City Council Approves Mayor’s Budget

Thirty minutes before the San Jose City Council went into closed session to decide whether to impose a 10 percent pay cut on public employees, Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio addressed the large group of union members and other citizens gathered for the meeting.

“If you’re angry, it’s ok to be angry,” Oliverio said, “because the system is all screwed up.”

Last Tuesday, the City Council decided to delay its vote on the 10 percent wage cut for city employees, after five unions provided a counter-offer that they claimed would be the equivalent of the proposed cut.

However, after studying the offer, City Manager Debra Figone and City Attorney Richard Doyle determined that it was unacceptable. Figone recommended the city impose the cuts and implement the Mayor’s budget proposal.

The motion passed on an 8 to 3 vote, with council members Pyle, Kalra and Campos opposing. The Council deferred action on wage and benefit concessions with the five labor unions until the Council meeting of Tuesday, June 22.

The council’s rejection of the union’s proposal hinged on a clause in the city charter regarding retirement contributions. The Mayor’s budget proposal took some money out of the employee’s retirement fund, but also made cuts in other areas. The unions’ counter-offer captured all 10 percent from the fund. According to Figone and Doyle, that violated the charter.

Christopher Platten, the attorney for the city’s employee unions, said union members were willing to waive the charter’s requirements. Figone responded that that was impossible.

“My understanding in my entire carreer is that [the charter] can only be changed by a vote by the people,” she said.  “I do wish the union’s proposal would have worked, but it doesn’t.”

Mayor Chuck Reed agreed with Figone.

“I’m disappointed that we don’t have an offer in front of us that we can accept,” he said

Councilmember Rose Herrera, who Tuesday supported the decision to delay the budget vote, today backed the mayor. She emphasized that passing the budget should not halt negotiations, but that the decision had to be made because the city’s budget could not be thrown off schedule.

“We cannot print money or issue IOUs,” Herrera said. “We must do the right thing for the city.”

Council members Oliverio, Nancy Pyle, Judy Chirco and Madison Nguyen expressed frustration with a lack of communication between the city and the unions. Oliverio said the union-city negotiations should have been done in public, not in closed session.

“I think we have a failure to communicate” Pyle said. “My sprits went from very very high, to very very low. I’m really angry. I’m angry because we are making it harder and harder and harder to deal with us.”

After Pyle’s statement, the packed city council chambers erupted in about 20 seconds of applause.

Figone criticized union “tactics,” and expressed her own aggravation with trying to negotiate at the last minute.

“This is the kind of thing you get at the eleventh hour—disappointment,” Figone said.

Platten then notified the council that the unions were willing to go back into bargaining for another 24 hours, in order to iron out the charter technicality.

Reed immediately rejected the idea, saying that the council didn’t have enough time, and bargaining from the dais would create too many legal problems.

Council members Nora Campos and Ash Kalra said that they could not support forcing cuts on the unions. Kalra said by doing so based on a charter technicality, the city would open itself up to lawsuits.

“I do think there is great legal risk,” Kalra said. “There are incredible costs to litigation.”

Campos pleaded that the unions just needed more time.

“I don’t believe that we have exhausted all our options,” she said. “I am prepared to sit here in council chambers for the next 12 days to allow them to go back to the bargaining unit….until that is an option, I’m not going to impose.”

Chirco then made a motion for an official vote. “We don’t have the option of just postponing our budget,” she said.

During public comment, union members spoke emotionally against the city imposing cuts. They emphasized that the council’s decision boiled down to a trust issue. They said that by imposing the cuts, the city council would be saying that that they do not trust the unions.

“Imposition sends the wrong message” Platten said. “If you accept the unions offer, in 24 hours we can turn this entire situation on its head.”

After the council came out of closed session, they decided to hold off on finalizing potential concessions with employee unions until next Tuesday, in order to allow further savings on jobs and services. Councilmember Sam Liccardo made a motion to approve the mayor’s budget.

However, Pyle came forth with a last minute memorandum that would go forward with the mayor’s proposed budget, but with stipulations to use other funds to keep police and fire services. Pyle’s motion to approve the memo did not pass, failing on an 8 to 3 vote.

Shortly thereafter the council voted to officially approve the mayor’s budget, voting 8 to 3 – council members Campos, Pyle and Kalra dissenting.

