Viewing Past Performance and Future Needs When Voting

The council meeting last Tuesday evening lasted until almost midnight. The council discussed and voted on the Mayor’s Budget Message, San Jose Medical Center and Mexican Heritage Plaza. I was happy to see the budget discussed at night so more people were able to attend.

San Jose Medical Center (HCA) has been closed for several years and sits on 10 acres in downtown San Jose. HCA, a nationwide hospital provider, would like to knock down the buildings and sell the land (which they own) for development.  (Incidentally, this was the hospital where I was born and it has served many of our residents). San Jose is not in the hospital business, however; we are in the zoning business. I voted yes to maintain the land for healthcare uses. Land is precious and becoming increasingly rare. Once land is built on, it’s gone forever. As more living units are built downtown, the need for a medical facility will only increase. In addition, public transportation in our downtown enables more people to access healthcare at this site then other places in San Jose.

Mexican Heritage Plaza and the Mexican Heritage Corporation (MHC) have been questionable for years. Their stability and revenue issues have been deteriorating, making the city their main financial provider because private donations have not backed this non-profit. I have attended several theater events at the Plaza and one of the community meetings regarding the future of the Plaza. Many community members and numerous city staff attended the community meeting also.

Although the intentions of the Plaza and MHC are noble, good deeds do not pay rent.  With the city spending millions on various non-profits every fiscal year, I think that San Jose needs to make sure that these non-profits are able to sustain themselves. It is clear to me that the MHC and Mexican Heritage Corp. have many issues. Therefore, I voted no on the proposal put forward that night. 

My preference would be to just start over, let MHC go bankrupt, and the city takes over maintenance of the taxpayer-funded Plaza in the interim. I don’t want to sound too simplistic, but I think the possibility of contracting an individual to organize and oversee the Mariachi Festival, and another to run some limited arts programming at the Plaza, would meet the overall needs until a new organization could emerge to fulfill the mission of the Plaza. I hope they can make it work, but it will take more city funding and a lot of city staff time either way. I am not sure it is fair to other non-profits who offer good services to the community and maintain their books

Also, on last week’s blog I was asked how much accrued sick pay the City of San Jose pays out each year to employees. Here is what I found out:

Yearly Totals
2007 $5,521,043.53
2006 $4,608,181.67
2005 $6,900,550.27

Breakdown
2007
$2,284,709.02 Non-Sworn
$2,703,006.37 Police
$533,328.14 Fire

2006
$1,769,950.33 Non-Sworn
$2,290,894.69 Police
$547,336.65 Fire

2005
$2,880,819.10 Non-Sworn
$2,966,035.61 Police
$1,053,695.56 Fire

Sick time should be used for illness and not a large payout at the end of a career. Based on the rolling average above, this money could be have been used to hire additional police officers or other needed personnel to pave roads.

38 Comments

  1. #2

    PO has said on his blogs that he would like to hire more officers by spending money wisely (technology, nets at golf courses) and by limiting the amount of accrued sick time. Sick time is when people are sick not a payout that takes money out of the budget that could be used to hire more cops or pave my street. Before these blogs I never knew of accrued sick time. This simply does not exist in private sector. Is it just me or is anyone else floored out there on how much the city pays out each year? Also the Mexican Plaza always wants more money, good vote.

  2. I have never set foot on the MHP.  Recently I read an article on a current exhibit at the MHP and knew I’d like to buzz over to see it.  Then I saw the hours.  Noon to 5PM weekdays.  Maybe not even all weekdays; I can’t remember.  So just who do they expect to drop by during those hours?  It seems this place caters a demographic that doesn’t work for a living.  Where’s the wisdom in that?  It’s not like there isn’t activity at the MHP on the weekends that would require an employee or two to be on the premises, so why not allow for at least one afternoon on the weekend for people to enjoy the exhibit?  I mentioned this to a friend of mine who helped with the consultant’s report on the MHP and he thought it was as ridiculous as I did. 

