January 2, 2014
Mattos, Editor and Publisher
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster
The Farsider is an independent publication that is not
affiliated with the San Jose Police Benevolent
Assn. The SJPBA has allowed the Farsider to be included on its web site solely
for the convenience
of the retired San Jose Police community. The content of this newsletter does
not represent or reflect
the views of the San Jose Police Benevolent Association's Board of Directors or
HAPPY 2014 EVERYONE
Forgive us for being a day
late with this classic rendition of Auld Lang Syne by Sissel. We tried to get
the rest of the world to celebrate New Year's Day today, but things didn't work
out. Don't forget to adjust the YouTube menu to Large or Full Screen.
Sounds to us like a
moderate editorial opinion by the paper on the Measure B court ruling. What say
Forget Pay Cuts for Now in San
Mercury News Editorial — Dec. 27, 2013
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Pat Lucas’ mixed ruling on San Jose’s
Measure B came down against the city’s core pension reform, which would have
required workers to pay significantly more for the pensions they were promised.
But it included something for both sides to dislike, so both sides are
appealing. The city can move ahead with some cost savings, but in the matter of
reducing employees’ pay to control pension costs — which the ruling allows — we
say: Don’t go there.
Not when people are getting shot on the street a couple blocks from Christmas in
the Park on a Friday evening, or when burglary and other crimes are above state
and national averages.
San Jose needs to restore and stabilize its police force and some other major
departments after a decade of cost cutting. Cities with more industry and a
stronger tax base were not hit as hard by economic downturns, and they now pay
more than San Jose for many jobs.
To deal with this, the mayor and council just agreed to restore the 10 percent
pay cut that the police union had accepted in 2011. This was necessary because
of the cost of losing experienced officers and training new ones.
It’s not just the police. The city attorney, planning and other essential
departments continue to lose professionals. The city should call a truce until
there’s a final court ruling to make public agencies’ rights clear — at which
point other cities may also decide to deal with pension deficits more directly,
which would help level the competitive field.
San Jose can still control some costs under the court ruling. For example, it
can stop issuing bonus checks to retirees in years when retirement funds perform
beyond expectations. The bonus might make sense if retirees also helped make up
shortfalls in bad years, but taxpayers are on the hook for 100 percent of that
The council also needs to clarify Measure B’s disability rules, which have
become a flash point for police departures. Disability insurance has been widely
abused in San Jose, but we said at the outset that this measure would need
tweaking on this point. Now it’s urgent.
The core reform in Measure B, making employees pay more
for their pensions, may be impractical now because of the IRS.
The measure set up a choice. Employees could pay more of the cost, or they could
opt for a less costly plan and more take-home pay. This could have kept pay
competitive while maintaining good benefits, although perhaps not the 90 percent
of pay after 30 years that public safety officers can enjoy today. But the IRS
has to approve options like this.
We thought that would happen before the election, but the IRS still has not
ruled. Raising rates for pensions with no choice of a cheaper plan would be a de
facto pay cut. We don’t see that happening soon, and any policy this council
passed would be vulnerable to second-guessing with a new mayor and council a
year from now.
We say take pay cuts off the table as court appeals work their way up the line.
• • • • •
Here is a "non-Mercury News" analysis of the Measure B decision. The author
generally has a Joe Friday "just the facts ma'am" approach in his articles.
Pension Reforms Ruled Violation of Rights
By Ed Mendel
A superior court ruling announced last week overturned
key parts of a voter-approved San Jose pension reform: an attempt to cut
employer costs for pensions earned by current workers in the future.
As the city struggled with large deficits during the last decade, the court was
told, annual retirement costs more than tripled to $245 million while basic
services were cut and the number of police and firefighters dropped.
Mayor Chuck Reed and other Measure B backers argued that cutting the cost of
pensions earned by current workers in the future, while protecting amounts
already earned, is needed to get significant savings.
But a series of state court rulings are widely believed to mean that the pension
offered current workers on the date of hire becomes a vested right, protected by
contract law, that can only be cut if offset by a new benefit of comparable
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Patricia Lucas said in her ruling the
question before her court is “one of law, not of policy,” referring to a state
Supreme Court response to city and county briefs on an Orange County attempt to
cut retirement costs.
