The Fight For San Jose

With their city facing a $110 million budget deficit, more and more San Jose residents are weighing into the budget debate. In a recent letter to the Merc, San Jose resident Robert Lindley argued that San Jose residents should be “ashamed” for demanding that their public servants should “give up pay and retirement security so that those citizens will pay no more taxes.” Lindley goes on to say that “the city’s budget shortfall is the responsibility of all residents.” Really?

“I bristle at Robert Lindley’s accusation, ‘the citizens of San Jose should be ashamed’ regarding the taxes needed to pay city employees and their retirement security,” responded Frank Fletcher. “San Jose must re-evaluate its entire structure, including the city’s basic responsibilities…the city needs to show why we need more taxes and exactly how this money will be used…”

In another letter, San Jose resident Glenn Stansbury offered: “As a person who now lives on half of his former salary, I find it hard to master sympathy for public employees who may have to forgo cost of living increases…until politicians start addressing pensions, we cannot increase taxes fast enough to pay for the services we need.”

Let’s stop kidding ourselves….San Jose doesn’t have any “public servants,” they are the masters…they call the shots. In San Jose, public service is spelled, “public, serve us!” The system is broken, and the city is broke. Process has trumped purpose. The priority of the San Jose city budget is to “make payroll” rather than to provide the optimal level of city services. For almost ten years, city service levels have been reduced to help pay for increases in public worker compensation and benefits.

The following question illustrates just how far things have fallen: Should funding be eliminated for school crossing guards so that public employees can have their pension bump? This is not a rhetorical question, but one that is currently under consideration.

54 Comments

  1. San Jose is a “place to be from.”  Look around the area and you’ll discover that most other cities are fairing rather well.  The obvious exceptions are SF, Oakland and SJ – what’s the common thread?

      • Unions control the City?  Not so!  There isn’t one (city employee) union in San Jose that has had control of this City. 

        In the interest of disclosure, I am a non-public safety City employee, and an SJ resident, and my union negotiates with the City Manager’s Office, not council members. All negotiations and deals were mutual by both parties; Unions did not hoodwink, checkmate or screw the CM’s office.

  2. Why should the city pay for crossing guards in the first place? Shouldn’t this be the responsibility of the schools? The city could step-up traffic enforcement around the schools and ticket the speeders and red-light runners. The number of citations would probably pay for the crossing guards, but shouldn’t the schools cover the cost of the guards?
    Also, how do you think the city services would be delivered if you don’t adequately compensate employees? Is there some tweaking to be done? Sure. But the Mayor’s “throw them under the bus” approach to the budget crisis will ultimately serve no one well.

  3. Democratic union controlled city government politicians wasted billions taxes on unnecessary social projects,  high pensions while passing anti-business policies, high taxes and not fixing infrastructure or transportation

    California’s anti-business attitudes made businesses and jobs go to Texas or other low cost business friendly states while politicians lied to voters

    California’s cities and state should layoff 25-35% government workers and reduce government back to only essential needed services not bloated state and city governments and high taxes

  4. Pete,

    I realize that us San Jose police officers are “cancers” and need to be “cut out”, according to Mayor Reed.

    It doesn’t matter that 2 years ago we agreed to a 6% paycut, or that last year we agreed to an additional 5.75% paycut. It does’t matter that we gave up our annual uniform and safety equipment stipend and now pay for thousands of dollars of gear annually out of our own pockets, (the only police department in the County which does so). It doesn’t matter that we have agreed to pay massive increases in our health benefits. It doesn’t matter that we pay almost 24% of our gross salary into our own retirement system, the highest percentage of any police department in the United States. It doesn’t matter that we have the dead lowest per capita staffing of any large city in the United States. It doesn’t matter that our elected city leaders have squandered away billions of dollars on pet projects over the years, including Mayor Reed.

    Yes, I know the Mayor is right, we are the “cancers”. Thank you so much for writing another article reminding us of the disease that makes up your police department.

    Please read the following an at least try and give a fair shake to both sides.

    http://protectsanjose.com/content/stop-police-cuts-campaign

    • Frank,
      Thank you and your colleagues for your service. I have had many very good encounters in working with your department. That said, the City is going broke. I don’t like it any more than anyone else. Do I want more cops in our City? You bet. But right now, we cannot afford them. Do I wish the City had spent their money more wisely? You bet, but many of the projects that are pointed to as wasteful are water under the bridge right now.