 

51 Comments

  1. “The motion passed on an 8 to 3 vote, with council members Pyle, Kalra and Campos opposing.”

    Now, will voters remember this at election time? Despite all the tough Tea Party talk, incumbents mostly get re-elected.

    ANYONE but Campos for Assembly. I may write in Bill Chew!

      • Unfortunately she had no real competition in her election.  God help us all.  Especially if her labor camp is “grooming” her brother for that position too. 

        I shudder at the thought of any of that. 

        I read in the Merc that Shirwakawa’s chief of staff Garcia is out of commission with a heart attack.  I was stunned.  Who knew he had a heart?

  2. Jessica,
    A few important facts that you left out:

    Mayor Reed incorporated Council Member Pyle’s need to ensure funding for the sexual assault unit in his budget through a friendly amendment made by Liccardo.

    Union leaders told Pierluigi that they would love to have their negotiations with the City made public because then they would see exactly how City staff treats them, and what is actually said during negotiations. She went on to say that the City never did really negotiate fairly from the start.

    Another vital fact: It was also disclosed that Unions DID in fact meet the 10% give back, but a Charter conflict was the sticking point. Unions were not aware of this Charter conflict until today. Hence they were still willing to work with the City to work on a way to satisfy the City Managers concerns. They are now working on that.

    Interestingly enough, it seems our Charter like many of our ordinances need some serious updating and re-writing. Hopefully this newest development coaxes our City Attorney’s Office to take that on SOON because this should never have happened during the Union’s “good faith” efforts to put an offer on the table.

    • It wasn’t left out that the city met the 10% but that it was in violation of the city charter.  That is in the article.  You say the unions did not know about the conflict until now.  Why not?  They have legal counsel, they’ve been negotiating in earnest for months so why don’t they familiarize themselves with the city charter since it has restrictions and benefits to their union negotiations? 

      Their own sloppy handling of the matter is their problem, not the city’s.  “They are now working on that”  Too little, too late.  Better luck next year.

      At least be honest, this wasn’t a good faith concession—it was a “they have us by the balls” concession.  Once Councilwoman Herrera stated last Friday that she was voting with the Mayor THEN and only then did the unions realize they had no leverage and more importantly not enough votes. 

      Campos and Kalra are disgraces.  They pander so hard to the unions it makes me wonder what exactly their kickback is.

      • We definately have differing viewpoints on this. Go watch the entire 6 hour Council Meeting, then come back and give your point of view. City staff admited the Unions didn’t see the Charter problem…

        • My apologies!
          This post was put here by me. I guess I put his name in the space I should have put mine.

          Leftovers Mon, Jun 21, 2010 – 4:19 pm .We definately have differing viewpoints on this. Go watch the entire 6 hour Council Meeting, then come back and give your point of view. City staff admited the Unions didn’t see the Charter problem…

        • No worries Kathleen, I appreciate the clarification though. 

          The city staff admitting the Unions didn’t see the conflict with the city charter and their counter offer doesn’t mean that the unions should get a pass. 

          My original point stands—the Unions employ lawyers and spend hours upon hours negotiating these contracts—that they’d make an offer that is in violation of the city charter is a rookie mistake.  Its their job as a negotiating team to make sure they know the rules with which they have to operate under—and the rules that restrict the council. 

          The tone of some of the replies is that the council is being “bullies” for not allowing them to revisit that issue and finding away around the charter.  I still believe very firmly that the council absolutely should not give them a chance to do that because the city charter cannot be dismissed at a whim and its not the unions option to simply agree to pass on the restriction.  Its the citizen’s of San Jose who need to do that. 

          So, we do respectfully disagree on that matter.

  3. > I am not surprised by the actions of Pyle ( she needs to retire )

    Duly noted.

    Nancy Pyle
    District 10
    Term Expires: 12/31/12

    I have added her to my enemies list and will be issuing a fatwah shortly.

    The aroused citizenry of District 10 will see to it that she and her ingrate union cronies will get a chance to sit on the sideliness and contemplate all the wonderful things that the taxpayers of San Jose have done for them, and which they have never appreciated.

        • > Oh please. You can’t possibly believe this is anything but sarcasm.

          I would say that C’mon Eric is wound a bit tight.

          Maybe you should ban him from posting until he pledges to take a double dose of laxative 30 minutes before every post.

