Support Our Mayor

It is the City of San Jose’s process that City Manager Debra Figone puts forth a budget proposal in May. Then, after that is released, councilmembers make their budget proposals to Mayor Chuck Reed.

When the Councilmembers make written suggestions of their “budget wants,” they also need to include what funding source within the city will be affected (some written suggestions from councilmembers are done in collaboration with labor unions).

Then, the Mayor takes into consideration the City Manager’s budget proposal and the Councilmember’s suggestions, and comes up with a final budget.  Of course, a mayor could put together their own budget without this input, but it is customary that the mayor takes other perspectives into consideration. 

As a result, Mayor Reed’s budget message was released on Friday.

Every San Jose mayor must put forth a balanced budget to be voted on by the City Council.  The mayor is one of 11 votes. So, just like any agenda item that comes before the Council, six votes are needed to pass or deny the item at hand. 

Mayor Reed’s current budget proposal does some delicate balancing of top priorities using the limited funds we have.  For some, there may be nothing to like because it is such a thin budget. However, what are the alternatives?  There is no other proposal that has this level of detail, accuracy or is this candid with the challenges we face as a city. 

We know both from scientific surveys done by the city and by my non-scientific web surveys that San Jose residents want to see concessions from city employees rather then cutting services. 
There has been a lot of talk about 10 percent concessions.

Anything less than a 10 percent concession will result in more layoffs and therefore more service cuts to residents.  Where we end up is a mystery. Still, there is little time left. What is done or not done prior to passing the current budget may implode any chance for future revenue opportunities in November. 
The council may vote to drain all of the reserves and punt a portion of the problem down a short road. I do not support that option.

San Jose has some the smallest reserves when compared to other California cities. San Jose has a 3 percent reserve that only covers 2.5 weeks of payroll. Los Angeles has a 5 percent reserve, San Diego and Anaheim have a 7 percent reserve, and Long Beach has a 10 percent reserve.

I invite everyone to read Mayor Reed’s budget message if you have a stake in San Jose. It is imperative for people to understand the challenges before all of us.

Here is a link to the Mayor’s official budget message.

Here is a link to my “Budget Trade-Offs” survey which includes with over 1,000 participants.

Here is a link to my written budget proposal to the Mayor. It suggests reducing items not in the city charter and instead funding core services like police and libraries.

If people support the Mayor, I ask them to please send an email to the entire San Jose city council by clicking on this link.

The public hearing on this budget is June 14 at 7pm, and will go until late. The vote on the Mayor’s budget is June 15 at approximately 3pm.


  1. P.O.
    I just read how much money the city will lose if you vote to boycott Arizona. Don’t you think it is a bit hypocritical to ask Police, Fire, and city workers to take a 10% pay cut, but vote to boycott a city that provides us with over 13 MILLION dollars in revenue a year?

    Don’t you think it is a bit hypocritical of the city to reward people who enter our country illegally, when Millions of other immigrants follow our laws, pay their fees, take their physicals to ensure they are not spreading diseases to us, and learn our language? 

    I don’t think taking a stand on laws that keep our country safe is right. This is not an issue of race; it is an issue of law. If you don’t believe that to be true, please go to Mexico or any other foreign country illegally, and see how they treat you, when you get caught. wink

    • What is really hypocritical is the buffoons on the city council just spent millions of dollars buying land trying to get a major league baseball team, and spring training as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks are in Arizona.

  2. Are you kidding?  He is a disaster!  Downtown San Jose is a total failure due to lack of attention by the mayor, not the economy.  Where are the highrise apartments since there is still a market for them.  What about about highrise dorms and mixed-used projects that counter-act the economic slow down?  Downtown needs to be filled out and densified regardless of the economy; otherwise, many businesses will continue to fail and make downtown hollow and dangerous. It(downtown) needs to show progress, or there’s something wrong with this city. Remember 1954 when downtown was ignored?  Now the total focus is out in North San Jose and the outlying areas, not downtown.  We need someone to make downtown San Jose relevent to the valley as a whole, not being a “sprawled-out burb” like LA without the beach.

    • Durf,

      I don’t get it.  Nobody ever dumped a couple gazillion dollars in the Cambrian or Rose Garden or Alum Rock areas.  What is about Downtown that makes it some sort of special, deserving money-pit?!

    • Durf,
        We CAN’T be talking about the same Downtown San Jose, that has historically been the money pit that sucks in dollars that never make it out to the neighborhoods.
        Have you even BEEN downtown in, say, the last 25 years? Big projects everywhere. Most of them sit empty or underused but, by golly, the city pumped major $$ into some of those empty storefronts.

  3. > Where are the highrise apartments since there is still a market for them.  What about about highrise dorms and mixed-used projects that counter-act the economic slow down?  Downtown needs to be filled out and densified regardless of the economy; otherwise, many businesses will continue to fail and make downtown hollow and dangerous.

