Public Safety Unions Take Hard Line in Letter to Mayor, Council

If rhetoric is fiercest on the brink of a breakthrough, maybe the latest set of demands from San Jose's public safety unions portends progress in labor negotiations with the city. Or not.

In a letter sent earlier this week to Mayor Sam Liccardo and the City Council, heads of the Police Officers Association and the San Jose Firefighters IAFF Local 230 rejected the city's proposal to delay implementing aspects of pension reform—similar to the city's other unions—and urged the city, in light of recent legal victories, to revoke Measure B and start from scratch. Otherwise, the union presidents wrote, they'll refuse to begin negotiations.

Such a settlement would help the city "recruit and retain a quality workforce at an affordable cost to taxpayers," POA's Paul Kelly and Local 230's Joel Phelan wrote. They also asked to be allowed to make their case in the council's closed session meetings, citing their lack of trust of the negotiations process.

"Our two unions are committed to expeditiously negotiating a global settlement that resolves all pension litigation, reduces retiree healthcare costs for the city and its employees, and provides fair labor contracts for our members," Kelly and Phelan wrote. "Settlement must occur in 2015. And it can be achieved without a ballot measure."

Norberto Dueñas, San Jose's city manager, responded by welcoming suggestions on how to save enough money to restore service levels to what they were in 2011, before a spate of dramatic layoffs and budget cuts. According to his projections, the city needs $83 million to restore public safety staffing, expand hours at community centers and libraries, and repave aging streets.

Originally, the plan was to save $46 million by fully implementing Measure B. But a judge struck down portions of the measure, forcing the city to scale back savings from the reform to $25 million a year—this included nixing bonus pension checks and switching to a less costly retirement health plan for new employees.

"These savings have assisted in helping to bring our general fund budget in balance and we have slowly begun to restore pay to city employees and make some limited investments in critical service areas," Dueñas wrote. "Unfortunately, however, there is limited capacity to make significant progress in service restoration to the levels the organization would like to provide and the community deserves."

If the city continues with the new retiree health plan and elimination of the "13th check" pension bonus, Dueñas said, it could save that $25 million a year. To make up some of the difference, San Jose could put a 1/4-cent sales tax on next year's ballot.

If the city implements the remaining portion of Measure B—having current employees opt-in to a lower-cost retirement plan for future service or pay more to keep their existing benefits—the savings could total $49 million. Now, the council is proposing that the bargaining units and the city negotiate pension changes that would result in $25 million in annual savings, instead of the original $49 million target.

But Phelan and Kelly questioned the city's cost-saving estimate from Measure B, calling the $25 million figure "arbitrary" and "inflated."

"[T]he city’s decision to set an arbitrary savings target was a major step backwards," the pair wrote. "Not much thought went into the publicly disseminated target that has yet to be formally presented to us, and even less into how it restores competitiveness."

Mayor Sam Liccardo told San Jose Inside that he's believes there's room for agreement. Former POA President and the new mayor were not on speaking terms by the end of Unland's tenure, Liccardo said, but Kelly and him are apparently now communicating by text from time to time.

The city's response to the public safety unions' letter went out Wednesday. "Now we wait," Liccardo said.

"We have attempted to build our half of the bridge and we need any of the other employees groups who are willing to build their half to do so," he added.

Calls to Kelly, who's at a conference with POA staff, were not immediately returned.

Liccardo said he's hopeful for some headway, and the City Council is ready to "put old battles aside."

"It’s not a secret that many of the heads of the unions view me as one of the co-conspirators that advocated for Measure B and pension reform," Liccardo said, mentioning that he has since met with  leaders of each of the city's 11 unions to improve communications.  But he admits there is still "a lot of work to do here to build a bridge.

"Our employees want to restore services as much as our residents do," the mayor continued. "Our employees are tired of being unable to respond to the reasonable needs of our residents because of a lack of staffing and because of a lack of resources. So, when the consciousness emerges that when the residents and the employees are on the same side of this battle, I’m confident that progress will become more rapid. In the meantime, we just need to start the conversations and hopefully the negotiation."

Below are the letters sent by the POA and Local 230 (first) and the city manager's response:

February 9, 2015
Honorable Mayor and City Council
City of San Jose
200 East Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA 95113

Dear Mayor and Council,

Our two unions are committed to expeditiously negotiating a global settlement that resolves all pension litigation, reduces retiree healthcare costs for the City and its employees, and provides fair labor contracts for our members. Settlement must occur in 2015. And it can be achieved without a ballot measure.