      To your points, I did a quick fact check and on the SJPD website and the salary and benefits which are quite good are listed below. It appears you all still do get a clothing allowance of $675 per year, and the City pays 90% of Kaiser insurance and 100% of dental. There is 100% sick leave “cash out.” Perhaps some savings can come from there so that take-home pay (which starts at $80K a year) is minimized.

      For those of us who are unemployed (and we are legion: the City’s unemployment rate is 10.9% (source:http://www.economagic.com/em-cgi/data.exe/blsla/laumt06419403), it is hard to fathom City workers (specifically Police and Fire) not being willing to take additional cuts. (Side note: I was horrified the Mounted Unit is awful close to being eliminated so even though I’m unemployed, I made a donation to keep them. Hope it works!!)

      Our Library budget had to take 29% THIS YEAR in cuts, with SJPD only being asked to take 10%. I place a high a priority on proactive public safety measures (libraries, parks, pools, community service programs) as I do our reactive services like anti graffitt and police/fire. I wish I didn’t have to say that, because again, when I depend on you, you all are there.

      So I hope you take this message in the spirit for which it was intended; sympathy for you having to be faced with taking cuts while being an advocate for those cuts being made.

      My .02.

      Tina

      SALARY:

      Academy pay is $33.28 an hour, until sworn in as a police officer
      Police officer, starting step 1 salary $80,641
      Police officer, ending step 7 salary $116,093
      Lateral police officer salary determined by experience, training and education

      BENEFITS:

      4 day work week, 10 hours a day
      5% additional premium pay for certain specialized assignments
      Overtime pay assignments
      Off-duty secondary employment starting pay of $44.00 an hour
      City pays 90% of Kaiser medical plan / 100% dental plan
      Domestic partnership benefits
      Paid vacation of 80 hours to start, 180 hours maximum
      Paid accrued sick leave of 96 hours annually
      Up to 100% sick leave cash-out at retirement
      Annual uniform allowance of $675.00
      Up to 90% of salary for retirement (30 years of service) with 3% annual cost of living increase
      PERS retirement reciprocity
      Up to four (4) years of retirement buy-in for military experience
      Bi-weekly bilingual pay

      • Tina,

        That is outdated information in the website you are quoting.

        We get NO uniform or equipment allowance. This was given up by officers last year.

        The city pays 80% of Kaiser, not 90%

        The city does not pay 100% of dental

        Sick leave is only paid out at 100% if 2 criteria is met: you must have been with the department for at least 20 years and you must have accrued at least 1,200 hours. If you have less than 1,200 hours it is paid out at a reduced rate. Very very few grunt officers make it to 20+ years with this much sick pay. After 26 years I have about 325 hours saved as I have used much of it for various surgery recoveries.

        It is unfortunate the information has not been updated to the website since we agreed to these cuts last year. You can verify all this information with a call to the city. Maybe you can ask them to update the information too.

        Thanks

      • Additionally, bilingual pay is a joke. It’s not worth signing up for the program, nor does the pay in any way offset the cost of participation in a program for learning an additional language. Furthermore, cuts to PD wages and benefits are actually around 12% after the cuts we took last year and the year before. Finally, the cuts are just one part of the picture since, in our contract, we accepted various work condition compromises intended to save the city additional money.

        Lastly, as much as I enjoy the availability of what you refer to as proactive public safety measures, they actually do very little in terms of enhancing public safety. The very worst of that our community has to offer – the burglars, theives, rapists, gangsters, etc. don’t care even a little bit about libraries, parks, pools, community service programs, etc. Well, that’s not entirely true. I often see drunks and gangsters using the parks. But then, how often do cops get called out to deal with those same individuals at parks? Perhaps you’d rather people call a librarian or a park maintenance worker, or park custodian for that?

        I’m not saying that public safety doesn’t need to work with the city. Nor am I saying we are unwilling to. Most of the cops I know are willing to work with the city. What we are absolutely unequivocally not willing to do is trust the mayor, the city council or the city manager or their minions. What we really want is for the city to open its books in a way that is comprehensible to any interested party so that everyone has a realistic understanding of how the city spends (or wastes) its money.

        But, City Hall has squandered our trust. Maybe you should do a reality check and see what they’ve done with yours.

        • “…don’t care even a little bit about libraries, parks, pools, community service programs, etc. Well, that’s not entirely true…”

          I was just barely getting ready to go to the library so I can stop ripping off plasma screens and marijuana grows.

      • Although I’m a non-public safety employee, and I have my opinions about public saftey sick leave payouts, and OT for upper level Fire, I do have the utmost respect for the work these folks do. 

