Police Running out of Time

The Police Officers Association announced Friday that its members would accept a one-time 10 percent cut in pay and benefits for the coming year. Union leaders cast the move as a generous proposal that would save jobs. Mayor Chuck Reed immediately called the offer inadequate, and warned that it came dangerously late in the game.

Initial agreements are due in a month. As of Tuesday, both sides have dug into their positions and are refusing to budge.

As a result, 250 police officers—20 percent of the force—could lose their jobs.

Reed will deliver his budget message on June 3, and his office says that unless the POA agrees to an indefinite pay cut by then, arbitration hearings would force hundreds of officers out of a job until a resolution is reached.

“If things don’t go well, we’re in trouble,” Reed says. “If they go worse, we’re in deeper trouble. So we need to have some of these changes made to prevent the city from a fiscal and safety disaster.”

The city is facing a $115.2 million deficit for the upcoming fiscal year, and City Manager Debra Figone’s proposed budget, released on Monday, paints a bleak picture. Libraries and community centers will be closed for three or more days every week. And 650 city positions will likely be eliminated—even if all 11 labor unions agree to 10 percent cuts in compensation.

“The severe reductions recommended in this Proposed Budget are sobering and will in one way or another touch every person in San Jose,” Figone writes.

The number of positions eliminated could increase to more than 1,000 if Alex Gurza, the city’s lead negotiator, cannot cut deals with the remaining six unions. Gurza is clearly irked with the POA’s strategy.

In a letter dated May 2, Gurza scolded union president George Beattie for holding a press conference and showing his plan to the media “prior to the conclusion of our meeting—during which the proposal was being presented to the City’s negotiating team for the first time.”

To read the full article about how the budget crisis could result in San Jose police officers losing their jobs, click here.

Also, on Wednesday, Alex Gurza sent a letter to POA President George Beattie urging the union to accept ongoing compensation reductions.

Josh Koehn is a former managing editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley.


  1. Since Chuck conveniently goes to the public vote to attack the dedicated workers of San Jose, why doesn’t he go to the public to vote on releasing the other “special” funds into the general fund? I know I know….THIS IS ILLEGAL!!! but how about making it LEGAL through a vote? That way the citizens won’t get hosed with diminished services!!! When things get better, then we can buy a baseball stadium!!

  2. San Jose, “it’s a good place to be from,” as the saying goes.

    It’s certainly no longer a good place to live, city services are being cut left and right and, in their place, monuments to stupidity are soaking up every available tax dollar. 

    Sure, pensions are are a part of the problem.  But let’s not forget the billions upon billions of dollars we’ve spent on the airport, downtown RDA projects, the city hall, and countless other money-sucking monuments.

    For me, it no longer matters much.  Moving to nearly any other city in the South Bay is a winning proposition.  Places like Campbell, Santa Clara, Mountain View and Sunnyvale all take care of their residents, unlike San Joser.

  3. Gurza says:

    “In a letter dated May 2, Gurza scolded union president George Beattie for holding a press conference and showing his plan to the media “prior to the conclusion of our meeting—during which the proposal was being presented to the City’s negotiating team for the first time.”

    The city has bad mouthed its employees for months, blaming them for the budget crisis. Its ok for the city and council to do it, but when the POA does, Gurza scolds them? Good for you George Beattie, keep it up, what goes around comes around. The POA and MEF/CEO are trying to negotiate with the city, thats why it is called “negotiations.” However the city is just going through the motions, to say they did so that they “the city” can impose on the remaining unions. That is not negotiations!

  4. None of us familiar with Chuck Reed as the Boss of Berryessa (with help from Notorious Victor Ajlouny) are surprised by his behavior as mayor.

    He certainly never stooped to solving problems in Berryessa with reason.  His entire technique was to smear people with whom he merely suspected he might have a disagreement.  Now we are seeing his one-man destructo operation of city employees with smears, unreasoning demands, and vitriol.

    He has crafted a frame for the problems of San Jose that could justifiably be called, “Let’s Blame The Employees,” for all the excesses of spending by San Jose over the past decade when so many financial commitments were coming down the road.  It’s not the employees who are to blame for this disaster, but by constantly talking about firing city workers, Reed is leaving the impression that they and their salaries are solely to blame for this.

    I wonder when, as with Governor Gray Davis, who was ousted from office on October 7, 2003, San Jose will stand up on its hind legs, grow a spine, and recall the failed Reed administration.

    Dale Warner

    • “His entire technique was to smear people with whom he merely suspected he might have a disagreement.”

      They try to smear the defendant’s witnesses so they are seen as not being credible. It is part of the lawyer game. I will be happy to sign for recall. Just let us know when, where and how.

  5. If I read this correctly, San Jose police officers have offered sufficient concessions to save jobs this year. The budget problem we are faced with is for this year. The Mayor is derailing the deal because he asked for a dollar and the police offered 4 quarters.

    Let’s be clear (as this article is not)…if officers are laid off this year (for the first time in the history of San Jose) that will be of this Mayor’s choosing. The police have offered concessions to deal with this year’s crisis.

    Me thinks someone is a tad drunk on the the power of their inflated approval rating. I wonder how high that rating will remain once the bad guys figure out there aren’t any cops left on the streets to stop them.

  6. why did the fire plan pass so fast? Why doesn’t President Unland should give the same contract.  worked for fire it should work for the Police.  No way the Mayor could get out of that one.

    • The only real difference between the Fire contract thta the City accepted and the POA contract that the City rejected is that the 10% salary reduction being “ongoing” or permanent.

      Rather than Permanent the POA first said make it a 2 year 8% reduction followed a third year 5% permanent reduction. In the Second offer the POA agreed to a 10% reduction for 1 year.  The City’s rejection response was 1) 10% permanent then 2) a 1 year roll back means that the POA would actually get a 10% raise at the end of the 1 year.

      The POA is trying to take the Cit yat its word that   the economy is going to recover in the next 2-3 years. By submitting a 2nd tier retirement proposal for new hires and an “opt-in” 2nd tier for current employees the POA (Like FIRE did) was submit a proposal that meet ALL of the City’s often repeated financial concerns (its the retirements, retirements retirements…..)

      Just like thte CIty did with Fire, they countered the POA offer with a demand for 10% permanent, and a bunch of letters of agrrement to continue discussions on all other issues ( retirement tiers, sick leave and sick leave buyout.  ( Oh the other big item the put in the counter was CIVILIANIZATION OF ALL AIRPORT POLICE JOBS)

      The City proved that it is not concerned with what they say they are concerned with ( retirements) they just want to cut pay or cut jobs…

    • Mayor never intended to accept a POLICE offer that was not ALL aces for him. A rejection creates IMPASSE, which results in ARBITRATION, which he will claim FORCES HIS HAND to HISTORIC POLICE LAYOFFS. LAYOFFS and subsequent RISE in crime which he will lay at the feet of the POA, thus creating GROUNDSWELL and political capitol for subsequent BALLOT MEASURES. BLOOD and VICTIMS? Yes, absolutely, but for Mayor Reed these are statistics, “crime”, not real people. Officers see the pain and hurt of these victims everyday. For Mayor Reed these are, dare we say, “acceptable”, unspoken losses, in a thoughtful, coordinated campaign to crush unions. Putting his name on a bronze plaque in front of an A’s stadium downtown would be the cherry on top.

