City Council Attempts to Finalize Budget

The City Council will convene as usual Tuesday, but the meeting is expected to start earlier than 1:30pm—possibly before noon—because of the numerous items on the agenda. The most notable issue at hand will be finalizing the mayor’s budget message for approval at the June 21 session.

A public hearing is being held at 7pm Monday at City Hall.

Several councilmembers have submitted memos asking for amendments to the mayor’s proposal, and among them are calls for greater investment in youth programs by Xavier Campos, Nancy Pyle and Donald Rocha.

Ash Kalra has asked that the city look into redirecting any cost savings if a ballot measure for pension reform does not go forward in November. He suggests that money should quickly be put toward saving the jobs of police officers. Pete Constant also submitted a memo on the need to save the jobs of officers.

Approval of a labor negotiations agreement between the city and the Police Officers Association could also take place Tuesday if the union’s membership ratifies the agreement. Voting within the POA has been taking place over the last week and is expected to conclude sometime before Tuesday’s meeting.

If the city and the last of its 11 unions cannot finalize an agreement, almost 300 police officers could be laid off before next month.

Another topic on Tuesday that could cause some debate to ensue over the mayor’s proposed budget is how remaining money from councilmember’s budgets for the fiscal year is appropriated.

Pete Constant has suggested in a memo to save police officers positions, that any re-budget money be directed toward public safety. Kansen Chu is suggesting an idea in contrast to Constant’s as well as the mayor’s proposal which would have 1/3 of any unspent money be kept by a particular district office while the rest is funneled back into the general fund.

Chu prefers that each district office pay $50,000 into the general fund and all other money remain in the councilmember’s budget for the following year. If a councilmember’s budget does not have $50,000, that money would then be subtracted from that district’s budget for the next fiscal year.

The scenario will likely set up an interesting debate between councilmembers who inherited money from their district predecessors and those who have been dealt more modest funds.

One subject not expected to be brought up Tuesday is how to deal with ordinances pertaining to the regulation of medical marijuana. The council is expected to defer any action on the matter until Aug. 9. This comes on the heels of reports that the city is making drastically less money on taxes from collectives than it did in the first few months Measure U went into effect. The city was making an average of $300,000 a month until May, when the city collected just $17,000 in taxes.

Other topics to be discussed includes a community sports field to be constructed at Allen at Steinbeck School, which is located in Nancy Pyle’s District 10, as well as sewer rate increases, speed limit modifications and enhancements to city communications.

Click Here to Read the City Council Agenda for June 14, 2011.

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


  1. “If the city and the last of its 11 unions cannot finalize an agreement, almost 300 police officers could be laid off before next month.”

    Every library should be closed before we lay off a single cop or firefighter.  Public safety is the number one job of local government.  Number two is a well-built and well maintained infrastructure—roads, sewers, sewer treatment…

    All the rest should go before the first two are shorted.

    • Libraries are safe places for kids to be after school lets out. 

      Close the libraries and where do those kids hang out?  Crime prevention starts with giving youths opportunities to do something other than hang out on the street.

      It’s no coincidence that the murder rate is up in San Jose.  Gang violence is increasing due to less resources available for gang prevention.  A strong police presence is important for public safety but it’s not the only thing that keeps our community safe.

      • “Close the libraries and where do those kids hang out?  Crime prevention starts with giving youths opportunities to do something other than hang out on the street.”

        Oh, I dunno.  How about their homes, with their parents?  Or bring back the concept of a “block parent”?  Grandma?  Uncle Albert?

        I would challenge anyone here to state where exactly it is in the founding documents of this nation, or in the CA state constitution, or even the SJ city code, that states that it is the responsibility of the City of San Jose to give “youths opportunities to do something other than hang out on the street.”

        Perhaps – and I may just be spitballing here – but just perhaps, if there was a little more reliance on the family and friends, and less reliance on the Guvmint to provide for us, the City of San Jose would not find itself in its current bind.

        • Agreed. Too many parents care too little and blame the city, police, anyone except themselves, when their kids start wearing red, blue, etc. They check out, do not have the parenting skills necessary or are blind. And then the activist community groups want to rage against police, that we are not there and they feel captive in their neighborhoods. Their rage is misplaced, they should be picketing city hall to stop the layoffs and stop scapegoating public safety for ALL of this cities financial ills

          As well, SOME of these councilmen, conduct themselves in the same way. They ignore, or worse, tear down police, and then wonder why gangs are on the rise. Well when you strip down police (e.g. elimination of VCET) it’s no wonder homicides are on the rise. CONSTANT is one of the worst. His last minute efforts here are gained and being able to say, come his re-election bid, that he “cares” and did something. He is an embarrassment to his former profession.

    • Public Safety isn’t only created because of cops. They are one piece of the puzzle. Park and Rec, Strong Neighborhoods, and Libraries also pay a role. Those departments have been decimated in recent years. It will only get worse. What is our murder record? We’re headed there this year.

      • But you cannot survive on feel good programs alone. The Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Farce (which chuck is gutting) was a good idea. It worked because a strong, proactive police department enabled all of the other pieces of the puzzle to succeed. The program states through “prevention, intervention and suppression” we hope to get all youths age 6-24 on the track to success. The police are the biggest piece of prevention & intervention. They are also almost exclusively the ‘suppression’ piece. SNI, PRNS and CBO’s are wonderful but if your car doesn’t drive safely, the sound system is irrelevant.
        As a side note, phonies like “pastor” sonny Lara are bilking the system and provide no tangible results. The city could save millions by cutting the crooks out of the equation.