This is why, late last week, the San Jose Police Officers’ Association and San Jose Firefighters IAFF Local 230 joined IFPTE Local 21 (AEA, CAMP, and AMSP), AFSCME (MEF and CEO Local 101), IBEW Local 332, and IUOE Local 3 in rejecting your proposed stipulation “…further extending the implementation date for much of Measure B.” [1] Having already put off implementation four times, we have no interest in kicking the can down the road.

As a critical first step, the City Council must formally state its commitment to a global settlement based on the parameters described in this correspondence.

Once that occurs, we have two overriding goals in settlement negotiations that we hope you will share: make the City of San Jose a competitive employer again and allow it to recruit and retain a quality workforce at an affordable cost to taxpayers.

With these goals in mind, the City’s decision to set an arbitrary savings target was a major step backwards. Not much thought went into the publicly disseminated target that has yet to be formally presented to us, and even less into how it restores competitiveness. Two examples stuck out to us. Both indicate that the City is inflating its target and pocketing savings already achieved—hardly the stuff of good faith negotiations.

First, the City has set a laudable goal of getting back to 1,250 police officers. Great. But does it make sense to assume that will happen immediately (when we currently have less than 1,000 officers) and to consequently inflate the savings target? We think not. The police department will readily admit that it will take many, many years before San Jose may be able to staff up to 1,250, so using 1,250 police officers when devising a savings target unnecessarily inflates the target.

Second, the City’s effort to pocket substantial SRBR and retiree healthcare savings that it attributes to Measure B is extremely problematic. Our unions have always stated their willingness to negotiate the termination of SRBR in a legally allowable manner; thus the City assuming the savings are already guaranteed is misguided and arrogant. The City is just one finalized California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) ruling away from the SRBR and retiree healthcare savings resulting from Measure B being eliminated, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. If and when SRBR and retiree healthcare changes are negotiated away, credit needs to be given.

A final PERB ruling against the City is not only possible, it is extremely likely. Two PERB administrative law judge decisions already declare Measure B invalid—each offering a different basis for why the city and its negotiators broke the law. Two other decisions are pending.

In The People ex rel. Seal Beach Police Officers Association v. City of Seal Beach, 36 Cal.3d 591 (1984), the court upheld a quo warranto challenge to a city’s failure to bargain with the labor organizations prior to placing charter amendments before the voters. It invalidated the charter amendments which had been adopted by the city voters. The court awarded attorneys’ fees to the labor organizations for prevailing.

So not only do we have a $1,039,811 attorney fee award from Judge Patricia Lucas in the Measure B litigation, we have the strong likelihood that millions more in attorney’s fees will be awarded once the PERB decisions are final.

We should use the PERB rulings, because they provide the right vehicle for getting rid of Measure B and replacing it, in 2015, with a negotiated settlement that achieves the two goals set out above.

Lastly, the lack of trust we have in the bargaining process, as illustrated by the two PERB rulings referenced above, dictate the necessity of our respective legal counsels attending your closed session meetings to provide our positions in an accurate and unfiltered manner and to answer all of your questions in real-time to expedite the process.

We look forward to discussing with your lead negotiator the outcome of your closed session meeting deliberations on these very important items we have identified in this letter.

Sincerely,

Paul and Joel

[1] See attached email sent to City’s legal counsel.

Here's the city's response:

February 11, 2015
Paul Kelly President, POA
1151 N. Fourth Street
San Jose, CA 95112

Re: Measure B

Dear Paul:

As we have previously discussed, the City is looking forward to working with you in order to settle the issues surrounding Measure B. The City is committed to explore ways to achieve a global settlement involving both changes to Measure B and resolution of the related litigation and administrative actions, including an openness to working on a solution that would take place in 2015.

During the past five years, all City employees made sacrifices to help the City address its significant budget deficits, including reductions in total compensation. Despite these sacrifices, however, the City still had to reduce its workforce and its services significantly in order to bring the budget into balance. Measure B was intended to achieve additional savings to begin restoration of those services.

As you know, we have already achieved approximately $18M in annual General Fund savings from the elimination of the Supplemental Retiree Benefit Reserve (“SRBR” or the “13th Check”) as well as the implementation of a second tier of retirement benefits for new employees. In addition, changes in retiree healthcare have also provided the City with an approximate $7M in additional General Fund savings. These savings have assisted in helping to bring our General Fund budget in balance and we have slowly begun to restore pay to City employees and make some limited investments in critical service areas. Unfortunately, however, there is limited capacity to make significant progress in service restoration to the levels the organization would like to provide and the community deserves.