  7. I thought one of the mayor’s campaign promises about these measures was that by passing them, the city would be able to avoid layoffs of police and fire personnel?

  8. Bring on the layoffs. We’re tired of being villainized. The blood of future victims will be on the hands of Reed the Terrible. This POA has negotiated in good faith only to be demonized ad nauseum here, on billboards, in radio, on TV, and the Murky News. Perhaps when there are hundreds fewer police and crime rises dramatically citizens will understand that safety does not come a bargain basement prices. Interestingly enough,…the POA offer has not even been put to a member vote. I have serious doubt this would be ratified. I will vote NO and expect many officers to vote likewise. Too bad we cannot have a grand jury investigate grossly irresponsible spending decisions of this council and others. If you do not have a home alarm get one asap.

    • Do you really think being a child about this decision, name calling and going to absolute worst case senarios, is helping at all. No wonder the city doesn’t give you respect, all the police and fire departments do is complain about how you might have to work one more week of your lives while the tax payers suffer.

      • @ Grow Up:

        Perhaps you should step out of the kitchen if it is too hot for you. And as for worst case scenarios,…are you serious?! Worst case scenarios ARE exactly part of what public safety is tasked with. Why do you think we have an OES. Wake up.

        The city lacks respect for public safety because to diminish us is a means to the end. There are more than just a few citizens that value and respect public safety. You may not be one, that’s fine. We’ll still help you if you it because we are duty bound and sworn to an oath. Your fine mayor,…don’t expect the same. Have a nice day wink

  9. This is a call to ALL City employees. Get your families involved. Have them tell their friends and have their friends tell THEIR friends and tell them to spread it far and wide. Stand up against this administration. UNITE and put them out of office. If they don’t want to play fair…then we fight. If we can’t fight on their terms, we will fight on ours. If they want to come in through the backdoor, we will climb out of the attic. There is power in numbers. Get everybody involved and if they do not start being fair, vote them out of absolutely EVERYTHING they ever desire to do, now or in the future. STAND UP!! UNITE!! FIGHT!! SPREAD THE WORD.

  10. I wanted to share this e-mail I sent to the Mayor and Council. We need more facts, and FIGURES before buying into the bill of goods we’re being sold! 
    Honorable Mayor Reed, Vice Mayor Nguyen, Council Members, and City Manager Figone,

    First, I want to thank you for your efforts in trying to educate we citizens on the budget. I was at Council Member Pyle’s community meeting tonight, and as per the Mayor’s request, I would like to make a few recommendations to you on how to improve your budget message, and your presentation of the budget.

    1.) While I understand how vital it is for you to keep our City from going bankrupt, and I understand the need for pension reform, I disagree with the way you are touting the message to the public.

    Behind each dollar you are trying to save our City, I’d like you to keep in mind that there is a human being who is being affected by your decisions. I do not see that in any message conveyed by you, nor do I see any expressed appreciation toward our City employees. Please consider telling the public that these employees are valued by ALL of you for their dedication to our great City, and please change the way you are presenting this issue to the public.

    Remember please that people are losing their homes, their jobs, and even breaking up because the stress is tremendous. Please keep this in mind as you proceed with your efforts to reduce the budget.

    Aside from the Mayor, and a handful of Council Members, I do not see our politicians taking the blame for voting in these contracts. It is only by shared blame, and compromise done in good faith, that we will we weather this storm together.

    My suggestion: Own your part in the problem, let City Employees know they are appreciated, especially our Public Safety Servants, and work with them as best as you can to resolve money issues without, placing the blame solely on benefits and wages.

    Please start acknowledging that our economy is a HUGE part of why we’re in this boat, along with poor planning and budget decisions made by past City leaders! Over spending and bad decisions by our leaders can be traced back for at least a decade and a half!

    2.) Please stop telling us that the City pays a hefty portion of pensions, and medical benefits by giving us charts, PROJECTIONS, and power point presentations. Giving us astronomical amounts of money with stats are not something we can identify with. Please give us ACTUALS based on true salaries, and PER bargaining unit.

    A lot of what was presented tonight was vague and confusing to everyone. Try breaking things down into chunks we can understand more easily. Clumping money together in big baskets doesn’t work for any one. Tell us what will really happen when public safety is cut! In really plain English please!

    My suggestion: Please speak at the level of your audience! I want to know how much employees earn, PER bargaining unit, how much they pay out of pocket for the retirement, their medical, union dues, etc. i.e. Mary Jane is an admin and makes $50K a year, BEFORE taxes. She pays out $400.00 a month for medical insurance, her co-pay is $50.00 per visit, $5.00 per RX, she pays in $100.00 a month for her retirement etc. 

    You are misleading us by giving us projected costs, and lumping all employee salaries and benefits in together. Most employees don’t make a lot of money compared to NON Union management personnel, or higher ups in the Union.

    And finally, I want to know what NON UNION management get in the way of salary, benefits, paid leave, paid sick leave, retirement, and their shared costs.  I have yet to hear that in any budget meeting!

    I want to close by saying this, I pray for all of you because I know we are in very dire straits. I know each one of you carries a burden I can’t imagine carrying, but having said that, PLEASE change the way you are p[resenting this to the public because our City employee’s morale is at an all time low. They need your support, and they need to know you appreciate their commitment and service to our City.

    Thank you for listening.


      • You are very wlcome Officer X. Please stay safe out there!

        A friend of mine sent this to the Mayor and Council. He gave me permission to post it on SJI.

        Mayor Reed and Council Members,

        Okay Mayor, last night you asked us to give input so here you go.

        I went to Council Member Pyle’s community meeting on the city budget last night. I am glad Mayor Reed admitted that our leaders got us in this financial mess by following bad advice instead of hanging the blame on city employees for once. I think it is important to stop blaming city employees for everything and start cutting out things like Cultural Affairs, and other useless departments who earn way too much money. And Mayor, golf courses are not “have to haves.” They are a waste of money and cost a lot to keep. If people get mad about you selling them, then let em pay for it themselves.

        I heard City Manager Figone talk about outsourcing Police and Fire. I don’t think so. One of the reasons our country is in such bad shape job wise is because big corporations are outsourcing our jobs and getting big tax breaks for it. I don’t want the Sheriff’s Office patrolling our city, or anyone but the cops we already have. They know our city and no one will do a better job.

        As to Fire, I thought they already gave you a good deal so why are you still talking about outsourcing them? Is this bait and switch or what? Why don’t you follow Council Member Olivero’s idea of holding PUBLIC union negotiations so we can get the real scoop first hand?

        I don’t think you are telling us all the facts about what’s going on here. I want to see a break down of city employees ACTUAL shared costs, per bargaining unit, for BOTH medical and retirement. Lumping everyone’s salary together and giving projected costs isn’t helping me get the big picture. It isn’t honest either.

        I don’t see any mention of non Union members salaries or perks either. How about sharing that information with us? According to the Mercury News, upper management, non Union members make more than most.

        My biggest concern about last night’s meeting was how little we were told about the consequences to our community if you cut public safety even more. I read about the fights, stabbings, and vandalism in downtown last night. My neighbor already had her car windows busted out and our neighborhood in D9 is going downhill fast. I guess I should get used to reading, or experiencing that kinda stuff in my neighborhood once you cut our cops again.

