Ethics Complaint Filed Against Mayor Reed

The $250 million question: Did Mayor Chuck Reed and other city officials knowingly lie about the worst-case scenario for San Jose’s pension crisis?

An ethics complaint that included almost 800 city employee signatures was turned into the Elections Commission Thursday. The complaint states that Reed, Director of Retirement Services Russell Crosby and former city actuary Michael Moehle knowingly used false information to bolster the mayor’s push to declare a fiscal emergency, which may have also had an adverse effect on pension reform negotiations.

Christopher Platten, an attorney for the firefighters union Local 230, filed the complaint a day after NBC Bay Area reported that Crosby and Reed exaggerated the pension crisis by throwing out an arbitrary number—$650 million—as a worst-case scenario for the city’s unfunded liability to retirees. That number was then repeated many times over by Reed and other city officials, who have stated that retirement costs will rise to $400 million by fiscal year 2015-16 and “could jump” to $650 million. That caveat might prove to be important in any defense against the complaint.

According to the NBC report, “In one correspondence from Russell Crosby to the City of San Jose’s actuary, Crosby refers to comments made about ‘no back-up for 650’ adding, ‘let’s do damage control.’”

The television station also reported, “Crosby tells us he wrote that email because he believes 650 should never have been used in the first place.”

Below is the entirety of that email, which was included in the ethics complaint and refers to a meeting between Crosby and Alex Gurza, the city’s chief labor negotiator.

——- Original Message——
From: Crosby, Russell
To: Moehle, Michael
Sent: Wed Jun 15 15:50:04 2011
Subject: Spreadsheet
3:45 just got done w Alex. Pis send Alex and me a copy of the
spreadsheet that calculated the $400 million contrib rate in 3 yrs. It
also shows that with fixing demographics and other issues the rate is
$575 million.
FYI- it seems an offhand comment to Scott’s people regarding no back
up for the $650 number has caused them to challenge even $400MM. These
are not good players. You have to assume everything said will be twisted
into something else.
Anyway, let’s get that old spreadsheet out and do some damage control.
Thx

Crosby was the first person to use the number of $650 million at a Feb. 14, 2011 meeting, and NBC says he flippantly came up with it off the top of his head.

In an interview Thursday, Mayor Reed, who will be delivering his State of the City address Thursday night, defended the worst-case scenario projection.

“It’s not an arbitrary number; it’s a reasonably good ballpark number of what could happen if we ignore the problem,” he said. “I do know what (Crosby) said to me is that $650 million is not the worst-case scenario. It could be higher than that.”

Despite Crosby’s email to discontinue the use of $650 million as a worst-case scenario, the mayor said no one ever told him to stop using $650 million.

“Well, it’s good to see he got his memory back, because that’s not what he said on the report last night,” said Jim Unland, president of the Police Officers Association. “Now he recalls that he never was told. I’m not buying it. But I’m glad to see his amnesia is cured.”

David Vossbrink, the city’s communications director, downplayed the NBC report, saying he was in the room with Crosby when NBC’s investigative reporter, Jenna Susko, interviewed Crosby on Jan. 24.

“It’s so embarrassing to be in the news business if that qualifies as news,” Vossbrink said Thursday. “The only numbers that were used for budget purposes and making decisions for service levels and staffing levels, were the $400 million projected costs. We don’t do projected costs for staffing decisions.”

He added: “When the reporter met with Russell Crosby, it was clear to me that she had her story in mind. The tone was more prosecutorial rather than fact finding.”

City Manager Debra Figone put out a memo late Thursday evening disputing the NBC Bay Area’s report.

The mayor’s spokesperson, Michelle McGurk, also supplied San Jose Inside with a list of dates Reed cited the number $650 million. According to McGurk, there were only four examples in the last year, between an April 13 press release and a July 3 op-ed in the Sacramento Bee. One of those examples was a high-profile piece written by Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair, which was later included in Lewis’ bestselling book, Boomerang.

“I don’t think it was misleading to the public,” Reed said. “You can read the words I used. I clearly caveated so no one could say it was sufficiently misleading.”

Tom Saggau, a political consultant with the firefighters union and three others unions representing management and supervisors as well as engineers and architects, disputed the city’s side of the story.

“If I was on their side I’d be dishing this bull——as well,” Saggau said, “but the fact is they were stupid enough to say this in email.”

What resolution can come from an ethics complaint is unclear at this point, but Unland said negotiations are sure to be hampered.

“I have no idea where we go now,” he said. “I don’t know how to go back to the membership when the trust has been broken like this.”

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

100 Comments

  1. Wow, a politician lying or twisting the truth, what a surprise. The straighter they project themselves the more crooked they are.

    • This is the kind of thing that Chuck Reed did when he was Boss of Berryessa.  No surprises is right.

      He used fraudulent information to push people out of leadership roles on the Berryessa school board.  For example, helping to crush the political leadership of an African American board member who was highly placed in the state, as well as a board member of Puerto Rico origins.  He wasn’t shy about scandalously untrue claims to try to push potential opponents out of public life altogether.

      Unfortunately, no one seems to have understood this about his past public record and, with the help of the Mercury News to ignore his deceptions, he sailed through to the mayor’s office without genuine vetting.  No one even gave thought to the cover provided to him in his wayward ways when Mercury News publisher Robert Ingle (his brother-in-law) gave Reed coddling when negative information came to light.

      It’s high time that Reed’s integrity finally receives the scrutiny it has deserved for a long time.

      • Dale

        You send in the darts to the quivering body of Chuck Reed with glee!

        Have you no sympathy for a befuddled version of Richard Nixon?  Here is Reed, having lost the election for Tam, and virtually reelecting Kansen, being confronted by some reporter with the evidence of his lying.

        Where is the compassion, Dale, for a simpering, supersillious mayor who has failed again?