        • A fatwā (Arabic: فتوى‎; plural fatāwā Arabic: فتاوى‎) in the Islamic faith is a religious opinion concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā is called, in that respect, a Mufti, i.e. an issuer of fatwa. This is not necessarily a formal position since most Muslims argue that anyone trained in Islamic law may give an opinion (fatwā) on its teachings. If a fatwā does not break new ground, then it is simply called a ruling.[1]

          An analogy might be made to the issue of legal opinions from courts in common-law systems. Fatwās generally contain the details of the scholar’s reasoning, typically in response to a particular case, and are considered binding precedent by those Muslims who have bound themselves to that scholar, including future Muftis; mere rulings can be compared to memorandum opinions. The primary difference between common-law opinions and fatwās, however, is that fatwās are not universally binding; as the Sharia is not universally consistent and Islam is very non-hierarchical in structure, fatwās do not carry the sort of weight that secular common-law opinions do.

        • > The person who issues a fatwā is called, in that respect, a Mufti, i.e. an issuer of fatwa. This is not necessarily a formal position since most Muslims argue that anyone trained in Islamic law may give an opinion (fatwā) on its teachings.

          Well, listening to NPR and reading the New York Times arguably qualifies as training in Islamic law.  So I guess I’m qualified to issue a fatwa.

          I think Nancy Pyle’s failure to wear a burkah and show deference to Chuck Reed and other male members of the city council is definitely un-Islamic.  And even worse is her pandering and sucking up to the infidels of the public employees unions.

        • Fatwa’s are no laughing matter, especially when it comes to cartoon mice.

          “Mickey Mouse has become an awesome character, even though according to Islamic law, Mickey Mouse should be killed in all cases.”

          Munajid, a former diplomat at the Saudi embassy in Washington D.C., made the remarks on Arab television network al-Majd TV after he was asked to give Islam’s teaching on mice.

          And Mickey wasn’t alone. Munajid also mentioned Jerry from “Tom and Jerry” fame is on his list of “impure” cartoon mice.

          http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,423304,00.html

      • “Death threat?!?”  Please.

        I, Kevin O’Keeffe, plan to murder every single man, woman, and child on the planet.

        (You’ll never take me alive, coppers!}

  4. I would never vote for Campos for higher office anyway, and at this stage, I’m adding Pyle and Kalra to that list (and I suspect the latter may have future ambitions in that regard).

  5. Sorry all but I disagree with you. Public safety must be our city’s number one priority. I highly commend these Council members for understanding that, and for fighting for it.

    Sexual assaults, increase in gang activity, robbery, and property crimes is on the rise. We already have an understaffed PD. If we aren’t careful, we are going to turn into one of the worst crime ridden cities in the State. Re-think your idea that Police and Fire should be equal to pot holes, and library hours. The life they save might be yours.

    • Kathleen,

      Are you saying Kalra, Campos and Pyle voted no because they wanted to impose a greater than 10% cut on non-public safety unions?

    • Kathleen,

      Are paid by the police & fire fighters unions? Its obvious you are pro-union and will disagree with any comments that rip Campos, Pyle, or Kalra.

      As far as I’m concerned, I pay enough property taxes to ensure that my street has no potholes and that I can visit the local library on a Saturday AND still have the service of our police & fire departments.

      I don’t give a damn about the city’s relationship with each of the 11 unions it must deal with, just stop asking me, the taxpayer, for more money.

      The unions bitched and moaned when the economy was good and demanded more. Now that things are bad, they still want more! Quit being hard-a**es and work toward a solution instead of finger pointing.

      • San Jose Taxpayer,
        Your anger and frustration is understandable. And I agree that taxpayers shouldn’t have to be made to compensate for massive, irresponsible spending to get services. Where I disagree with you is in who is really to blame for this mess.

        I pay taxes too, and no, Police and Fire Fighter Unions do not pay me. I happen to work with victims of crime both petty and violent crimes so, unlike you, I understand first hand the seriousness of what is “really” going on in our community.  I honestly believe in my heart, that had we had a properly staffed PD, my murdered friend would still be alive today. The bank, in which he was robbed and shot execution style and left to die at, was robbed 5 times before his murder.