        One last thing, Mayor Reed, I thought you cared about our city and its employees, when I voted for you. I didn’t know you’d be so insensitive to their needs, or so focused on Union busting. If you keep bashing city employees the way you do, no one is going to be in favor of a tax increase to help fix this mess and keep services.

        Even though I wasn’t polled, neither was anyone else I know, I would be willing to pay a tax increase to keep our PD and our FD employed. Stop asking rich people if they’d pay a tax increase because they’ll always say no! Start asking those of us who don’t live in alarm secured or gated communities if we would.

        Okay, well that’s my 2 cents on your budget. I’ve got to get to work.


        • Kathleen,

          Thank you for sharing the letter from Carl. His thoughts are echoed by many citizens I speak to who are experiencing an increasing sense of buyer’s remorse regards to voting for Mayor Reed.

          It is very disappointing to hear Figgone float ideas of outsourcing public safety at neighborhood meetings. Of course the airport is a lost cause, still I suspect they would outsource more if they had the support. She does not have the courage to speak the word at SJPD briefings. These are historic times here at SJPD. I hope that REED is eventually held accountable. His policies and votes should be traced back throughout these years on the council. When the capitol of Silicon Valley lays off 100+ police officers July 1 I hope the nation takes notice. Maybe 20/20 will ask, “Where did the hundreds of millions go?” Who is this Mayor Reed and what did SJ do with all of their money? You can only throw around “unfunded liabilities” so long before people start to demand more scrutiny and concrete answers

          Every spending decision by the council, particularly Reed, should be enumerated. His scapegoating of the CSJ unions has become deafening and I believe citizens are starting to see through the veneer of his lies. When layoffs arrive July 1, and his Pro measures V/W rhetoric is proven false, he will take one more towards his RECALL. I suspect the website RECALLMAYORREED.COM is not far away.

        • Why not contact 20/20 and MSNBC and let them know what is going on regarding those issues, as well as the double dipping? Start bringing the attention to it, so that they will start asking questions. They will start to investigate. The time is right now. City of Bell.

        • Starring none other than Curly, aka Pete Constant, the former police officer, as the loudest, most visible case of disability fraud this city has seen for awhile. You’re right, following the layoffs the time will be perfect.

        • It will be one way to get the books open. They would definitely have their own forensic accountant to examine the public documents. Then we would know the truth, for sure. I say contact 20/20, MSNBC and any other investigative reporter. It would be great to find out the truth and we could then stop wondering and move on. We would know for sure. I wouldn’t trust anyone else, but they would get to the very bottom of it.

        • What you will find out in the investigation is what the City has been saying is true and there is astructural budget deficit.  The unprecedented Fire retirement, 3% @ 20 years given through arbitration and the other unfunded liabilities of other benefits are just one significant factor.  The 5% terrorism pay the police got after Fire scored a big contract around 2003 from the previous Mayor, without opening negotiations.  A good investigation would show the corruption on the Union Leaders and political croonies such as the previous Mayor that gave the Unions anything they asked for. There is plenty of blame to go around both with the elected officals and Union leaders, but the power garnered by the unions over the last decade was over abused by their leadership.  This is reflection on the Union leadership. not the workers.  The current elected City officials are doing their best to get this structural budget deficit under control.  It’s not easy and I beleive they have healthy respect for the employees regardless os the spin put out by the Union leaders.  These are not easy decision for them.  If it was only San Jose in this mess than I would be suspicious, but look around the whole County and State.  So go ahead and ivite the invetigators in.

        • Officer X,
          You are wasting your valuable time on these folks who keep trying to justify the way our public servants are being treated here, and across this country. They will reap what the sow.

          They will have to see the devastation of 200 Police Officers being laid off in June, the slow response time to low priority calls, Officers getting killed or injured due to a reduced Police force, and see crime rise even higher “before they get it.”

          Sometimes people like this mouth off because it hasn’t happened to them, but once it does, they’d be the first to scream about the lack of service to their neighborhood.

        • “It’s not easy and I beleive they have healthy respect for the employees regardless os the spin put out by the Union leaders.”

          The unions have not put any spin out there. They are truly wanting to get everything done fairly.

          What you have stated is laughable. “Healthy respect for the employees….” ??? You’ve got to be kidding. Have you been under a rock, or something? And…the union has not said ANYTHING against the City that would lead us to believe that the City did not have a healthy respect for us. We figured that out ourselves. The disrespect was blatant. You got any more jokes?

        • You want more jokes.  Let’s look at the Police and Fire Unions.  Did you hear the one about the Union Vice President that was fired for fraud and he kept his Union job….or the one about the Union President that tried to raise his union salary for 50% (about $50k) of top step FF to 100% of top step FF (about $100k) just before he retired and when retired stayed on as Union President….and then got a disability retirement from the City while he still works for the State Fire Union…..or the one where they put out information on “contracts gone wild” that had nothing but gross miss information….or the one when they tried to bring forward misleading information, they called a smoking gun on theri website,  completely out of context from a seminar that a Administration person spoke at….or did you hear about not accepting a 8.9% pay reduction to save 4 Engines and one truck last year (over 80 positions)….or the way they state that all three City funds should belong to them when there are laws that prohibit that….or when they state the retirement system isn’t one of the major causes of the mess we are in….or when the Mayor asks for serious “on going” reductions only to be hit with he does not appreciate the employees when the union offers one year not on going (thanks to the FF’s who recently got the point and came forward with meaningful change, this is not a joke but a serious thank you to their new leadership)….or the one where the proposals go the press before going to the negotiators…or the scare tactics (spin) used by the unions in the Measure V flyers…or placing campaign signs illegally….  There are more jokes out there; these are just the ones that are public.  The unions have lost their power and the old way of getting things done with political kick backs will not work anymore.  I hope up and coming Union leaders of the future do better and kudos to the new Fire Union leadership.  I fully respect the difficult job the police officers and firefighters do but their union representation has miss lead them over the last several or so years when I believe they became too power hungry.  The public has had enough.  Did you hear the one about a firefighter, a police officer and a mayor walk into a bar and the police officer says……

        • Police and Fire unions?. You don’t even know WHICH union I was referring to. Just a$$umed, right? Just because I am on this blog page does not mean that is the union I was referring to. My quote was referring to the statement regarding “spin out of the unions….” Unions as in plural. Doesn’t mean that Police and Fire are the only ones with unions. Go tell those jokes to somebody else, P.

        • I didn’t assume you were referencing any particular union, you just asked for jokes and while these are truly not humorous jokes, they do point out some of the issues with how the union leadership, not the employees have caused some of the problems.  And all the statements are true.  The Fire Union has not been liked by all the other 10 City Unions for some time, hopefully that may change with their new leadership.  Even the POA had a falling out with them.  I will restate, I do honestly believe the City Council have a healthy respect for the employees as they deal with these difficult issues ahead and would encourage those who say otherwise to talk personnally with the Council members at the community budget meetings. None of them want to reduce the services or layoff employees but the reality is the money is not there now.