        Chuck Reed has been trying to burst out of his white male shell for decades, surrounded by people who are smarter and far more articulate, who simply use Chuck as a pawn for their efforts.  Reed is a cornered lizard having the rock pulled up, and now you stand there with the noose with a smile enjoying Reed’s nervous gait, and his desire for to go some place after this interview, and hide.  Some place to be hugged by beefy arms of his nurse, and give hot soup and a puzzle book.  You, Dale, would deny Chuck a place to feel safe and cared about?

        Very sad, at long last, Chuck is hunched in a chair wearing a robe with his stuffed alligator hoping it will all go away.

      • Lawyers and others who are interested in seeing the state statute that makes Reed’s activities subject to an accusation to the Santa Clara Civil Grand Jury for willful or corrupt misconduct are invited to take a look at California Government Code Section 3060 – 3075.  It’s called “Removal Other Than By Impeachment.”

        You can find the law by going to http://www.Bing.com, and typing in California Government Code Section 3060.

        It allows residents of a city like San Jose to file an accusation with the Grand Jury against the mayor for willful or corrupt misconduct in office.  This can result in a trial before jurors who do not need to make a finding of criminal violations, just “willful or corrupt misconduct in office.”  This would remove the mayor from office.

      • Second time I’ve read about racist slurs being used in Berryessa school district. Nothing in Mercury News about it. But with The Editor Ingle being REED brother inlaw. That might be why.  Do ou have mor info like dates time victims.

    • Crosby,
          Will spill his guts on the city and illegal activity.  This goes all the way back to CORTEX plan with the retirement program.  Wait! this just in.  They won’t fire him because he is pregnant with information.  They will do the usual. Transfer him to another city entity and give him a pay raise.  The real villian in the end will be Deb!  WATCH!

      • Spilling the beans will probably come easy. You can see hints of that when it quickly came out of his mouth that, yes, he did tell the mayor not to use that number. He gave it right up….very quickly. This is going to be so interesting. I need a bucket of popcorn.

  2. This insanely arrogant Mayor has no Dignity/no self respect/no sense of honor . He is nothing more than a lie and a cheat. I only hope and pray that others that are caught up in this mess stand up and accept responsability. at some point in a mans life he has to put his hands down ,stick out his chin and accept what you have coming………………….I dont see Mr. burns owning up to his part in this mess , but I do see him trying to weasel out and throw an underling to the wolves. Hopefully , Maybe now San Jose Residents will begin educating themselves and not just blindly follow corrupt elected officials . RISE UP SAN JOSE RESIDENTS , THIS CITY NEEDS AN AUDIT, AN OVERHAUL AND A RECALL

  3. HEY MAYOR REED ………. I JUST TALKED TO MY PALM-READER AND SHE SAYS THE SAN JOSE PENSION DEFICIT IS 10 BILLION DOLLARS BY 2014

    YOU ARE FREE TO USE THAT NUMBER TO GET THOSE UNIONS TO NEGOTIATE.

    I LOVED THE PART OF YOUR TV INTERVIEW IN WHICH YOU SAID YOU DON’T HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO CHECK UP ON “650 MILLION DOLLAR PLUCKED FROM THIN AIR” ESTIMATES. WOW !!! IF YOU WERE STILL IN THE MILITARY THOSE ACTIONS COULD GET AN OFFICER PUT UP ON CHARGES. GLAD YOU LEFT.

    LUCKY FOR YOU YOU ARE A TYPICAL POLITICIAN AND ACT LIKE ONE !!!

    ALL: DON’T BUY A USED CAR FROM THIS MAYOR !!!

  4. They even had Liccardo on TV frothing at the corners of his mouth as he lies to keep protecting his great Mayor…. We need to run these liars and bums out of town.

    • Licardo correctly stated that the numbers used by the Council for budget decisions and used for negotiations was the 400 million number. The 650 was never a formal number.  This is a union tatic to change the focus, the pension fund is still over 300 million short.  They are using this to continue to stall real negotiations.  I would challenge any of the unions to show a document from negotations that had the 650 number.

      • Sam, if that is really you.
        The fact is the unions made serious offers that were legal and could have saved hundreds of millions. What has the city offered that is historically legal? Nothing! You can not have the Mayor out there saying the sky is falling and saying it is 650 million and say that would not or could not affect negotiations. Negotiations are not done in a vacuum. That is misleading and a violation of the city charter, period.

      • you are a fool! did the “evil unions” write all those memos. you might be overdosing on haldol , if you think the city has been trying to negotiate. pension reform is needed nobody denies that fact. it just doesnt have to bankrupt city employees ( 5% per year for five years) that insanity. I challenge you to start thinking for yourself instead of following Mr Burns coattails

      • Creating political pressure on unions to make concessions by ginning up public outrage with bad numbers is “part of negotiations.”  Actually, it’s just about the only negotiations strategy Chuck knows.

        • It is completely irrelevant what numbers were discussed internally behind closed doors by city leaders.  The fact is, Reed has repeatedly tried to whip the public into a frenzy of hate and jealousy over pension issues in order to brow beat the unions into making larger concessions.  Now Reed has been caught red-handed using fabricated numbers to bolster his arguments and we are supposed to just ignore it?  The mayor can make up facts to sway voters and everybody is supposed to just call it business as usual?  This mayor has no morals and a win at all costs attitude that is going to cost the city millions more.  History will not be kind to Chuck Reed.

      • They have used $650 and they have used $431, I am at the table and the city still says the number is $431 even though both retirement boards have adopted their 5 year forecasts and the number is $296M.  The city lied and now they are covering up.  Their emails do not lie it is their words that lie now.

        Why don’t you show us the back up for the worst case scenario of $650, oh that is right, Crosby wrote that there is none…liars!

      • You do that you will see the Unions brought real reform to the table in the amount of over 500 million.  That would help the budget especially now that the number pessimistically speaking in 300 million and 80 million reality.  Follow the investigative reports it is truly just the surface.  But I am sure you know this because you are on his side.  The rest will come to light soon get distance away from him because you are all going down.