    Good grief.  Take a trip and look at some of the Stalinist triumphs of urban planning in eastern Europe.  There are plenty of highrise apartments, sterile, drab, ugly.  There is plenty of urban density. There are plenty of urban disasters, and urban failures as a result of TOO MUCH attention from politicians who want to control other peoples lives.

    Cities are spontaneous organic collections of human individuals interacting in subtle, creative, and unpredictible ways.

    It is megalomania and folly for technocrats to think that they are going to “plan” a city, and have it be what they specify it to be.

  4. Durf

    Another ” Let’s spend all San Jose’s money on downtown cheerleader”  so

    1) My property values goes up because my mortgage is underwater and can’t move to some place nice
    2) I can live in real urban area since I can’t afford San Francisco and have to drive to shop for everything
    3) My friends will stop telling me, Let go anyplace but downtown how about Santana Row, Campbell, Los Gatos, even Mountain View
    4) My parents ask me:  Are you on drugs, drinking too much or gang member and that’s why you live downtown
    5) I don’t have another morning of hosing down sidewalk and steps hoping urine and barf odor will go away by time I get home
    6) I am so depressed with name like Durf, there is nothing to do downtown, guess I will go and get another tattoo
    7) Downtown is not really dangerous, if you go out with 10 friends, avoid crowds, don’t look anyone in eye and walk quickly
    8) If we had more people living downtown there would not be so many vehicle, home or personal thiefs, drunks, homeless or clubs as only successful downtown businesses
    9) Why do so all angry drunks, gang members, dopers and ugly partiers – Know the Way to San José‘s downtown
    10) Downtown San Jose was named after a saint but it is more like the ” Place from Hell ”

    • Durf’s Downtown,

      Downtown’s biggest problem is that it’s empty, and it’s empty because people like you see a couple homeless people and decide that it’s a hangout for crack addicts.  You want to see unsafe, go check out Oakland.  I see more derelicts at busy intersections than I do downtown.  I mean, calling it a “place from Hell”?  Seriously?  You have been living in the suburbs for far too long.

      For the record, this doesn’t mean I think the council should be pouring money into downtown.  The “spontaneous organic collections” comment captures what it takes to make a vibrant area.  Then again, everyone here seems to love Santana Row, so maybe contrived is okay as long as it’s closer to Downtown Disney instead of a real city.

  5. I write this knowing that most of readers of these websites are primarily anti City worker.  Why?  Who knows?  Probably due to reasons that I did not cause. 

    I work pretty hard to do what the City wants me to do, so I don’t take much offense to the standard, “City workers are leeches.” comment. 

    In any case, here are some facts that you should all know.  If you are truly anti-City employee, you can stop now and just criticize me for being a leech, lazy, since it doesn’t bother me much and seems to make you happy.

    1.  The City plans to force new employment terms on me. 
    2.  I can save jobs by taking wage cuts.  Sounds like a choice between my finger or my arm.  It was once a choice and offer, now it’s an order.
    3.  The City talks about a 10% wage/benefits concession.  Once you do the math, it’s more like 15% of my paycheck since I have to cover 10% of everything else not included in my salary, etc.
    4.  No one asks the question as to how we got here and how come other great Cities in the Bay Area aren’t in such bad shape?  Too many homes, not enough business.
    5.  If people are let go, it usually the hardest working due to seniority rules.
    6.  My 15% pay reduction will go to pay for Police/Fire pay and mostly their retirement, which did horrible with the recession.
    7.  The City blames my runaway costs for the budget deficit.  When did I make the decision to allow my costs to runaway?  How come the ones at the top never accept blame for the decisions they make?
    8.  The City gave me some raises during the past, but they were small amounts over time.  Now they want to take it back in one big grab.
    9.  The City is very hard place to work at now.  Morale is at an all time low and our Mayor thinks we all get paid too much. 
    10.  There is no negotiation going on with the City and Unions.  City says 10%, Union says “nah.”, City says 10%, Union says 5%, City says 10%, Union says 7.5%, City says 10% and decides to force it making all City employees depressed all at the same time.

    Have it bloggers, I’m ready for anything at this point.

    • Reality,
      Trust me when I say MANY of us don’t see employee’s pay/benefits as the reason we ended up here. You only have to look at that big, ugly, overpriced elephant with the “rotunda” attached to it to know where the buck stops.  There has been so much waste and overspending by the past several councils that it makes me sick. And today, voters will vote in the SAME people who caused this! :-(

      Our Police Department has been understaffed for as far back as I can remember. Millions upon millions have been dumped into downtown and look what we have to show for it! We have golf courses STILL costing us millions. We have so much money going out the door to useless projects, to keep dying non-profits a float, and overpaid consultants that it is no wonder our city is in dire straights.

      If the city really wanted to get spending under control, they’d start by cutting the real fat from the top down, instead of blaming employees.  Too bad the Civil Grand Jury didn’t look into the spending at city hall. Now that would be a report worth reading!!!