        Because we do not have enough patrol cars on the street to serve our million plus population, many people are being robbed, victimized, and gangs are growing bigger and stronger. If you don’t believe me, go to Protect San Jose and read what Police Officers are saying about staffing levels, and look at the types of crimes happening in our neighborhoods.

        You have to remember that the Mayor and Council are in charge of the budget and spending, NOT the Unions. Rather than buying into all this pitting the Unions against the public, and the City, go back and really look at the spending practices of our current and past Council. If that doesn’t work for you, take a walk past that over priced, useless albatross we call “City Hall.” Remember there’s over 1MILLION dollars worth of new office furniture in it, while we have a ton of office furniture sitting in warehouses we citizen’s pay for. The list of waste is sickening.

    • I agree that public safety has to be a critical priority of the city.  However, I disagree that the cuts the police and firefighter’s unions are asked to make jeopardize that.

      Public safety encompasses more than just more patrols.  Closing libraries, community centers, after school programs being defunded will all affect public safety.  more young people will be unsupervised and susceptible to gang influence or victimization.  Crime does increase with the greater numbers of latchkey kids in a community. 

      I have great respect for fire fighters and police officers I even have several in my own family all throughout this state.  San Jose is the only city I know of that pays their police and fire so out of scale with the average wage.  I can think of four police officers I know who all drive Mercedes Benz and even have Jaguars in their garages, summer homes in the tropics and live in the San Jose Country Club.  All on single income, public service jobs.  If our public service workers are living that posh then they are being paid too much.  I don’t demean the job they do, but the bottom line is we (the city of San Jose and the tax payers) cannot afford to keep them in the posh lifestyles they are accustomed to.  Six figures for police and fire fighters is way too exorbitant.

      We run the risk that they will leave and go elsewhere.  But where?  What other city do you think they will take their service too for these wages?  None.  Not in California.  There are lines of young men and women eager to be trained for those jobs.  SHould they phase out and leave, the city will still be well protected and served.

      • Leftovers,
        “I can think of four police officers I know who all drive Mercedes Benz and even have Jaguars in their garages, summer homes in the tropics and live in the San Jose Country Club.  All on single income, public service jobs.”

        You are full of crap. You are living in a fantasy world if you think anyone can do this on $100,000 a year.

      • “I can think of four police officers I know who all drive Mercedes Benz and even have Jaguars in their garages, summer homes in the tropics and live in the San Jose Country Club.”

        Really?  I can think of 57% of the San Jose Police Dept. that doesn’t even live in San Jose because they cannot afford it.  That was the statistic a few years ago when the economy was better than it is now.  There are officers who live as far away as Tracy, Manteca, Hollister, and Modesto in order to provide a nice home for their families.

        “All on single income, public service jobs.”

        Ok, top step patrol officer makes $116.000 annually.  This is enough to live in a fancy home and drive fancy cars in San Jose?  I think not.

        “What other city do you think they will take their service too for these wages?”

        Actually, several officers have already taken jobs at other agencies already who were given pink slips and expect to be laid off.  There are dozens more who are being courted by other agencies happy to have the high quality officers that San Jose hires and trains.  Will these officers come back if a position comes available?  Most likely not since seniority rules the day in any municipal organization.

        “There are lines of young men and women eager to be trained for those jobs.”

        Yes there are and the vast majority of them are unqualified.  Scores of people test for the position of police officer and each step of the way most are eliminated either through poor scores or a background that is not up to snuff.  Back when SJPD was actually holding a police academy, they were unable to hire enough qualified people to fill approved positions as so many are weeded out during the process. Would you suggest lowering the standards just to put warm bodies in open slots?

  6. “If we aren’t careful, we are going to turn into one of the worst crime ridden cities in the State.”

    Any possibility of that is still a long, long way off.  San Jose has the lowest crime rate of any 500K+ population city in the USA.

    • We probably won’t turn into one of highest crime rate large cities in California. However, San Jose Police department is now riding the coattails of an era at the police department where they were sufficiently staffed, proactive and nipped problems in the bud, to an era where they are totally reactive to just handling calls for service and are routinely bashed in the media. San Jose Police department is critically understaffed according to the city’s own studies. 1200 officers for a city of over a million people and growing is not enough. The city council, in all it’s wisdom, has also continued to rapidly annex crime ridden county pockets stretching resources that much more. Kathleen is correct that violent crimes are on the rise, all but the most violent never getting in the media. Many low priority calls for service are going unanswered in patrol, and many crimes, especially property crimes, never get investigated by detectives. Love them or hate them, the police are the thin line that seperates and protects the good people in society from a few very evil people who prey on the good folks. They help us feel secure in our lives, and if we lose that, our quality of life will rapidly decline. Just look at our sister city Oakland, for a glaring example. There are too few SJPD officers to preserve this line. They will soon be at 1991 staffing levels after officers retire over the summer.

