Liccardo Suggests Taxes to Save Cop Jobs

Councilmember Sam Liccardo has drafted a memo to explore a ballot measure that would increase local sales taxes to specifically fund public safety.

In Friday’s special meeting, the last city council session of the fiscal year, Liccardo will suggest the office of City Manager Debra Figone conduct polling this summer to see if the public is willing to increase sales taxes to restaff a police department that is experiencing layoffs for the first time in the city’s history. The San Jose Police Department is losing 122 officers to layoffs and more than 200 positions total when retirements and vacant jobs that will not be filled are included. Liccardo’s proposal, which would also help maintain and possibly increase fire department staffing, will not prevent any of these layoffs.

“I think a really essential context for this is we’re not looking to tax and spend here,” Liccardo said, noting the 10 percent compensation concessions made by police and firefighters. “It’s in a context where we’re doing everything we can to tighten the belt, but we need to find a way to get more officers on the street.

“Five years ago we were the most thinly staffed police department of any major city in the nation,” he added.

While no one else has signed the memo, Liccardo says he has the support of Mayor Chuck Reed, Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen and councilmembers Pete Constant and Rose Herrera.

If polling indicates the public is open to a tax increase to save public safety jobs, Liccardo is hoping it will be on the November ballot. If approved, the tax would go into effect at the beginning of next year.

Also in Liccardo’s memo is a proposal to have a public session in which city staff, the 11 public employee unions and actuaries will be present to discuss and clarify the city’s pension crisis. The city has said it will be on the hook for ballooning retirement costs that are unfunded. Estimates range between $400 and $650 million by 2015.

Liccardo’s memo suggests the city should conduct polling on whether it would be better to put forward a ballot measure for a sales tax increase alone or with measures regarding pension reform.

Click Here to Read Sam Liccardo’s Memo.

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


  1. prior to all the hoopla? Chuck and his threats,again? He threatened the cops with layoffs, got the concessions and now they are looking to find the money to stop the layoffs. They were going to stop the layoffs, anyway. It was just a big threat to get what he wanted. Someone else on these blogs said that would happen and it did. I am happy if no cops get laid off. I just think the way Chuck went about everything was uncalled for. They could have done this from the get go, instead of using threats and bullying tactics to get concessions. Politicians, hmpf!

    • I hope everyone will take six minutes and read the actual memo.  It is written in the same deadly passive-aggressive style that misleads us voters and taxpayers so often.  It begins with proposing a two-day meeting, and in the middle begins to slide into consideration of having some polling done on our attitude toward the Liccardo Tax.  But note three things:

      1)  The memo is incorrect when it calls for exemption from the Brown Act at paragraph 1(d).  There is no legal way that a formal body created by the city council can exempt that entity from the Brown Act.  If the Liccardo Tax proposal for secret meetings is enacted, we need to contact the First Amendment Coalition for their help.

      2)  The identification of the Chamber, the Labor Council, and the Leadership Group for inclusion in the process is a real slap in the face for every other group in the city which lacks the knee-jerk support for new taxes of these three groups.

      3)  Because tax-payer money is fungible, there is no way that new revenues raised through new taxes could be sincerely allocated to specific purposes.  The usual cover story is the creation of a group of private citizens to oversee the expenditures, but that is a foolish and impossible task for a part-time private group.  The Liccardo Tax would free up general revenues to build the stadium, however, so that may persuade some to tax hard-working, budget-driven families for more money.

  2. Liberal Liccardo, has always worked for government since school, has never meet a new, higher tax or fee increase he did not like or voted for  

    Politician 101:  Got to give taxes to political friends if expect to be elected

    The Political Games played to get Voters to Approve New Higher Taxes:

    1) Cut services that votes care about, then forecast doom and gloom if there is not more taxes for services, while spending millions on wasteful or non essential services

    Tuesday’s Council approved $4.1 million in another political payback, another downtown bad economic development bailout and another mismanaged community group bailout   So City Hall needs more and more taxes

    2) Propose tax and fee increases for services voters care about

    3) Get Mercury who has never sen a tax they have not supported write a editorial supporting new Tax . Have people who will receive tax and same old political gladflys speak at City Hall supporting new taxes

    4) If Voters are fooled again, take taxes that previously went for service voted to increase funding and transfer some of taxes to other political projects but not too much taht there isn’t an increase in funding for service care about