        One thing you may wish to include in the PD job description, is that they may be shot at and run over occasionally, to chase bad guys, to rescue others, to see the most horrific scenes at crashes, to intervene in domestic disputes, to drive through rough areas at night…and things like that.  There are tons more.  There benefits are mostly well earned.

        • And, as a follow on to that, the other day, we had several junior officers involved in the arrest of several gang members who had committed and armed robbery of an ice cream vendor. In an interesting twist of irony, every one of those officers’ jobs is in jeopardy with the pending layoffs.

  5. “Should funding be eliminated for school crossing guards so that public employees can have their pension bump?”

    NO! When private sector workers are losing jobs, salary levels and benefits, shouldn’t city workers share the pain? Losing a pension bump is not nearly as drastic as losing a job.

  6. well i am sorry the many people in this city have lost pay and jobs.  whoever what those same people are not telling you is that when they CHOSE to go into the fast pasted very unsecured private industry with little thought of what is going to happen when the “good times” are over”, those of us who have thought about that and chose to enter public “service” we take lower salaries in exchange for long-term stability in our life. those who did not think those days of living high on the hog would never end should have thought a little more about the future than buying multi million dollar houses half a million dollar cars and thought a little more about saving for a rainy day or even hey her is a novel idea.  why did they not demand retirement benefits or pensions from those corporations. the money was there it just went to the CEO’s, CFO’s ect.

    • It would probably be a little easier to understand your post if you proof read it before you sent it out. Are you saying that all the unemployed workers deserve the unemployment line because they did not choose to work the government. You also seem to be implying that everyone who works in the private sector are living in million dollar mansions.

      You have been spending far too much time hiding in your little cube at city hall. Go outside and look around at the real world. Who do you think lives in all those homes in this city that are no where near a million dollars in value.

      The problem is that the money is gone and it really does not matter at this time who was responsible for spending or taking it. The city needs to bring in revenue and cut expenses quickly. Not blame tax payers for choosing to work in the private sector.

      Get Real!!

      • “The problem is that the money is gone and it really does not matter at this time who was responsible for spending or taking it.”

        It is important that it matters because the blame is being placed in the wrong place and taken out on the wrong people. What if you were falsely accused of stealing? Would you just say that it doesn’t matter who was responsible for the theft? Would you just accept the blame and be labeled a thief? We, as employees, want the truth to come out. We want you to know who is truly responsible, being that the blame is being put on us. It DOES matter. The people who mismanaged it needs to be held accountable, not given the green light to escape.

        • Pretend you are 5 years old and your mother spent all day baking your favorite cookies. You kept trying to get a cookie but your mother said wait until she is done. So you do. While you are waiting you start watching your favorite cartoon. You never noticed you overweight father come home early. He smells the cookies and makes a “B” line to the kitchen and devours all the cookies. Now be knew these were your favorite cookies but he ate them just the same.

          When your cartoon is over you go into the kitchen, loud yourself a tall glass of cold milk and then go right to the cookie jar to get your cookies mom had just promised you but there is just an empty jar. No matter how much you cry and scream about hour big fat dad who devoured all the cookies, there are no more and mom is completely out of sugar so she cannot make any more.

          The city has no more cookies and there is no more sugar to make anymore. If the city officials ripped it off that is a job for law enforcement to take care of those responsible. While that process should happen, we still have no cookies.

        • If mom had put away some sugar, she would have enough to make a whole nother batch of cookies. If she likes to bake, she is aware that she should always stock the staples that it takes to bake the cookies or she could have baked batches of cookies and froze them for son to enjoy at any time of his choosing. And mom didn’t break son’s piggy bank to get his allowance to buy extra sugar, once she realized the mistake she made.

          The City didn’t put away any cookies. They took the tax payers money and used all of the extra sugar they had for pet projects and other foolishness, that wasn’t necessary. When time came to bake the cookies…there wasn’t any sugar left. Had they put some of those cookies away in a different cookie jar, and put that jar in the freezer, they would have had some cookies left for son, on any rainy day.

        • So, we agree that there is no more sugar. Now we can cry and complain that mom didn’t do her job or we can work to solve the problem. I agree with you that the City officials should have been planning for hard times but they didn’t.

          This is what happens when the people vote in individuals that really have no clue on how to run a business, and make no mistake, running the city is just like running a business except for the production of a real product. That said, this is a discussion that can go on for ever depending on ones views of elected officials. 

          Since we can agree that there are no more cookies and no more sugar to make anymore, what do we do. My personal belief is that the city and county should begin by cutting all the programs that they implemented over the last 15 years. Then, we need to look at the city staff down at city hall and get those expenses under control. Next find new ways to generate revenue other than taxes. For example, the Fire Department could begin charging for first aid calls, most of the calls have an insurance carrier and they need to look into billing the insurance companies for medical services.