With that reality, the City Council’s goal continues to be to restore services to at least the levels as of January 1, 2011, in the areas of police, fire, community centers, libraries, and street maintenance. In addition, the City Council also adopted a Police Sworn Staffing Restoration Strategy as part of their adoption of the 2014-2015 Budget. Although there was no General Fund funding toward street maintenance at the time the January 1, 2011 goal was developed, significant additional funding is required to keep our pavement condition from further deterioration.

As discussed at the January 20, 2015 and February 3, 2015, public Study Sessions, approximately $83M is needed to meet these objectives: The City currently estimates that if Measure B were fully implemented, there would be an additional $49M in General Fund savings to help fund these services through the implementation of a Tier 1 additional contributions/opt-in program (after four years) ($46 million in estimated savings) and instituting a disability workers’ compensation offset ($3 million in estimated savings).

However, in the interest of exploring ways to settle the issues surrounding Measure B, the City Council has significantly lowered the additional savings expectations from Measure B from $46M to $25M and is committed to exploring additional funding sources to make up the balance to $83M. It is recognized that this will need to be a multi-year approach; it is not expected that the funding needed nor the service restoration can be achieved in one year.

If the current savings for retiree healthcare and the elimination of SRBR are continued, the following is one proposed solution: Proposed Solutions to Address $83 M in Funding Needs 2016 ¼ % Sales Tax (w/ potential sunset after 9 to 15 years) $38 M City Share for Streets from 2016 VTA Sales Tax Measure $10 M Retiree Healthcare Cost Savings $ 5 M Institute Disability Workers’ Compensation Offset $3 M Police Tier 2 Savings (Discounted from Estimated $3 Million) $ 2 M Proposed Other Solutions Subtotal $ 58 M Target Additional Savings for Measure B Negotiations (In addition to the $25M already achieved) Subtotal $ 25 M Total Proposed Solutions to Address Funding Needs $83 M.

We are committed to working collaboratively with our bargaining units to achieve this savings goal. We respectfully request and welcome for consideration additional ideas to achieve the savings and a global resolution. In addition to lowering the anticipated additional savings goal from Measure B, the City would also like to include the following topics as part of a global settlement of Measure B:

  • A compromise regarding the revised definition of disability
  • An agreement on an offset for Workers’ Compensation for POA and IAFF employees who leave City service on a disability retirement, as already existing for non-sworn employees.
  • Discussion regarding increasing the Tier 2 benefit
  • Continue the elimination of the Supplemental Retiree Benefit Reserve (SRBR)
  • Willingness to discuss foregoing the emergency provisions related to the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).
  • Continue to address the significant issues surrounding Retiree Healthcare in hopes that we can achieve at least $5M in General Fund savings.

These elements are open to discussion and we look forward to meeting with you at the bargaining table as we work together to achieve the global settlement all parties would like to see. Your input in this effort is critical. We have received a request from the POA and IAFF to be allowed to speak to the City Council in closed session. As has been discussed with the attorneys for the bargaining units who made that suggestion, that is not a legal purpose for which the Council can meet in closed session. An alternative is for the bargaining units to participate in in our Labor Negotiations Updates which occur every Tuesday morning in the Council Chambers prior to the City Council adjourning in closed session.

We would also welcome your presence to speak and/or present at the Pension Study Session that is currently scheduled on March 16, 2015, at 1:30 pm, with an extended time period for comment and/or presentation. As you know, there is currently a stipulation in place that holds in abeyance the additional 4% in wage reductions as well as the revised definition of disability for Tier 1 employees until July 1, 2015.

The City is open to working towards a solution that could take place in 2015 and is willing to discuss options to do that as part of an overall agreement. However, we believe that these are very complex discussions and want to ensure that the parties have time to work through all issues. Therefore, the City is interested in extending the stipulation to delay the wage reductions and revised disability definition for Tier 1 until January 1, 2017. We believe extending this stipulation will lower the significant concerns on the part of our employees regarding a potential 4% pay decrease in July 2015. We request the bargaining units who are subject to the litigation to agree to the extension so that we can avoid the 4% wage reduction to our workforce.

We have received communication from Gregg Adam, the attorney for the POA, on behalf of the bargaining units who are part of the litigation, that the Unions will not agree to an extension of the stipulation. We ask that you reconsider the City’s offer to extend the stipulation. We are open to considering extending the stipulation to any shorter length of time if you believe extending to January 1, 2017, is either unwarranted or unnecessary.