    As for cops and accrued sick leave, the sneering jackbooted motorcycle cop who sits behind a hedge anticipating the next opportunity to throw his weight around issuing a speeding ticket probably hates to miss a single day of the work he enjoys so much.  I wanna puke when I think about jerks like this, whose insecurities get channeled through gross misappropriation of authoritarianism, and who are raking in more taxpayer dollars by cashing in on sick leave they have no intention of ever using.  Not when there is an unlimited supply of people to push around each day to make up for whatever emotional damage these jokers suffered in younger years.

  3. I agree with Steve that the police department is understaffed and the officers are overworked because of this.

    So let’s take some immediate action that may even help reduce our crime rates.

    Pierluigi, please propose the immediate cessation of using noble officers watching construction projects on our city streets.  This is one job our fine men and women in blue should not have to do.

  4. #3 Winchester,

    You and I will have to agree to disagree.

    You have made a comparison to what police officers have and the private sector does not as far as accruing sick time goes. Your blanket statement that accrued sick time “simply does not exist in the private sector” is not true. I worked in the private sector until I retired. We were allowed to accrue 300 hours of sick time, and anything over that was lost. This led to some employees calling in sick when they were just below 300 hours so they would not be penalized and lose sick time. Employees were also offered stock options,  401K plans, bonus plans, and other perks which police officers do not get, and I am going to receive social security payments when eligible, which police officers do not.

    I have lived in this area my entire life, and I am a huge supporter of our police officers. I am sick of those who want to make them scapegoats for the city budget problem. It is like putting on a band-aid for a hang nail and hoping it will cure your cancer. If our police officers are fortunate and lucky enough to make it through their careers without using all of their sick I don’t begrudge them for getting some extra pay at the end. I am sure most of the older veterans work with daily pain of some sort, and if you want to reduce their sick time they would be better off just calling in sick. Most of the retired officers will probably have some daily pain or illness for the rest of their lives as a result of injury or sickness occurring during their career.

    Why is it that our collective society is willing to pay professional athletes millions and millions of dollars to play a game for 6 months a year, and applaud their heroism when they play through an injury, or get paid millions to go on injured reserve, yet we are willing to make our police officers the bad guys over a relatively paltry amount of money?

  5. Mark T wrote: “Then I saw the hours.  Noon to 5PM weekdays.  Maybe not even all weekdays; I can’t remember.  So just who do they expect to drop by during those hours?”

    No wonder why the MHP is a money pit. User-unfriendly hours alienate folks who work for a living. This does nothing to encourage contributions.

  6. #4

    Your point about the MHP, hours and management: spot on and worthy of discussion.

    Your reference to “sneering jackbooted motorcycle cop”, “jerks like this” etc. etc. speak more about you than they do about the 1,300 career officers that Steve, Richard and the Councilman speak of. 

    Steve had valid points about those in the SJPD.  Richard had sound are reasoned thoughts on the subject and the bigger picture.  And yes, there are areas of the SJPD and other labor units’ benefit and compensation package that differ from those of Fortune 500 companies and larger Bay Area firms.  All of this can be discussed and worked through given a civil, fact-based and structured dialog.

    Just a thought.

  7. Keep shooting from the hip Mr Oliverio and you may get more than you bargained for. With police staffing already critically low, do you really want to convey a “use it or lose it” message to the cop on the beat? If so, your political keister may well get the blame some day should a battered woman dies at the hands of her husband because she dialed 911 and there were no cops to send.

  8. I guess my concern is that enormous amounts of sick leave can be accrued over many years.  Quite a number of Government agencies (USPS, County Courts, etc.) allow for payout of accrued sick leave hours that go unused, either on an annual basis or upon retirement. 

    The rationale for such a provision is that the unused hours are cashed out at a percentage of the gross value, e.g. 60% of the hourly salary, thereby encouraging public employees to minimize use of sick leave in exchange for this bonus. 

    As well, some agencies add the unused sick leave to years of service and pay retirement benefits on the total.  For career Government employees, this can sometimes amount to one or two years of additional service credits. 

    I’m unaware of any similar provision in the private sector.  Can we continue to operate in this manner, given the budget issues that plague our city, county, state and Federal Governments?

  9. The Merc says that San Jose is the only major city in the US without a downtown hospital.

    They also say that the site is too small to run a profitable hospital.