    • Kevin,
      I’m surprised that someone as sensible and as educated as you are would be this naive. I worked in Victim Offender Mediation for SIX years and was taking cases THREE or more years OLD! Our crime rate is very high and children are being harmed everyday by gangs. Calls are made to the Police and there aren’t enough Officers to respond. Some people don’t even bother to report property or car theft because no one investigates them because they are too understaffed.

      You can turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the facts if you will, but “low priority crimes” are on the RISE! And if we lose as many Officers and investigators as the City want to cut, we are really screwed.

      • I have to say, when my niece got car jacked last year, the car was found like four months later, a few hundred yards from where it was taken, when it came time to sweep the streets.  Its a long story, but the car jack was a rape & robbery gone wrong (basically her friend showed up in a car, right as she was being attacked), so it seems clear the car was merely used to vacate the scene.  Seems like a fairly minimal degree of police work would have concluded with them checking the cars in the immediate area, and seeing if any that matched her model & color were hers.  But this was obviously never done.  I’ve lived in or near San Jose since 1972, and I never thought things were very bad, but perhaps they are in something of a decline of late. 

        Of course, the fact there are no jobs doesn’t help matters.  Gangs thrive in an environment filled with bored young men.

  7. Bravo for the council members who voted for the Mayor’s budget.  I am not surprised by the actions of Pyle ( she needs to retire ) nor the sleazy used car saleman talk of Khalra , and of course Campos is in bed with the unions.  We have some intelligent council members:  notably Constant, Liccardo and Oliverio.

  8. > Any San Jose police officer who looks at those numbers and the support this city administration chooses to give them, should ask themselves if it’s time to retire, leave the profession or go to another agency where the quality and retention of public safety personnel matters.

    By all means, any San Jose police officer who is sticking around only because he thinks he is barely making what he deserves, should turn in his badge and get the hell out.

    According to the Chief of Police, there are 150 applicants for every opening in the police academy.  This is more applications per slot than Stanford receives for its medical school or law school.

    There are PLENTY of candidates willing to do the work that the overpaid prima donnas of the Police union won’t do if they are paid a nickel less.

    • “According to the Chief of Police, there are 150 applicants for every opening in the police academy.”

      Can you please provide a reference for this?

  9. General Fund, Special Fund, Capital Fund…All kinds of money coming in and being moved around. Let the city go find another 2 grocery markets to give $502,000 to buy Bankrupt shares! Set aside millions for the A’s and Shark Tank infrastructure. Keep giving annual allowances to special community groups in hopes of one day they will figure out how to run a basic budget with public subsidies. Fight the San Jose Firemen in court for accrued overtime they rightfully earned and pay a $1.6 million settlement because your city management and city attorney couldn’t see it right in the first place. Mr Mayor Sunshine, let’s open up those funds with hundreds of millions of dollars of public money and give us a glimpse of how broke or well managed the city’s funds are.

    It is sad the the mayor and his council minions have taken the worse world economic mess in history, moved money around where the law says you can’t see it or touch it and decide it is the fault of city workers the city cannot close its 2010-11 General budget. Like any family budget, it’s what you make of it and how you chose to color it. NO different here.

    Employees won’t see incomes increase for the next 5-7 years. As it is police currently contribute 17% of their wages to benefits. Add another 10% this year,one way or another, and your top step officer salary just dropped from $116,000 to $84,800. Don’t forget they pay Federal and State income taxes too.
    At 21% tax bracket, take another 17,808 out of their paychecks. $65,992. Pretty much 1996 Salary levels. Pretty sad where that base is going to be in 5-7 years even as this economy turns for the better.

    Most public employees never figured to make it big earning a city paycheck. It came in dribbles over the years, unlike the big dot.com era and other valley employers that payed their workers big time money. They chose their profession and economic fate.
    They chose to work in a profit oriented economy. City workers chose public service and a steady paycheck to go along with a career.