We look forward to beginning negotiations promptly in order to achieve a global settlement and put this litigation behind us. If there are any remaining issues that are preventing the bargaining units from beginning negotiations, please let us know so we can seek resolution as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration.

Norberto Duenas, Interim City Manager

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

37 Comments

  1. Seems nobody cares anymore about your posts since you are an arm of the mercury news and hide behind your “we do not disclose our source policy”. Good luck with that.

  2. “Former POA President and the new mayor were not on speaking terms by the end of Unland’s tenure, Liccardo said, but Kelly and him are aooarenty communicating by text from time to time.” Now, that’s good writin’!

  3. Licardo is willing to put old battles aside because he doesn’t have his protector Chuck Reed to fight the battle for him.

  4. Once the quo warranto ruling is made along with the PERB ruling, Measure B is dead in the water. Meanwhile all employees will be sitting at their 2008 income level which is still the lowest … They created a mess. Waddleworth and co just keep peddling the city’s incompetence!

  5. When City elected leadership acts to load shift the results of it’s incredibly poor judgement it negatively affects the citizens that elected them and the employees who for twenty, thirty or more years have relied on the promises of City Hall to keep its commitments and bargained for benefits. In times when City leadership poorly managed investments and lost $60 million, employees bit the bullet and received lower salaries exchanging loyalty for future promises. When the mayor and cronies misled the populace and knowingly released false data about retirement costs and overstated future shortfalls, employees were saddled with across the board cuts. Loyal employees spoke truth to power and sought to inform voters, but were cast as merely looking out for their own interests. When elected City officials disdained the services of their dedicated work force, employees finally understood their employers were willing to say anything, stretch any half truth, cite made up statistics and generally foul the waters with any obfuscation available.

    In private industry, an employee who has lost faith in their leaders to “do the right thing” look for opportunities to work at places they are appreciated. They look for jobs where an employer tells the truth, treats the employees as valued team members, keep promises and pays a wage commensurate with their performance. In short, employees, no longer trusting their leadership, vote with their feet, change companies, and reap the rewards of successful teamwork. They work long hours, stay until a project is complete or a new product is ready for market.

    Small wonder that 400 of 1400 police officers left over 36 months for employers that did not malign them or use bait and switch tactics. Today, potential employees see the City cannot be trusted to keep promises made and assurances given over a lifetime career of service. For the first time in forty years the Police Academy cannot even hire 1/3 of the needed qualified candidates when in years past there were 50 applicants for EVERY open position and only the top 10 percent of applicants were hired. In the 145 days of the Academy 20 of the 23 applicants hired remain, meanwhile some 65 working officers left the agency for new employers. That’s a net loss of 45, even assuming these recruits would hit the street immediately and fill beats, but they will not. They have 14 more weeks of on the job training. Historically, in a “good” recruit class 75% make it through final testing so we have fifteen new rookies to fill 65 empty spots. Meanwhile, during the OJT portion of the job 35-40 other offers are likely to leave. So now those 15 must do the work of 75-90 officers who left. Mandatory overtime can only fill so many beats with expensive, overworked and tired officers who remain.

    And it’s not just cops. Fire fighters, emergency communications workers, and City workers from every department have switched employers. Most stayed right here in the Bay Area and now work at the thirteen other law enforcement entities, other cities, other counties. Very few took demotions, almost all immediately made more money doing the same or similar jobs. Many are or have been promoted to higher classifications since leaving and the new employers are doing what’s needed to keep their valuable assets by listening, working to solve issues and providing great service to their new citizen customers.

    When high achieving dedicated civil servant workers with ten, fifteen and twenty years experience leave mid career from an employer where they are vested in agreed on retirement and benefits earned by year’s of toil, for smaller employers, possibly with less guarantees but better working conditions, the owners of the City, taxpayers and residents need to do what company owners do in the Silicon Valley. Conduct a root cause analysis. If one third of your workforce bails, is there something wrong at the top?

    Response times to fire and life threatening emergencies rise every month. Meanwhile elected leadership reorganizes the deck chairs on the Titanic, pointing to the departing employees as the problem. We know the citizens are aware, they complain of slow fire responses from engine companies to firehouses away. Three to six hour waits for a police officer or their less expensive substitute Community Service Officer to arrive to take the report of a theft or burglary. Added days waiting for an available building inspector or code enforcement officer.