    Yet there was a hospital on this site before. The reason they closed it is because it would cost too much to do the necessary seismic retrofitting.

    I’m suspicious of the Merc’s story. Downtown should have a hospital. More housing is not helping the city’s budget.

    As far as our police officers go, they take care of some pretty nasty jobs that most of us wouldn’t want to do, and they do things that are a lot riskier than most of us do. If anyone has earned their sick leave I think they have.

    #5 I thought police standing around at construction sites were being paid by the construction company?

  10. FinFan,

    Don’t dial 911, just call a local starbucks and you’ll have plenty of cops to help.

    Saying our town (not a city by any means) is short officers is a joke.  Just go downtown you see more cops than homeless.

  11. P.O.
    I am very glad to read that you are thinking and talking about balancing the budget.  Now if the rest of the council will join you and evolve talk into action,  the citizens will be happy I am sure.

  12. Pierluigi,

    Please answer what you think is a reasonable amount of sick time a police officer should be allowed each month, and what do you think is the total amount they should be allowed to accrue over time? Obviously, you think it is too much now.

    Personally, I think when you and the rest of the council has allowed our police department to be as grossly understaffed as it is, you have created a vicious cycle of officers getting hurt or sick thus their need for additional sick time. There is also absolutely no wellness or fitness program for the officers thus creating even more injuries and illness and more need for sick time.

    I think it is amazing that you and others begrudge our police officers because they are allowed to accrue sick time, and yet we expect them to routinely take on violent criminals, be exposed to human petri dishes on a daily basis getting god knows what sicknesses, work the graveyard shift which has been shown to shorten one’s life, or ultimately lay down their life to keep us or our families safe. As far as I am concerned, street cops deserve a lot more. What ever sick time they accrue I am sure mostly gets used at some point in their life for sickness, and is well offset and more by the huge amount of money that is saved by the department being so understaffed.

    A police officer spends 20-30 years getting in and out of a patrol car hundreds of thousands of times with 30 pounds of gear strapped on their body. Their bodies and minds go from 0 to 100 mph in the blink of an eye causing trauma to their minds and body with the sudden dump of adrenaline. The cumulative damage of adrenaline is well documented. Heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, hearing loss, emotional damage, and crippling back problems are extremely common with patrol officers who have been out in the field for 20 plus years. That is why officers are allowed to accrue sick time. Because most of the damage occurs on the backend of a career, when the cumulative medical damage has been done. Pierluigi, in fairness to our great police department why don’t you do some research and report the breakdown of debilitating amongst veteran police officers?
    How about helping out our police officers and institure a fitness and wellness program to reduce medical problems, of which there is none? How about fully staffing our department so officers are not overly exposed to the constant wear and tear on their body, causing them to break down?

    Pierluigi, you have always struck me as a great “idea” man. You need to come out of the comfort of the office and find out exactly how it is to work day after day, night after night with your average patrol officer. You need to hear if from the horses mouth, and not by word of mouth through a chain of committees, whose ideas are out of touch with the realities of patrol work by the time it is filtered to your level.

    By the way, I hope you keep up with the news as far as violent crime in our city goes this year. Gang violence is getting out of control it seems and that is an issue that needs to be dealt with right now before it spirals more out of control. Our police department has always been very proactive in curbing crime. It has now gone from a proactive department to a reactive department, due to being understaffed by hundreds of officers.

    We have what, 13 or so murders so far, compared with 5 at this time last year. At that rate we could have 80-100 murders for this year as last year’s total was about 40. Our safest city title has already dropped to 4th place last year; I would bet this year it will drop much further. This does not take into account the huge increase in serious and fatal car crashes in our city.

    Several million dollars in sick leave pay is a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars the city saves annually in understaffing our department. It is a total bogus statement to keep waving the sick pay flag as the reason we don’t have more officers. Go back and read Richard’s posts regarding lack of job creation coupled with staggering amounts of new high density housing. Quit blaming 1,300 noble police officers for the ills of our city; it is total bs.