        • YPS:  I don’t know what the total savings that ALL unions presented but I do know that the SJPOA (possibly with fire) brought a pension reform plan to the CIty that totalled $500million and included a $30million immediate reduction to the budget deficit based on a 10% reduction in police salaries for one additional year.

  5. The Mercury News will down play all of this because they hate public safety.  So the truth will not get out.  We need more public forums to show how this council and mayor is destroying this once great city.

  6. Deb and all you other on the council who kiss the mayors behind make me sick.  You knew and approved this crap.  May you all be gone when your election time is up.

  7. Sam Liccardo is tool , trying to defend his corrupt mentor. He just wants to take his place as the next Mayor…………………..Sorry NOT in the cards. You and the rest of Reeds Minions are going down , everybody knows you were all in on it all of you need to go! you have done enough daage to this this once promising city

  8. Michelle McGurk, obviously your boss the Dishonorable Mayor has taught you how to lie very well.  A little web search produce 4 videos that showed him using the $650 million dollar projections….  Stop the lies!

  9. All Bay Area television news outlets carried this story on tonight’s evening news. It’s 7:45 PM and still not a peep from the Mercury News. Doesn’t this story merit even a little bit of ink? San Jose Inside thought so. Your silence speaks volumes about your complicity.

  10. You know they are scared when they have their mouthpieces attacking the reporter. Even a 5-year old could see Reed was lying, he couldn’t even look into the camera. Nice to see you back to your defiant, arrogant self today in interviews. It will be your undoing – kinda like Col. Nathan R. Jessup in “A Few Good Men.” Except we can handle the truth Chuck, you’re a liar.

    • Chuck,

      you looked like an old fool and did not have the guts to look any one in the eye and tell the truth.  Dementia maybe, you need to just go away and take your vice mayor, PO, Constant, and Liccardo with you.

      You are a sad excuse or a mayor of a once proud city.

  11. Despite damage control efforts from the likes of Deb Figone and Sam Liccardo (that they themselves didn’t rely on the 650 million figure), the fact of the matter is that that figure did play a major role in the arena at which it was aimed, the all-important arena of public opinion, and the anti-labor sentiment that was accelerated by that figure soon became the 650 million pound elephant sitting in the middle of the bargaining table—as city management’s biggest bargaining chip.

    There is no way to separate those concession-filled contracts from the lies and panic spread by Mayor Reed. Every contract is tainted; every concession made by employees stung by public resentment and struggling to responsibly address the “fiscal emergency” was the fruit of the mayor’s irresponsible and fraudulent statements. Remember, this city hired experts to supply its officials with accurate estimates, thus making it absolutely absurd for anyone—let alone the mayor himself, to try to justify the use of doomsday numbers unsupported by evidence. Unless Mr. Reed can prove it is accepted practice for city officials to ignore expert analysis in favor of wild estimates—to affect public opinion by spreading lies, then his bullshit on-camera explanation should be considered corroborative evidence that his illegal actions were intentional and that he is involved in a cover-up.

    Using lies to convince someone that it’s in their best interest to sign on the bottom line is a crime, no matter if it’s done to sell a lousy stock, a defective product, or a contract for labor. Millions of dollars in wages have been stolen from city workers. Chuck Reed belongs in jail.

  12. God it is great to see how the Merc jumps in to print the city’s position and all their justification for what they said. How Mr. Crosby now says he was taken out of context! No he was not, he said what he said several times. He said it was “off the top of my head” and when asked again he said he tried to tell the Mayor it was a bad guess. Now the next day it was a reasonable worst case estimate? Hmmmm did someone get a talking to by the Mayor or Manager??? If the citizens can not see him for the rat he is then they truly have drank the Kool Aid. This was the same guy who about 6 months month ago was caught in emails degrading city employees.
    As for Mayor Reed, was it not obvious by his body language and answers that he was lying? It was to me. Looks just like my kid when he is trying to think of the right thing to say to cover his tracks.
    How about the direction they gave to the Actuarial Company. The gave them rules to use the salaries without the 10% pay cuts even though those were in effect and to include the assumption of 4% raises which were not happening, etc, etc all of which inflated the cost by more than 30 million. If they are getting caught on this stuff after just having a news station dig a little, what else might there be? You know what they say about icebergs, the part you see is just the tip of a much larger berg underneath. Me thinks we should keep digging!

  13. How different would our world be if a private contractor when asked by a potential customer, “How much is this going to cost me?” answered, “How much have you got?”
    After factoring in his answer, sizing him up, and calculating just how much he thought he could squeeze out of him he would submit his bid accordingly. Of course, this strategy only works in Public Employee Union World where there’s no incentive to be competetive.
    In The Real World we have to actually be competetive because there actually is, well… competition!
    It’s none of our business how much money our customers have. The job is worth what the customer is willing to pay and even the well to do won’t stand for being taken advantage of.
    Imagine a private contractor who’d lost out on a bid, whining to the public, “Hey this isn’t fair. I could have really gouged that guy if he’d been honest and told me how rich he was.”
    This contractor would be laughed out of town. And so should Mr. Platten, the 800 signers, and their whole shameless sham of a ‘complaint’.

    • John: there is a big difference between a private contractor and an elected public offical. “Elected officials and employees of the Ciy of San Jose are required to tell the truth and are prohibited from LYING, MISLEADING or DECEIVING in fulfilling their public responsibilies”. Reed, Crosby and Moehle clearly have broken the City Code of Ethics. This is not a union issue-it is an issue of right and wrong. And yes, we ARE laughing all around THIS town! John, you are a smart guy but please compare apples with apples and don’t let your hatred of unions blind you.

    • I’m absolutely comparing apples with apples Fire-d up:
        Private apple- Employers NOT required to disclose
                  financial situation to potential
                  service contractors. Employers free
                  to shop around for more competetive
                  offers.
        Public apple-  Employers ARE required to disclose
                  finances to potential service
                  contractor. Only allowed to deal
                  with ONE vendor. NOT free to shop
                  for a better deal.