          The last thing I would want to see cut is officers on the street. The tougher the economy gets the more of them we are going to need. This is just a start but I could come up with a lot of savings, it is just that no matter what you do, someone is not going to like it

        • What they seriously need to do, but for some reason won’t, is to start making staffing changes. They need to downsize duplicated staffing and make responsibilities more dense. There is no sense to have so many supervisors, division managers, deputy directors, assistant to the directors and directors. They need to consolidate departments. Put the departments together that compliment each other. Then they need to eliminate a lot of unnecessary supervisor positions. If there are three supervisors supervising 10 staff, each, they need to reduce one supervisor position and the remaining two will then supervise 15 people each. There is no sense having an assistant director if there is a deputy director. Eliminate the assistant director’s position and have only the director and deputy director. There should be only one division manager to a division. Any more than that is overkill. They need to make these tweeks throughout City Hall. There is too much managing over too few people. Give them larger groups of people to manage and then eliminate excess management positions. That is one of my suggestions.

        • Those are excellent suggestions. I think they need you and i in those back room discussions. Most supervisors make from 1.5 to 2 times the amount of lower level employee. Hopefully the powers that be are reading this. If not you and I may have to run for office and fix this mess.

          I truley hope this sort of idea sharing is happening behind closed doors at city hall.

        • For some reason, they just don’t want to reduce their management. But there’s just too many of them. This is no lie…one supervisor supervising 1-3 people. Crazy.

          I think the idea sharing is occurring, but I think they are just going to do what they want to do. They NEED to listen to employees who have really good suggestions. These blogs are full of great ideas, but will they take any of them into consideration? That remains to be seen, but I doubt it.

  7. A long time ago when we had sooty coalmines and factories, 7 day work weeks and child labor w/ the company store – unions had a place.
    But the private sector jobs in auto, steel, textiles are all gone, union pricing and globalization.  so where do the unions go?  To the soft underbelly of the public sector where management is paid (with contributions) to be on their side.  California used to have shipbuilding, auto manufacturing, steel and other good job industries – those are gone now due to regulation and union armtwisting.

    The public unions are leeches on the public sector and the taxpayer – here is scientific proof.
    The signs that a host body is dying due to infestation because of parasite is when the host starts shutting down bodily functions – police, fire, schools, parks, libraries –

    Jerry said on TV in his last debate with Meg “I have the unions in my back pocket” actually he’s in their back pocket – they bought him into the Gov’s mansion so we can expect any real reform from Jerry.  The sooner the next recall begins the better.

    • “The signs that a host body is dying due to infestation because of parasite is when the host starts shutting down bodily functions – police, fire, schools, parks, libraries”

      What you aren’t seeing is that the parasitic infestation that is shutting down the host is not the employees. What is not being seen, and we keep trying to tell you, is that the parasite is the administration who mismanaged the taxpayers money. Had they taken the money and did with it what they were suppose to do with it, we would not be in this predicament. They didn’t put it away for a rainy day, they didn’t pay funds into the retirement when the going was good. They should have been doing that all along. If they did, we would not be in this predicament. Instead, they took the taxpayer money and blew it on pet projects, giveaways and more. It is like someone who hits the lottery and they start foolishly spending up all of the money without future thought…and pretty soon they are broke and have nothing left. The same thing happened here. The administration spent the money, willy nilly, and now they have to take from the employees to make up for their mismanagement of the funds. So, you see, the parasite is not the employee that is causing the host to shut down. The parasite and true cancer is the administration that is causing the host to shut down. The parasitic administration is trying to cut chunks out of the host, which they are defining as cancers (the employees). But the employee is not the parasite. The administration is not seeing themselves. They are the cancers that need correcting. Instead of trying to tame the true parasite, they try to cut chunks out of the host. When you remove so many chunks and vital organs, pretty soon the host dies. If the host dies, it will indeed be the result of the parasite…but the administrative parasite will live on, after they have killed the host. Correct the parasitic administration. Get someone in there who is not a parasite and who knows how to manage…and your host will once again be vibrant.

    • well were did all of those jobs go.  oh yeah the greedy ceo’s and politicians sending them overseas and giving those companies tax breaks.  and the private sector used to have those same unions as the public sector but once again they gave it up to the greed of lavish lives with high salaries with no thought of their future or the future of the people after them.  and the ones who win are the top dogs of the private industry, taking everything on the backs of their employee’s hard work

      • Public Servant,

        To the most part you are wrong again.
        The Jobs are no leaving because of greedy CEO’s, they are leaving as a result of an over bearing government that taxes and regulates them to death.