    5) Then –  Old Increase Taxes Bait and Switch Taxes Game – as taxes are moved to non essential services or projects that voters would never approve

    6) Hide where taxes are being spent so politicians don’t have to be accountable to voters

    7) Find another Service voters care about ( how about Fire / Emergency Medical, Libraries or Both ), Repeat New Taxes next election, Repeat the Bait and Switch with New Taxes, Repeat Hiding where Taxes spent

    • The trouble is that this strategy works, and people keep voting for the higher taxes. Then people wake up and see their taxes are higher and complain. But they keep voting for the same politicians who got us into this mess in the first place.

    • Governments at all levels continue to increase giveaways.  Naturally, the recipients of the giveaways don’t want them cut back or eliminated.  Soon, they become entitlements.  So, the constant calls by the Democrats—the primary practitioners of these giveaways—to increase taxes to pay for them.

      So, governments keep taking $$ away from those who work to redistrubute it to those who don’t.  Obama was not the first to want to redistribute wealth.  He was just the first to call it what it is.  The problem with state socialism, is that sooner or later you run out of other peoples’ money.

      It is not the job of government to fund the arts, or any other nice, but non-essential, item.  Government needs to go back to doing only what individuals cannot do by themselves or even in groups.  That’s public safety and physical infrastructure, education, and damn little else.

    • Bait and switch is the reality of what is going to happen.  Why doesn’t Sam just back off on his subsidies housing.  That in itself will boost the San Jose housing.  By the way SAM do you know how many people were shot in San Jose this weekend?

  3. Sam who bashed cops is now raising your taxes to trying buying their POA support and save cop jobs after wasting millions taxes on downtown

    Sam who told business owners he supports them in recent speech is now raising their taxes and driving more business out of San Jose and residents to shop in other city stores

    Sounds like politician’s campaign season has begun and politics as usual with more political Bait and Switch Taxes to get votes

    Beware politicians who say ” I am from city Hall and government is here to help you – Hold on to your wallets

    • It’s like first he was one way and now he has done an about face. First, take it away, take it away, …now it’s find the money to save the cop’s jobs. Though I want cop’s jobs to be saved, I just feel Like I can’t trust any of the people who are leading this city. It’s just really weird. Same with Constant. All the we have to take away talk and now it’s like he’s trying to be the cop’s friend and help them. It’s like you can see some other underlying reason, but you just don’t know exactly what it is. Reminds me of what Sam did to the firefighters. First they accept the concession and then say he says not enough. Bait and switch. I wouldn’t trust them for anything. What gives?

      • As stated by many here many times, Reed, Constant, Liccardo, et al used scare tactics with the citizens to get measures V and W passed, to force the unions to accept concessions, and to push all of the city workers into contracts that they did not want. Now that they have achieved those goals, they are trying to buy good will back with the very people they bent over.  They already have the populace hoodwinked, now they need to con the city workers into thinking they were forced to do the rotten things they did.

    • “Sam who told business owners he supports them in recent speech is now raising their taxes and driving more business out of San Jose and residents to shop in other city stores.”

      Oh, don’t forget that they(not just Sam, the entire council) are now raising parking rates in all city-owned lots to pay down the huge debt incurred to build the parking lot next to The Taj Gonzal, which the city took over from the RDA (WHY?).  Free parking until 6:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays will be eliminated entirely.  Put another nail in the coffin of DT SJ businesses, which are already suffering due to lack of downtown inhabitants.  Few people in SJ will leave their respective neighborhoods to come DT to shop or go to a restaurant.  Only the under 35 partier/drinkers come DT on weekends.

        • Neither can almost anyone else.  It’s like a ghost town the entire weekend, until about 10:00 pm. when the partiers come downtown to drink and dance.

          Camera Cinemas in bad need of clean-up/maintenance. Dirty inside.  Portions of many restrooms out of order.  Generall dirty.  Camera three seats about to fall apart. Probably will go under soon, even with the several hundred thousands of dollars in free rent the city gave them.

          Why would anybody leave Willow Glen or Almaded to go DT, when they can just as easily go to Campbell or LG?

          It’s inching ever closer to a skid row DT.