        • YOU ARE WRONG ON YOUR REALITY.. SO you need a reality check.  The money is there,,, numerous big cities have the money.  But ours that has Adobe and says it is the heart of silicon valley says they are broke. REED LIES … not telling the whole truth is a lie.  THe city plays a shell game .. and people are dying. Look at the homicide this year. That is directly because to the 400 cops they city has lost in the last two years. 

          READ THIS:
          I wonder what the total budget is for the 10 largest cities in the United States is and what percentage of those budgets are dedicated to the General Fund. The City of San Jose’s is 29 percent for the General Fund, 28 percent for the Capital Fund and 43 percent for the Special Fund. Is it any wonder that the City is always crying the blues when trying to balance its budget. I will bet that our General Fund is less of a percentage of the overall budget than the other cities. 

          The politicians just shift from the various funds (when it’s convenient for them), but always falls back on the tried and true formula that is against the law for them to move the funds when it is brought up. The politicians create the laws, and if they want to change something, they can do it. But why would they want to when they can convince the public that excess employee compensation is the blame for all the problems? The old bait and switch routine get the public’s attention focused in one direction so the City can do what it wants with the remaining 71 percent of the budget. The expansion of the Convention Center is an example.

          As I suspected, I looked up the budgets of cities 6-10 and looked at their General Fund representation as a percentage of their overall budgets and found:

          6.  Phoenix       29%

          7.  San Antonio 39.2%

          8.  San Diego   39.7%

          9.  Dallas         35%

          10.  San Jose     29%

          The average for all of these cities is 34.3 percent. If San Jose was to increase the General Fund by 5.3% to reach this average, the City would have an increase of $28 million for each percentage point increase. The 5.3 percent would amount to an increase to the General Fund of $148.4 million and would eliminate the $110 million shortfall the City has now. It would, of course, need to be pointed out to the good citizens of this fair city the shell games the politicians are playing.

          So the city is not broke,, they just authorized money for expanding the convention center.

        • I saw the article that you reference before.  The percentages can be chnaged very easily and do not mean much.  For example, take away the Library and Public Safety bonds, I beleive L and O, and the captail fund decreases significantly, making the general Fund percentage higher.  The General Fund is dicitated by the various revenue streams, property tax, Construction and Conveyance tax, sales tax etc.  And the other funds are dictated by their revenuw stream such as bonds, fees and charges etc.  San Jose has chosen to use the funds as voters directed and in some cases as the Council directs.  The system is what it is.  There can be changes and I hope there are, but not the wholesale changes of taking from one fund and giving to the other as you think.  By the way, last tiem I looked at Fresno, Oakland, LA, Sf and other cities, they are all dealing with strucutral budget deficits and have been impacting their core services also, regardless of the percentage of General Funds..

  11. If, when this Mayor chooses to layoff a historic 200+ police officers on July 1 the City of SJ will become a NATIONAL focal point much like the City of Bell in So Cal. How did the Capitol of Silicon Valley, San Jose, and it’s politicians, mismanage hundreds of millions to the cause the city to fail to be able to provide even the MOST BASIC protections for it’s citizenry? How did this happen?? Someone I don’t believe that police and firefighter pensions caused a worldwide recession will suffice as an answer I hear the footsteps of ABC, 20/20, John Stossel, et al,….

    • ALL of my money and then some has recouped in the market. Why hasn’t the City’s??? It should have and if it has…where is it? How come it is not fixing some of the problem?

  12. Why do we pick on Mayor Reed, he’s not in charge. The head of the monster is Debra Figone, the one who duplicates his position.  Get rid of the City Manager position and the top 50 of her staff in that Department and save 8.6 million with wages.

  13. Josh: Thank You! You “get it.”

    Felix: the city asked for a dollar and the POA actually offered five quarters…

    Reed freely admits that he voted to accept every single labor contract with City employees that came before him during his 8 years as a councilman and during his first term as mayor – every one! During every election campaign except the last one, Reed went to all City employee unions and reminded them of his support for their wage and benefit increases to win their endorsement. Now he trashes those same unions and says he made a mistake which he is now in the process of correcting.

    Reed is a phony two faced, forked tongued snake. I am ashamed that I supported his first 3 election runs. Start a Recall?? Sign me up! 

    He needs to be run out of town on a rail before he does any more damage to the City by helping his rich developer friends and card room owners pick our pockets while laying off Police Officers, Fire Fighters, Park Rangers, Lawn Mowers tree trimmers, street pavers, electricians, code enforcers, and even Librarians!!! I am sure i am leaving out many other vital city job classifications and I apologize for that. Bottom line is because of Chuck Reed there will be many more people added to the nations unemployment roles… 

    Could be …“Upwards of 1000!!!!!”  My goodness!

    • The City Charter explains requirements for recall of mayor at:


      Here is the text of that section:

      “(c) RECALL OF THE MAYOR. To initiate proceedings for the exercise of the power of recall of the Mayor, the petition shall be signed by duly qualified electors of the City equal in number to at least twelve percent (12%) of the number of persons eligible to vote according to the last report of registration filed by the County Registrar of Voters with the Secretary of State, which is in effect at the time the notice of intent to circulate the petition is published.”

      • Considering that MAYOR REED has sat on this council for 8 years (?) prior to his election as mayor, and is now in his second term as mayor, he CAN NOT excuse himself from a LION’s SHARE of the blame for the current demise this city now suffers. He SHOULD and MUST be held accountable. The volume of his scapegoating has become deafening as he has attempted to avoid scrutiny of his policies and spending decisions. When police layoffs become a reality, even after the POA met CSJ negotiations demands, REED’s incompetence will be complete. A RECALL OF MAYOR REED IS BECOMING MORE OF A REALITY DAILY. Talk of this reaches beyond circles of public sector employees. With homicides at 19 and vehicular deaths also on record pace, it is clear to see that the systematic dismantling of SJPD can be measured in LIVES. I will not be surprised to see the family of a past or future victim take legal action against this city for failure to provide the most basic core service this city is sworn to provide, SAFETY. I wonder what is contained in the oath taken by MAYOR REED. He has clearly failed to uphold it’s ideals and appears to be in way over his head. The evidence is becoming overwhelmingly clear that he has FAILED this city in grand fashion and that it is costing residents their lives. This cities employees lost confidence in REED long ago. This cities citizens now follow and a RECALL, I suspect, is drawing near.

        • Yesterday the CSJ suffered homicide #20. Sadly that updates the above information from #19. A terrible weekend for SJ and a teenage shooting victim remains in critical condition as a result of the double homicide 3 days ago. Let’s hope he does not become #21. Thanks Mayor Reed. I am sure our record pace for homicides is still just an “ANOMOLY”.

  14. Why are you picking on Mayor Reed? He’s not in charge,it’s the City Manager, Debra Figone, who is the head of the monster.  Get rid of that duplicity position along with her the top 50 positions in her department and save 8.6 million in salaries. That’s a real savings.

    • “Why are you picking on Mayor Reed? He’s not in charge,it’s the City Manager, Debra Figone, who is the head of the monster.”

