Note: the caption at the top of this video was written by the parties who edited it for YouTube posting and is not the editorial opinion of San Jose Inside.
Tensions are running high over municipal measures V and W, which would limit arbitration awards in city labor disputes and reduce pension benefits for new city hires.
On Saturday, members of the San Jose Fire Department and San Jose Police Department confronted Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio at his Willow Glen home after political consultant Tom Saggau of the Saggau and DeRollo political consulting firm spotted Oliverio removing signs.
Saggau says he was driving his son to soccer practice when the alleged sign theft occured. “I was on my way to Gilroy. I saw him and confronted him. I called and filed a police report,” Saggau says.
Saggau says volunteers followed Oliverio and staked out his car behind La Villa Delicatessen on Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen, video camera in hand.
In a YouTube clip released by Saggau and DeRollo, linked here, Saggau’s voice is heard requesting his property back and declaring that he wants to make a citizen’s arrest. SJPD Captain Eddie Garcia walks up and speaks with Oliverio, who opens his trunk and turns over three signs.
Oliverio says the signs were illegally placed and that he removed them consistent with city ordinances designed to address election season visual blight. “It would be nice if code enforcement removed the signs, but they don’t have enough resources,” he said.
Oliverio also said it was intimidating to be followed by burly off-duty fire fighters and arrive home to three marked police units in his front yard. Police and fire fighters’ unions are leading the opposition to Measures V and W.
Oliverio says he has been a strong supporter of public safety workers as a councilman but the measures have elevated emotions in this election season.
Oliverio said that City Attorney Rick Doyle assured him that the removal broke no laws.
Acting SJPD Police Chief Chris Moore says that his units responded to “keep the peace” and that “an informational report,” was taken.
“We’re playing it right down the middle,” Moore said. “We’re not sure there was any crime.”
Under city code section 23.02.880, “any illegal signs in the public right-of-way may be removed by the City.”
The code section goes on to state that, “any illegal sign of de minimus value in the public right-of-way may also be removed by volunteers on behalf of the City.”