      So just how did it come to pass that employees in the public sector have this built-in advantage over their employers as compared to employees in the private sector who do not enjoy this advantage, who believe in the free market, supply and demand system, and are willing to make a go of it in the world on their own?
      This ‘complaint’ is a joke. Public employees have become so accustomed to the rules, the laws, the “Codes of Ethics” that they are immersed in for their entire careers that they can’t see how artificial they are and what a leg up they get from them. It’s like a golfer with a 20 handicap forgetting about the artificial advantage he has over a scratch golfer and now he’s ‘complaining’ that he should be allowed to participate in the Masters because he averages 89.
      The game is rigged. Check your scorecard.

      • Well John, even if we took the time to lay it out, you would decide you don’t care. There are always trade offs. In private sector you do not get the defined benefit these days. But public employees do not get enormous bonuses. The average construction worker has not gone to college, does not have to pass rigorous background credit n psych tests to get hired and have every decision he makes picked apart by the public. If you get a DUI you pay your fines and move on. I can lose my job and all I’ve worked for. Key thing, worked for. I devote 25-30 years of my life working nights weekends and holidays sifting through death disease and disgruntled people for my retirement. I cannot strike when my employer screws me on my contract negotiations. You are free to do whatever you want and make up your owns rules. The trade off is you have to make due in tough times but in good times most contractors I know are flush with cash toys and nice cars n trucks. You get compensated for your skill or lack thereof. I provide a service that is a commodity. It is not a job most people could handle. And few who can want to. I have more criminal law training than most attorneys.  My decisions can change lives or get me sued. It’s called risk vs reward. We risk alot. We aren’t compensated a lot but it’s fair and steady. People in silicon valley are educated and hard working. They demand a level of service from us that exceeds the other 49 states. To get that level of quality you have to pay what the market demands. Or you can compensate us like say New Orleans. Corruption, crime and those are their cops. Do you want a kid with a GED policing your neighborhood or a college educated, professional, conscientious mature person to watch over your family and home?  Do your homework, SJPD officers are nationally ranked in the top 4%. However, we are compensated dead last in Silicon Valley. ………if CSJ is so broke, how can we afford to set aside $535 million for a baseball team that doesn’t provide the city any net income?

    • Public safety actually uses your private sector model all the time.  In the private sector a person or company offering a skill set, service, or good is constrained by market forces.  In other words, even if a private contractor responded “how much have you got”, the potential customer would respond with “there is the door, use it.”  Most of the time potential customers wouldn’t give the contractor a figure, they would be insulted and cease negotiations. 

      But what if the private contractor was one of only a small handful of contractors that could do the desired job?  What if the vast majority of contractors were not qualified, lacked the tools, lacked the experience, or had no track record in that area of expertise?  The private contract might not preface their bid with asking how much money the potential customer had, but they would certainly know they held the upper hand if they were part of a more elite or smaller group.

      In the real public safety world, there is also competition.  Police agencies are competing for a finite amount of qualified candidates.  While lines are long of people willing to apply to be a cop, a very small percentage of those that start the process end up with a hiring package sitting in front of a hiring board.  Therefore, there is a high demand for good candidates and agencies who want the best offer incentives to work there.  A county, city or town that wants the best police work force normally acknowledges that they are going to have to be competitive in their “bids” for those few that are available.  It isn’t unusual for literally thousands of applications to flow into San Jose for a police job.  After the testing process is complete, the list is very small of those who the city should hire.

      However,  seems Reed has decided that San Jose is just such a special place to work that he can place public safety pay and benefits at the very bottom of the barrel and qualified applicants will still flock to the city.  This just isn’t going to happen.  Just like you as a private contractor won’t sell your services for far below market rate, good police applicants won’t give San Jose the time of day anymore.  And, other cities are willing to pay going rate for those good officers.

      So, let me ask you a question John.  If you are a private contractor and a large customer keeps calling you and asking you for a bid, but every time you give it they half that bid, what do you do?  What if every other potential customer that calls you is willing to pay far more?  What if every other customer tells you that you are worth more, that they value your skill set, and they are willing to even engage in a bidding war in order to obtain your services?  Do you go work for the large customer out of some sense of misguided loyalty?  Do you sell yourself short because some snivelers on a blog think you are over paid? Do you allow yourself to be brow beaten by the large company who insists that you are a greedy gravy train rider who should be grateful for the opportunity to work for them?  Or do you follow the money that you believe is fair compensation for your skills, education, experience and that will most benefit your family? I think we already know the answer.

    • Thanks for the reasoned responses.
      I wish you could just take a step back and look at the big picture. You’d see that there’s no ‘hatred’ of public safety or of union members. They’re simply playing the game by the rules that are in place and you can’t blame anyone for that. But there’s a lot at stake here- it’s not just money I’m talking about-and it may be worthwhile if all of us took a dispassionate look at what we expect from government, what methods we should allow it to use, and what limits, if any, it should be constrained by. I believe that the sort of responsible, limited, only-buy-what-we-can-afford-to-pay-for-now government that I’m advocating would force us to get our priorities straight and guess what- public safety will always be a top priority. We’d just get rid of a bunch of other bullshit that even you would probably agree that our government has no business being in.
      So in the ‘big picture’ I’m on your side.

    • In his budget message, delivered after he was informed that the number was not to be used and “off the top of the head” without support, he uses the number as support for his budget and ballot measure.  Sure seems like a material fact that this number was pulled out of thin air without any back up.

  14. This is an absolute outrage! I am a voter in the city of san jose and believe we need all the correct information to vote properly.  Clearly Mayor Reed and his cohorts are not being truthful.  Go figure…….  They are toying with our safety as citizens.  Time for a recall!!!!

    • Recall is the answer,change.org, being the mayor of San Jose,a major metropolitan city, is a respected   position and deserves better.