    If 30% of the employees at Microsoft, Intel, or Adobe left over a 36 month period how long would the stockholders stand for lower performance or sinking stock prices at what was once a high performance investment? How different is it to lose members of the best fire fighting team in California, the finest policing organization whose practices and policies are adopted wholesale by the larger departments in the United States and key managers and workers of the tenth largest city in America?

    Elected leaders are rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. How long before the passengers realize the City’s ship of state is foundering? Is it time to tell your elected leaders to build trust and deal fairly with the employees, while there are still some here to provide the service your tax dollars pay for? When management loses every argument in Court, it’s probably time to do what’s needed to right the ship.

    • I agree with you on almost everything, JJ. The only thing I would say is that it is not accurate to analogize to sinking stock prices in the private sector as a result of employee departures. The big picture is that we need to be fair to city workers in law enforcment. That I agree with. But I don’t think we can say that dwindling numbers in the police force have led to higher crime. In fact, the reality is that crime is dropping. The homicide rate this year so far is on track to be a fraction of what it was 3 years ago. So I agree on fairness. I don’t agree on impact to crime rates — which I think are affected by more complex demographic and other factors.

      • Crime is not dropping. The relevant comparison is to where the numbers were before the exodus of officers began, and crime remains up significantly since that time. The idea that such a signifant reduction in the number of police officers has had no effect on crime is ridiculous. If it were true, then why worry about staffing?

        Fewer police officers have everything to do with the rise in crime. With fewer officers on the street, fewer criminals are stopped and arrested, and therefore remain free to commit additional crimes. Because there are fewer officers on the street, crooks know that they have much less chance of being stopped and that the there is much less chance of officers arriving quickly if someone calls 911, and are thus emboldened. Crooks are even coming to San Jose from out of town to ply their trade because they know there is less chance of being caught.

        Fewer officers has also meant that most property crimes are no longer investigated, which again means that fewer crooks are arrested and, as a result, remain free to commit more crimes. The lack of arrests also means that much less information is gathered about criminals; their tattoos, the cars they drive, etc. That means that when crimes are actually investigated, there is a reduced chance that the investigator will be able match the evidence to a suspect. The solve rates for homicide and other serious crimes are down because of this fact.

        The lack of officers has also led to a drastic reduction in the number of officers assigned to traffic. Far fewer problem areas can now be targeted for traffic enforcement, which is a very important safety tool. It isn’t a coincidence that traffic fatalities are up dramatically.

        In this particular case, you certainly aren’t the VOICEOFREASON. You are the voice of those who are misinformed.

        • Ok fair enough. Though I don’t know that we need to get personal. Maybe you are right that property crimes are not being investigated. But it’s pretty hard to fake the homicide rate. A dead body is a dead body, and usually results in a reported incident. And there is no question that since 2014, homicides are down. So far this year we have had 2. San Francisco has had 11. The prevalence of crime is a complex thing, and criminologists at major universities have a hard time explaining it. I don’t think it’s as simple as just the number of police officers. That said, I agree with the larger point that police officers got a raw deal under Reed, that Measure B is unlawful, and that we need to be fair to police officers and keep our promises.

          • You are certainly right that many factors are relevant with regard to why and how many crimes are committed, but the quality of a community’s law enforcement services is hugely important. For decades, SJPD delivered outstanding service while remaining very lean. For over 20 years, I took great pride in being a San Jose police officer and took pride as well in the city I helped to protect. I used to work for a great police department. I now work for a department that, although still capable of delivering moments of greatness, falls woefully short of being able to do what it ought to to protect those who live and work in San Jose.

            This situation needs to be fixed now. So many outstanding officers have fled and the impact of their loss will continue to grow in the years ahead. While we still hire many good people, the overall quality of new recruits has slipped, and many of the best are obviously quickly leaving. Understandably, many newer officers do not have the same pride in the organization that I had, because they don’t work for the same type of department that hired me. If nothing changes, all of this is going to get worse. Much worse.

            I’m sure you are a good person and I didn’t intend to get personal. It is very frustrating, however, to see what has happened to the once great organization for which I work and to the community that I have served, and to know that things are continuing to get even worse.

      • In complete agreement with everything in your response, Pete Malloy. SJPD is unquestionably an outstanding police department, and I fully understand your frustration. Also, over time, a thinned-out police force will have repercussions, no question. Already people’s expectations on police response time are changing. So yes, the situation has to be fixed now.

