Mayor Chuck Reed Hosts Farewell Party at City Hall

Chuck Reed’s about to sunset his final term as mayor of San Jose, and he’s inviting the public to a farewell celebration. What’s that? You have plans? Oh, come on.

Residents are welcome to attend and commend the mayor on a job well done over the last eight years—or come stocked with insults to express their outrage one final time. Either way, the event takes place from 5 to 7pm Wednesday at the City Hall Rotunda. You can RSVP here.

Reed’s legacy is sure to be a mixed bag, and this is by no means a comprehensive biography. He oversaw the Great Recession, mass layoffs, a building freeze and development thaw, and then there were a few disagreements with unions. Something about pay cuts and pension reform.

He worked his way into politics by way of various community boards and committees, from the planning commission to the San Jose Downtown Association. Then he won his first City Council election from the Berryessa district in 2000, and secured a re-election bid with 86 percent of the vote in 2004.

In 2006, Reed trounced labor-supported Cindy Chavez, 59 percent to her 41, succeeding Ron Gonzales to become the 64th mayor of San Jose. His platform relied on bringing sunshine to city business, through his Reed Reforms, but opponents would argue there have been more than few cloudy days during his time in office. Feuds with police included Reed saying that officers were riding a "gravy train" to retirement, as well as officers sharing a traffic ticket the mayor received.

Reed won a second term in 2010 with nearly 77 percent of the vote. And then he got voters to pass pension reform through Measure B, and everyone got along. Or something like that.


  1. Mayor Reed was left to manage a City that had been financially pulverized by previous City Councils, and he has been consistently blamed for that crisis by the very same people who drove the car into the ditch. He was never a natural politician — but he has been genuine, and his leadership helped save San Jose from bankruptcy. His critics call him divisive and say that his policies ruined San Jose’s reputation as the safest big city in America, but the statistics show that crime has gone down under his watch. If he had come in at any other time, he would have a totally different legacy, but when San Jose was in the midst of a financial crisis, we needed someone willing to take a stand and be brave. Opponents of Measure B who express contempt for him also express contempt for the 70% of voters who passed Measure B, and incredible and overwhelming public mandate for pension reform. Kudos, Mayor Reed!

    • Wait…………… Wasn’t Councilmember Chuck Reed helping to drive that car toward the ditch??? You seem to forget that.

      • Everyone on Council at the time including Chavez and Cortese were responsible for getting us in the predicament we were in…….the question is do you keep digging or do you stop…….he decided to stop digging (for the most part).

  2. Thanks Chuck for destroying one of the best police depts in the US. You wanted this measure that gutted the police to less than 800 cops. It will take years to repair the damage you done. Thank. God measure B
    Is getting destroyed in court

  3. San Jose was never even close to bankruptcy. The City’s assets vastly exceed its liabilities. Once the employees agreed to the most massive pay reductions in the state, the City had plenty of cushion to get through the reduced revenue caused by the 2008 downturn. The “mandate” for pension “reform” was procured through the mayor’s fraudulent representations about the legal and fiscal soundness of his proposal. Following his “party” he should be given a one way ticket back to Kansas where he will find like-minded Republican sourpusses who do the bidding of Wall Street billionaires and tell the middle class that it is to save them.

  4. Prior to the mortgage meltdown, Chuck Reed was quoted as saying it required an annual salary of $250,000 to afford a home in San Jose, and given the run-up in property values — the product of the same irresponsible lending that led to the meltdown, it was one of the few times the mayor wasn’t exaggerating. I bring this up to illustrate that at that time, at least six years into his tenure on the council, Reed was neither hallucinating gravy trains nor preaching pay cuts for city employees.

    That there was a financial crisis cannot be denied, but Chuck Reed’s credibility began and ended with that acknowledgment. His subsequent scapegoating of employees, lying about the true source of the pension crisis, misconstruing the pension structure, blaming the employee exodus on labor union tactics, and handcuffing future councils with an irresponsible charter amendment, these actions will assure his place as the worst mayor in San Jose history.

    Were it simply a matter of his stiff personality and arrogant nature, Reed’s unlikable manner could be excused as the product of genetics, but the man has the kind of poor character typical of a swindler (small wonder he sought to solve financial problems by rejecting contractual obligations). He tells lies with authority and uses his authority to lie. Nothing he ever alleged or promised in relation to the problems at the police department have proved truthful: the POA didn’t cause anyone to leave and hasn’t prevented anyone from returning; the city is not being adequately policed and there will be no quick fix; the city could not attract a qualified police chief candidate; the POA has no knowledge of and no connection with potential police applicants; and Measure B does not provide acceptable safeguards to the injured.

    I only hope that at his next medical checkup Chuck Reed is assured by his physician that he’ll enjoy good health for the next twenty years, and that that physician is a man of like character.

  5. Lemme guess who might be producing this frivolous expenditure of taxpayer money? SJI columnist James Reber?

  6. Good-bye and good riddance. Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya. Hopefully, you will move back to Kansas so some of the stink will clear out of the SJ air.

  7. Jack Slade on the Beat

    Well Chuck (Chuckles) Reed is on his way out with a fortune in his pocket if the “Triple Flip San Jose Redevelopment Base Ball Parcel Buying ever comes through before Gov. Brown and Kamala Harris move on the hidden $300,000,000 squandered on the land deals. Soon the taxpayers are going to have to pay the State back with Interest. See Chuck was in a partner in a real estate partnership Law Firm, then he became Mayor, set aside his partnership and opened a one man Law Firm, he being the only breather in it. Then his one client became his old Law Firm and he was bound by Attorney Client Privilege and didn’t have to reveal his clients zoning and real estate transactions as they effected his vote. Is that cool, you keep the Banks Books and no one else can ever see them. Well Indictments are a breeze with the State. Most Grand Juries can indict a ham sandwich but the State’s can indict the head of a pin, dull or sharp and Chuck is a dull one.

  8. If Reed’s retirement shindig, (something I would imagine the SJPOA undoubtedly and rightfully looks upon as analogous to waving goodbye to the captain of the Titanic), draws a crowd large enough that it requires security, crowd or traffic control, where is Reed going to find the cops to work such an event? The cops are spread so thin now that they barely have enough personnel to answer the normal calls for service, many, if not most, are already working overtime (often mandatory, despite Abe Lincoln) and in order to make up for the 20%-30% net pay cut many received as a result of Reed’s failed reform policies, of the few cops that are still left, many are already working side jobs to make ends meet now. I doubt they would have the time, or the inclination, to direct traffic or provide security for Fred’s event. What would happen if a group of rowdys decided to crash the party and raise a ruckus or if former residents of “The Jungle” decided that Fred’s picnic (or whatever else) would make a good campsite or venue for squatters? I guess Fred would just have to wait 15-20 minutes for a priority 2 response just like the “little people” do.

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