  15. The mayor and his cohorts have been suspected of lying outright or omitting the truth. Reed does not have the citizens best interests in mind. He will be long gone when the real damage comes. Our crime rate is only getting worse. Reed does not even recognize that his decisions caused that result.
    Damage control is right! I would not be surprised if Reed and his buddies end up in federal custody. All who back Reed should leave this city NOW! Reed is a liar and cannot be trusted!

  16. The unions say he’s lying, so they must be right.  They have each and every one of us in their hearts and minds.  They want what’s best for the city, not themselves, after all.

    The ballot measure will pass despite all your squealing.  You all know it, and the unions know it.  That’s why they don’t want a vote.

    • Uh…..yes, he was caught lying.  Did you not see anything on the news?  Did you not hear what was said?  Do you not read anything here on this board?  In the news?  On television?  Maybe the “squealer” is you and your ilk, backing a losing proposition and a crooked politician.  Maybe your ace in the hole ended up being some lying, two-bit weakling with not enough courage to look viewers in the eye.  Perhaps your defense of this type of obvious obfuscation from Reed and Co. is in response to defending some bloated City contract you have counted on.  Either way, you are in the minority my friend.  Perhaps the vote WILL go the way of the liars.  It is still an illegal measure, introduced by lying politicians, against working-class citizens, sold to weak-minded and uninformed people like you. Keep drinking……the kool-aid is about to flow like water.

    • And when the illegal ballot measure passes with your approval, you will be partially responsible for the enormous cost to the city that is sure to come when it’s challenged in court.

    • Any vote will be overturned by a judge who will see the ballot measure for what it is, an illegal ploy by a crooked mayor who has duped the public into chasing paper tigers.  The sad part is that in the end, the judge will also rule that the city has to pay for the union legal bills on top of the thousands, if not millions, of dollars it costs the city to try and defend their misdeeds.  Guess who pays in the end?  The taxpayers.  So, vote away.  It will make you feel good in the short term to satisfy your petty jealousies.  In the long haul, get ready to open your wallet and pay the city for their incompetence.

      • The court may even order the restoration of employee salaries, to include back pay with interest, due to their salaries being reduced on false circumstances.

  17. -Chuck wants pension reform,  not a negotiated reform, HIS reform

    -Chuck will not negotiate or accept LEGAL viable money saving offers the unions HAVE offered

    -Chuck wants a vote of the people to make the ILLEGAL reform so Chuck uses a sky is falling $650 million dollar number to sway the citizens vote his way

    -While crying the sky is falling Chuck sells off property at reduced values to get the A’s in town

    -Chuck and gang use General Fund money to pay off RDA expenses that benefited Chucks developer buddies

    -Chuck and gang instruct the Actuarial Company to use padded numbers to come up with FALSE projections

    -The San Jose Mercury “News” with a FREE office at City Hall and Chuck’s Brother-In-Law working as a Publisher never seem to print the whole story or print all of the facts

    I am no rocket scientist but I do detect a pattern here. I can only imagine what is still unknown.  Whether you are a public employee or a private work force employee, no one wants an employer that is deceitful and dishonest.

    I chose my career and I accept my pay and benefits for what they are. I do not see a need for individuals to go around and bash what public employees receive in pay and benefits. I have done a little homework and can tell you that San Jose pays, or used to pay prior to all the cuts, what the market for public employees pays.  San Jose is not near the top or at the bottom.

    The bigger issue for me is what my Mayor and Council is doing with our money without disclosure.  Salaries and benefits have always been public knowledge so if people had a problem with them they should or could have complained years ago.  Do you know how your Mayor and City Council is using your money for other expenditures??

    • -The San Jose Mercury “News” with a FREE office at City Hall and Chuck’s Brother-In-Law working as a Publisher never seem to print the whole story or print all of the facts”

      Did not know this but you are spot on, thank you

    • You left out that he and Most of City Council are “Double Dippers”
      They are all on The Redevelopement Agency , the Diridon Developement agency , and The Financing Authority. Yes they get paid accordingly. , and yes there is no more RDA but the City has Appointed itself to oversee Commitments already made. Does anyone else see a problem in working inside of multiple agencies That all deal and depend with eachother? the Mayor lied about Measure V& W saying ” It will enable the city to hire even more P.D./ F.D. . The Mayor is proud of all the low income housing he has brought in but fails to tell you san Jose can not sustain them( city services already tapped out) .He is pushing an illegal ballot measure( that will cost san jose residents millions of dollars only to lose in court.All this business for his Developer Buds but no new sources of jobs.The Mayor has given away Valuable real estate to a billionaire. It is pretty simple he is a lie and a cheat who needs to be recalled. as for his puppets(Liccardo,Constant,PLO, Ngyuen) they should also be held accountable

    • Mayor’s friend is an exec at IBM = IBM analysis;

      Mayor is an alumni of Stanford law school = Stanford report

      Note that each report/analysis faulted to what the mayor needed to push his agenda.

      If you watched the NBS Investigative Report, they gave a contact for submitting stuff. I think they would love to see your list and also know that the mayor, council, city mgr sit on all the boards. That certainly sounds suspicious.

      • I meant NBC. Also, people should start emailing outside news agencies and contacting media, such as Vanity Fair, and others that have printed “mayor success stories” and providing the URL to this blog and/or link to the NBC report, so they can see what is going on in San Jose. They may possibly print it. Great way to get the word out as to what is REALLY going on.

  18. Council Member Sam Licardo, I would like to hear your thoughts on this:

    http://www.sanjoseca.gov/mayor/news/memos/11June/JuneBudgetMessage_06032011.pdf

    June Budget Message for Fiscal Year 2011 – Signed by Mayor Reed on 6-3-11 states (Page 2 and graph on Page 3):

    “Unfortunately, the huge increase to fund retirement costs to date is just beginning. Using the most optimistic assumptions, retirements costs, if left unchecked, will increase to $400 million per year by 2016 – or almost 30% of the General Fund – and will continue to go up for another 10 or 15 years. Even greater increases in retirement costs are likely if actuarial assumptions, such as life expectancy, retirement ages, or rates of investment return, are modified by the retirement boards that are independent from the City and have fiduciary obligations to modernize assumptions and keep the plans solvent. That could cause retirement costs to jump to $650 million per year by 2016.”