    Any San Jose police officer who looks at those numbers and the support this city administration chooses to give them, should ask themselves if it’s time to retire, leave the profession or go to another agency where the quality and retention of public safety personnel matters.

  10. A Charter technicality is how the union hack lawyer and labor bought and paid for Councilmembers Campos and Kalra characterize the stalemate.

    Its a city charter legality and they are trying to usurp the people of San Jose to the benefit of their very focused and very small labor cronies.  No breaking the law for their whims.  Cops don’t get a pass with breaking the law and unions shouldn’t get to “negotiate” when they get to break the law either. 

    If the labor unions are so convinced they are “the people” then put it to a vote.  City wide votes.  Lets see how much support they really have.  Otherwise, sit down, shut up and take the cuts that everyone else is taking in the private sector.  No more boo hooing your situation when the good people of San Jose are hemorrhaging too.

  11. ““According to the Chief of Police, there are 150 applicants for every opening in the police academy.””

    Most Police Academy Applicants (97%) are not eligible Police Academy recruits

    January 2009 Police Academy class had:
    –  2455 requests for information
    –  181 ( 7.3% ) applicants passed after written and physical agility tests, oral interview and applicant submitted personal history ( disqualify most due prior criminal records, drugs, alcohol, bad DMV and DUI records, spousal abuse, restraining orders, credit checks disqualify many )
    –  historically only only 1 of 3 pass PD public records background ( criminal and civil court alcohol and drug, military and credit checks ) or about 55 – 60 ( 2.4% ) applicants get accepted

    SJPD screens out problem people

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/clerk/CommitteeAgenda/PSFSS/20080821/PS20080821fii.pdf

    • > Most Police Academy Applicants (97%) are not eligible Police Academy recruits

      Did it ever occur to you that the authorities can adjust the acceptance standards up or down, basically on their own whim.

      Every job hunter in Silicon Valley has had the experience of applying for a job only to learn that the employer has received 500 applications of which 200 probably meet the 10 requirements for the job.

      So the employer simply adds five more nice but unnecessary requirements to reduce the number of applicants who are qualified.

      The San Jose Police Department has police officers with advanced degrees, including law degrees.  The SJPD basically REQUIRES two years of college credits for applicants.  Many other Police Departments require only a high school diploma.

      San Jose P.D. has set the bar of job requirements way, way higher than needed in order to justify its cadillac pay scale.

    • Nobody should be denied a job as a police officer because they have bad credit. Maybe one of the reasons their trying to get a better paying job is in order to pay their bills, you know?  Should we only make jobs available to people who don’t really need them?  I’m not seeing how that makes sense.

      • > Nobody should be denied a job as a police officer because they have bad credit.

        And why did they have bad credit?  Incompetent budgeting?  Lying on their credit application?  Gambling debts?

        There are PLENTY of qualified applicants with impeccable credit records.

        The City of San Jose needs to run a competent police department, not run a rescue program for bad credit risks.

        There’s a reason people have bad credit, and in the overwhelming number of cases it relates to bad judgement or personal irresponsibility.

        Let the bad credit risks repair their bad credit ratings with the credit reporting agencies BEFORE they consider applying for a job with the SJPD.

  12. With all due respect, I am very glad the bar is set so high for San Jose Police Officers. If I call 911 for myself or my family, I would feel better knowing the officer responding has a little more education than a GED.

    • > With all due respect, I am very glad the bar is set so high for San Jose Police Officers.

      We would all feel wonderful if every SJPD Officer were also qualified to be an astronaut.

      However, no one seems to be able to figure out how to pay for such an over qualified police force.

      So, we’ll have to settle for less.

      It’s what happens every day in the world of grown ups. We can’t have it all.

      • Your analogy is ridiculous.

        Figure out the cost of one multi-million dollar lawsuit versus lowering the hiring standards and lowering the education standards.

        San Jose PD has done more with less year after year because they have an extremely well educated police department, not becuase they lowered their hiring standards.

        • > Your analogy is ridiculous.

          My analogy is pure genius.

          Your criticism is pure fear-mongering.

          We don’t need on over-paid, gold plated police force.

          We need a competent, workmanlike police force.

          Public school educators assure me that a teachers union provided high school education is perfectly wonderful.

