City Council Review: Council Tries to Cut Police Services

By Robert Haugh

The City budget has taken a hit during the pandemic. 

The big question for the Council was to cut or not to cut police and fire services. Most residents we’ve heard from think that would be a bad move.

That sentiment was reflected by the Citizens Advisory Committee. They got a detailed briefing from City staff on March 1. They made three recommendations that their Chair Rob Jerdonek read last night:

  1. More public input is needed before decisions about cuts.
  2. Top city management should cut their salaries like Palo Alto. Their top city administrators took a 15 percent salary cut.
  3. No cuts to public safety.

Four Councilmembers were willing to cut police services rather than use the Budget Stabilization Reserve. That fund is supposed to be for “rainy day” emergencies like a pandemic. 

Karen Hardy, Raj Chahal, Suds Jain and Kevin Park voted to cut police funding.

Mayor Lisa Gillmor, Councilmembers Kathy Watanabe and Anthony Becker voted against the cuts.

But the City Charter requires five votes for budget changes made after the City budget is officially adopted each June. So it failed for now. 

It sounds like the City staff is coming back next week with other options including how to get around the City Charter.

Stay tuned for what happens next.

16 comments

  1. Recall? Why a recall? What is the position that the council members who didn’t vote to use the emergency fund? Oh, I forgot, this newspaper didn’t report that.

    I’m not sure whether to recall or not, but whatever happened to reporting the whole story?

    • The Filthy Five have no voice. They follow their leader. Jed York. Their silence is golden $$ for Jed. For the constituents they should support it means “screw you!”

      RECALL ‘DA BUMS!!

  2. Mr. Bailey- Great point! The police department is currently at 137 sworn officers. This is less than the 1980’s staffing levels. (not per capita, less total).

    The staffing study cited by the Mayor at the meeting said the department should be at about 190 sworn officers, if I remember correctly.

  3. 1. Let’s just agree that the POA (And Fire) was very public in their support of the candidates that they wanted to see win in our last local election.
    2. All four who voted to cut Public Safety did not have their support.
    3. But wait, there is hope. Anthony Becker did not get their support. That said, he still voted in the Residents best interest!!! Thank You Anthony Becker!!
    4. Are the others still dealing with some hurt feelings? Does someone need a hug?

    If that’s the case, get over it… you won. Your job now is to care for and work for the the people who voted for you…. The Residents? You would have thought that the $750,000 payout to Jain and Park would have been enough to sooth their feelings. I guess not.
    Hardy and Chahal, the other two 49er City Councilmembers who voted against the residents also have a re-election coming up. Soon they will need “Sugar Daddy” Jed’s financial backing.

    I’m just so hopeful that the next election cycle we can somehow overcome the financial Tsunami coming our way.
    Do not let Hardy or Chahal get away with not supporting us. We may not have $3/4 Million to give them, but the residents in their District do have a vote.
    That’s why I do not like District Voting, and why the 49ers pushed for it. I wish somehow I could voice my opinion with a vote when they come up again for Re-Election.
    Do I sound a little peeved…maybe then I’m the one who needs a hug?

    Burt Field

    • Burt, the problem is so many people that vote are completely uninformed. We hear that we need a higher voter turnout but what we really need are informed votes. And not just informed by the flashy tv commercials or flyers.

      • Howard, you are so right on so many points.

        Sadly by law, as long as Sugar Daddy is allowed to have the loudest voice in the land we are at a severe disadvantage. David vs. Goliath all over again. Think rinse and repeat. Haven’t we been here before?

        The laws need to changed and updated to make it illegal to funnel a Tsunami of cash over any Municipality.
        Our City residents over a very short time we’re flooded with “information”. No great plan, just good old fashion misdirection, misinformation, finger pointing and political mud slinging.
        It worked because he was allowed to have the loudest voice (Megaphone) in the land.
        I hope this is so bad that someone will understand the need for a severe change in Political Fundraising.

        I’m 60, how much change can I help, I don’t know. But if I can help change this situation, count me in.

        I’m not mad, really I’m not. I am just disappointed in the process.

        The process needs to be changed / updated quickly to protect ANY Municipalities form this happening again. Will it happen again, oh yeah. Right here in just a couple of years.

        Thank’s Howard, I hope you know I appreciate your time and effort.
        Burt Field

  4. Robert, I wanted to clarify some points in your above article regarding the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). At the March 2 council meeting, the CAC actually recommended that the city council approve the staff recommendation for Phase 1 budget cuts. (Of course, this was before the various amendments, so the CAC did not get the chance to weigh in on the final motion that was voted upon.) The original proposed Phase 1 cuts did affect public safety as well as all other city departments. The proposed Phase 1 cuts did not include any layoffs to public safety or other city employees. All public safety budget cuts were recommended by the Police Chief and Fire Chief. The City Manager, Police Chief, and Deputy Fire Chief all presented at the CAC meeting on March 1.

    The three CAC recommendations in your above article are regarding any *further* cuts that are being planned as part of Phase 2. (1. More public input before any further cuts. 2. Cut top management salaries as part of any further cuts. 3. No *further* cuts to public safety budgets this year.)

    This is a compromise position. I don’t see alot of compromising on the city council. Hopefully, the councilmembers can come together to create a balanced solution that is fiscally responsible and minimizes any impact on our city services.

    • Who the heck is Rob Jerdondek?
      How can he speak for citizens?
      What has mr. Rob done to
      help citizens? all my neighbors
      have said no on cuts to safety.
      mr. Rob and his citizens advice
      needs to listen.

  5. At a small high tech company I worked at in the mid 2000’s the upper mgmt voted to take a temporary 10% pay cut in reaction to market conditions. I didn’t mind taking the cut because it made sense to do this rather than laying off seasoned, valuable employees that had nothing to do with the situation.
    I would not mind seeing the upper mgmt in Santa Clara taking a cut until things turn around. But don’t expect this to have an effect on our pension problem, assuming there is one.

  6. The city has a commitment to staff the multi-city police force for NFL game days at Levi’s.

    Please don’t try and tell me that I’ll be paying the same in taxes and fees for less coverage in our neighborhoods at the same time the Stadium Authority=City Council is obligated to maintain staffing for parking out-of-towners’ SUVs for Jed’s games.

    It’s neighborhoods north of 101 that *need* that just that police presence for reporting crimes on game days.

    CAC’s recommendation #2 above is right “on the money.”

    Just as a yardstick, when the original game day parking detail was being discussed, the city of Santa Clara had 149 sworn police officers. It would be interesting to see how that number has held up these last ten years or so.

  7. These four out of touch council members are not representing their constituents. Not many residents want to reduce public safety, especially in these times.

    For these council members to be effective, they would have to get out and understand what their districts really want and need. To do that, they would have to pull their heads out of Jed’s ass.

    Of course cut management salaries and maybe a little further. These people don’t even have to save for retirement. If we don’t get a handle on our pension debt, we will eventually circle the drain.

  8. Where do we start the recall process? Suds has done nothing but try and power grab since being elected. He is doing nothing to represent District 5.

    • If Suds’ wooden 3,000+ square foot house caught fire, he would want the full fire department to save his historic home he and his wife live in.

      So much for high density and being green for the ruling class!

    • Recall everyone that doesn’t support public safety! Such stupid comments from supposedly city leaders??!!

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