    Sounds like the Mayor is using the $650 million dollar the sky is falling declaration in his budget message on retirement costs.

    If the Mayor cited this $650 million figure in his budget message, are to believe that figure never made its way into negotiations with its unions.

  19. Let me get this straight. 

    After the screwing the state and local public employee unions and their purchased democrat politician sock puppets have administered to taxpayers over the years – these very same public employee unions are now squealing like stuck pigs over alleged irregularities?

    Now that is rich sauce indeed.

    All taxpayers should seize upon this and any other opportunity to break the back of public employee unions.  Period.

    Else you have zero right to complain about Cali’s continued slide down the toilet. 

    Starve the beast.

    • Novice: your hatred of unions is rearing it’s ugy head. This is NOT about unions-it is about an elected public offical(s) LYING, MISLEADING or DECEIVING in fulfilling their public responsibilies. Under the City Code of Ethics, Reed, Crosby and Moehle have clearly been in violation. Do you not believe that ALL persons should behave in an ethical way? Obviously not-you pardon the criminal and say it’s okay, blinded by your ugly hatred.

    • Novice,

      Tone it down, get off Chuck’s cool aid and get a real job will you.  Go work for this once great city for 30 years then get Chuck’s boot up your back side and you will understand where we come from.

    • This has nothing to do with Chuck and everything to do with the unholy cabal of public employee unions and democrat machine politicians at every level sucking the life blood out of this country.

      For too long taxpayers have been on the outside while sweetheart political deals are being cut in the backroom between public employee unions and democrat machine politicians. 

      And now the taxpayers finally get a say.
      Put it on the ballot.  Let the chips fall.

      It happened last year in Wisconsin.
      It happened this year in Indiana.
      It’s happening in Arizona.
      It can happen in San Jose.

      • you really need to stop flipping burgers (if you even have a job) leave the Oakland protest and get a union job.  Or just go use your food stamps to buy some more cool aid.

        Unions made this country and city great.  Chuck knows his time is up so more lies does not effect him.

      • Novice , obviously your Mom Or Dad never taught you of “honoring your word” Say what you mean and mean what you say. Unions didnt steal anything , everything they hav was voted on (by Reed) and approved( by Council) In lieu of raises. get that thru your thick head. as far as Wisconsin , Indiana,Arizona, San Jose are concerned “A Change is a Cominng”!

    • This state was great at one time.  Now?  It’s just a cut above the maquilladoras in Mexico.

      How can a state with so many natural resources and so much talent have sunk to maquilladora status?  The math is simple.

      Public employee unions + Democrat political machine + 30 years = Tijuana north.

      But the public employee union/ democrat political machine’s chokehold on this state is starting to slip. 

      The people in this state are going to have a choice this year.  When you go to the ballot box – think about what the public employee unions and their bought and sold democrat sock puppet politicians have brought you and decide whether you want more of the same.

      Break the back of the public employee unions.
      Starve the beast.

      • Really?! Novice, my best advice to you is to stop your hate blogging. Any case you may have had to get people to hear what you have to say, just went out the window. Actually, forget the previous advice-continue what you’re doing-it reveals you for who you really are.

    • The public employee union benefit ponzi scheme is no different than all the other ponzi schemes and bubbles that have gone before.  It was good for those that got in early – and not so good for those that got in late.

      You can yell about Chuck Reed this and that all you want but the fact of the matter is taxpayers are exhausted and incapable of carrying public employees and their gold plated benefits on their backs any longer.

      30 years was a nice, long ride for the public employee unions – but it’s over.

      • Ha ha, “public employee union benefit ponzi scheme.” That’s a hoot! Is this anything like a real ponzi scheme, like say, Proposition 13? This property tax ponzi scheme sure has been good for those that got in early. You know, those who are now paying $750 a year in property taxes while their two next-door neighbors are paying respectively $8,000 and $9,000 a year to fund state and local services. Of course, the $750 folks are eligible for just as many of these services as the newer homeowners, possibly more. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? 34 years has been a nice long ride for this unfair system, but it should be over. Also, do your “exhausted” taxpayers include the 1% who typically earn income via investments which are taxed by the State at much lower rates than income from labor that the rest of us working and less wealthy folks are paying? Should the rest of us (as well as California local governments) be carrying the 1% and their gold-plated tax rates on our backs any longer?

      • “This property tax ponzi scheme sure has been good for those that got in early.”

        Prop 13 was the taxpayers attempt to protect themselves from the rapacious government beast.

        As PEU-owned state and local governments attempt to squeeze the last lifeblood from taxpayers – don’t be surprised see a “son of Prop 13”.

        Starve the beast.

  20. I guess the mayor thinks he can say or do whatever he wants and we will believe him!  It seems all to be about the San Jose A’s and balancing the costs to bring them here on public safety workers.  I guess a baseball team is more important than getting a cop in the middle of the night.

  21. Chuck Reed is a polirical vampire and this latest incident demonstrates his lack of ethics.  Notice how Reed never denied he did it, and he never confirmed that he did it.  The history of Chuck Reed is that of a person who sucks the political blood out of every group, individual, and instiution.  Reed lives on the work of others, while he continues to hide in a box at the compound before dark.

    There is a political wooden stake that can be used.  Under the law granting power to a civil grand jury, an accusation can be filed citing the laws Reed has violated, and if judged guilty under the Government Code, Reed can be forced from office.  Read the Civil Grand Jury procedures.  There are people living in the hills who would love to come to the compound as they did with Reed’s Vladdian ancestor, the original Count, and demand his scalp (little of it there is) and get a mayor who will not lie.

