Evite Wars

San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant isn’t happy with the Police Officers Association for trying to ruin his weekend barbecue. According to Constant, the POA, frustrated by the lack of a union contract, attempted to “pressure” the San Jose Police and Firefighters Retirees Association to back out of their commitment to barbecue at his District 1 event this past weekend.

The idea was that the retirees’ group should be standing in solidarity with the POA until they get a contract signed. But Constant, a former cop and a Republican, considered it a cheap shot from his fellow law enforcers.

“I think that, personally, that crossed the line,” said Constant, who has recently been on the outs with the police officers’ group. Bobby Lopez, president of the POA, says he hardly hammered the association to back out of Constant’s event. What really happened, Lopez explained, is that he asked the organization—which said it couldn’t bail on Constant 10 days before his event—to no longer participate in councilmembers’ events until they get a contract in place. (They’ve been without one since July 1.)

“I just asked them,” Lopez said. “To say that I forbid them is going way beyond. I was just telling them in these times we are the underdog in this fight.”

But Constant believes he is being targeted by the POA because someone is leaking statements he made regarding the union contract in a closed council session, which are private meetings among councilmembers.

“I have had people on POA board give me exact quotes of things I said in closed session,” Constant said. “One of the 11 people [councilmembers] in that room is giving them information.”

The POA says that’s not the case, though Lopez admits they’re frustrated that Constant, being a former cop, hasn’t come out and been a stronger leader for the POA, which is looking to score enhanced retirement packages and higher wages to recruit top-notch police officers.

“We need to resolve this,” he said. “We need some real leadership.”

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

8 Comments

  1. San Jose has years of budget deficits with many more years deficits ahead while many cities have balanced or surplus budgets so even if other cities pay more, can San Jose afford to pay more and face future bankruptcy or further reduce other poor city services while paying highest in Santa Clara County city taxes, fees, permits and user fees

    San Jose uses improper or questionable police and crime comparisons with large US or California cites because we look better but does not compare San Jose numbers to local cites because we are worst

    San Jose is best among 10 large California cites but badly compares at 13 (3rd worst) of 15 for Santa Clara County cites and has 30-90% higher crime rates than 7 local cites

    Most or all new police recruits should only be recruited from San Jose or Santa Clara County not distant large cites

    Police recruits from other California cites or other states are not good idea since they will come here for short period to 1) get expensive training and 2 year probation period than leave when openings occur in their home cites 2) do not known, have family or attachment to San Jose – it is just a temporary job until they move to heir home city for a career 3) will not be available for duty during emergency as many cities have experienced since they have to leave families and travel over blocked highways to work in San Jose

    Has Council or anyone seen a comparison of San Jose to 14 local cities – Police wages, benefits, retirement plans, work hours per week, work conditions, police officers per thousand population, crime rates and crime clearance rates?  If so, where is it on internet?

  2. Please, just because Constant is not rubberstamping the POA’s retirement package they turn on him? Just shows that everyone is out for their own here. Guess this is definitely not the Greatest Generation anymore. Good for Constant for standing up to their exessive demands.

  3. #2 Downtowner,

    Constant gets a handsome monthly disability retirement (for the rest of his life) for being a SJ cop for just a few years, which is now the group he is “standing up to”. How ironic he is getting a lifetime benefit for a system he paid into for just a few years. He was apparently happy to take the benefit as a police officer he now thinks is excessive as a city council person. You are right that everyone is out for their own good, and Constant is leading the charge. His mentality is just a mini version of the greed and hypocrisy that we see in government and Wall Street. Our policemen and policewomen are noble servants. many of who continue working after injury rather than opting for a disability retirement. Oh well, we wouldn’t expect any less from a politician.

  4. The ignorance of some who read these articles is spectacular. SJPD’s retirement package is subpar throughout the industry. Our pay in this county is higher than only one other agency. Morale is low and some officers are transferring out, or considering it, like never before. Staffing is so poor sick time is used because vacation time is rarely granted. The word is also out among young applicants. SJPD and the city of SJ will never pay what you are worth. Go to a PERS retirement agency and you are FAR better off ALL across the board. Facts and just the facts from an insider….

  5. Any Blog argument made without verifiable facts and data from respected sources is highly questionable or not believable,
    especially any discussion about police salaries, benefits or retirement plans based on San Jose City Hall (recent budget discussions where data was omitted or biased comparisons presented), politicians, corporations or interest groups who financially or politically benefit from outcome

    If you want people to believe you then show all comparison data including same costs from respected sources and identify who you represent or everyone should considerable any statements to be unproved allegations, opinions or BS from people with questionable motives

  6. Just the facts: Any idea where the Joe McNamara op-ed piece might be found. I am sure line officers within SJPD would be thrilled to see it. I’m betting it would be a feature piece in the union month newspaper…

    SJI: How about scooping the Merc and publishing it????

  7. Does anyone know why the San Jose Mercury refused to publish an op ed piece by former Police Chief Joe McNamara in which the working conditions and unsafe and low police staffing levels at the SJ Police Department were brought to light? If true this is a new low, even for the Mercury.

  8. Again the mercy news missed the big story as did the Fly. Its not Constant and the POA; its Constant saying that POA has a mole in the city council! I love a good cloak and dagger story!

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