      • So, Officer Malloy, since you use the present tense, I gather you remain with SJPD. Why?

        • Because this is the only police department I ever wanted to work for and I still enjoy my job. I’m not a young guy just starting out and I took a sizable pay cut when I took this job, so while money is important, it doesn’t rule me. I’d like to be here when things start to turn around again…if that ever happens.

          • So, Officer Pete, you would appear to be a man who desires to protect and serve the people of SJ, and are not just in it for the paycheck, like the hundreds who have fled SJPD. I applaud you, and wish there were more like you. Perhaps many of the officers still with SJPD share your attitude and commitment to SJ.

        • As is so often the case in life… if we have to explain you wouldn’t understand. I’ve come to the realization that you’re just a rock thrower, a little more level headed than SJOTB and RMC but a rock thrower just the same.

          Why? the rules say I have to have 20 with The City to get what’s mine. I’m gonna get it then do my best to live a long time and take everything I earned . Then live a while longer….knowing the rock throwers will be grinding their teeth about it.

          • To JohnMichael O’Connor…none of the officers I know who have left, and I know many of them, are in this line of work soley for the paycheck. All of them left with mixed feelings, because they would’ve preferred to remain in San Jose. Many are young and just starting families and a (hopefully) long career. They have to face the reality of needing to provide for those families and can’t afford to gamble that San Jose will eventually get its act together. For officers in the non-competitive Tier 2 retirement, leaving is a no-brainer. For longer tenured officers, disgust with what Reed and the rest have done to a great organization became too much.

            Everyone has their own reasons for staying or going, but you are very wrong to assume that any significant number of officers left SJPD because they only care about the paycheck. Almost all of them have been officers who had and would have continued to serve San Jose well. It’s the city’s and department’s loss.

  6. Our City leadership will really earn their paychecks now, as they try to open negotiations while standing on a falling floor. The damage caused by Reed and company is dangerously close to being irreparable, and has unnecessarily ended up costing the City millions in attorney fees and reduced services to citizens.

    • Nah, most will simply take their check and their taxpayer funded CalPERS pensions and/or their taxpayer funded 401ks and grandstand their way to the bank or other elected office or a lobbiest job somewhere

  7. Keep up the good fight, Unions! You represent the alarmingly shrinking Middle Class.

    • DD: the unions do not represent the middle class. They represent their members, and ONLY their members. That’s what they are supposed to do. However, there must be a reason that union membership has been declining nationwide for a couple of decades. Elected officials are supposed to represent the citizens, but instead they represent the few large donors to their election and re-election campaigns. Near as I can see, no-one represents the middle class any more, although any politician with half a brain pays lip service to representing the middle class.

  8. I am not surprised at the situation we have put our selves into. Yet it shows no end to the continued heavy handed of our political process.
    My take on all of the crime, graffiti, lawlessness, is a shear lack of social conscience, that has focused on Baseball Stadiums, & good old boy attitudes.
    If you want to know, Just ask me. I have been involved in the ghetto, for 35 years. I have chronicled and observed every politician, and attention seeking “HISPANIC LEADERS”.. All from behind my Anvil!
    There has to be a Trust, by the folks that are blamed for the need to throw more cops at them.
    We can’t blame the dead horse!!!!.
    I am willing to shoe any horse free, that is willing to ride herd!
    Sam take a number!
    The Village Black Smith

  9. I urge you to go analyze the FBI UCR statistics listed on the SJPD website beginning with the year 2012.

    I agree that Part 1 crimes, mainly violent crimes against persons, are not typically affected by the number of police on the street. This is due to the personal and emotional nature of assaults, rapes, homicides, robberies etc. In most circumstances, these are not “crimes of opportunity” and they are also often well publicized both when they occur and when Suspects are arrested. Still, it cannot be argued that with a lack of police presence, and the man power to investigate these crimes, less people will be arrested for committing these types of crimes.

    I completely disagree when it comes to Part 2 crimes, mainly property crime. You would have to be blind, or living under a rock not to see that Vandalism, Burglary, Auto Theft, Auto Burglary are all spiraling out of control within this city. The FBI UCR numbers, although not accurate, will demonstrate this as well. I say they are not accurate because many of these types of crimes are never reported, or the Victims choose not to have a report taken for various reasons. The UCR stats will not simply reflect the “calls for service” surrounding these types of crimes. Property crime is rampant in San Jose and it is a direct result of less police officers being on the street.

