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San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a Democrat, is pushing a ballot measure that would cut city employee pensions and is basing his case on a pension liability number that was made up, he was told not to use, and overstates the real liability by nearly a quarter of a billion dollars. Reed based his claims of a crisis on a figure of a $650 million city contribution to pension costs for the next five years on a comment from Russell Crosby, director of retirement services for the city of San Jose. Crosby has since said that he made the number up off the top of his head and that he told Reed not to use the number. The number overestimates the actual costs by more than $200 million. The San Jose Police Officers’ Association, San Jose Firefighters Local 230, and the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21 have since filed an ethics complaint against Reed and others for misleading the public.
Affected San Jose workers and citizens have already given up pay and benefits that will save the city more than $340 million over the next four years. They have already proposed a solution that would save the city nearly half a billion dollars more. Reed and the city council are ignoring the proposed solution and Reed has refused to back down from his support for the $650 million lie. Instead they are focused on a ballot initiative that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees say is unconstitutional. Reed and the council can withdraw the initiative at their March 6 meeting.
Those who oppose Reed's scheme can take action.