  13. Pierluigi #14,

    There were about 75 police officers that retired last year. Take out the top 5 that you presented and that leaves an average of about $27,000 pay per officer, well under your $100,000 cap you propose. That myth is busted. I would also bet that those who got paid the highest amounts were fortunate to have gotten promoted early in their careers and gotten out of a patrol car. I bet those at the bottom of the list are the officers who spent either all or most of their careers at the street level where their bodies took a beating. Aren’t you penalizing the officers who are the one’s putting their necks out on the line the longest by staying in a patrol position? Your proposal would have a chilling effect on street level officers.

    That is great you have gone on 12 ride alongs but how many of these have been with rank and file officers versus command staff?

    In your response to #5, police officers are NOT paid by the police department to direct traffic. They are not pulled off the street to direct traffic. They are hired by the construction company at the officers normal rate of pay, NOT OVERTIME and work on their time off from the department. Are you serious that you “would rather have department of transportation employees direct traffic at construction sites.”? Not if it is my family and children in the car please. Also, please don’t propose that the Guardian Angels start responding to 911 calls.

    Lasty, your statement “I also support counseling services for our police as the job is stressful and mentally taxing” is a good start. They already have that benefit. What they don’t have is any physical fitness program whatsoever. If you are serious about “fiscal responsiblity” don’t you think it would be a prudent investment for the officers to have a physical fitness program, so the city protects its investment in each officer and perhaps reduce the need to accrue sick time, and help morale at a department that is severly undertstaffed?

  14. #2

    Thanks for writing.
    I think they should earn the same amount of sick time per month. However I believe the sick leave payouts should be capped to no more then $100K.

    The top 5 payouts for 2007 were:
    $221,592.36
    $171,323.06
    $162,356.78
    $154,789.41
    $153,271.45

    I believe our SJPD does a great job. It has been my pleasure to go on approximately 12 outings with our police. They are professional and serious about their work. I also support counseling services for our police as the job is stressful and mentally taxing.

    It is my quest to find money by being fiscally conservative so we as a city may do more for our residents whether it be public saftey, roads or parks.

    #5
    Agree. I would rather have department of transportation employees direct traffic at construction sites.

  15. Starbucks,

    You’ve got a point there. After all, since those cops undoubtedly get together regularly for coffee inside the break rooms in their patrol cars, it does seem a bit excessive that they go to Starbucks.

  16. #17 Steve

    You make some good points.  As an exerciser, I wholeheartedly agree with the idea of having a physical conditioning program for the police force.

    This is would be a good solution.  The police on the Eastside currently like to take breaks at the Reid-Hillview terminal since it is centrally located, and provides them with a restroom and tables for doing paperwork.  The county needs to close RHV, and use the land for something that actually generates tax income for the county.  So, it would be a great idea to build a police substation on the land, with break facilities, and a decent gym for the officers to use.

    A side-effect is that it will put more officers on the streets of East San Jose, which will then help make the neighborhood a better place.  Who knows, maybe the police will even consider buying homes in the area, which will do even more to clean up ESJ.

  17. #17

    Your view is one-sided on payouts.
    I don’t care who directs traffic although I would guess on non police person would cost much less.

  18. Sick time should be for being sick. Why does it turn into a retirement benefit? Answer: cause nobody has been minding the store.

    Policeman have a very stressful job but compared to the education that they’ve obtained,  the pay and benefits are very, very good and the time off is unreal.

    The retirement benefits of public employees are already far above what the vast majority of private employees accrue. Take a look at the largest private employers in San Jose such as Adobe and Cisco. They don’t even have sick time. They have a common benefit for time-off that accrues far below the level granted to city employees for vacation. And try working in these dynamic companies. Most of the time you can’t get away for the vacation accrued. Then take a a look at the instability in the modern private sector. Every company has regular lay-offs, often when the economy is in the pits. Stock options can be nice but they are most likely to pay off when the companies prospects are very risky and the work hours are more like 60 hours/wk and include weekend work.

    Big stable companies like Apple or HP aren’t even that stable (HP removed 1/3 or its workforce during the last 5 years) and give few or no stock options.

    I’ve had average matching 401k benefits for most of my career and I’d have been very happy to trade them for the very generous benefits granted public employees. And if those same employees want to live beyond the lavish retirement cash and health benefits that they receive, they can always invest in their own funded 403b.