        • You shouldn’t go downtown, especially with the increase in gang (race) fights on a weekly basis at 3rd/san carlos and more violent robberies.  But thats ok, the two federal agents (on-loan) will keep the crime down there in check

  4. A little late Sam,  you and Pete Constant are full of #@%&!  You could have saved these jobs a long time ago.  Now you want to save face after 100 officers are laid off.  You should be ashamed.  Go back to the comedy club, you were not funny and a discredit to be a member on the city council.

  5. While you’re polling, please conduct a poll to see if most of our citizens want to pay taxes for….

    The Hayes Mansion?  Golf Courses? The Mexican Heritage Plaza?  Tech Museum?  Children’s Discovery Museum?  Art?  Theater? An Office of Cultural Affairs?  Redevelopment Agency? Housing Agency?  Low Income Housing? Libraries? Swimming Pools? Parks? Airports?  Roads?  Firemen?  Policemen? Convention Centers? Green Technology? A City Council?

    Here’s the trick, don’t ask individually.  It has to be done in total.  Ask people to rank all the services the city provides.  At least then we’ll all know what our community finds worthwhile, and in what order.

    Then, once you determine what services your constituents actually value, ask what we think is appropriate compensation for those services.

    • Right on Joe, why is everyone forgetting that the city has as 92 million mothballed police substation surrounded by a chain link fence that will never be opened and was funded by tax payers.  Sell the damn thing!!  He can talk out of his @@@ all he wants.. I can guarantee you the city will layoff another 100+ officers next year regardless what gets passes.

      • Why did the officers sign the contract then? I was under the understanding if the Police signed this contract you would save 100+ jobs.  If this doesn’t happen somebody sold your guys left handed monkey wrenches.

    • Pierluigi has done that on his own.

      The mayor and council and Figone took a dog and pony show into every council district.  Folks told them what they wanted.  It went in one ear and out the other.  They listen only to large campaign contributors/fundraisers, except for Pierluigi.  I wish they would have moved my part of southern 95125 into D-6 where it once was.

      Bread and Circuses.

      “…Airports?  Roads?  Firemen?  Policemen?”  Of your list, that’s what I want, plus a sewer system, thanks.

  6. Liccardo is quite the politicain. First, he is one of Reed’s right hand men slashing hundreds of officers, now he is trying to be the hero with a ballot measure. What a jerk.

      • Yes, at least Sam has a brain.  Doesn’t stop him from being a greasy politician but, compared to Cindy “I’m so excited” Chavez, Sam is a Godsend.

        • He is as greasy as they come. Just because he has a Harvard degree, it does not make him smart. All he cares about is himself and whats good for Sam, not the city.

          When he was a D.A. he treated everybody like crap, he had that, “I’m better then you” syndrome.

          In a recent city council meeting, Karla stated, that as a public defender, he would read great investigation done by San Jose police officers that would result in convictions and plea deals, because the defense would have no case. During his explanation, big mouth Sam stated, ” What about the great work of the District Attorney’s?” Karla replied, it’s the officer’s that collected the evidence and the statements from the victim’s and witness’s that resulted in the conviction, not the D.A.

          Sam is that guy that will “one up you” to make himself look better. He’s a snake in the grass. Time to go for a bike ride.

  7. Chuck-O and his band of robbers are at it again.  We’ve been sucker-punched before with dedicated incremental taxes – witness the library parcel fee.  In subsequent years, the Council stole away with the General Fund library money bit by bit. 

    Don’t let these gangsters do it again.  I suggest they instead look for money in the other two budget accounts – the Special and Capital Funds.  More than 2/3 of the REAL city budget is allocated to those two funds – in excess of $2,000,000,000.00 (billion) dollars!

    The slime ball Council members would have us believe that would be against the law.  That’s just pure bullsh*t!  We as citizens need to mobilize on this issue and run Chuck-O out of town on a rail.

    • I remember back in February during the budget sessions when the Harvard graduate stated,” why don’t we fire all the employees and then rehire them back with lower pay and benefits.” What a waste. The only reason why this guy went to school was to eat his lunch.

      Now he wants to save cops jobs! They just threw away over 8 million dollars of training these young officers, and now they have left for other agencies. This is the waste that happens with this circus act at city hall. Citizens of San Jose should be outraged!

      Like of said before, “shut down the airport.” Yeah, I know it is an enterprise fund, what ever that means. All I know it cost over one billion dollars year to run. It loses more money then it brings in. Close it for three years and fix the city finances and pay the bills.

