Measure B Goes to Court Again

The legal battle everyone expected over Measure B’s passage began Wednesday, as the city filed for a federal judicial review (a.k.a. “declatory relief”) and attorneys representing police and firefighters unions filed two lawsuits in state court. All of this will take months, if not years, to resolve, so we’ll focus on some of the more interesting commentary surrounding Measure B and the legal battle.

Gov. Jerry Brown took San Jose’s 71-percent passage of Measure B to mean a line has been drawn regarding pension reform, and the state should follow suit in some manner. “The pension vote in San Jose, which is a more liberal … city than the state as a whole, is a very powerful statement that pension reform is imperative,” Brown said. (When watching the video, try not to be put off by the awkward last question and cackle about President Obama’s fundraising efforts in California.)

Mercury News columnist Scott Herhold takes an interesting angle, focusing on the attorneys who will handle arguments for the city and unions. Labor is going with a Scotsman and a Yank, as well as Christopher Platten, while the city plans to use Meyers Nave and a firm led by Jonathan Holtzman, who Herhold calls the city’s legal “intellectual light.”

And as fear of similar “pension modification” measures spreads across the country, a photo of Mayor Chuck Reed high-fiving Pat Dando reinforces the unwritten rule that people over 50 should simply shake hands when congratulating one another. (H/T to The Daily Fetch)

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


  1. And don’t forget keep a stiff upper lip when the low paid new hire Fireman loots your home while he’s putting out that grease fire or resuscitating uncle Bob. That’s what happens when you settle for less AND treat them like excrement. Don’t be naive and expect them to honor a contract, moral or written, when their employer doesn’t display the same integrity. I’ve already had the post election disgruntled fire dept experience and it wasn’t pretty. Can’t blame em one bit. We are screwed in this city.

  2. I smell a fiscal emergency coming when the courts over turn Chuck’s measure B, but by the time that happens he will be long gone enjoying his pension and working for the law firm that is defending the city.

    Hey cool aid drinkers, your the ones that are and will be paying for attorney fees and loss of city services.

    A sad day in Oakland south bay.

  3. What no one has commented that the police and fire filed in Superior Court and the City filed in Federal Court.

    So for you lawyers out there, what are the ins and out of that?

  4. Gov Brown should force pension reform on current and former Mayors/City Managers/City council members/Police-Fire Chiefs/everyone in upper management that are riding the “Gravy Train” ($150K-$400K per year in retirement)……What’s good for the lowly employees is good for the upper Management!!!!  Just think of all the stadiums we could build…hahahaha

    • Better yet, we should have the electorate vote on the salary and bonuses of the Silicon Valley Chamber member CEO’s who have funded this raid on City employee benefits. Maybe like tax savings there, it would reduce the price tag on their next Iphone purchase smile

  5. There has never been a debate from most San Jose unions that pension costs need to come down.  In fact those unions proposed legal and lawful reform time and again and the city rejected it.  Why?  Because the city wants to overturn 70 years of legal precedent that simply says, you can’t break a contract.

    Chuck Reed and his supporters lied about the scope of the problem, it was never $650 million and the have lied to the public every time they have said unions did not offer reform. 

    Now his folly will be exposed when the courts tell Reed to follow the law.  The losers will be the taxpayers of San Jose who will have to foot the bill when it comes due.

    How much money did San Jose save when it passed Measure V and W, remember those fiscal reforms?  San Jose has saved zero as a result of those reforms.  And how much will San Jose save as a result of Measure B…..less than zero.  The lawyers will laugh all the way to the bank.

    The Reed legacy…a whole bunch of hot air and promises…but delivers nothing but rhetoric.  Can’t wait until he is gone.

    To read the lawsuits go to:

  6. Scott Herhold is a Hack Writer / puppet for Mayor Burns! Knuckle up San Jose , Cuz now its a fight.A very long tedious and EXPENSIVE one , that in the end win or lose will be paid by the TAXPAYERS in San Jose. Dont Say you were’nt warned

    • did you also see the Brian Williams video. In it, they use the wrong numbers to inflate the problem.  Reed probably gave them to them and they relied on it.  Horrifying.

  7. Word on the street is between 50 and 70 Police officers have already received job offers with another 50 -60 in the process with surrounding cities. Absolutely, dont blame them at all. This City is Full of sheep , who blindly follow The Mayor/The Merc it really is too bad that the residents of San Jose Are so Lazy , that they couldnt be bothered to do their own research. it is all public info people! Now we will short major experience in P.D. , F.D. will soon follow.. Lets just see what quality of candidate this city gets now. This used to be the Place EVERYBODY wanted to be P.D./F.D.  now you will get people that didnt qualify anywhere else but here. Hope you can live with it

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