Tim Jackson, not surprisingly, showed a lot of class. He was one of the first people to call me after the election results were announced. We had a good talk and agreed that the upcoming year was going to be brutal. Its going to be important for all of us to stick together. Thank you to everyone who ran for office this time around. Its not easy putting yourself out there and allowing yourself to be, in a way, judged by your peers. Even if you dont want to be on the board, there are plenty of ways to be involved in your Association. If there is something youd like to be a part of, just get a hold of George or me.
The City Manager has been making the rounds. Her message: an ever-increasing budget deficit, anticipated layoffs, ongoing 10% cuts, two-tier retirement, etc. Sounds a lot like last year. I would point out a couple of major differences. First, I have a difficult time seeing negotiations being completed by the time threatened layoffs would be implemented. We will obviously try to negotiate our way through the challenges, but the list of items that have to be worked through are daunting. The complexities of them makes my head spin. The issues we will be trying to resolve this time around will take some time. A two-tier retirement, for example, will require an actuarial study and a thorough understanding how the decisions we make today will effect generations of cops yet to be hired. We will only get one shot at this and we owe it to those who will follow in our footsteps to get it right.
Secondly, it is clear from the early posturing of the City that they will be looking for additional givebacks. Revisiting a message I wrote last month, the membership did that once to save jobs. I find it highly unlikely that they will voluntarily do this a second year in a row. I fear that layoffs this coming year are far more likely than last year. Our 5.25% giveback preserved jobs through June 2011. If I were a junior officer here, I would seriously be looking for a Department with more job security and a City whose top priorities truly were public safety. Some of our current leaders at City Hall provide lip service but no true commitment.
Making the task of negotiations more arduous is the current caustic environment that exists between many of this Citys leaders and the workforce that provides the services to the citizens of San Jose. The Mayor has made it clear that he believes we (police and fire) have, Been on a gravy train. We do a very difficult job Mayor Reed, and we do it damn well. Other cities need twice as many cops to do what we do. We work hard for our paychecks. Your gravy train remarks expose your disdain for us. It shows a complete lack of understanding of what were asked to do day in day out.
Then there was the "Bury those sons of bitches!" quote from another elected official, County Assessor Larry Stone. According to the METRO, it was said at a V & W campaign party Mayor Reed attended. The METRO said the quote was offered as encouragement to the Mayor. Yes, its fair to assume that the sons of bitches are the men and women who wear a San Jose police or fire uniform. Mr. Stone, if the quote is accurate, I am offended and provoked. When you talk about burying cops, understand that we've done that 11 times in this Citys history. It happens almost every other day across the nation. Tread lightly sir youre trampling on the sacred ground in which our brothers and sisters who have paid the ultimate price are buried.
Congratulations Mayor Reed. You have successfully vilified us. You have set a tone where elected leaders can publically call us sons of bitches and want us buried. Now what? Where do we go from here?