  6. I read enough of mayor Reed’s budget message (thanks for the link) to figure out that at least he understands why we’re in the situation we’re in. And that’s something we shouldn’t take for granted. Imagine if it was mayor Cindy Chavez trying to attack this problem!
    So yes, Pierluigi. Even though his plan won’t go far enough (in my conservative opinion) in standing up to some of the selfish union “bargaining units”, I’ll support the mayor’s budget proposal.

    And once again I’d like to thank you for your steady, reliable effort in communicating in a sensible and direct fashion the goings-on at city hall via your weekly contribution to this forum.

  7. Downtown is heart that pumps life through the rest of the city and keeps everything in check, like a human heart.  If you don’t maintain downtown,like human heart, it would die.  In the city’s case, the gangs, rapists and murderers would run wild just like the movie “Warrior”, which was made in 1980 when New York was a cesspool.  The criminals would run the city, not people, if downtown dies. Just look at Detroit, Circa 1973.  Plus, San Jose would be an embarrasment to the rest of the country if it had a blighted downtown.  Downtown is our living room and 3 billion dollars have already been spent on it.  You’ll have to pay whole more taxes if downtown fails-massive, massive bailout for projects that have been built from 1985-2009.  Would that be a disaster or what?!

    • Nonsense!  One could level the whole of Downtown, plant a heritage orchard and not miss a dime of income.  SJ spends far more money on Downtown than it brings in. 

      Fremont has no downtown and, while it may be one of the most boring communities extant, it suffers not from criminal elements and embarrassment.

      Three billion is a lot of dough, but one needs to know when good money is being poured in after bad. Spending money on other neighborhoods would be a much more worthy investment.

      • Sunnyvale and Santa Clara dont really have a downtown and they are both doing extremely well. They have attracted big business while San Jose is attracting cannibas clubs and building low income housing.

  8. City management folks need high salaries to compete with private industry—how else ya gonna get the best and brightest?

    …so the best and brightest invested $500,000 in an effort to attract a grocery store to replace the Lucky/Alberstons’s on Santa Clara at 6th. The chain abruptly closed their doors this weekend, leaving shoppers with no grocery store downtown.

    …except for the Safeway (what’d we pay them to come downtown?) and Zanotto’s (what *haven’t* we paid Troy & Co. to build, get bailed out, rebuild, repeat) and the Mi Pueblo store on Julian.

    Yessir…keeping downtown vibrant, at your expense!

  9. We were told at City Hall last year that all downtown which included arena generates $700-800,000 sales tax per year less than $1 million + for downtown policing while increasing San Jose’s crime rate  

    San Jose supports downtown while rest of city gets less services, worst streets and policing than tax losing downtown

    San Jose would be better and crime rate less if all downtown clubs closed. If we had stopped wasting taxes on supporting downtown buildings, groups, bailouts and events a few years ago and spent taxes on other parts of San Jose, we probably would not have budget deficit

    • Where would the party goers go? Somewhere less central, with the subsequent increased policing costs? Better to contain them in one general location.

  10. The problem with Downtown is:

    Santana Row

    Downtown ceased to be a destination, when the aforementioned malls were built…

  11. 2 Opinions

    “San Jose would be better and crime rate less if all downtown clubs closed.”

    “Where would the party goers go? Somewhere less central, with the subsequent increased policing costs? Better to contain them in one general location. “

    Most of s downtown club problems are from
    1) large clubs
    2) out of town customers from Oakland, East Palo Alto, Gilroy, Salinas, Central Valley coming to San Jose to party, get drunk and cause trouble mixing it up with 20-30’s locals

    Develop solutions that cost clubs dollars since many clubs and property owners are not San Jose residents who only care about profits

    They make more profits from serving too many drinks to drunk club customers who then cause trouble on streets  

    Make additional entertainment zone club charges based on club occupancy and past record of problems by owner and location so property owner will be penalized if they renting to problem club owners now they only profit from high rents

    1) Charge all clubs extra $$$$ for # police calls over 1-2 month or 12 – 24 in year

    2) Require all clubs with excessive police calls to double number of club security people

    3) Require cameras to PD inside and outside clubs, on streets and parking paid by clubs to id troublemakers so they can be later arrested and sent to jail

    4) Have clubs pay based on club occupancy to clean up downtown streets and parking after closing time every night

    5) Ask Downtown Association to change name to Downtown Club Owners Association and stop all city subsidies to Downtown Club Owners Association

    If they don’t want to change name to what they are, call them – Downtown Club Owners Association

  12. Voters supported Mayor, Sam, Pete and Measure K – Card Tax

    Others lost or are in time consuming expensive runoffs with more Mayor’s victories in November

    Cindy could not win again

  13. I still say the city is too big and therefore funds are over distributed and can’t ever really make a difference anywhere.  Why not give district 1 to Campbell and let district 10, 2 and 8 unite as their own city.  That way the funds are more concentrated.  Can we, can we huh?

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