        Go and get a bid to have your house painted here in California. A new law was just passed that prohibits a painter from painting you home unless it is certified LEAD FREE. What you use to be able to get done for $1500-$2200 is now going to cost you P to 0 more for the same job you could have had done just last year. Who do you think the costs will be passed onto?

        There is a huge list of companies that this city and state are running out of town because of the regulations and taxes. A business, unlike government, must make a profit or it is out of business. Sure you can find a few examples of bad corporate officers but the vast majority are hard working individuals just trying to make ends meet.

        So next time before you make some broad sweeping ignorant comment, please take a moment and really try to get it right.

        • that is interesting so why is it you seem to be saying it is the public employees fault the the government is causing this problem.  you say it in your own response.  it is government not the people trying to make ends meet and providing for their futures

        • The government produces no products or goods. It only offers services to the public. The only revenue the government gets is by taking it from the public. Therefore unless the government can find another source of revenue, employees and programs which are operated by government employees are going to be cut. This is referred to in the private sector as downsizing and reorganizing. The government is not exempt from this. The private sector has been going thru this cycle for the last 7 years. It is very painful but a necessary process for the struggling business to survive. In government the largest single drain on revenue is salaries.  I understand your concerns but what else can the city do to make ends meet?

  8. Who cares about San Jose since it doesn’t have a vibrant downtown with its heart pumping freely?

  9. The public wanting the city employees to share the pain? Mr. Fletcher sounds bitter because he lost half his salary and now wants city employees to lose theirs. Hugh wants the city employees to feel the pain because private sectors are losing jobs. Last I heard, the private sector was rebounding and there were 22,0000 less applications for unemployment than the month before. Ford hasn’t had a profit in 8 years and it just reported a profit of over $500 million. What happens to the public sector when the private sector comes back and once again has all of its perks? The public sector will once again be trying to scrape up a decent salary that allows them to live just as comfortably as the private sector. It sounds like the private sector is all about “since I have to feel pain, we want you to feel pain”. Envy. Jealousy. How small is that? You are to be pitied, not disliked. The public sector never would have wished such a thing on you!

    Hugh, why not let the schools fund their own crossing guards? The schools are not private sectors. They are state controlled; another government entity. Why should the city have that burden? I agree that crossing guards should be a responsibility of the schools.

    Lastly, I think that if all unions agree to a zero salary increase, over the next 5 years, that would help to offset a lot of the growing debt.

    • As a private sector worker, it is not about sharing the pain. It is about the availability of funds. Those of us not working for a public entity have been going thru down sizing for the last 8 years while the government has been expanding at rates comparable to the dot com boom.

      Many programs were created and government seemed so eager to initiate all of these feel good programs. Guess what? That was all good when tax revenue was flooding in and politicians were licking their chops at the ability to spend money like water.

      That model always fails, and it is failing now. As a result many of the government employees are now going to suffer as a result of this foolish spending spree. Your unions are not innocent of blame either. They did an outstanding job ant getting more than their share of the the money. Unfortunately, it is now time to pay the piper. Oh, and by the way, the old trough that government has long gone to for the money to feed their spending addiction, (I call it taxing the public), is empty as well.

      buckle up, the long awaited double dip recession is about to start.

  10. Why San Jose is in budget deficit =  Too High Pensions

    “In fact, CalPERS data shows the average career public employee, who put in at least 30 years of service and retired in the 2008-09 fiscal year, collected a starting pension of $67,000 a year, or 21/2 times the advertised figure. The higher number is buried deep in the retirement system’s financial statement and never makes it to the promotional material CalPERS hands out.”

    ” The pension numbers are even higher in San Jose. The average city worker who retired in the 2009-10 fiscal year after at least 26 years of service earned a starting pension of $93,200.

    For retiring police and firefighters, that number was $119,000; other retirees started with a pension of $63,500. San Jose city workers do not participate in Social Security.”

    http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_17366212

    Starting with $93,200 add 3% automatic increase and in 3 years over $100,000 per year average pensions while police and fire start at $ 119.000 equals over $130,000 in 3 years

    Only 15% California workers earn over $100,000 per year Guess who many of them are – government employees not average workers paying taxes or your San Jose neighbor paying city taxes unless they are city employees

    ” The argument of public workers has always been that they do not earn as much in salary as comparable private-sector workers, so governments must make up for this inequity through increased job security and greater pension benefits. If this was true a generation or two ago, it certainly is not today.

