State regulators fired off warning letters to a San Jose council member-elect, the city’s firefighters PAC and a local community college district for failing to file timely campaign disclosure forms.
Today represents the unfortunate five-year anniversary of a very painful situation for the city of San Jose. As reported previously in the San Jose Mercury News, 2008 was the year city officials terminated, or at least tried to terminate, a firefighter on charges of sexual harassment against female co-workers.
The deadline for semi-annual campaign disclosure forms covering the last half of 2012 came due last week. The documents provide a clearer picture of how winning and losing candidates raised money and how they spent it—or misspent it—in the final weeks of the campaign. We also tracked a number of political action committees (PACs). The most interesting findings: How much money was wasted in trying to defeat Councilmember Rose Herrera, a potential quid pro quo between the ChamberPAC and a person quoted in its ballot statement against minimum wage, and hangover debt for losing candidates Jimmy Nguyen and Robert Braunstein.
The city recently acknowledged that it was missing thousands of emergency response times when calculating how long it takes first responders from the San Jose Fire Department to arrive on scene. Robert Sapien, president of San Jose’s firefighters union, explains in an op-ed why emergency response times matter not only in life and death situations, but also when calculating the city’s budget.—Editor
The San Jose Fire Department has a pretty good idea how long it takes firefighters to get to emergencies. Well, some emergencies. SJFD officials told San Jose Inside this week that thousands of emergency calls in recent years were mistakenly left out when calculating response times. In the 2011-12 fiscal year, there were 52,400 reported calls for emergency medical or fire services, according to current department statistics. But SJFD officials now acknowledge underreporting the numbers, and the total will be “significantly higher.”
Thursday’s announcement that San Jose’s Firefighters union, Local 230, had tentatively agreed to a 10 percent cut in total compensation was the first domino to tip in labor negotiations with the city. On Friday, the city received a proposal containing concessions from five other unions.
This just in: The City of San Jose and International Association of Fire Fighters Local 230 have agreed tentatively to reduce firefighters’ total compensation by 10 percent. Mayor Chuck Reed and union president Jeff Welch will hold a 6pm press conference today outside of City Hall at 200 E. Santa Clara St.. A source close to the negotiations said the deal was close to what was previously reported on San Jose Inside, minus the retirement portion, because the city wants to study actuarial schedules in greater detail.
Some of the headlines in various local rags and websites over the past couple of weeks cast such a golden glow on San Jose’s firefighters union, it was as if Local 230 president Randy Sekany had written them himself: “San Jose Firefighters Quickly Quell Two Blazes.” “Firefighters Respond to Three Blazes in Less Than Two Hours.” “San Jose Firefighters to Expose Fatal Flaws in City’s ‘Dynamic Deployment’ Scheme.”
Coming as they did while the union was locking horns with the city over pay cuts and layoffs, the puff pieces no doubt pleased Sekany and his troops. But on Friday, every news source in town seemed to spin that story in the city’s favor: “San Jose Firefighters Reject City’s Concession Proposal.”