      HE is the one who went out there and so callously turned the public against the employee. HE put down the employee so purposely to get the citizens sided with him, so that he could do his dirty work without flack from the citizens. He has really made a bad situation in this City. HE tore down the employee/public relationship and it will NEVER be the same again. Have you EVER heard of any other mayor, anywhere in the country, put down and talk against the public employees so bad? HE is the one responsible. Had he not done that and just let everyone work everything out, we would have gotten everything done with out the tearing apart of the city. The morale would have still been low due to the loss of salary, but the employee would not be feeling like a piece of garbage. He threw us out with the City trash…stepped on us like we were some kind of bug. That’s the thanks we get for our dedication. Spit.

  15. Because the city manager came to briefing in December and when asked why she wasn’t changing the budget to over core services replied, “I work for the mayor and council. I don’t make decisions, they do.” so they don’t take your recommendations into account?” “Not always. I work for them.”

  16. On the weekend we changed to Daylight Savings Time a protestor in Madison had a sign that read, “Don’t forget to turn your clocks back 50 years!”

    So goes Wisconsin… and maybe so too San Jose?

    Folks – Too much is at stake!!

    Stand up and fight for your city. Now is time time for a call to action. Demand the truth from city hall, our mayor and the D6 councilman, Pierluigi Oliverio… not the half-truths, misstatements and distortions that they continue to spew in our faces.

    Just because you can speak loudly and control the conversation does not mean that there is an actual conversation taking place. Say something loud enough and forcefully enough and claim it is the “gospel truth” does not make it so. It only reinforces the lie and demeans the intelligence and humanity of the people subjected to those inaccuracies and misspoken words.

    Please, don’t let this city become a second class place in which to live and raise your families. We’ve paid taxes for years to get our libraries open. We should be (and can be) a model city inviting businesses and families to come to and become a part of the fabric of San Jose.

    The unions, firefighters, police, librarians, custodians, park and recreation employees (and many other city workers) are not the problem. They are not evil nor selfish. They’re good people who want to do an honest day’s work and provide the best that they can for the citizens of San Jose. They are the recipients of what the SJ City Council (of which the Mayor was a member) gave them some years ago when times were better and money was not an issue.

    Last Monday, Mr. Oliverio stated that San Jose needs to become “greedier.” I’m hoping that San Jose becomes more compassionate and responsible in dealing with the fiscal mess that we are now facing.

    Too much is at stake!!  Mr. Mayor, Mr. Oliverio – STOP destroying San Jose!

  17. As I read all of this, examine the contract offers, and then look at the budget, I have to question the sincerity of Mayor Reed or Deb Figone. If the city is in as dire straits as they state it is, how is it that they have failed to re-evaluate the budget. Why is it that they continue to fund so many extraneous departments and services at the expense of core services. Let’s be clear here: the City’s charter obigations are clearly enumerated. These define the obligation that the city’s leadership has to its citizens, and they clearly define the path by which City Hall can responsibly, ethically downsize its services.

    Instead they have chosen a scorched earth policy, disparaging and degrading the city’s employees, and creating a work environment which is toxic to employees – both current and future.

    All they had to do was say something to the effect of: “In these difficult financial times, we have to recognize and adhere to our charter obligations. They clearly define our obiligations to San Jose’s citizens and attempting to provide services outside those charter obligations would be reprehensible and irresponsible.”

    Then, the identify those employees who can be transferred to charter departments from non-charter departments in order to ensure they are fully staffed and then lay off the rest as needed. This may sound harsh, but I have to ask: Why is Pierluigi Olviero the only person on the city council of whom I am aware who has suggested this course of action?

  18. Three more homicides this week along with a teenager shot and in the hospital.  How can anyone believe we should lay officers off?  City officials need to look at their priorities.  Downtown even had damaged windows and injured persons this week.  This is not an anamoly.

    • Voter,
      I seem to recall Police Officers trying to warn all of us during the Mayor’s V and W campaign that this was going to happen BUT everyone kept screaming they were using “scare tactics.” I guess seeing is believing…

  19. It’s a good thing the police layoffs haven’t started yet, ‘cuz we needed all the cops we could find for this years 4 days of Cinco de Mayo. 2 Stabbings so far; several mini-riots in places one would suspect, like Alum Rock and King& Story; vandalism of businesses; DT SJ mayhem.  And there’s one more night left, which will also include The Sharks Game, whose fans won’t riot, but may have to pass through the mob of borrachos locos mexicanos in DT SJ.

    Raj Jayadev is eerily silent on this issue of Latino lawbreakers.  But he has cowed the cops and their new chief—relatively few arrests made despite widespread lawbreaking.

    • JMO said,“Raj Jayadev is eerily silent on this issue of Latino lawbreakers.  But he has cowed the cops and their new chief—relatively few arrests made despite widespread lawbreaking.”

      Sadly, a member of De Bug was murdered this weekend. Yes, it is odd that after having two friends murdered, Raj is still beating up our Chief AND our SJPD. But he is NOT being silent about keeping Cinco de Mayo celebrations going regardless of the violence associated with it:


    • and don;t forget the homicide that occurred in the wee hours of Mother’s Day that the news has decided not to report to the public yet. #20 now. Way to go San Jose!

    • Raj has no legs left to stand on.  One of his De-Bug activists was shot and killed a little while back.  Of course they claimed he wasn’t a drug user/gangster, just a down and out teenager who had risen above the violence.  Lo and behold, another activist from De-Bug was stabbed and killed earlier this week.  He was the brother of a cop killer, and of course he wasn’t a drug user of gangster either.  Just a rising rap star, misunderstood by mainstream society.

      These activists are thugs, criminals and LIARS.  The politicians (and police chief) need to stop pandering to their garbage beliefs, sooner than later.

      • JMO,
        There are 3 videos. One shows a group thugs stopping a bus, tagging it, and some idiot climbing on top of it and jumping up and down. (All while waving a Mexican Flag!) Imagine being on that bus, or your Mom being on it!

        The filth coming out of their mouths towards the SJPD is just shameful. I blame our City leaders for this because they have no problem dragging our public servants through the mud and blaming them for the mess we’re in.

      • I nearly threw up trying to watch the Cinco videos posted on youtube but I certainly had no problems hearing the constand profanity directed at the cops, the sound of smashing bottles as they were thrown at police cars and innocent businesses, and the total disrespect for the community all done by people “celebrating Cinco de Mayo”.

  20. “Why are you picking on Mayor Reed? He’s not in charge,it’s the City Manager, Debra Figone, who is the head of the monster.”

    You’re joking, right? Please tell me you’re joking. Does anyone actually think that Figone isn’t doing exactly what the mayor wants? Do you honestly believe that she isn’t going to click her heels and go down the road Reed tells her to travel?

    The real issue, from my viewpoint, is that Chuck is on a crusade to leave his legacy and imprint in history as the mayor that got rid of the unions. He is on his own personal attack to destroy the unions, PERIOD. He’s no more concerned about the overall effect, the loss of jobs nor the safety of San Jose’s citizens.

    Figone is no more in charge of this fiasco than the man in the moon. So, yes… I’ll la ythe blame on the Mayor and those on the council that cowtow to the insanity that HE has created.

    • At least someone understands what a puppet Figone is. Anyone who used to work with her in PRNS doesn’t even know who this person who returned is. She is no longer a City Employee who wants to do good. Rather someone who values her job above all else. Someone who doesn’t have the back bone to tell the Mayor he is wrong. Then she has meetings with her managers and tells them how much she values them. What a hypocrite. 

