JIM UNLAND is president of the San Jose Police Officers Association and a Sergeant in the San Jose Police Department
The Mercury News conducted an analysis of the most recent Liccardo/Reed police-staffing proposal and confirmed what the POA has been saying for some time; that resignations and retirements will outpace new hires.
Recently, I have written two articles on the Liccardo/Reed proposal to hire 200 additional police officers in the next several years to bring the police force to 1250. The first article highlighted the political motivations behind their proposal and the chicanery Liccardo employs to pay for a salary restoration. The second article I authored concentrated on the impossibility of achieving the staffing goal of 1250 officers within four years as called for by Liccardo and Reed.
On September 7, 2013 Liccardo authored a blog in defense of his "plan." In it he wrote:
Some folks who were not closely following the budget and political battles of the last few years might be surprised that some police union board members and councilmembers—the same ones who opposed efforts to reform skyrocketing pension and benefit programs, like Measure B, which passed with 70% of the electorate’s support–have already attacked this pla n. As someone who worked daily with San José police officers while serving as a criminal prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office, I know we have some of the finest police officers in the nation. But I disagree with their union board when they oppose a proposal to hire and retain more police officers.
At the risk of sounding conceited, I think he's talking about me. Let me digress for a moment to correct some of the former "criminal prosecutor's" lies. Just because the POA and I strongly opposed Measure B, the illegal pension reform scheme Liccardo gambled on, does not put us in opposition to legal pension reform. Our organization proposed legal pension reform that would have already—legitimately—saved the city millions of dollars and ensured that experienced officers would have stayed here in San Jose fighting crime.
Secondly, Liccardo states that he disagrees with the union board when they oppose his proposal to hire and retain more police officers. A "proposal?" That's what he calls his latest effort to re-invent himself? I propose that, starting tomorrow, all human forms of violence end. Not much chance of that. The point is, Liccardo's proposal and my proposal are no more than wishful thinking. Whatever he wants to call it, Liccardo's police staffing scheme is nothing more than a political stunt. We are losing more officers than we can hire. Liccardo's 4-year pay restoration will do nothing to stop it. It's too little, too late.
It's definitely election time when Liccardo dusts off his tough on crime "criminal prosecutor" mantra. I swear the only reason that I think Liccardo joined the D.A.'s office was so he could use that label to further his political ambitions. Liccardo's voting record tells a different story. He has been a cheerleader for Mayor Reed's dismantling of the San Jose Police Department every step of the way. Now that he sees that crime and police staffing will play a huge role in next year's Mayor’s race, he wants to fool the electorate into thinking he supports the police. He doesn't. Liccardo supports Liccardo.
And so now we will have to endure a year of Liccardo pronouncing that public safety is his top priority. Since when? Public safety wasn't his top priority when he did nothing to prevent the layoffs of San Jose police officers. Public safety wasn't his top priority when he instituted an across the board pay cut for all city employees. Public safety wasn’t his top priority when he supports a pay increase for SJPOA members of 1.8% versus 2.0% granted to non-public safety city workers.
Liccardo’s a slick politician and a fraud willing to say or do anything to get elected. Now he has launched a self-serving petition to try and demonstrate support for his staffing proposal. Well, enough is enough. Click on this link to sign a petition to the Honorable Councilmember and Former Criminal Prosecutor Sam Liccardo. The petition simply states the following:
Stop playing games with the safety of San Jose neighborhoods. Stop telling the lie that SJPOA did not support legal and lawful pension reform. Stop blaming others for your poor decisions as a Councilmember that have resulted in increased residential burglaries, auto-thefts, violent gang assaults, homicides and drug dealing and made our city less safe than before you took office. Stop lying to the public by saying that public safety is your top priority, because it is not. Stop proposing political stunts to re-invent yourself in the public’s eye and take responsibility for your votes that are dismantling the San Jose Police Department and putting neighborhood safety at risk.
Please log onto the petition today and tell Councilmember Liccardo how you feel.