    The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report on employee compensation revealed that, as of March 2010, state and local government workers earn, on average, nearly 44 percent more than do private-sector workers, including 34 percent higher salaries and wages and over 66 percent greater benefits. “

    http://reason.com/archives/2010/08/24/lessons-from-the-bell-californ

    Tell unions to cut out BS that they are getting average pay they are not or that Mayor is wrong whne he says salaries and pension are why city is doing layoffs and cut services  

    Unions have not offered any budget solutions or told facts only BS about why San Jose has budget problems

    • Your post is a great example of a brain under the influence of the Mercury News…

      What is an “average” police officer or firefighter? If you answered a line employee—a cop or firefighter who responds on calls, then you hit it right. The vast majority of public safety employees are line employees.

      What makes this definition pertinent is your claim, quoted from the Mercury article, that the average public safety officer who retired in 2009-2010 earned $119,000, something that is not true, not even close. The salary for the average, active public safety line employee is less than that, so how in the world can the percentage-based pension of the active salary be a higher figure? 

      Taking the dollar total of a fund payout, dividing it by the number of payees, and then suggesting that the resulting figure is informative is the work of either a con artist or an idiot (and with the Mercury News it could be either). Here’s why: suppose in a given year there were four retirements: two chiefs and two line officers, and the sum of their annual pensions equaled $600,000. If each line officer was receiving $100,000 a year and the chiefs twice that, the average sum ($150k) would be completely worthless in accurately portraying the finances of any one of the four retirees. 

      So why would the scoundrels at the Merc use it? For the same reason that the news media constantly cites the idea of a 90% pension at age 50 (which is all but impossible in San Jose), to inflame the public against its city workers. My guess is that for the time period mentioned the average line employee—the oft injured risk takers who bailed out early to avoid Chuck Reed’s reign of terror, probably left with a pension of 84k. Certainly nothing to whine about, but obviously a far cry from the published figure.

    • Attention unhappy private sector employees, cities across the nation will be hiring in 5 years to staff vacant positions.  That will be your time to show your commitment to statements above.  I do have a question for you though.  Where where you the last 30 years when these cities were hiring and had to aggressivly recruit to fill vacancies? Sorry for the digression.  I will be leaving public service in the next couple of years and I am refreshed that you will be following in my footsteps.  Please remember to take your degrees, clean backgrounds and penchant for working at the goverment wages that you suggest.  Once again, thank you in advance for your dedication and future service to our community and schools.  Our citizens and children deserve the very best public servants and teachers and to know that qualified people are going to pass up opportunties in the private sector for a chance to work under the condtions suggestions by our great and wise Mayor Reed is fantastic.  Thanks again!!

  11. I have been reading with interest all through these blogs. They have caused me to pause for thought. I, as a taxpayer, do want to know where the money went. I just read a poster’s comment that stated that only 26% of the budget is the general fund, from which the employees are paid. The poster then questioned where the other 74% of the budget went. So, I want to know, too. Maybe we, as citizens, should stop to think about this. Let’s get the true answers. Where did my tax money go? I, too, would like a detail as to where the other 74% of the budget went.

    • My thoughts exactly.  How many anonymous names has Pier used in these blogs.  He should just use his real name.  Remember the PG&E boss that posted under false names.  It eventually caught up with him.  In this day and age of tech evidence he should be more careful.

  12. Employee costs are driving the City of San Jose to insolvency. Really? Do any of you even know how much the employees cost or how much the city has? Let me tell you. The city’s budget this year is 3 1/2 Billion Dollars. BILLION. The “shortfall/defecit” is less than 3% of the budget. Pay pensions blah blah blah. How can the mayor spend over 40% of the total budget on “Special Projects” ( which he refuses to discuss…as if it involves national security) then complain he is broke? Remember Chuck Reed is an attorney and a politician. He lies for a living. But don’t take my word for it, go online and read it yourselves. Sanjoseca.gov
    Don’t be lazy, read it. Educate yourselves.

    • Here’s why people are complaining. In 2002-3, the city general fund was about $833 million, with just over 7,400 people. In 2010-11, the city general fund is virtually the same amount (about $830 million), with about 5,840 employees. That is an increase of 26% in the total cost per employee.

      Pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered.

  13. There was a time when the wages of a Public Employee were considered just above poverty wages.  During the Tech boom of the 70’s 80’s and 90’s no one wanted to be a Public Employee, none the less a Fire Fighter or a Police Officer.  The fact that these jobs didn’t make enough money kept people away from those jobs.

    The types of people who during those “fat” times really liked the jobs they had as Police Officers and Fire Fighters, they liked what they did for a living and made a decent living. 