  22. Forget about the numbers.  Here are some questions, why is it that the second largest fire agency in Santa Clara Co. Doesn’t have the same problems.  They agreed to a contract of no raises for the next two years.  They only shut down one fire company in their service area.  Nothing else changed.  They did not have to take a 10% pay cut, they did not have pay more for their health care.  Their pension plan is very close to San Jose’s and had no changes.  The cities of Belmont, Ca., Long Beach Ca. were able to come to negotiated agreements as well as many other agencies in Calif.  So why does the city of San Jose need a ballot measure.  Labor has come to the table to make the reforms requested and needed.  Yet the current Mayor, Manager and some council want to have the work that they were voted into office to do and paid a salary and benefits to do that job pushed back on to someone else.  They want to move the responsibility on to someone else’s shoulders.  To me it doesn’t matter what the numbers are, 650, 400, 250, 900, what matters to me is that labor has been doing the good faith bargaining and can hold their heads high.  What some of our elected city officials having been doing is shameful.

    • The County is a Fire District which means much different finding. They also staff 3 on their engines and have a volunteer force. Their union leadership is more reasonable than San Jose union leadeship who think are pompous and completely miss read the economic climate. .

      • You are correct on the funding, it still comes from tax dollars.  The volunteer force you mention are not on duty front line responders.  Their tasks are limited and generally come in after the incident is secure.  As far as the staffing goes doesn’t matter if there are 2,3,4 or 5 on a company (it does matter greatly for handling real world incidents) what matters is the total operating budget of the organization.  Some are smaller than San Jose and some larger, but if revenues are down as is one of the cases with SJ then it hits muni, county and state budgets.  I’m surprised that you would call the union leadership in San Jose what you did.  They came up with and have already agreed to major changes in benefits and wages which the Mayor and his alliance are not happy with.  They have tied all of the City of San Jose’s woes to the employees.  They have done very little to address the lack of revenue and very little fresh successful ideas on how to generate more.  (not by tax increases).  Again my main question is how come many other jurisdictions have come up with agreed upon reform.  I can see it now, the city pushes forward their ballot measure and if it loses in court then the millions of dollars that they spent to defend their position will come right back to it being the fault of the city employee.  They will say they need to cut more city services to pay off that debt.  Why even go there if you don’t need to.

  23. Sam Lickardo says foaming at the mouth,to Channel 11 that 650 Million had not been a factor in pension reform! Really, then Sam tell us why when Police and Fire offered over $500 million in pension cuts, you turned it down saying it wasn’t enough. You need $650 million in cuts! Now what Sammy? The Merky News keeps this story off the front page because the Publisher Mr. Ingle is Mayor Burns brother-in law and that is why Scott Herold and John Woolfolk publish anti-Union 1 sided stories because their boss say so. Now lets get the Grand Jury involved and take down Reed and his skirt tail followers!San Jose will NEVER be the same!

  24. REED BELONGS IN JAIL, he has proven he is a white collar criminal. I have interrogated less seasoned criminals who can lie better than he can! Those who support him are blinded or parasites of his regime. SJ Murky New$ needs him, thus turns a blind eye.

  25. As a City employee who received Ms. Figone’s email I (along with 99% of the other recipients) was insulted at her assertion that NBC’s report was misleading. I don’t even understand what she means. Can you please ask her?

    Last year all of the City employees gave back more than 10% in wage and benefit reductions. Apparently now Ms. Figone is parting company with the Mayor on the relevance of the made-up $650 million dollar number in achieving this. Yet the $650 million number was clearly used in the Mayor’s charter-required budget message as well as the legislative record on which his “fiscal emergency” was meant to be based. The number was used as a glaring example of the fresh meat meant to be fed to the voters if we did not agree to the City’s demands for a pay cut and and agree to further negotiations on reductions to pensions and other retirement benefits. If intentional use of a made up number is not bad faith bargaining, then I don’t know what is.

    Perhaps more to the point of bad faith bargaining is the Pension Fund staff’s procurement of a letter from the Fund’s actuaries based on year old data that they knew would produce much higher number for future costs than was actually warranted. Did the Fund’s Board request such a letter? Not that I can tell. The letter produced the $400 to 431 million plus figure that Ms. Figone now touts as the one that was used in labor negotiations. Well, we are now hearing that the real number for the expected pension payments is $295 million. When could the City negotiators have had this more accurate number? That is the real story here.

    Jenna Susko, you’ve been doing a great job getting to the bottom of this, but I think you have some more work to do getting answers from the City Manager.

    NBC Bay Area thank you for doing the job that the print press has failed to do. Shame on the Mercury News. Shame on the Wall Street Journal. Shame on Vanity Fair.

    • Thank you NBC

      please keep up the investigation. We need the truth. Save San Jose, do not stop the investigation.

  26. Well, well, the local rag corporate newspaper that loves to trot out every bogus “journalism” award that its hack employees win got scooped by local TV on perhaps the biggest SJ scandal since the 1980’s bond fiasco. Yeah, this appears to be much bigger and smellier than anything associated with Ron Gonzales. Chuck Reed has repeatedly used grossly-inflated, completely made-up numbers to paint a phony fiscal crisis that has basically justified raw theft of income and benefits from public employees. I’d say that effectively suspending collective bargaining is pretty big step in the wrong direction by the City and could only be justified by a grossly exaggerated “crisis” sold by Reed and his followers. I remember the op-ed in the Merc by MEF’s Yolanda Cruz questioning the pension figures that the Mayor and City were throwing around and all the responding letters and opinion pieces that laughed at what she wrote. Sounds a little more reasonable now, eh? The unions think that some kind of pension reform is necessary. So why isn’t Reed negotiating with them to fix the pension funds instead of continuing to demagogue the issue in public and have the whipped-up voters pass a measure that will definitely cost the City millions in legal fees and may even be struck down in the end? Either Reed has been lying repeatedly about the pension situation, or he is too stupid to understand that he has been spewing misinformation. Either way, he doesn’t seem to be fit for public office.

