‘Yes’ on Measure B: Sales Tax Will Help San Jose Police Department

San Jose is still broke and can’t afford to fix its roads or pay police officers enough to join the force after fleecing the city for academy training. It’s a sticky situation that can’t be fixed without more revenue, and unless fifty Fortune 500 companies decide to relocate their headquarters here tomorrow there isn’t a quick fix.

That’s why we recommend a “yes” vote on Measure B.

The ¼-cent sales tax measure will run 15 years and generate about $40 million annually. That does almost nothing to tackle San Jose’s infrastructure backlog, but it will help restore vital city services like rebuilding a police department that has been gutted over the last six years. San Jose’s police officers have admirably kept crime rates low compared to national averages, but a breaking point lies ahead without adding new bodies.

Hiking the city’s sales tax to 9 percent isn’t ideal. We’ll have to put some faith in elected leaders to shepherd the money in a responsible manner. Much of San Jose’s fiscal crisis was caused by unfunded liabilities related to pensions. That’s less of a concern now, even with pension reform settlements still being litigated, and it’s time to make some progress rather than merely holding the line.

15 Comments

  1. “Much of San Jose’s fiscal crisis was caused by unfunded liabilities related to pensions.”

    This is not the case and never was the case. This was a concocted story by politicians to break the unions of city employees.

    The real financial crisis the city is facing before the ill-fated Measure B and continues today is the airport debt which is slightly over $2 Billion and the former redevelopment agency debt of nearly $1.5 Billion. But none of the politicians want to talk about these elephants in the room. Why? Because the only ones they can blame for this are themselves. It’s much more convenient to blame city workers for $250 Million in unfunded liabilities then Chuck Reed inflated the number to $650 Million.

    Information on the debt can be found here.

    http://sanjose.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?meta_id=546407

  2. The inability to recruit police officers to SJ is not budget related. There are more than enough unfilled but budgeted positions to increase SJPD staffing. Recruits don’t come here because they can do better elsewhere, getting paid more and working in safer jurisdictions. Get back to basics. Measure C is just another scam to obtain taxpayer funds to fill in the budget shortfall caused by all the feel good BS programs the city funds, which are nice to have, but only AFTER you have fully staffed public safety and have a properly maintained infrastructure. SJ has the money NOW to increase PD staffing, so to use that as the reason for voting yes on C is a complete fabrication. Every year the mayor and council stage a dog and pony show about budget priorities. The people voice their priorities. Every year the mayor and council ignore the peoples’ priorities and just continue with business as usual, funding whatever feel good program they or their campaign donors want until the money runs out, after which they call for yet another tax.

    • Good one, JMO! You’re on fire today.

      I call BALONEY on each and every tax increase until the City and County authorities have show serious, good faith efforts to cleanse local government budgets of ALL the sleazy, sneaky PC crap that gets tucked in to fund various and assorted activist leeches, louses, and ticks.

      Get rid of every nickel and dime justified on the basis of addressing “global warming”, “diversity”, “homelessness”, “affordable housing”, “sanctuary city”, “refugee assistance”, “LGBT this or that”, etc. etc. etc.

      Attilla the Budget Cutter could ride through the city and county budgets and EASILY find $40 million in savings, to fund whatever NECESSARY expenditures are contemplated by Measure B.

      • Actually the savings were over $145 million per year when Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility (CFR) members put on green eyeshades and carefully reviewed SJ’s budget. No elimination or services reduction in any of the categories you mentioned. CFR’s analysis didn’t recommend eliminating or reducing homeless, affordable housing, etc. programs – just spending wisely.

        Many of the recommendations were previously made by SJ’s Auditor and contained in the IBM Study. The City Manager plus elected officials then and now fail to address savings opportunities.

  3. I’d support a tax hike if Liccardo’s claim that “We’ve shaken the sofa cushions and there’s no more money left” were even mostly accurate. Or if the measure included provisions to spend wisely. But they don’t. I suspect it will pass and I’ll shop elsewhere – particularly for big ticket items.

  4. This is comical! Liccardo created this entire exigent set of circumstances and now he arrives at the show, post Reed, to hold press conferences and pat himself on the back about how he has worked hand in hand with the police and firefighters. The damage is already done by this pompous fool! Now he wants to rape the taxpayers for more feel good money and he promises to increase public safety pay. I call BS!!!! This money will go into more special projects that his rich buddies including the Irish Cartel leader Tom McEnery! When do the clueless citizens of San Jose ever wake up from their coma???

  5. Crime in San Jose is NOT going down, as this article suggests. In fact, according to CQ Press (the statistical source that has traditionally and consistently been used to measure such things since the 70’s), under the flaccid leadership of people like mayor Liccardo and former mayor Reed, unopposed by a cringing majority of the city council, San Jose has crumbled from its former place as the #1 safest Big City in the U.S, down to #8.