    As a footnote, compare the number of arrests made by SJPD since 2012.. That number is also telling. Unfortunately, due to prop 47, those numbers will be irreparably skewed compared to 2015 and on, but you’ll get the point with the data that’s there.

  10. Without Gurza at the helm of negotiations, there is a slightly larger thread of hope that this situation can be fixed.

    Police staffing and retention is quite literally a crisis and has been for some time now. With the accelerated retirements of many of the baby boomers beginning to trickle in, the problem is going to magnify ten fold even before some form of a settlement is agreed upon to stop the bleeding.

    Unfortunately, little can be done to make an immediate impact, but if some form of a deal is reached this year, it can begin to right the ship.

    I have watched probably 100 new hires from the past few academies simply disappear to other departments. Simultaneously, the size of each academy has gotten smaller and smaller. This failure to retain new cops has been paralleled by a spike in retirements and resignations. Even with the most optimistic projections, the SJ City Council was presented with a picture that CLEARLY demonstrated a continued net loss in sworn officers. Those projections were insanely optimistic and now these numbers are literally being accelerated at twice the rate.

    If the council does not rectify this situation, and SJPD does not quickly become a competitive employer, there will be nothing left to fix, no template left to rebuild, and the resulting solution will leave a “fiscal black hole” for decades to come. As it sits, there will almost certainly have to be a 1% sales tax increase for at least the next decade just to pay for this mess.

  11. I like the part about “these are very complex discussions and want to ensure that the parties have time to work through all issues.” That didn’t seem to bother the City Council when they were ramming through the Measure B train wreck. I think what Mr. Duenas means is that it will take time for it to sink in with the City Council just how stupid their position has become.

    • > That didn’t seem to bother the City Council when they were ramming through the Measure B train wreck.

      Measure B isn’t the CAUSE of the problem. It is one of the foreseeable consequences of stupid policies, ignorance, and stubbornness that preceded it..

      Now, give us your explanation of the stupid policies, ignorance, and stubbornness that lead up to Measure B.

      • Measure B WAS the cause of the current problems. Nearly every local government was facing similar pension related issues. The rest addressed their problems through negotiation and avoided the disaster that Reed, Liccardo and their cronies created with the ill conceived Measure B. Reed cared more about using the issue to make a name for himself than he did about solving the problem in a responsible manner. Maybe you are right, however, that this mess was foreseeable. When you have a zealot followed by morons, disaster is a likely result.

        Also, I think people are bright enough to understand what you are trying to say without your having to constantly re-type what someone else has said. Maybe the habit helps you hang on to your train of thought?

      • you’re outside the bubble so take a look around at other cities in the area that did not go down the a measure B route. We heard throughout the B campaign and since it that “it’s just a matter of time before those other cities are forced to follow SJ’s lead in pension reform…” those other cities have hired former SJ employees and are paying them higher wages and better benifits. Nothing the B proponents promised has come to pass and they (though to be fair in a backhanded way) have not FULLY implemented THE LAW they claimed was vital to SJ’s fiscal survival -and continue to wish a stipulation to NOT implement THE LAW. Meanwhile pretty much everything police and fire said would happen has happened: employees would leave, services would still be cut and crime/response times would increase…. and so it has.

        • Meyer: Both the much smaller size and the markedly different demographics of SCC cities other than SJ make valid comparisons difficult, if not impossible.

          • Leave them out then and compare SFPD Oakland, San Mateo County. A valid comparison might be to compare the % of $’s any other municipality or county anywhere in the US spends on police and/or fire (combined=public safety) to the percentage the City of San Jose spends. Heck you can even IGNORE the total City Budget and just selectively use the “General Fund” . You will find that most other cities large, small and in between outspend SJ in double digits percent wise.

            Yes even SJPD was understaffed at 1450 and handling crime it was that way. Now that pay and benifits are worse… the chickens are coming home to roost. SJ politicians and voters dis not choose wisely and they are getting EXACTLY what they DON’T want to pay for.

          • …further wondering where you were when Reed & Co we making thoae comparisons and everyone was nodding in agreement?

  12. Who was the Zealot? Chuck Reed, who, when confronted by a fiscal crisis (caused by Wall Street/Washington, D.C. and aggravated by local spending priorities) seized it as a once-in-a-career opportunity to undermine the bargaining rights of a group he does not believe deserves them: city workers. How to do it? By exaggerating the severity of the crisis and choosing the most drastic (and painful) course of corrective action.