    Now the folks from the Tech industry who were making six figure salaries back then and had the big houses, and expensive cars felt that those Public Employee jobs were beneath them. 

    Now the tables have turned and the Tech boom is gone leaving these “pseudo millionaires” broke and scratching for a living. 

    All the while the Public Employee still earns a decent living, but with “COLA” and Contract adjustments over the last 30 years. 

    Up until ten years ago you couldn’t give away a Police Officer or a Fire Fighter job to anyone, because they didn’t make more than an entry level Tech Assembly line worker at Intel who was making an average of $75K a year without over time. 

    After the City of San Jose has wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on failed projects to try and bring Tech business to San Jose. 

    Mayor Reed has now Demonized, Continues to use the City Employees as Villains – scapegoats for the City’s frivolous idiotic spending for the likes of a half a Billion dollar City Hall that we didn’t need.  Reed is now trying to build a Ball Park for a team we don’t have, along with other countless other failed ventures. 

    The Public needs to know the truth about the actual state of our City.  Ask yourself about how the City coffers ran dry?  It sure wasn’t the City employees spending like there was no tomorrow. 

    Reed needs to “check himself” as to what secrets or what “lies” in the shadows waiting from his past. 

    Beware Nero, Did I say Nero?  I mean Chucky…. the City is burning all around you and your not aware of it….

    P.S. The Citizens are starting a movement to have you recalled.  I’ll sign the petition with youthful exuberance and a big “SMILE”

    • A couple more things I’d like to know

      1. In what fiscal years was the City’s contractual contribution to the pension plans diverted to other expenditures?
      2. Exactly how much money was diverted EACH fiscal year.
      3. To what purposes was that money diverted? How was it spent?
      4. What, if any, return on investment came about as a result of that diversion of funds?
      5. Can any returns on investment be re-diverted back to the pension system in order to make up the shortfall?
      6. Using past fund performance trends as predictors, what would the pension shortfall have been had the City made it’s contractually obligated contributions?
      7. Who were the people responsible for the decision to divert money from the pension fund to other projects?

      More than anything else, I think Police Officers want San Jose’s citizens to know that we are not intransigent when it comes to dealing with the budget issues. We are, however, deeply hurt and betrayed by the deceptive speech coming from the Mayor, the one-sided coverage from the media, and the lack of meaningful, readily-understood information on the budget and how we got where we are.

      On top of that, we are really, really wondering: where’s that much-vaunted transparency Chuck Reed ran on? We have yet to see it.

    • “Up until ten years ago you couldn’t give away a Police Officer or a Fire Fighter job to anyone, because they didn’t make more than an entry level Tech Assembly line worker at Intel who was making an average of $75K a year without over time”

      And therein lies the rub.  Mayor Chuckles the clown and his three ring circus want it to go back to exactly that scenario.  But here is the twist, he wants to do it in a bad economy for a change instead of when the private sector is booming.  You see, when the private sector is on a high, public service is undesirable.  This is when the unions ramp up with their negotiations demanding better salaries to keep up with the cost of living and better pensions to attract those that would otherwise sneer at public service.  And, the unions have logic and usually citizen support behind them as life is good for most of the voting public.

      Fuhrer Reed has decided that if he and his storm troopers can bring the unions under their thumbs in the bad times, then come the boom city workers will be so far behind the curve that the city coffers will overflow with abundance.  Then elected officials can dole out favors right and left to their constituents and pad their nests for future jobs.  Politicos will ride off into the sunset after putting their names on every building project and social program they can dream up.

      Of course in the meantime public servants become such pariahs that only the most desperate and unqualified apply.  The levels of service afforded to the bulk of the citizenry is dismal at best.  This will go unnoticed though by the affluent and therefore unworthy of even a by line on the back page of The Globe.  Eventually one by one San Jose citizens will start to recognize that their public safety members seem to be in the news a lot making horrendous mistakes and being sued.  Dishonesty driven by low wages takes root, back room payoffs become commonplace, and slowly but inexorably San Jose turns into an east coast cess pool of corruption before anybody notices it. 

      Remember the old adage about the frog in the pot of water…?

  14. “The priority of the San Jose city budget is to “make payroll” rather than to provide the optimal level of city services.”  I would have expected so much better from Tom Campbell. 

    Of course the priority of ANY local government is to “make payroll”, because the employees, public safety and non-PS, provide a service, not make widgets. 

    The optimal level of service is defined by the demands of the citizens. Our Department has lost many employees to layoffs and retirement, but the work has not decreased, only increased.  At some point our service will have to drop.

