Tonight, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is expected to give his annual State of the City address at the Civic Auditorium. He will deliver the speech in the shadow of an investigative report by NBC Bay Area, alleging that Reed and staff misled public employee union negotiators over the direness over the so-called future pension “crisis”. Apparently staff used fuzzy projections of $650 million by the 2015-16 budget year, which could be $250-300 million more than the actual cost of the program. It was those projections that Reed was using to push a pension reform ballot initiative this summer, one that the City Council approved to go on the ballot.
In light of the news report, an ethics complaint has been lodged against Reed, which could result in a full-blown investigation of whether or not Reed and the City fudged the numbers. The police officers union, which has been at odds with Reed, may be sharpening the knives for the mayor, who has been playing hardball with the unions over the last couple of years. Whatever happens, you can at least expect the death of the ballot initiative, which even if passed may not be constitutional. Although it is generally acknowledged by union reps that some kind of pension reform was needed, Reed’s draconian measures probably weren’t. Now it looks like those tactics may come back to bite him.
As far as the ballpark goes, it’s not related to this issue except for the possibility that referenda for both could be on a future ballot. Will Reed finally back down? It’s all up to him.