      These politicians have ruined people’s lives for there own gain. I’m sure their parents taught them better. Shame on all the Reed supporters.

      • If there is I will have earned it cupcake. Now get off ur @$$, stop eating hohos, and go to the gym. Oops, sorry, ruff day at work, don’t mean to vent. Rome is burning you know,…but as long as the union are busted you’re AOK with that aren’t ya?

        • The unions needed busting, since they have become too greedy, and too successful at out-negotiating our so-called leaders.  City employee pensions alone take up 25% of the entire General Fund.  That’s way out of whack.  4900 city pensioners are taking too much money away from the other 940k people who live in SJ.

          Take some Maalox for your sick little tummy.

      • That JMO just plain hates cops.  This whole pension/benefits thing has simply given him an excuse to bash police officers, along with the other usual suspects like BB et al.  Clearly at some point JMO was the beneficiary of a ticket or other police action for some misbehavior on his part that he couldn’t get out of.  Now it is simply a grudge match with Reed/Figone providing the impetus for his constant whining and incessant sniveling about unions.  Instead of parroting Reed’s lies about the city’s financial mess, why don’t you put some of the brains you presumably have to good use and do some actual research.  I have seen it commented that you are a lawyer and it isn’t easy getting that degree.  Has your bias overcome your ability to weigh the actual facts?  Or do you just prefer to selectively choose those facts that support your case?  I think I already know the answer.

  8. San Jose is a horrible city with horrible downtown that already drains tax money from taxpayers.  The redevelopment ends today with resignation of Harry Mavregenis.  It has nothing to show for after 30 years of redevelopment and flushing 2 billion dollars down the toilet.  The whole city is left with a tab.  Now, the city wants to tax its residents further.  Not a chance!

    • > It has nothing to show for after 30 years of redevelopment and flushing 2 billion dollars down the toilet. 

      Maybe someone should point this out to Whiny Joe DiSalvo.

      He is always wondering what happened to his education money.


      They took your education money.

      They spent it.

      They had fun.

      No point in yelling at the taxpayers and throwing a tantrum.  The taxpayer has been mugged.

  9. Interesting how this article within minutes of this memo being released.  Did you let Sam write it for you, Mr. Cohen?  Keep acting this way Sam, and you’re going to hand the race to Cortese before it’s even begun.

      • We need fresh, NEW faces. No more same ole, same ole. We need people in there who want to be there because they actually care for the city. We do NOT want people in there who are wanting political careers or who are trying to make a name for themselves. The next time we vote, we do NOT want to see the same names. That is all we ever get…the same names running in the same circles. It’s sickening.

    • Cortese is up to his neck on the same issues that have entrapped San Jose taxpayers and voters.  He and Reed are clones when it comes to municipal issues.

      Cortese bailed out of city hall in time to avoid the hassles, but don’t think his skirts are any cleaner than Reed’s or Chavez’s for that matter.

      Reed voted against the new city hall once, and then voted with Cortese and Chavez on all other aspects of financing, designing, constructing, and furnishing of the new city hall.

      None of them worked against Measure I, and Cortese and Reed both were pleased to be associated with the dirtiest political personality in San Jose, Victor Ajlouny.

  10. If city stopped spending our taxes on very long list of services, bailouts, downtown projects, community groups, money losing city property, building low income housing cultural affairs, economic development that majority taxpayers don’t want to pay for or wastes taxes

    If city would pay for what majority taxpayers want police, fire , streets, libraries , parks etc there is more than enough taxes to pay for basic city services

    Politicians need to Strongly and Clearly get Message : 

    What majority taxpayers don’t want is more taxes or higher fees

    which ” Spent other people Money Sam”  if he had not always worked for government, would get “No New Taxes Message ”

  11. Don’t approve this tax hike.  The city leaders now want you to pay for something they could pay for themselves (if they really wanted it). 

    Must mean that they really don’t want it.  And did you notice that all of the members that actually support the police did not did endorse the memo (Kahra, Campos, etc.)

    If the city “can’t” spare the change…Why should you?  I think that it actually would hurt the police department in many ways if this is passed.  Most of all, it gives the very people who targeted the police a parachute to political safety.

