November 26, 2021 San Jose City Council decisions are almost always final, but they don’t start that way: Most major decisions go through a commission of appointees before they head to the council’s 11-member dais.
Before a law or policy is passed, it’s usually first taken up by the relevant commission. After presentations from city officials, public comment and debate, the commission votes in favor or against an item. The process can take place over a single meeting, like many land-use decisions for the city’s planning commission, or over several months, like decisions related to the city charter. San Jose has 18 total commissions with most members appointed by the City Council. For major land-use items, decisions start with the city’s Planning Commission. For governance? The Charter Review Commission. For how the city’s districts are carved up? The Redistricting Commission