    There can be no denying that as a result of the mortgage meltdown the city’s pension liability was significant. There can also be no denying that just as that liability ballooned due to market performance so too could it be significantly reduced by that same market — if given a reasonable amount of time. In other words, had Reed chosen to allow the market additional time to chip away at the impact of this unprecedented calamity and enlisted employee groups in fashioning a workable strategy, the current mess could’ve been avoided.

    But Reed, impaired by the narrowness of his vision and the weakness of his character, went for the bargaining groups’ jugular and, due to his ignorance and arrogance, inflicted what looks to be a fatal injury. His strategy choked-off the fund contribution stream and opened its expenditure flood gates by accelerating retirements and resignations while closing the system to new members. Thus, the benefit of these last few years of robust market returns has been substantially undermined by a near one-third reduction in the number of fund investors.

    Had Reed opted for a measured approach to buying down the liability the risk would’ve been low (especially when compared to the certain damage that would follow his slash and burn approach), the odds (and fund investing is founded on favorable odds) being that market returns would’ve spared the city the decimation of its General Fund.

    Who are the Morons? Every politician who supported Reed and ignored the experience-based warnings of their employee groups. Why in the world would anyone ever have believed that Chuck Reed knew anything about hiring police officers, let alone know more than the people who’d made a career of it? What reason would anyone have for believing that trained police officers — long-recognized as hot commodities in the lateral market, would stick around to have their take-home pay and pensions cut, shoulder the blame for a financial debacle caused by the greed of faraway people, and absorb an endless stream of insults from their city’s mayor, council, and local media?

    I urge every one of you who has defended Chuck Reed to identify a single predication of his that has come to fruition. The man spoke loud and often, but with the passage of time it has become undeniable that he spoke neither honestly nor intelligently.

  13. Who was the Zealot? Chuck Reed, who, when confronted by a fiscal crisis (caused by Wall Street/Washington, D.C. and aggravated by local spending priorities) seized it as a once-in-a-career opportunity to undermine the bargaining rights of a group he does not believe deserves them: government workers. How to do it? By exaggerating the severity of the crisis at hand and choosing the most drastic (and painful) course of corrective action.

    There can be no denying that as a result of the mortgage meltdown the city’s pension liability was significant. There can also be no denying that just as that liability ballooned overnight due to market performance so too could it be significantly reduced over time by that same market — via a reasonable, measured strategy. In other words, had Reed chosen to allow the market additional time to chip away at the impact of this unprecedented calamity (enlisting the cooperation of employee groups, the current mess could’ve been avoided.

    But Reed, impaired by the narrowness of his vision and the weakness of his character, went for the bargaining groups’ jugular and, due to his ignorance and arrogance, inflicted what looks to be a fatal injury. His strategy reduced the fund contribution stream and opened its expenditure flood gates by accelerating retirements and resignations while closing the system to new members. Thus, the benefit of these last few years of robust market returns has been substantially undermined by a near one-third reduction in the number of fund investors.

    Had Reed opted for a measured approach to buying down the liability the risk would’ve been low (especially when compared to the damage that was certain with his slash and burn approach), the odds (and fund investing is founded on favorable odds) being that market returns would’ve spared the city the decimation of its General Fund.

    Who are the Morons? Every politician who supported Reed and ignored the experience-based warnings of their employee groups. Why in the world would anyone ever have believed that Chuck Reed knew anything about hiring police officers, let alone know more than the people who’d made a career of it? Who was his grand strategist — Jose Salcido, the conniving one-time SJPD training washout? What reason would anyone have for believing that trained police officers — long-recognized as hot commodities in the lateral market, would stick around to have their take-home pay and pensions cut, shoulder the blame for a financial debacle caused by greed at faraway seats of power, and absorb an endless stream of insults from their city’s mayor, council, and local media?

    I urge every one of you who has defended Chuck Reed to identify a single predication of his that has come to fruition. The man spoke loud and often, but with the passage of time it has become undeniable that he spoke neither honestly nor intelligently — always to the accompaniment of a chorus of morons.

  14. Wondering if any other readers are seeing the “CHP Careers” add at the bottom of the page?

  15. The current pension fund is 77.5% funded with 3.3 Billion dollars and 55 million owed. Seems that Reed and Co pulled a fast one first with Measure V and W (to take away any leverage that employees would have even during good times of return such as now) and then Measure B. Yes there are quite a few Morons out there who still worship at the Reed altar.Its time to get outside of Reeds bubble…

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