      The only thing Figone and the Mayor care about is how many employees they can lay off. They blame it on pensions and yet at the same time they are reducing fees. The fee reductions proposed in several departments will directly cause layoffs. There will be layoffs that could be avoided but the Mayor doesn’t want them avoided. The more he lays off the more he can blame it on pension. And the media and public believe everything he says. If he were to say 2+2 is 5 the Merc would have a headline stating the new math. 

      It seems our Budget Director can use a lesson in math. How many times has she revised the “deficit”? Her and Figone’s ultra conservative approach caused many lay offs last year that were not necessary. Isn’t Development Services coming in millions over expected revenues. What about other departments? How much extra will be collected this year that we will never be told? The deficit isn’t even close to what they claim and this year’s revenue proves it. 

      Why would we ever consider reducing fees? During the dot com boom we didn’t reduce fees. Why would we reduce them now! Because our Mayor wants layoffs. Hopefully some of owe council members will realize what he is doing and stop him.

  21. “…  pass through the mob of borrachos locos mexicanos in DT SJ. … eerily silent on this issue of Latino lawbreakers.”

    I was in the DT SJ area on Friday night, walking all over the place, meeting friends and just observing the blighted condition of the downtown area. In a word… DT SJ really sucks. You can’t get businesses to invest in SJ by opening a location. Consumers don’t want to go there out of concerns for their personal safety. The list goes on and on.

    As I walked around our downtown, I saw many homeless people, vagrants, etc. A huge number of them were WHITE. I sat with my party at the bar for dinner when a somewhat intoxicated man can in, sat down next to me and proceeded to have a drink and engage eople in conversation. Oh, BTW, he was WHITE.

    Now, I suppose that someone could claim that I’m being “racist” here a I’m singling out “WHITE” people. But, I am attempting to makea point.

    There are numerous people who get drunk, sleep in the streets and probably do their personal hygiene there, too. Panhandlers, vagrants and many others at the bottom of our social chain come in all shapes, colors, creeds, ages, religions and nationalities, including WHITE people.

    Pointing a finger at the Latino community as the sole source of anti-social behavior and law breakers is affront to common decency andwhat I thought we stood for as Americans. We owe an apology to the Latino community for the slur made against them in this blog. If we’ve not responded against the comment(s) made about them, we owe them our apology.

    These comments cannot go unchallenged.

    • Reverend Kulwin: It’s not racist to point out that some portion of the 28% of San Jose in the Minority White Community suffers from conditions and disabilities…just like everyone else.

      It is racist to ignore this reality and refuse to adopt programs, for example, to deal with meth abuse and addiction that afflict the diverse white residents very disproportionately compared with other demographics.

      The diverse white Americans living in San Jose are, in fact, diverse…something left-wingers and right-wingers join in denying.  A terrible state of denial covers up those afflictions that torment the Minority White Community disproportionately.

      Let’s end the cover-up.

  22. So the city made a good decision when it decided to “to issue commercial paper to replenish the housing department as a way to finance the payment (due to the State), when there is more than $13 million on hand in the housing department that would not require borrowing?” (Taken from Pierluigi Oliverio’s blog “Borrow or Pay Out of Pocket”)

    How about getting rid of the Office of Cultural Affaris, the Hayes Mansion, and all of the city funded golf courses?  How about no more “affordable housing” developments since the city does not get any revenue from them, yet they cost more in terms of city services? How about all the money Reed threw at the Grand Prix people, only to have them take the money and run?  How about all the land the city is currently buying up in the slim hopes of having a major league baseball stadium? And let’s not forget the “Little Saigon” boondoggle, and what THAT cost the taxpayers.

    Now for City Hall…..the mayor has 5 exec officers working for him, all with a base over $100k, which is more than the mayor’s own salary.  Does he really need 5?  The City Manager has 9 assistants who make well over $100k……really, 9 assistants…..I count 9 senior librarians whose base pay starts at $90k. No wonder our libraries are only open a few days during the week for a couple of hours. 8 Park Managers with over $100k in base pay? 5 Recreation Superintendents with a base over $100k?

    I think a lot of positions can be cut at City Hall before core services are attacked.  I also think the city needs to stop the wasteful spending, and own up to their own mismanagement.

  23. There has been a lot of talk, accusations and name calling by Council, City Hall leaders and city employee unions on all sides but few facts or clear explanations about what can be or can not be done about budget deficit

    As a concerned resident and taxpayer where is the city information that is available in other cities but not San Jose   Why is it not easily available and on city web site organized so average person can understand it without have to have a city staff at a meeting translate it to make it understandable ?

    City of San Jose Disability Retirements

    1) Can a City of San Jose disability retirement once granted be changed, increased, decreased or removed if the person is not now greater or less disabled than originally thought from city employment?

    2) Many people have been seriously injured and some get better or recover so that we are not now disabled or less disabled   After original CSJ disability retirement is granted is their any city required future review and if not why not ?

    3) Is SJ disability retirement rules or qualification different than other California cities, counties or state and if so how ?

    CSJ Staffing and Performance Levels

    1) We have seen Police and Fire staffing levels that are lower than other cities but what about other city Departments, City Manager and Council offices are they are the less, same or more ? Where can we see the comparisons ?

    2) Are their staffing standards for city departments based on city size or population and how does San Jose compare ?  What are the sources ?

    3) International City Managers Association puts out city performance standards Does San Jose use these standards and where can we see these performance standards and comparisons to other cities ?

    CSJ Salary, Benefits and Pensions

    1) How does San Jose compare to other local cities, Oakland and San Francisco ?  Where is comparison table ?

    2) What positions Does CSJ pay for training and what is cost by position ? 

    3) Why does CSJ have a complete list of pay , benefis and pension costs by position ?

    4) What pay,benefits ,and pesnions do Mayor and City Council receive to include all costs like car allowances, meals, HP Arena, museum , arts or other city facility tickets, etc ? 

    5) Does Mayor and City Council get lifetime medical or pensions after a few years and if so what is the cost ? Why hasn’t this information beeen given to public before in a place on city web site where is is easily to see ?

    • Great questions and legitimate concerns,…unfortunately City Hall, aka Reed and his allies, are not very interested in the sunshine shining on himself and information that does not flatter his administration.

  24. The possibility of recalling Mayor Reed or defeating any future City pay and pension reform measures is unlikely to almost zero since city employee unions have not proposed any workable detailed well documented budget balancing proposals while admitting reforms are needed   Where are

    –  list of excessive city department managers that should be cut
    –  list of non core / essential city spending that should be cut
    –  city revenue sources other than raising already high taxes and fees
    –  list of future proposed project spending that should be cut
    –  list of surplus or unneeded city property
    and buildings that can be sold costing General Fund millions per year – Mexican Heritage, Hayes Mansion, city golf courses. convention center most downtown arts cultural, events, museums and empty city buildings and land

    All the angry comments, name calling, upset and weak unworkable poorly documented union budget proposals are in minds of majority voters wasted effort as was city unions inept campaign against Measures and W that consisted of emotional, unbelievable or unworkable alternative budget proposals

    Voters are left with what most voters believe based on the available budget and spending information

    Mayor Reed and City Hall administrators have developed and presented to voters for last 3-4 years budget information and long list of abuses to thoroughly justify cutting what most public now believe is excessive city employees pay / pensions that need major reform

    Reforming long list of well documented current pension system abuses – excessive sick / vacation payouts, guaranteed 3% annual cost of living increase even when COL is less, excessive and questionable disability retirements etc – is the only budget deficit proposal so far so voters strong support reforms and Mayor Reed

    There has been multihas year major budget problem and only one reasonable and workable reform proposal has been presented which even some union leaders like POA leaders agree with.

