As the city’s Measure B sits in legal limbo—despite voters’ overwhelmingly passage of it in June to reduce retiree benefits for public-employee unions—Reed remains active, traversing the country to spread the fiscal gospel. But even restraint has its price.
This past weekend, Reed flew to Iowa—Iowa?—to meet with the state’s conservative governor, Terry Branstad, and his staff. Reed then spoke about San Jose’s pension problems and the coming storm for other cities in front of a group called the Taxpayers Association of Central Iowa, which claims to be nonpartisan but sounds uncannily similar to other Tea Party front groups.
So, why does a fiscally and socially conservative mayor in San Jose, who claims to be a Democrat despite little ideological affinity to the party’s values, suddenly feel the need to push other cities into following San Jose’s lead?
“I’m trying to develop some national support” for an opt-in pension plan, Reed said.
According to the mayor’s spokesperson, Reed took three trips this summer to national events to discuss pension reform—two conferences in Washington D.C. and one in Philadelphia is difficult to know right now. He also sent this letter to the Department of the Treasury. But Branstad is the chair of the National Governors Association, and Reed told the teabaggers—er , taxpayers group—that they should get him a meeting with the governor if Chuck’s coming out (Mid)west.
A closer look at Reed’s pit stops shows that while the mayor may own a frugal reputation, eschewing meal reimbursements and per diems, he still has an appreciation for some of the finer things. Reed’s East Coast jaunt in July included a $480 stay at the Ritz Carlton in Philly and a $388 stay at The Madison in Washington D.C.
On his most recent voyage, the mayor had San Jose taxpayers pick up the $200 one-way ticket to Iowa, while he picked up the return-home tab after visiting his mother in Kansas.