  15. Another observation that many are not making:  Many employees took at least a 5% salary cut last year, and up to a 12-13% total compensation cut, this when last year’s deficit was about $90-100M.  And this year the deficit is larger, $110M?  How is this possible?  Really, HOW?!

  16. Unions trying to recalling Reed is waste of time and money   It will make employee unions look more politically incompetent, if that is possible

    Even if unions can get enough signatures for a recall Reed vote, Reed who is very popular will not be recalled

    Unions will have wasted another million dollars like millions lost on Measure V and W and more political incompetency than Chavez’s loss to Reed

    So who would unions have replace Reed? Cindy Chavez is not going to happen and there is no strong win-able union candidate available now or in next 4 years while Chamber has 2-3 candidates available ready to go

    It meantime by June, Reed and Figone will layoff more employees, and by Council vote and public support employees will give back 10% pay and contribute 20-30% for benefits and pension or 30-40% giveback next year another big union LOSS

    City employees and their incompetent union leadership have lost majority public support and have

    – only their highly inflated egos,
    – inability to read public opinion
    – lack of believable alternative proposals to City Hall claims that city employee unions are totally to blame for budget and pension problems

    while Reed and Figone politically again outplayed unions big time

    Reed with Figone’s budget and pension numbers,
    cronies at City Hall, McEnery and Dando and Mercury News have WON political and public opinion battle while city employee unions have LOST

    Reed and Figone have again “Socked it to Unions”,  Big Time

  17. I am not going to cite budgets, or tell others they are wrong or lash out at our Mayor and Council. I am though going to say this, I am a professional and will continue to act as one no matter what may come in the near future. You all need to know that even though some cops/firefighters will say dumb things on here out of frustration, we DO care about San Jose and it’s residents (I am currently one myself even though my home is in foreclosure). We will continue to over extend ourselves to protect all of you even with all of the half-truths and blame that is heaped upon us. I only want to pose a question….the Mercury News claims I was paid $118,000 for 2010. Thats what the City told them. But if Im so overpaid, why did I only take home $62,355.91 ?? Do I really make $118,000 even if you say here you go, but Im taking 48% of it back without giving you any say in it. Thats why we are frustrated. That’s why we can’t take another paycut. My next door neighbor drives a garbage/recyclables truck in SJ. He took home more money than I did last year. And He’s Not in foreclosure

  18. Someone turned in Daly City Councilwoman Maggie Gomez in and they video taped her

    Much talk, talk, blog and blog about “Good Old” Pete Constant but has anyone gone and complained to State Fraud Office with wrestling and fishing videos of “disabled Pete” ? 

    The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Program was established in 1991 through the passage of Senate Bill 1218 (Chapter 116). The law made workers’ compensation fraud a felony, required insurers to report suspected fraud and established a mechanism for funding enforcement and prosecution activities.  Senate Bill 1218 also established the Fraud Assessment Commission to determine the level of assessments to fund investigation and prosecution of workers’ compensation insurance fraud.  The funding comes from California employers who are legally required to be insured or self-insured.  The total aggregate assessment for Fiscal Year 2008-09 is $48,136,818.

    During Fiscal Year 2008-09, the Fraud Division identified and reported 5,174 SFCs, assigned 539 new cases, made 218 arrests and referred 327 submissions to prosecuting authorities.  Potential Loss amounted to $205,811,250.

    http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0300-fraud/0100-fraud-division-overview/0500-fraud-division-programs/workers-comp-fraud/index.cfm

    To report suspected fraud or reach Fraud Division staff, address your e-mail to [email protected].

    The Fraud Division has established a method for consumers to report suspected insurance fraud. It is important to know that notification of insurance fraud may be made anonymously. You may contact any of the Fraud Division Regional Offices directly

    Silicon Valley Regional Office
    Laurel Robinson, Captain

    18425 Technology Drive
    Morgan Hill, CA 95037
    Phone:  (408) 201-8800
    Fax:  (408) 779-7299

    http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0300-fraud/0100-fraud-division-overview/0400-regional-offices/

    Maybe Jerry Brown can save a $$$ hundred million by having state run free tv and radio public announcements on how to submit contact state fraud complaints?

    • Is Pete Constant really disabled or is he perpetuating a fraud?  That question will no doubt be even better addressed when he runs for Mayor of San Jose when his highness Reed terms out.  Until then, nobody is rolling out the big guns.

      • I’d bet an investigation would start then. I don’t think he’d have a chance in hell. Too many people will start to pull stuff out of any crack and crevice they can find.