    Why after 5-10 years are city labor unions and employees surprised that majority of voters support the only workable reform proposal presented by City Hall administration and Mayor Reed ?

    • @ NO Workable Union Alternative Budget Proposals:

      Clearly you lack objectivity if you believe big bad union abuses are responsible for the current state of fiscal distress this city finds itself in. Dismiss the unions at your own political peril Mr/rs/s Mayor Reed staffer. Recalls and the like are not entirely a matter to be dismissed so carelessly. Let’s talk after July 1…btw, between now and then we can expect 5 more homicides.

    • “Why after 5-10 years are city labor unions and employees surprised that majority of voters support the only workable reform proposal presented by City Hall administration and Mayor Reed ?”

      The mayor basically went out and campaigned against the public employee, putting blame where it did not lie and pitting the public against the employee. Mayor made it look like the employees were to blame for this mess. Public turned against the employee and mayour got his wish…but he has left a mess in the trail. Why don’t you ask him why he felt that was necessary. Besides, the mayor has been there for 10 years and voted for all of it. I’d bet YOUR salary is HUGE.

  25. “Why after 5-10 years are city labor unions and employees surprised that majority of voters support the only workable reform proposal presented by City Hall administration and Mayor Reed ?”

    ” The mayor basically went out and campaigned against the public employee, putting blame where it did not lie and pitting the public against the employee. Mayor made it look like the employees were to blame for this mess. Public turned against the employee “

    Many neighborhood leaders do not agree that public turned against city employees and do not like the proposed budget solutions but we are stuck with
    what Mayor Reed and City Manager Figone’s proposed budget deficit solutions –  10% pay cuts, layoffs, service cuts, pension reforms etc and disappointingly no alternative solutions have been proposed for discussion

    Why haven’t city employees unions, who’s people have to have city budget knowledge which most of public lacks, not proposed any alternative budget solutions as many neighborhood leaders and that was listed above have asked why not cut

    – non essential city services,
    – excess city department managers,
    – city property that loses money each year requiring city taxes to support,
    – tax money going to non city government groups and individuals
    – etc

    that if stopped could maybe balance budget without all the layoffs or essential city service cuts ?

    • “Why haven’t city employees unions, who’s people have to have city budget knowledge which most of public lacks, not proposed any alternative budget solutions as many neighborhood leaders and that was listed above have asked why not cut….”

      They have offered budget solutions. These blogs have tons of solutions, but they are going to do what they want to do. They are just going through the motions to get to the layoffs. Tons of good solutions in these blogs. I read one where someone asked what would the savings be if all employees gave up any salary increase for the next 5 years. You would think that would help greatly. Think anybody took heed??? Nope. What about golden handshakes to get those at the top of the salaries to retire. Think they took heed??? Nope. There are bunches of solutions in these blogs. I don’t know what they are thinking. They are going through the motions, pretending like they want the input. Makes them look to you like they are listening…then they do it the way they want to do it.

  26. With the amount of people in this forum speaking out against REED are his days numbered? All citizens soon tire of someone constantly blaming, criticizing, demeaning, another group of people. Much like REED and FIGONE have done with the Police and Firemen. And with these two groups they are more trusted then REED. So while REED continues to blame he takes no responsibility and people are not buying his lies anymore. The Police said there will be more crime and each day we have more young people die.  He has destroyed what was once the safest city in America. A police Department that was a model for other departments in the nation. FIGONE her self will retire soon to also protect her retirement.

    Why should she get anymore money when she ran the city into a ditch.?

  27. Do you want to know where the money went? Do you want to have it investigated? Employees and citizens come together and unite. Start emailing 20/20 and MSNBC. Tell them your concerns and the reason for wanting the investigation. How did the City go broke? Where did the money go? Email them every day until someone takes notice. Just send the same email, day after day, until they take notice. If enough people will do this, they will take quick notice. Bring them to San Jose so we can get some answers. We want open and honest government. I don’t know whether anyone is corrupt, or not, but if they are, we want to know about it and we want to know the truth. We need to start fresh and getting everything out in the open will accomplish that. We want a forensic accountant to go through the books and find EXACTLY where the money went. Send those emails and tell them the WHOLE story; all of your suspicions, all of your concerns, everything that has been done to waste money and suspected payouts to friends, pet projects and just whatever you know. Request an investigator be sent to find out where the money went and to investigate this administration. We ALL want to know. If they find that the City is telling the truth, then we can move on. If they find that the City has lied…then we will deal with that. Get those emails in. Do not wait until July 1st. We want to know, now!

    • Well stated Hear ye. I wonder aloud if a GRAND JURY might be feasible but then consider that REED’s influence would squash this avenue before it could get off the ground.

  28. And as we speak the city of San Jose has yet another homicide this Tuesday afternoon. So it might be safe to say that the police department did play a vital role in keeping crime at bay. This department can no longer be proactive but reactive. No more gang unit stopping thugs and gathering information or detectives to follow up on parole leads. The citizens of SJ got what they asked for and now what they deserve. San Jose was just ranked #9 in the unsafest cities in California. The city is on track for a record breaking year in homicides not to mention the multiple armed or strong arm robberies that are occurring everyday (of course they do not make the local rag) ….Yes San Jose and Chuck Reed have gotten what they wanted all along, to be a big city. Well at least now you got big city crime. The criminals are not all stupid they see the climate out on the street when cops never stop them…The candy store is open. Now all the turds that moved away during the bad housing crunch will be returning to rob the store….

  29. I can’t help but feeling that Mayor Reed and City Manager Figone are unfairly taking all the heat for the City’s current predicament.  I think the problem started during the previous Gonzalez administration.  Libraries and community centers were built without thought for how they would be maintained in the future. 

    It was as if the boom times would never end.  Well they did end and now Reed and Figone are stuck having to do the clean up work. 

    I’m not saying they are perfect, but problems started long before they were in a position to control them.

    • Willow Glen Mom:

      I understand your sentiment except that REED is in his second term as Mayor AND has sat on the council prior to that at least two terms. Therefore, he has been on this council for at least ten years. He had a hand in creating this problem and cannot blame Gonzales. Figone is somewhat less culpable but still a part of the problem. Having seen how REED has demonized public employees in the CSJ, thereby shirking all responsibility, I have not an ounce of pity for the man. The blood of crime victims is on his hands.

    • @willo glen mom… REED and FIGONE have been around for quite some time, now.. ask REED how many of the past contracts he approved that he now says is the problem. 

      FIGONE may be more of the problem then REED as she is the city manager.. we need to dump her.. she came from little small los gatos and has no idea of the problems of the big city.