    The CQ rating is heavily weighted by violent crime and does not then reflect the meteoric rise in property crime such as auto theft and burglary. These are instead reflected in the rising rates of car and homeowners’ insurance. It’s happening. As well, response times are up and rising; many cases which were previously handled by officer responses are now handled over the phone (good luck dusting for fingerprints at a car burglary scene over the phone); and it often takes forever for someone to answer the non-emergency number. Sometimes people have to wait several minutes just get the recording to answer!

    The file photo of the police Academy class is almost laughably misleading. There hasn’t been an Academy class with a double digit number of SJPD recruits, that stayed, in years. In fact, the number of officers shown in that photo is more than is often put out on the streets on many entire Midnight shifts in this city of a million people. If you don’t believe me, go sit in a Midnight shift briefing!

    A temporary sales tax that expires after 15 years? There is nothing more permanent than a temporary government program or tax and the problem cannot be solved by throwing tax dollars at it, as is the politicians’ solution to everything from drug addiction, to World Peace, to the common cold.

    A 2-tier retirement system, as is the Fred Reed/Measure B legacy, simply tells potential recruits that they will be treated as second class citizens even before they begin their careers with SJPD. Other agencies may have traditionally had such arrangements but it had never been the case with SJPD and I believe it was a component in SJPD’s former excellence, as this tended to attract and more importantly RETAIN, the most serious, dedicated, career-minded personnel.

    The Police and Fire retirement system was, at one time, fully funded, however due to the city’s nearly trademark financial and political mismanagement of the fund, such may no longer be the case. With this new agreement with Public Safety associations, the most significant retirement benefits can now only be improved by ballot measure. This removes the matter from “meet and confer” negotiations and transforms it into a potential political circus.

    The only possible fix for the problem would be for Fred Reed, Sam Liccardo or someone on the city council to have their car broken into, their sound system, GPS, laptop and whatever else is in there, to be stolen, then for them to call the PD, be put on hold forever only to be told by a recording that no officer is available to respond but that the incident may be reported over the phone (after another long wait on hold) or a report form can be mailed to them or is available on the internet. This is just as well, since there are virtually no investigators to do any follow-up anyway. Of course, this tends only to be a problem that must be dealt with by the “little people”.

  6. To the “General Fund” does not mean it will help any certain problem or group. It can be pissed away anyway they please. They can say some is allocated to the police and then reduce their funding from other sources. Net gain will be ZERO!

  7. Just to clarify

    A poster here incorrectly referenced Measure C.

    Measure C is for safe, sensible cannabis regulation across San Jose.

    Vote Yes on C!

    Measure B is for the Sales Tax increase

    Vote No on B

  8. Too little, too late. Reed destroyed SJPD. We are at 800 officers and falling. Mandatory long hours of overtime now which is burning out the remaining officers. Measure B is still unresolved due to Pete Constant et al, keeping recruits from coming here and causing veteran officers to go elsewhere. Our department should have well over 2,300 officers for a city of this size, based on national averages. A tax increase will not be some panacea for more officers. San Jose has a reputation in law enforcement as an employer that is not to be trusted. Liccardo is part of that reason as he speaks out of both sides of his mouth. It will take years and a new mayor, as well as a resolution for Measure B, for the Titanic to be pulled from the bottom of the ocean. It would probably make as much sense to disband the SJPD and have the SO take over the city policing.

  9. Proponents claim to need the money for increased public safety, but there are 190 fully funded open Police Officer positions in this year’s budget. The city underspent the Police budget by more than $10,000,000 last year!

    They are lying about why they want the sales tax increase. What they really want is to get a bigger piece of the pie before the city slams into the 10% maximum sales tax rate under state law. I’m voting NO.

  10. SJOUTSIDE said:

    Get rid of every nickel and dime justified on the basis of addressing “global warming”, “diversity”, “homelessness”, “affordable housing”, “sanctuary city”, “refugee assistance”, “LGBT this or that”, etc.

    Hear, hear! Those self-serving mooches have gotten their grubby mitts on the budget, but they have no skin in the game. They always take, without paying their fair share. Why does the Council and Mayor allow it? Cut those mooches loose!

    There should be a clear set of priorities; public safety, infrastructure, etc. The basics. When those necessities have been provided for, any remaining monies should be used to reduce next year’s budget. Problem solved.

    The source of these budget shortages is due 100% to all those unelected special interest groups with their fingers in the public purse. They have made pets of the City Council. Despicable.

    The rest of us make do without having access to taxpayer loot. The social engineering crowd can, too.

    Vote NO! It’s the Council’s job to provide for public safety! There’s already enough money in the budget. it’s just been misallocated to crap that benefits 1%, at the expense of the other 99%.

    Begging for easy bond money is a ‘copout’. Hold the Council’s feet to the fire: Vote NO!