  13. Don’t pat the City Council on the back too soon….

    Check the latest about City Council Corruption.  Dan Fenton Makes $353,000 a year from the City….  and he’s not even a City employee.  How does this happen in this type of economy when the city is laying o ff workers????? 

    Please educate yourselves on who is really draining the City Coffers.  More wasted taxpayer money…..

    http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2010/06/28/story7.html

    A scathing grand jury report on Team San Jose has reopened debate about the city’s support of the group that runs San Jose’s convention and visitor bureau and major public venues.

    City and Team San Jose officials have called the Santa Clara County Grand Jury report critically flawed, but a formal response isn’t expected until August when the City Council reviews the report.

    The grand jury report is the latest salvo in a long-running debate regarding the operators of San Jose’s Convention Center and six public theaters. Since Team San Jose was awarded the city contract in 2004, CEO Dan Fenton has been criticized by two grand juries, as well as city auditors and fellow convention-center operators from around the country.

    Read more: Team San Jose debate gets a new round with grand jury report – Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal

    • Thank you for the post Frank. Let me add that the City Manager has requested ANOTHER employee at the cost of 130K be added to the City Manager’s Office. I thought we were so broke that we had to lay people off!

      • The new employee will be coordinating the “we could fix everything if only the greedy unions would agree to a wage reduction; that’s the magic answer!” stuff, freeing up a city worker to help issue the “look! falcons!!” press releases and announce other vital city business (new Ross store downtown!)  See also: lovely full-page ads in the Mercury News, reminding us that we have an airport. Very helpful!

  14. Where in America can you get a $100-150,000 + job, lifetime free health care benefits and 75 – 90%  guarantee pension before age 55 that can never be taken away, 3% yearly cost of living increases worth $5-6 million with only GED, high school degree or community college 60 credits

    Only in California working for local and state governments

  15. I am so tired of the mayor and city manager creating an environment of distrust and hard feelings between the employees of this city and it’s leadership; and between the citizens and the public safety departments.  A true leader of a city would want his citizens to feel good about the services and employees of the city.  A true leader would be promoting his/her city services as the best in the country.  A true leader would not be promoting a smear campaign against his/her own city services.  A true leader would actually negotiate with the employees.  Negotiating means working to find a solution that is good for both sides.  Negotiating is not outright refusal of employee offers for the months leading up to June and then claiming that the employees will not work with the city.  When the employees agree to take the city’s offer, the city suddenly decides to retract that offer.  The city manager then sends out a letter stating that due to the unions unwillingness to agree to concessions, the city is forced to layoff employees.  It is actually the city who was unwilling to agree to the employees’ offer of concessions (which was the dollar amount the city asked for).  Also, why did the city keep changing the amount of concessions that were needed from the employees?  I don’t think that the city will agree to anything that the employees will offer.  Why is that?  What ever happened to “doing the right thing” or the concept of integrity?

  16. Re: public safety cuts. Saturday night we went to the Capitol Drive In. I was stunned to see so many illegal fireworks going off and no Police response. Around 9:30 pm, my friends and I sat horrified as we watched the hills go up in flames. The very hills we just saw illegal fireworks go off in. I must commend the Fire Department for their quick response. The fire was out by the end of the double feature.

    Last night Christian called the PD because someone set up an illegal fireworks show at Farnham School. The show lasted some 3 hours. Two Sheriff’s cars drove by and didn’t even stop. The PD never did show up, even though we were told someone would be out.

    The school parking lot, and our street was packed with cars, and people watching this illegal fireworks display. I was very worried that they would start a fire. Lots of my neighbors have dry lawns due to lack of watering. There are lots of trees that are dry and dying around that school too.

    I just don’t get how anyone could cut public safety given the problems this city is having with idiots who don’t follow the law. May be Robert Cortese’s controlled fireworks idea isn’t as crazy as some of you think it is.

  17. > I just don’t get how anyone could cut public safety given the problems this city is having with idiots who don’t follow the law.

    If it’s law enforcement you want, I suggest starting with the Obama administration if you want to significantly increase the proportion of American society that actually follows the law.

    Maybe if you could get the Attorney General to prosecute the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation it might decrease the amount of voter intimidation in future elections.

    Once we get the racialist thugs with night sticks away from polling places and in jail, then maybe we can take on the kids with sparklers and firecrackers.