      What most dont understand is that other cities as big as San Jose are not in the so called budget crunch… its a shell game with the money…I wonder what the total budget is for the 10 largest cities in the United States is and what percentage of those budgets are dedicated to the General Fund. The City of San Jose’s is 29 percent for the General Fund, 28 percent for the Capital Fund and 43 percent for the Special Fund. Is it any wonder that the City is always crying the blues when trying to balance its budget. I will bet that our General Fund is less of a percentage of the overall budget than the other cities. 

      The politicians just shift from the various funds (when it’s convenient for them), but always falls back on the tried and true formula that is against the law for them to move the funds when it is brought up. The politicians create the laws, and if they want to change something, they can do it. But why would they want to when they can convince the public that excess employee compensation is the blame for all the problems? The old bait and switch routine get the public’s attention focused in one direction so the City can do what it wants with the remaining 71 percent of the budget. The expansion of the Convention Center is an example.

      As I suspected, I looked up the budgets of cities 6-10 and looked at their General Fund representation as a percentage of their overall budgets and found:
      6.  Phoenix       29%

      7.  San Antonio 39.2%

      8.  San Diego   39.7%

      9.  Dallas         35%

      10.  San Jose     29%

      The average for all of these cities is 34.3 percent. If San Jose was to increase the General Fund by 5.3% to reach this average, the City would have an increase of $28 million for each percentage point increase. The 5.3 percent would amount to an increase to the General Fund of $148.4 million and would eliminate the $110 million shortfall the City has now. It would, of course, need to be pointed out to the good citizens of this fair city the shell games the politicians are playing.

  30. OK, sadly, it looks as if homicides 21, 22, and 23 occurred yesterday. The City of SJ continues at a torrid pace. Mayor REED: THIS IS NOT AN ANOMOLY, WAKE UP! Layoffs of police officers will occur at YOUR OWN POLITICAL PERIL. The blood of these victims is on your hands.

  31. Somehow “I told you so” just doesn’t begin to cover the events of the last few months. In the run-up to November and the passage of Measures V and W, pretty much every cop on the force along with the POA and an apparent minority of citizens noted how these measures would not help fix San Jose’s budget problems, that their passage would hurt the police department and drive officers from SJPD, that Mayor Reed’s language and tactics were doing extraordinary harm to the PD and to the community as a whole – however invisible that harm might have been at the time. Now, 6 months later and barely 5 months into 2011, homicides – indeed, violent crime of every stripe – is through the roof and we are well on pace to double last year’s homicides and suffer more homicides in San Jose than in any year since I joined the force in 2000.

    Just since December, we’ve lost 14 officers to other agencies, a gift of training costs totaling nearly $2.5 million. I am sure those other agencies appreciated not having to absorb the cost of training raw recruits. Of those agencies, Santa Cruz Co. S/O and Palo Alto PD seem to be the most notable beneficiaries having hired four and three of our officers respectively. I wonder if those agencies will send Thank You cards to City Hall for the gift of $1.225 million in training costs. Portland, OR PD and Vancouver, WA PD both held special recruitment drives in San Jose, trying to attract what the everyone BUT City Hall clearly recognizes to be a highly valuable commodity – our police officers. It will be interesting to see in the coming months how many of our officers take jobs amongst our Northern bretheren. It is particularly interesting to note that those officers who have gone to other agencies have also largely seen significant gains in their net income.

    Mayor Reed has said that San Jose NEEDS more officers, but just CAN’T afford them. He then goes on to vote to add MORE housing, MORE low-income housing, MORE residential zoning conversions, votes to put the city further into debt and make the job of keeping safe the city of San Jose increasingly difficult. Now, City Hall has declared impasse in contract negotiations with the POA and has voted to enter (wait for it… gasp) ARBITRATION!!! Remember? arbitration? The scourge of the municipal budget? the Raison D’Etre of Measure V? Meanwhile, other agencies look at the de facto fire sale going on at 201 W. Mission St and say ‘We can’t afford NOT to hire them.’ I have said before and say again to you all: San Jose CANNOT afford to have a grossly understaffed police department which doesn’t compensate its police officers in a way that is competitive with other agencies. The end result will be either a highly professional police force crippled due to lack of manpower or an under-compensated police force crippled due to lack of professionalism, competency and community trust.

    Mayor Reed, this is a binary solution set. There is no third option. Either compensate and staff the PD in a way that is responsible and competitive with other agencies or preside over precipitous decline of the Police Department and the rest of the city with it. The process has already begun.

    For the rest of you readers out there, I ask you this: How can a city whose leadership bemoans the inability to pay its workforce competitive salaries and pensions – particularly those in public safety – continue to fund so many projects and departments which fall outside the provisions set forth in Sections 800-809 of the City Charter which Identify City Hall’s charter obligations/services to the community of San Jose. Doesn’t that bespeak a backwards set of priorities as expressed by the vast majority of your elected officials? Take a look at their voting records on some of these issues I’ve identified and decide if THEIR priorities reflect YOUR priorities.

  32. What I really want is for one of you clueless people here to cite exactly what law exists that prohibits the city from doing what’s right and transferring money between funds. Everybody keeps saying ,“it’s illegal it’s illegal,blah blah”.
    Prove it. Where is it written? Where?? Cite the legal reference or admit your an idiot.

  33. On the serious….

    You must not have read those links or you work for the city manager.  The statutes cited not only describe where the money comes from but yes, SOME restrictions on uses are spelled out. HOWEVER, there are more holes there still. Glaring from the start, many of the funds have wiggle room in them.  But the biggest problem is when you see the allocation ratios. The city in these tough times can do like everybody from tiny Fresno to metro Los Angeles. They can adjust their allocation percentages to fund core services. Many millions are available within the already used funds. The city does not have one fund where they have allocated the total amount to core services even where the express usage is for General Fund only.  If it’s illegal why hasn’t the city of LA been sued?  Try again…….

    • Here is the link for the current budget document for the current deliberations.


      I do not work for the City, just a taxpayer.  The three funds are spelled out in the link.  I agree that priorities should be refocused to the “core services”, but you can not make those changes just because you think so.  The appropriations of the funds as well as how they are collected such as special district funds are restricted no matter how much you would like to redistribute them.  Just because you have checks in your check book does not mean you can cover what you write and the City has already over borrowed.  If you look at LA as yo ureference, there have been serious reductions to their core services also.  Also as San Jose has their own retirement system and not use PERS that is a big part of the budget problem here.

  34. Recently, someone posted a message in outrage that 8 assistant to the city manager make more than $100k and that some 15 or so (maybe a few more, I don’t remember)senior librarians make more than $100k.  Ok, well, over 700 police officers (not sergeants, not lieutenants, not captains) have a base pay of more than $100k.

  35. I don’t know about all of you, but as someone who actually lives in the once great city of San Jose, I do not want some pot-head, high school graduate policing my town. I want mature, college educated with above average ethical decision making people policing my city. You would be extremely lucky to find those people working construction. My dad was a contractor. That business is all about under the table money and flimsy transactions. If the city has to pay $100,000 a year to get trustworthy, educated cops then do it. Lest we forget we are in silicon valley. Job candidates that fit the criteria I demand as a resident have to be compensated. Look how bad Oakland and LA cops are. I don’t want that here. If we don’t pay the going rate all the good candidates will come work with me in high tech. That’s a no brainer. We compensate employees justly. Remember, You Get What You Pay For. Don’t compromise my children’s safety.

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