  27. People with porphryia, or in Chuck’s case, Malinger Syndrome, a version of porphyria should not be so abused.  Simple eyesight issues such as mistaking a 6 for a 2 or a 4 is an obvious part of the syndrome.

    A tendency to reshape the truth when confronted, and a very prounced gait are the symptoms.  I take grave exception to this continued harping on a person so afflicted. 

    Reed needs to be respected for working above this affliction, and cannabis can help, hence his about face on the topic as it is obvious Chuck is in the 12th stage of Malinger’s.  Confusion about 400 million or 650 million is another symptom, confusion with numbers, desire for working in darken rooms, desire for chalk in the diet, and an inability to perceive questions.  Give Reed a chance.  He can beat this!

  28. “No one could say it was sufficiently misleading”. Is he serious?  What does sufficiently misleading mean?  Sufficient to persuade a voter?  If not, then why mention it?  This guy is absurd.  If he goes back to the practice of law after this, I sure as hell wouldn’t go to him for advice!

  29. Well well well. Pity Hall, (yes, misspelled on purpose) again caught in the cross-hairs.  Lets see.  If memory serves me correctly heads rolled not long ago when the public found out about the way too expensive and over the top agreements made to the new Pity halls tech. features.  Remember, way over budget, short on employee parking, but SPECIAL TECHNOLOGY expensive flat panel components etc?  Here is the rub.  Heads didn’t roll strictly because of cost overages.  Heads rolled BECAUSE MAYOR GONZALEZ , AND OTHER KEY DEPARTMENT HEADS CONTINUED TO LIE! They thought they could lie, cheat, steal, and mislead the public.  The public wouldn’t let go and continued digging for the truth.  So, a few good people “fell on the sword”

    The good citizens of San Jose, it’s dedicated employees, and all others connected with, or doing business here will demand the same!

    Mayor Reed’s election promise was for city government to be transparent?  So “buck fifty Chuck”, which of the minions will fall on the sword this time?

    Here’s a better idea.  Instead of working for practical solutions to resolve budget issues lets waste more time and energy creating new ordinances costing taxpayer’s money. Is it really necessary having an ordinance requiring shoppers’ to furnish their own bags?  Why has the council flip flopped, or not taken a firm stance of the marijuana businesses?  At one point the council said they didn’t want them.  Then they wanted 10?  There are over 100! We know Chuckie….it’s all about the revenue.

    I for one don’t think the city should be receiving revenue from illegal businesses, gambling establishments, or business for charging for plastic bags!

    The brave men and women of the Police and Fire Departments would be fired for lying. You, Double dipping Pete, Sam the scam, and others should be fired too!

    where do you have the right to suggest that retired employees not have opportunities to compete for other jobs?  You suggested such on KGO radio when then Assistant Fire Chief was selected as the Oakland, Ca. Fire Chief???

    If someone retires from the city why should they not be free to seek employment elsewhere?

    Are you not an attorney as well?

    Wasn’t it you and the rest of the council that considered demanding private companies pay a living wage?  Isn’t that one of the reasons Starbucks, as well as others, are not doing business at pity hall?

    That’s right! there was a back door deal made to BFI demanding that their employees be paid more that the lower bid for garbage service.  I believe you, as well as ex mayor Gonzalez may remember that fiasco?

    The people of San Jose, it’s employees, and others didn’t stand for it then and will not now!

    Had Enough

  30. obviously, the mayor is a glib liar and his agenda for his ambition for his political future is his first and foremost concern.  it doesn’t matter at all if he lies or destroys the reputation and credit of the City of San Jose as long as he can climb up the politics ladder.

  31. Mayor Reed, when you went out of your way to add ‘no lying, no cheating, no stealing’ to your oath of office, you declared a higher standard for your actions.  Please don’t explicitly tell us you won’t lie and then be surprised when we call you on it.  At least Ash had the sense to apologize for his mistake, you are only going to make it a whole lot worse with this attitude of yours.

  32. When a guy has to go out of his way as often as $650Chuck has, to remind you how “all American” he his or how honest he his, you can bet that he probably isn’t all that American and not as honest as he wants you to think he is.

    How many times have we heard $650Chuck start off by telling us that “he is a military man” and as a military man he only knows “one way to tell it?”

    Oh yeah, the way $650Chuck tells is “straight to the point, never sugar-coated” and if the “it” isn’t what you want to hear you’ll just have to “deal with it.”

    I have been thinking about $650Chuck quite a bit over the last few days. I always have a mental picture him wearing his signature “American Flag” necktie, echos of his stock line letting you know he was #1 in his Air Force Academy Class ring in my head – followed by:  oh-by-the-way… my daughter was also #1 in her Academy Class making us the first father-daughter blah, blah, blah… leading into I’m a lawyer and i’m for open government… and no lying cheating or stealing… then telling police and fire that they have been riding “the gravy train” and their pension is “corrupt!!!”

    Way to go $650Chuck! now there is an endless loop developing of you repeating $650million to anyone who would listen. At worst you LIED and at best like the FBI files said about Saint Steve Jobs:  “not totally forthright and honest,” and someone who “has a tendency to distort reality in order to achieve his goals.”

  33. So if chuck is right i a city employee need to make less per hour and recieve a pension that is lower than other like comunities and pay more to get said lesser pension for the city to run. Every year the sky is falling and the only recourse is for unions to give up! When will some one ask to see where the other 2.3 billion dollars is spent? The waste that is happening within the city is so high and i do not fill (or will) continue give up my income so others can waste. Again every one is looking at the small number 200 mil to 650 mil but were is the other 2 plus billion dollars going.
    Ps atend a few council meetings and watch them spend like there is no tomarrow so that they can keep there lie alive that the ski is falling because there is no money

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