  19. 14 – The thing is, the police officers don’t direct traffic at construction sites. They literally stand there, regardless of what condition the traffic is around them.
    I have sat, more than once, in an area that was congested due to construction and the officer did nothing. I have never seen an officer on construction duty do anything about the traffic while they were standing there. It happens so often that I assume they are only paid to be present but not to do anything. Whatever you can do to improve this situation would be greatly appreciated by many drivers, and probably bikers and walkers, too.

  20. Excuse me everyone !

      The real problem is San Jose is not putting a value on an important “quality of life” item in our city.

        We are operating at 1994 levels of police staffing, the city is saving a lot of money in 2008 by not having proper staffing of police officers.

        We should have 800 more poilce officers for a city of our size when compared to a city of our size. the city of “Fresno has more police officers than San Jose”,excuse me.

        The reason we are losing money as a city is “not because our police department cost to much to operate”, it`s because there is a problem in the management of this city.
          Blaming the police department is just a deversionary tatic.

  21. #20 Willow Glen Dad,
    To quote you, “I’ve had average matching 401k benefits for most of my career and I’d have been very happy to trade them for the very generous benefits granted public employees.” Please quit whining and go apply to the police department, if you are qualified. Then you can get the benefits you wish you had. Also, 403b plans are for teachers, not police offices.

    #21 ‘Get police off the street’
    Police officers act as deterrents at construction sights to slow down drivers. Many construction and highway workers are killed each year by idiot drivers not slowing down. The sight of a police officer is enough to get at least some of the drivers to slow down. Traffic is not always heavy enough that it needs to be actively directed, but a police car will sure get people to slow down, as opposed to a construction worker standing in the street with his orange vest. Police also have instant access to emergency help without the delay of going through a cell phone and then getting the CHP office in Sacramento, and then having it transferred to San Jose which can take many minutes. Bashing the police is easy, taking time to fully understand the issue take a lot more work. Why don’t you take the time to stop next time you see an officer at a construction sight and speak with him or her, so you can be fully informed, and then get back.

  22. 23 – Geez, you sound either like a police officer or a union leader who worked out the latest contract for the PD.
    You just might not know everything, so lighten up. I have never seen a patrol car at any construction site. They may be there but they are not visible. So, that deterrent factor doesn’t exist. As for the mere presence of an officer slowing down traffic, that sounds good but in reality the officers are usually not very visible until you are practically on-site and that would too late for most speeders to slow down.
    Anyway, the point that you seem to be missing is, this seems like a cushy requirement worked out by union that calls for one or more officers to stand on a street corner and watch a construction project—for pay. I have never seen an officer address a traffic congestion problem.
    So, it seems if they are going to stand at most construction projects they could at least take care of traffic problems as they occur and at least give the rest of us the perception that this really is a good use of time to have them standing around.
    Go ahead, Steve, keep trying to convince us how this is a worthwhile way to use our police officers.

  23. Our current city leaders say they don`t want to look bak on history errors but, “history is about people”!

       
        Lets look back for a moment, listen to a few comments made by “Pete Campbell” in 2005.
          Pete Campbell
          La Oferta news, 23 September, 2005 in print an article written by Pete,”…Is San Jose Getting to Large”. “The city of San Jose is becomming an increasingly crowed place”,’‘…Many of san Jose Streets are jammed with traffic, even off peak times”.”… The City is strapped for cash”. Pete goes on to say,”…at some point in the future, San Jose may reach a point of diminishing returns where continued expansion begins to erode “Quality of Life” for San Jose residents in a clear and measurable way”.

          So we continue to grow, build more high density housing “densifing” San Jose so we can justify building a $10 million BART system
    that will lose money for the next 20 years. This is just what the city needs another,“red ink investment” just to make political insiders happy.

          Meanwhile we don`t have the money to hire at least another 50 police officers or an additional 5 police offices per district.

