To: Chuck Reed, Mayor of San Jose, Pete Constant, Councilperson, Ash Kalra, Councilperson, Sam Liccardo, Councilperson, Kansen Chu, Councilperson, Xavier Campos, Councilperson, Pierluigi Olivierio, Councilperson, Madison Nguyen, Vice-Mayor, ...
Fighting for San Jose City Services
Stop the Blame Game! Instead of attacks, support creative solutions to the San Jose budget and escalating retirement costs. ALL Labor Unions and Government Officials should put your heads together and work cooperatively. Work together to Save Our City and Preserve City Services.
Why is this important?
San José has suffered 10 years of budget deficits; closed $300 million in deficits through layoffs and cuts in services in the past 3 years, and yet the General Fund will be $78 million in the red next year, and hundreds more layoffs expected. While the city’s population has increase by 100,000, the workforce has shrunk by 30%, providing dwindling services.
Since the ‘90s, previous Councils, or labor arbitrators, have increased retirement benefits, particularly in public safety. A public safety officer receives an average pension of $102,000, increased 3% yearly, with free health insurance. Unfortunately for many reasons, including the economic crisis, these benefit increases have created unfunded liabilities in excess of $3.5 billion in San José’s retirement funds, and most of the burden lies on the General Fund. There are no frills to cut; without change these retirement costs will continue the cycle of massive layoffs.
Many of us have found our retirement significantly reduced with no bail out. Most of us do not make a 6-figure salary, especially after retirement. I'm not anti-labor, it's just that City Services are essential and cannot be sustained without sacrifices during hard times.
Petitions circulated by Councilmember Ash Kalra implied that workers would lose benefits and collective bargaining rights with current proposals. He provided no background information about the dire straights of the city, the efforts undertaken, or inform you that 5 of the city’s 11 unions are currently collectively bargaining!
As a San Jose resident who has hosted many Moveon events and parties, I call for all to focus on solutions for the budget deficit, rather than political attacks. Workers, residents and ALL labor leaders need to quit the blame game, and work with the San Jose officials to provide rational solutions to this budget crisis. All residents and businesses of San Jose need to find ways to keep our libraries, parks, police and fire safety services. Let’s work together to solve this budget crisis!