To those of you who voted on the dues increase, thank you for your participation. For those of you who didnt vote, I have to wonder why. For some, there may be a good reason. I talked to a command officer who told me he supported the dues increase and because of the rank he held, he could afford it. He also knew this would be a hit on those within our ranks who are financially strapped or are making half what he is. Because of these opposing arguments, he chose not to vote. Fair enough. Maybe we should add an abstention box to be checked if one wants to show that they are involved, but just cant make up their mind.
George and I are sorry that we had to implement this plan. We did not want more money taken out of our paychecks either. We did not want to give back 5.25%, or suspend our uniform allowance or raise our heath care rates. We do not like spending our weekends walking neighborhoods in hopes of convincing the voters to support us. Unfortunately, these are the times we live in and this is the time in which we hold the positions of president and vice president. We have a City government--lead by Mayor Reed--that has forced us to this position.
You sent a message last month with your vote. The Council got the results the same day you did. They are taking this as a threat. Im sorry for that. Im sorry we have a Mayor unable or unwilling to work with us to meet the challenges the City and our Department face. Im sorry that the lip service given to us by Councilmembers Sam Liccardo and Pete Constant on the day the Council accepted our give-backs to prevent layoffs was soon followed by a vote to attack binding arbitration and retirement.
While George and I are open to dialogue with those that see us as the root of all financial evils, we are not hopeful. We fear that the Mayor and those on the Council who support him will not retreat from their all out attack on us. They want to take as much away from us as they can before public sentiment turns.
The San Jose Chamber of Commerce represents business interests in San Jose. We strongly believe that a safe city is a draw for business. Employees want to work at companies located in a city where they can raise a family in peace. You would think that the POA and the Chamber would have a close relationship. We would like that, but unfortunately they have been hijacked by a faction within their ranks that will make that difficult if not impossible. Money trumps all.
Mayor Reeds endorsement of his handpicked choice for Councilmember Judy Chircos Council seat, Larry Pegram, is an insult to many. Mr. Pegrams values and agenda are in direct opposition to many of our Citys citizens. So much so, the Mayor had to make public remarks assuring voters Mr. Pegram would not try to pursue a social agenda if elected. It would be a shame if the voters of District 9 went from a thoughtful, compassionate and reasoned representative like Judy Chirco to this intolerant and close-minded man.
I wish the news was better. Someday it will be. George and I will continue to do all we can to ensure that when better days come, this Association will be in a position to capitalize on it.