          We can`t maintain our parks and libriaries nor repair our city roadways. But we can find the money to spend $4 million dollars moving palm trees, spend millions to subsidize Formula Car races downtown. We can find $39 million to buy the basement and first floor of the old Bank of America Building, then spend more money to turn it into an underground transit mall. We can find $10 million dollars to fix the Civic Autotorium, find RDA money to build another downtown hospital instead of an urgent care center like Willow Glen and Almaden Valley has.Buy a new electronic reader board for HP Pavilion that costs Millions, no problem.

          Hire another 50 police officers ? Out of the question,“we are broke they say. They tell us we have to cut city services! No money they say! We have a budget deficit ! They say !
          They must think they can do whatever they want, they just have to keep the political insiders pleased, thats all.
          Voter, tax payers, “screw them.

  24. Steve #23,

    In the spirit of SJI, I want to provide you with an emergency 911 type number to use on your cell phone which will provide you with direct access to emergency help “without the delay of going through a cell phone and then getting the CHP office in Sacramento, and then having it transferred to San Jose which can take many minutes”

    (408) 277-8911

    Please program it in your family cell phones. 

    Don’t dial 911 from your cell phone, though I’ve read they are getting better.

  25. #24 Paper Boy,

    You assert “Anyway, the point that you seem to be missing is, this seems like a cushy requirement worked out by union that calls for one or more officers to stand on a street corner and watch a construction project—for pay.”

    Please provide a shred of evidence that this is true. Please educate me if I am “missing the point”. I have read in local papers that officers are out there so construction companies won’t have so much liability if they are sued due to an accident, but never that it was some “cushy” agreement worked out. It is easy for you to make these accusations, but where is the proof please?

  26. #17 Steve,

    Who said they were paid by the Police Dept?  I knew you would bring this up.  And the suggestion that DOT employees could have the additional cream would be good, but the construction companies are forced to pay police officers at the normal rate of pay.  Is that fair?  Some have said it is extortion.  With the understaffing, the police need a break and time with their families, to come down from the pressures of the job.  Dangling these second jobs of standing around, at the same rate of pay is hazardous to their health.  We should open up the supervision of construction sites to other less impacted professions.  What about and officer who pulled an 8 hour construction shift “on their own time” prior to his shift?  Do they get in more accidents, make more mistakes, more on the job injuries.  We are setting them up for failure.

    And as I said in #5, they watch the construction, they do not direct traffic as #14 alluded to.  Steve, If you’ve seen active police at construction sites, please give us the locations.

  27. Steve,

    From the IRS website:

    “A 403b plan is a retirement plan for University, civil government, and not-for-profit employees”.

    Last I heard, Police Officers are “civil government” employees”

    I’m not whining, I’m just one of the guys paying the bill and every time I pay a bill, I want to know if it is a reasonable deal. Where public employee pensions and benefits are concerned, I don’t believe that they should exceed those from good employers in the private sector. The very people paying for the benefits.

    Simple as that.

  28. # 2… #4,15,24,26,27,28

        I find it very unusual that on this blog that it is more socially acceptable to complain about what we have than it is to ask the city for what we want and need. We need more officers on the street, the city is operating a PD that is understaffed and I can`t bring myself to complain about the police coverage we have.

        I don`t mean to be disrespectable to any of you and your opinions but remember we are a major U.S. city operating with a understaffed police department.

        We can`t pay anyless than any of our neighboring cities do, or any other major city in the state.

        Our budget shortfall has little to do with the cost of our police department.
        I would be more inclined to ask about how much revenue our city collects through various taxes, take that total and subtract the cost to operate our 18 story city hall just to see how much is left over to cover the city services we pay taxes for. What is that number, how much is left over to pay out library and park maintenance people, our police and fire department, our street maintenance staff? What is that amount, is it 30%-40%, what is it, Pierluigi do you know?

      How much of the overhead goes to maintain the City hall staff, how much is left to cover the people outside the 18 story building taking care of the city?

      Do we need a revenue increase? If so where do we get it.

  29. #30,
     
        I agree with all your good points. But, asking for 50 additional police officers, 5 per district is not asking for a lot when we are 800 below where we should be for a city of our size.

        We also badly need traffic enforcement officers as speeding on city streets is out of control. No one pays attention to traffic calming signs because they know we are short enforcement officerts.

