Judy Chirco

Jim Beall on the Post-Election Warpath

Jim Beall defeated Joe Coto in last November’s race for a state Senate seat, but he has yet to let go of real and perceived election slights. (Photo courtesy of New America Foundation, via Flickr)

Jim Beall neither forgives nor forgets. After soundly squashing Joe Coto in last November’s election, Silicon Valley’s state senator has gone scorched-earth on anyone who failed to show adequate fealty during the campaign.

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Curse of Reed

The city’s fearless and occasionally politically tone-deaf leader, Chuck Reed, was riding high after successfully placing pension reform and binding arbitration on the ballot with a carefully stitched-together coalition that seemed to spell the end of organized labor’s control of the San Jose City Council.

The afterglow was short-lived, however. Reed threw the new majority into chaos with his divisive endorsement of gay marriage opponent Larry Pegram for a council seat, just a day before a California court overturned Prop 8.

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Council Hears About Impact of Cuts

Now that we don’t have any money, this is how we are dealing. This seemed to be the theme of today’s San Jose City Council meeting, where council members were updated on some of the painful cutbacks that have taken place since the city budget was slashed.

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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.

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City Council: Sharing the Pain?

Things seemed pretty rosy back in 2007. Sure, the city was running a deficit, but the economy seemed solid enough for City Councilmembers to vote themselves a 20 percent raise, upping their salary from $75,000 to $90,000. After all, many city employees were earning more than them. Then came the crash. Then came the overwhelming deficit. Then came the pink slips and the pink slips and the pink slips—1,300 of them this month alone.

The Mayor has already asked city employees to take a 10 percent, across the board pay cut, noting that the average salary for city workers is now $88,000 (yes, average), just slightly less than City Councilmembers make.

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Newcomer Heats Up District 5 Race

Magdalena Carrasco skipped a candidate’s forum last week to address a small group of voters at Capital Park.

Elsie Aranda has not decided which San Jose City Council candidate she will endorse. Stopwatch in hand, she sits in the front row of the second District 5 candidates forum at the Mayfair Community Center, acting as moderator.

Aranda makes sure that the four people currently battling to represent San Jose’s East Side don’t go beyond their allotted speech times. It is her job to holler at candidates Xavier Campos, Aaron Resendez, J. Manuel Herrera and Magdalena Carrasco if they take too long to make their points.

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Grand Jury: Poor Play on Golf Courses

Los Lagos Golf Course has been costing the City of San Jose at least $2 million per year.

The San Jose City Council signed off Tuesday on a Grand Jury Report detailing how two municipal golf courses have ended up in a $1.9 million sand trap. Los Lagos and Rancho del Pueblo, two of the three public courses owned by the City of San Jose, have been draining $800,000 per year out of the General Fund because of extensive debt.

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