    I say let them live in the mess they created.  I guess when bullets start hitting your house (literally for some councilmembers) you gain an appreciation for the police (who caught the gunman, by the way).

    Same old city tactics of trying to make the citizenry pay for what they have already paid for.  Please look at who is asking you to do this and vote them out of office.

    A San Jose Policeman.

  12. The issue remains retirement costs that are growing like an aggressive cancer; not just for cops, but for all city employees.

    There was an analysis of the issue in The Murky News of 6/25/11, with considerable ink on the issue of vesting of pension benefits as ruled on by the courts.

    I find it difficult to believe that once a pension is set up, that it vests into the future.  vesting deals with the past.  How can a right vest in the future in perpetuity?

    Pay rates aren’t vested forever.  They can be negotiated downward during collective bargaining.  Why not the same for pension benefits?  You are entitled to a rate of pay only for the life of a given labor agreement.  Why not the same for pensions rates for existing employees?

    If the courts have truly hamstrung government entities by ruling that once you set a pension rate, that rate is a floor vested in perpetuity, then something is clearly wrong in the courts.

    Marcia Fritz, president of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, said it appeared that government officials had no idea how unretractable pensions were when they were boosted in the boom time of the 1990s.  So where the hell was our city attorney???

    As for the new sales tax in SJ, I’ll vote NO.  If it passes, I’ll be sure to do all my buying in Campbell or Santa Clara.

  13. are you kidding me. You and Pete Consent are a embarrassment.  Thank God I left the city while I could still get a second job to supplement my worthless retirement check just to make ends meet,  I hope you enjoy sitting on your #$%$ and laying off us.

  14. Another Slick Saratoga Sam political memo to get elected Mayor – first vote to cut cops , then say raise taxes to not cut cops  

    Slick Saratoga Sam talks big out of both sides of his mouth saying different worthless political words to different groups to get elected and then makes political excuses to do benefits his political interests

    Politicians fooled me once, shame on them; fooled me twice, shame on me

  15. The cam guy who wants you to raise your taxes and his political mentor meet with city officials and then voted to gave his political mentor city land for $1 million less than market price

    Additional $1 million to city’s General Fund would have saved 10 police jobs

  16. I want a politician tax.  Up to 10% of their gross income including benefits and all perks.

    Liccardo and Pyle have to go.

    They just again raised water, sewer, storm drain, and garbage rates like they do each year.  So my property taxes will go up again, and my utility bill will go up again.

    $1.7 million for Zanotto’s if it stayed in business for 7 years, which it did not.  Now it is $1.7 million if the operate a deli for 3 years.  I forget how much for a Safeway parking garage.

    Mercado Su Vianda across from city hall that got $502K filed for bankruptcy last year.

    $3.2 million to renovate the Camera 12 building.  Then a $817K rent bailout.

    I don’t care if you call it RDA or Economic Zone.  It is taxpayer money.

    • Speaking of taxes, it should be explored to tax all political contributions at the highest rate.  Political contributions are freely given to the candidate or cause, are mostly accounted for by the submission of the required paperwork and with large sums of over a million dollars or more in local races and measures the revenue would fairly substantial.  At 38% tax you would see $380K from each million contributed.

  17. Is Council

    – that naive or really financially dumb and believe faked up economic benefits – jobs and taxes that never come true

    – that irresponsible to not require city staff to audit all city deals to verify that jobs and taxes city was promised actually get for millions given to businesses

    –  that unaccountable to taxpayers and irresponsible that Council does not REQUIRE Clawback provision if jobs and taxes do not come to San Jose so city can legally take back taxpayer money from companies  

    –  getting something for their vote that gives taxpayer’s money to private companies – campaign contributions, other Council votes to payback their friends and campaign contributors or promises to get something in future

    – expecting voters, residents and taxpayers will not hold indvidual Council members accountable for giving away millions of taxes with little or no public benefit while cutting staff and services

  18. Slick Sam Liccardo is rich kid wannabe career politician that gives politicians a bad name: 

    arrogant, mean- spirited, vindictive, what best for me and to hell with you, I’m telling you how it will be politician who hides what going on from public, the #1 jerk on Council

    Yea, don’t like his behavior and “know it all attitude”.  He is actually very dumb about many things, no ethics political ambition and takes orders from his political mentors, a very bad combination for San Jose

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