        The city will admit that traffic enforcement officers more than pay their way. They are not an additional cost to the city.

        In 2007 we added 15 new officers, 11 officers retired, net gain 4 officers, less than one per district to cover only one shift. In 2008 the city cut 46 civilian jobs from the police department staff , but they are going to add 15 new officers in 2008. Again less the retiring officers.

        To cover the civilian jobs that were cut from the PD, uniformed officers were taken off the street to cover the required PD office jobs. “Smart”? Uniformed officers are needed out on the street not in the office filling out paper work.

        We were the the safest city because our police were told not to write up reports unless their was property damage, personal injury or gang violance. We really didn`t deserve the “safest city title for 2006”.

        The problem I have is we can find the money for non necessary city items when necessary, but not for additional police that improve our quality of life. Again adding 5 police officers per district is a small thing but, important expence. Rememberthe police cover more than one shift per day in each district.

  30. #31

    …when we are 800 below where we should be for a city of our size.

    How many total police are on the SJPD?  This 800 number sounds like it should be the entire police force.

  31. The fact of the matter is, we in San Jose are quite efficient. 

    Why do we feel we need the same amount of police per capita as some of the other cities? We must use our resources better.  We were once the safest city, with what some say a minimal staffing level.  I believe we would still be #1 if you took into account our staffing levels, not just crime per capita.

    We need to move our resources towards gang abatement, and put much more money into helping the at risk youth.  I recall during the mayoral primary when Pandori would bring up the impending problems of gangs, and people thought he was crazy!  He could see the future, and this is the most pressing problem the PD has today.

    Our police are effective, but over worked.  Don’t exasperate the problem have them working construction sites, but resting for health. Use them efficiently to combat crime, particularly gang activity, and have them work with community programs to direct the young kids to a productive lifestyle.

  32. #31

    More police sounds good however it is the most expensive item in the budget. How should we pay for it?
    Economic development of retail and jobs takes time and is unknown. So what are you willing to cut to pay for it? 800 more police officers will never happen unless you want to shut down other departments of the city.

  33. As a comparison, San Francisco Police Department has 2,000 sworn officers for a population of about 750,000 people. San Jose Police Department has about 1,350 officers for about a population of a million people. The San Jose Police Department would need to hire about 1,000 more officers to be comparable to the San Francisco Police Department. Even being as short as our police department is, they manage to keep our city safer.

  34. #34
    This is not an apples to apples comparison.
    San Francisco has neighborhoods that are terrible like the Tenderloin, Western Addition, Hunters Point and Bayview. No neighborhood in San Jose is as bad as these neighborhoods in SF.

  35. #34

    Thanks. That gives SF a population to police ratio of 375/1, while San Jose has a 740/1 ratio.

    I have no idea what is considered a good, or reasonable, ratio.  I guess it depends on the population.  I suppose if you have a city full of lowlifes then you might need a 1/1 ratio.

  36. Jake, #33,

      Most of us would be pleased with the addition of 50 officers not 800. It would be great if 25 of those new officers were enforcement officers that pay their own way plus the cost of another officer. Remember too, more officers are retiring.

        Sometimes things get confusing when I read the Mercury news press releases comming from the Mercury news office in the city hall building. I think I read there is an extra $45 million sitting in the City of S.J. bank account, maybe more. Lets see,  $35 million of city money was going to be used to purchase a partnership with the owner of the Bank Of America building down town to build a underground transit station in the basement and the first floor of that building. Then more to retrofit the building. Where`s that money?

        Didn`t we give the owner of the building $250,000 of redevelopment money years ago when the new owner bought the building from Santa Clara University? Where did that money go? This was a few mayors back that gave the $250k away.

        Didn`t I read there is $10 million available to remodel the Civic Autorium.

        Going back to the Bof A building, isn`t the underground transit station for the $10 million BART tunnel going by the Bof A building ? The same BART program the voters said “no” on.

        What more important, a few police officers, repairing the city streets? Staffing libraries?

          Our city leaders are supposed to be smart people but, on one hand they tell us “we`re broke”, but the other hand says, “lets spend millions”. No consistancy?