San Jose on Hook for Union Attorney Fees in Measure B Fight

A judge ruled that the city of San Jose should be on the hook for union attorney fees in the ongoing battle over Measure B pension reforms, according to a NBC Bay Area report.

In her tentative decision, Judge Patricia Lucas reportedly said that San Jose’s majority victory—10 of the 13 modifications were upheld—should not shield the city from covering costs for the San Jose Police Officers Association, AFSCME and retirees.

“The court’s task does not consist of tallying up the number of individual issues on which each side prevailed,” Lucas ruled, according to the report.

Both sides claimed victory this spring when Lucas made her final ruling—before appeals—on Measure B. This thing is still not over, though. The two sides are reportedly scheduled to be back in court Nov. 6, and there is talk that San Jose has an interest in taking the matter all the way to the Supreme Court.

On Tuesday, the City Council set aside $2 million in anticipation that Lucas' ruling is upheld. "The action that the council took was basically a budgetary placeholder," said David Vossbrink, the city's communications director.

28 Comments

    • I don’t see the argument you’re making at all. Would the effects of Measure B as a piece of public policy be any different if Judge Lucas had ruled that the unions pay for their own court fees?

      • Most of Measure B was plainly illegal before it was even passed. Most of the savings Reed and Liccardo were chasing were never going to happen because of that. Instead, they devastated SJPD and other city departments. Now, on top of all of the other negatives, their folly is going to cost they city a few million more in attorneys’ fees. In other words, more proof that Measure B was an incredible failure.

      • Carthagus,

        If you can’t see that Measure B is and continues to be a catastrophic failure, you’ve either got your head buried in the sand next to Sam Liccardo or you’re desperately shopping for a glass stomach.

        The effects of Measure B would not be any different if the unions had to pay the attorney’s fees. It is, and would still be a catastrophe.

    • So to date this city has already spent upwards of 4-5 Million Dollars on their defense. The Costs are going to continue to climb , Especially if this City insists on wasting taxpayer dollars on this Illegal ballot initiative . 2 million is but a drop in the bucket , when all is said and done. Worst Mayor and Council ever

  1. There you go! Chuck Reed and the gang costing the citizens of San Jose even more money. If you elect Sam Liccardo you should be ready to accept more of the same money drain. After all he is a member of Chuck Reed’s gang and has been hand selected by Reed to continue the war on City employees, their pensions and benefits…

  2. The city has spent over $5 million for their side and one can assume the firefighters union and SJPOA each spent a out the same amount. This means the taxpayers of San Jose are on the hook for $15 million dollars plus the cost of the Measure B ballot measure which was about $1 million. How many potholes would this money fill? How many extra hours could libraries be open? The “working smarter” government that Liccardo has been touting isn’t looking so smart. It is easy for Liccardo, Reed and the others to spend other people’s money (taxpayer) when it’s not theirs. How about you San Jose? How is the smarter working government of San Jose working for you? $16 million dollars down the sewer and it didn’t go to fixing WPCP.

    • > The “working smarter” government that Liccardo has been touting isn’t looking so smart.

      How is putting more money into the retirement benefits of retired cops “working smarter”? The people of San Jose are not going to get one additional hour of policing out of it.

      • But you would have 400 more cops to answer those calls for help instead of calls going unanswered, deleted or delayed by hours. Yes…you would have got more policing out of it. Additionally, the POA offered a negotiated settlement that would have put hundreds of millions of dollars immediately back into the city coffers but it was rejected by the likes of Liccardo, Reed and the rest of the “government working smarter” council in favor of Measure B. Now we have a net loss in the millions of dollars instead of a net gain in the hundreds of millions. How is the working smarter government going to explain that?

      • “The people of San Jose are not going to get one additional hour of policing out of it.”

        How do you figure? Making the SJPD a tolerable place to work again and being able to actually hire people = more hours of policing.

      • Bubble,

        You’re looking past the fact that the Unions all tried to sit down with the city, pre Measure B, and brought forth multiple proposals with real savings, only to be shot down each time. Even as recently as this past summer, the council shot down real solutions to save real money and put an end to this debacle. Sam simply hijacked the plan, spit in Ed Shikada’s face and tried to take credit for drafting “a fix” which he knew was a non-starter from the outset.

  3. Reed and Liccardo are buddies with the the Meyers Nave law firm, the same firm that gave bad advice that Measure B was legal, and has now been paid millions of dollars defending Measure B in court. It was either really bad legal advice, or more likely a ploy to create their own “make work” plan. Take all the way to the Supreme Court? Another $5-10 million in legal fees to the friends of Reed and Liccardo.

    • The Meyers Nave law firm has represented many lawsuits just like Measure B , and have never won one yet.

  4. When you move to put something on the ballot that you knew in advance was, at least, partially illegal you are asked for it to be challenged. You may be able to fool 20% of the population of San Jose but you can’t fool a judge who follows the law. Reed is a mean spirited, angry man. His my way, or the highway mentality has ruined the city. Can’t wait for him to go and hope his hand picked successor follows him out the door. Vote Cortese for at lease common sense.

  5. > You may be able to fool 20% of the population of San Jose but you can’t fool a judge who follows the law.

    Happens all the time. The Obama justice department fooled Justice Roberts over Obamacare.

      • Mr. SKUNT:

        Have you ever noticed that people have to explain a LOT of things to you?

        > The power to levy taxes is an enumerated power. Nice red herring, BTW.

        Roberts didn’t say what kind of tax. It makes a difference.

        Also, Obamba, Reid, and Pelosi said over and over that it WASN’T a tax. It was an “individual mandate”, (later ruled to be unconstitutional). If it was a “tax”, they couldn’t have passed Obambacare.

        Third world banana republic stuff.

        “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”

        “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

        “If you like your ebola, you can keep your ebola.”

  6. Hi Bubbles,
    How did the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test go for you? I am guessing not so well, judging by your vitriol towards everything, especially police officers, you post. Is there a lot of that going around in tribe you belong to?

  7. Thank you, Mr/Ms Observation. Wow! The City was crushed on the issue of the plaintiffs’ entitlement to attorney fees. We’ll see in November what the amount is.

  8. The hearing isn’t until 11/7/14, so we won’t know the amount until after that date.

  9. There are still like 4 other cases winding their way thru the court system , so this price tag will only grow .