the severely mentally ill, which could be accomplished by prioritizing county spending, implementing state law, and advocating for changes in policy. This focused direction would help those who cannot help themselves, and in turn free up police to patrol our neighborhoods and improve public safety.

When it comes to mental health, government often tries to treat 100% of the population, and follows the “diagnosis of the day”. Taxpayer funds are often spent on feel good programs that do not always produce the results we need. For example, there are no programs that can prevent schizophrenia, but we do know that medication for schizophrenics can eliminate manic behavior. Rather than trying to treat the entire population, we need to focus on treating the severely mentally ill, which makes up 2 to 4% of the population. When we encounter someone eating out of a garbage can that believes they are on the planet Pluto, this is the person we must help, and not necessarily someone who claims trauma due to political events.

Our County government has expanded to include programs and services that were never intended, taking away funds from core services such as mental health.  I believe every time a new request to spend money is brought before the Board of Supervisors, we must ask: is it more important than treating the severely mentally ill? In many cases, I believe the answer from everyday residents would be no.

Implementing existing state laws locally would also help. Laura’s Law, signed by Governor Davis in 2002, has never been implemented in Santa Clara County.  This law allows a judge to compel individuals deemed severely mentally ill to undergo free professional treatment. Other California counties using this law have reduced homelessness, incarceration, and hospitalization, all of which decreases the cost to local government.

We should also advocate changing policy on how we house the severely mentally ill. We need to investigate bringing back facilities dedicated to caring for such individuals. With the closure of such facilities, the severely mentally ill often have a sad choice between homelessness or incarceration. This also fails our society at large, which has to frequently experience the manic behavior of the severely mentally ill in our public spaces. Knowing that such policy changes take time, the County should look at options, both public and private, for providing more beds for these individuals.

Unfortunately, the ongoing construction project (Valley Medical Center expansion) is five years late and approximately $250 million over budget. This fiscal incompetence closes the window on opportunities to further help our community and hampers the ability to add facilities where the severely mentally ill could be cared for professionally.

During my ten years on the City Council, I voted to spend taxpayer funds responsibly, and focus on essential services. We must prioritize helping the severely mentally ill, as doing so would also benefit society at large, improve our bottom line, and assist families who often carry the lifetime responsibility of caring for a sick family member.

How to make Santa Clara County government more effective

Summary

Residents should hold supervisors accountable for how efficiently core services are deployed to meet stated goals

Federal, state, county, city, school and special districts all have distinct and important roles to play in community governance, and each body has a primary set of responsibilities. Elected officials, and especially candidates, will often urge action on hot issues outside the responsibilities of their office or the office they seek. While this may be good politics, it is bad government. The public is misled, the staff is distracted, funds are wasted, and core responsibilities are neglected.

While serving as a member of the San Jose City Council for 10 years, my office team prided itself on constituent service. Together we would answer each resident personally and managed over 17,000 separate constituent cases. Some of the cases concerned issues such as mental illness, homelessness, and drug addiction, all of which are core responsibilities of the county. There is an understandable amount of confusion among residents as to which level of government bears the responsibility for such issues: What is obvious to the political insider may not be apparent to the average resident.

Cities within Santa Clara County work diligently to overseethe responsibilities of a city, including police, street paving, and neighborhood parks. However, cities do not have the same charge as counties. County government is vested by the state Legislature with “the powers necessary to provide for the health and welfare of residents within its borders.” While this does include overseeing the county jail, county hospital, and social welfare programs, it does not include the ability to approve or deny construction of new housing or commercial developments, traffic congestion mitigation, school test scores, or the price of water.

As homelessness, opioid addition, and the need for mental health programs grows, the demand for county core services increases. According to CalPERS own data, county pension costs will double in the next six years, thus shrinking the funds that are available for county services. When coupled with a growing weariness among residents to further tax increases, a “something’s gotta to give”scenario quickly emerges. I believe the solution lies in a renewed focus on the specific issues under the county’s purview, and avoidance of taking on issues that would be more appropriately handled by other levels of government.

The amount of money budgeted for county expenditures is finite, and when new services are proposed, it means that cutbacks will be required elsewhere. In other words, we cannot simultaneously fund a brand new county department while also funding existing mental health service programs to desired levels. Before any new “nice to have” service is funded, each supervisor should consider first whether or not the county is currently meeting its core obligations to residents to the best and most efficient extent possible.

I realize this may not be the most exciting issue, but candidates making false promises about what they plan on doing while in office adds to distrust in government and leads to justifiable voter cynicism. While it may be interesting to hear how candidates feel or what they plan on doing about noncounty issues over which they have no control, voters would be better served by engaging candidates on their specific ideas on how to improve critical county core services.

Residents should hold supervisors accountable for how efficiently core services are deployed to meet publicly stated goals. Doing so would prevent “mission creep,” and would ensure that precious tax dollars are not wasted on non-essential services and unsustainable pension benefits. In other words, county supervisors should “stick to their knitting,” and focus solely on core responsibilities. Doing so would make them the diligent stewards of taxpayer dollars we all expect from our public officials.

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