  2. Ask for 10% and take 15% Sun, Jun 12, 2011 – 11:22 pm Mayor’s Budget Message. Ask for 10% and then take 15% from employees and then try and raid employees solvent pension fund that paid out $250 million but gained $400 million this year alone in investments not including massive contributions from employees own pay. The pension fund is being sabotaged and overloaded by the amount of people the management and council are prematurely chasing into retirement.  All under the guise of an unfunded liability they plan to fund on the backs of the employees an absolute unnecessary amount in 5 years.  There’s no real bill due in 5 years, this is a scam on the workers and taxpayers.  It’s completely irresponsible and demonstrates bad leadership and bad business. There’s Billions in Retirement funds just sitting there in this pseudo fiscal crisis untouchable by politicians by design because they will surely squander if given the chance (maybe on a stadium).  We have a crisis, but it’s not a fiscal crisis, it’s a management and leadership crisis.  The Mayor provides no leadership and has no vision to run the city successfully. He cannot close a baseball deal, can not close a Tesla deal, can not close a UPS deal and most recently an can not convince Apple to build a campus in San Jose. Now wants the voters to battle employees over defined benefits that have years of case law clearly exhibiting it’s just not legal. Spend tax payer’s money on ballot measure with legal consequences.  He‘s been reprimanded by the Democrat party for pulling the fiscal crisis card when there is none ($4 billion in annual revenue and a solvent pension fund worth billions). When handed the reins of San Jose it was the safest City in America, we now have more murders in 1/2 the year than we had all last year, in fact two more this weekend.  And where did they dig up this auditor, awful reports stretching old data telling coincidently what the Mayor wants to hear?  Negotiating teams that show up like Charlie’s Angels to discuss nothing?  Millions of tax payers dollars squandered in loser programs like the Convention Center?  Lets face it San Jose is a great place to live and work, maybe the best, but clearly not a vacation and convention destination?  Lets be transparent and discuss in closed session how we are going to try and rob the pension fund from the back door. San Jose has gone from 7,000 workers down to 4,000 this year for a City of a Million people (one of the smallest work forces per capita), but yet the deficit is going up, how is this possible?  Never in the history of San Jose has there been a poorer management and leadership team than now.  How many more reasons do we need? Recall Reed, so we can be proud to live and work in San Jose again.  Gray Davis thought he was untouchable, its time for a ballot measure, it’s called a recall, time to move the stale and unqualified politicians and their bush league managers out and move in real statesmen and stateswomen.  Recall Reed.


    1 Honolulu: 905,903 / 2,613

    2 San Jose: 934,553 / 3,759

    3 El Paso: 616,029 / 2,574

    4 San Diego: 1.26 million / 6,332

    5 Austin: 716,817 / 3,871

    6 San Antonio: 1.31 million / 7,327

    7 New York: 8.22 million / 50,453

    8 Denver: 573,387 / 3,550

    9 Seattle: 585,118 / 3,667

    10 Fort Worth: 670,693 / 4,471

    Read more at the Washington Examiner:

    • I guess you didn’t want to mention that that data is from FIVE YEARS AGO.

      How much have we cut PD staffing since that time?

      A bit more recent data is that San Jose has had 27 murders in 2011, doubling last year’s rate. Graffiti is far more visible throughout the City, other violent crimes are also on the rise.

      In my comfy, relatively crime-free neighborhood, we have had two break-in robberies in the past two months. I found a graffiti tag on the cable box in front of my house. There have been two significant fires, one which shut down a business and one which displaced 5 families and was a huge financial hit on the landlord…. all with the closest fire station shut down!

      Sure, five years ago, we had nothing like this. I’m more worried about 2011 than the 2007 data you cited.

    • Thank goodness you found this article/stats from the award winning Washington Examiner….violent crimes shootings/stabbings/robbery is up big time in San Jose….The murder rate would be much higher this year and prior years if it wasn’t for the thankless work of the medical staffs at VMC and RMC.  Reed and Police Chief Figone are running this city into the ground.  Reform shouldve been occurring years ago.  I 2nd recalling the Mayor.  Maybe we can get Willie Brown to be our interm Mayor

  4. Let’s focus on a real issue:

    Not one of the 75+ management executives earning more than $150,000 per year (plus generous benefits, time-off and pensions) are being laid off or demoted while hundreds of lower paid employees who provide direct services are going out the door or bumping down.

    And the chief union buster is even being promoted to yet another deputy city manager.  How many high paid executives do we really need for a dwindling work force?

    HOW ABOUT LAYING OFF EXECUTIVES AND OTHERS IN THE MANAGER’S OFFICE?  Each one could save two other positions that do real work.

    Don’t be duped by the Manager’s analysis showing managers are being cut the same as other groups; that study didn’t focus on executives and even included supervisors earning less than $100,000.

  5. Let’s not restrict access to free porn on the library computers shall we.  While many social services and entitlements are nice in the boom times, there are some services that can be tapered back when times are tough.  Personally I’d rather a cop or firetruck come when I call than have to make other babysitting arrangements after my kids school gets out.

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