A couple of weeks ago, the San Jose city government sent out hundreds of layoff notices to city employees. KRON 4 News reported that 25 percent of the city’s librarians received notices that their positions could be eliminated. The Mercury News reported that the San Jose police officers’ union has offered to cut their salaries by 10 percent in an effort to reduce the number of layoffs. Even with this last-minute concession, San Jose’s police force may still be reduced by 106 officers.
These figures demonstrate just how bad the city’s budget situation really is. There’s no more fat to cut….from here on out, it’s all muscle and bone. Over the next six to nine months, the citizens of San Jose will see and experience significant, and perhaps even dangerous cuts to city services.
One wonders how many city positions could be reinstated if the $10 million assigned to the old city hall property site would go to the city’s general fund, rather than transfered to the Santa Clara County government as part of a negotiated debt settlelment with the redevelopment agency. (See “The City Hall Land Swap.”)
Once again, 1996 Measure I stipulated that the new city hall was to be paid, in part, “by using the proceeds from the sale or lease of the old civic complex and other land…” But, according to San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle, the land swap is OK because the “full wording of the measure,” includes the word, “or” (“using the proceeds from the sale or lease of the old civic complex and/or other land”).
Who represents the interests of San Jose citizens on this matter? The Office of City Attorney also serves as General Counsel for the San Jose Redevelopment Agency. How can the City Attorney’s Office represent the interests of both the city and the redevelopment agency at the same time? Isn’t this a clear conflict of interests? Who (if anyone) is arguing that the proceeds from the old city hall site ($10 million) should go to the city’s general fund?