San Jose, California, May 5, 2014 – With five major candidates in the race for Mayor of San Jose, California, the Ethiopian-American Council of North America (EAC) has decided to lend the organization’s support to front-runner Sam Liccard. Mr. Liccard is presently serving on the city council.
San Jose, with nearby Oakland, is home to one of the largest Ethiopian-American communities in North America. The endorsement could lend considerable impetus to Liccard’s drive to become mayor of San Jose.
The EAC endorsement joins those of organizations and individuals who recognize the need to sustain and grow small businesses in the area. Many Ethiopian-Americans in San Jose are entrepreneurs and small business owners. Two of Liccard’s catch-phrases are “Small Is Beautiful” and “Start Up San Jose.” His “Start Up” initiative focuses on improving the relationship between city hall and small businesses with a focus on enabling entrepreneurs to procure vacant business spaces in the downtown area.
Bringing new vitality with this initiative will also help the city’s crime problem. Vacant storefronts make citizens feel less safe, invite graffiti and vagrancy, and other symptoms of the “broken windows” syndrome, such as predatory crime. Liccard also has ideas regarding increasing the police force and involving community members in the policing of their own neighborhoods and business centers.
Liccard’s focus on environmental and traffic problems in the city has also gained him the endorsement of the Sierra Club. He is also looking for ways to recycle industrial or factory sites in the city, increase the ability of the local airport to be a jobs engine, and other initiatives, such as decreasing the time for business permits, to grow the ever-important small business sector that contributes so much to a city’s economic vibrancy.
His social concerns regard leveraging libraries and community centers as job training centers; he wants to make San Jose a place that grows its own talent, especially among “the thousands of kids trapped on the wrong side of the achievement gap.” His ideas and his focus on small businesses, increasing employment, revamping the city’s aesthetics, lowering crime, and improving the environment and traffic problems, appear to make him an excellent leader and servant for entrepreneurial immigrant populations.
This April 19, members of the Ethiopian-American community raised well over $5,000 as a contribution to Mr. Liccard’s mayoral campaign.