“The legal question is whether and to what extent Measure B violates vested
rights,” Lucas said of the union lawsuits challenging the measure approved by 70
percent of San Jose voters in June last year.
San Jose attorneys argued that two provisions in the
city charter, which allow the city to “amend” or “repeal” retirement plans at
any time, prevent the creation of vested rights for employees in the two
city-run pension systems.
The city cited language in an appellate court ruling in support of its position.
The judge cited contrary language in a state Supreme Court ruling and a footnote
in the appellate court ruling saying it should be limited to the peculiar facts
of that case.
“Accordingly, this court concludes that a reservation of rights (to amend or
repeal the pension plans) does not of itself preclude the creation of vested
rights,” Judge Lucas ruled.
The key part of Measure B gave current workers an option: 1) Increased pension
contributions of up to 16 percent of pay, but no more than half the cost of
paying for the “unfunded liability” debt. 2) A much lower pension for future
Lucas rejected city arguments that workers have no vested right to city payment
of all of the unfunded liability and that, at times, unions have regarded
pension contributions as compensation, which the city can regulate.
A lower pension, avoiding a contribution increase, was similarly rejected with a
mention that the plan lacks IRS approval. Orange County has been waiting since
2009 for IRS approval of a lower pension-higher contribution option negotiated
And a cut of San Jose retiree pension cost-of-living adjustments for up to five
years, if the city council declares a fiscal emergency, was overturned by Lucas
as a violation of vested rights.
After a five-day trial in July and some follow-up action, the judge ruled on a
consolidation of six suits filed by public employee unions and retirees
challenging 10 of the 15 sections of Measure B, with 11 different causes of
Among the parts of the measure upheld by Lucas is the authorization of pay cuts
to get equivalent city savings if the lower pension-higher contribution option
is ruled invalid.
The city and unions have agreed to delay pay cuts until at least next July 1.
Major savings from pay cuts reportedly could be difficult and are likely to face
a legal challenge from police, one of the biggest city costs.
“The City Council earlier this month approved 10 percent pay raises for cops,
after police officers began fleeing the department for better-paying cities,”
the San Jose Mercury-News said last week. “The cop exodus has coincided with a
huge increase in crime, above the California and national averages, while
arrests have dropped in half in recent years.”
The judge also upheld tighter eligibility for disability retirement and an
elimination of the “13th check” bonus payment to retirees when investment
earnings exceed the forecast. A mixed ruling on retiree health care allowed some
cuts and rejected others.
Mayor Reed said the ruling protects $20 million in current budget savings from
elimination of the bonus check and retiree health care changes. But the
invalidation of parts of Measure B “highlights” the lack of flexibility in
controlling retirement costs.
“That’s why I believe that we need a constitutional amendment that will empower
government leaders to tackle their massive pension problems and negotiate fair
and reasonable changes to employees’ future pension benefits,” he said in a news
Reed and others are proposing an initiative to put a constitutional amendment on
the ballot that would give state and local governments the option of cutting
pensions current workers earn in the future, while protecting pension amounts
A title and summary for the proposed initiative, based on a cost analysis by the
nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, is being written by the office of
state Attorney General Kamala Harris.
“Breaking the promise by eliminating the vested benefit rights of police
officers and other public employees is a non-starter in the courts and with the
public,” Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Retirement Security, said in a
The leader of the labor coalition said the “more than $3 million in taxpayer
dollars” spent on the Measure B legal battle will be the “tip of the iceberg of
the legal costs” if the proposed initiative moves forward.
Low said Reed should join “nearly 400 leaders across the state” in negotiating
cost-cutting agreements with unions. Reformers say not enough savings result
from the typical agreement, higher worker pension contributions and lower
pensions for new hires.
Warning that pension costs could “crush” government, the bipartisan Little
Hoover Commission said in a 2011 report: “The Legislature should give state and
local governments the authority to alter the future, unaccrued retirement
benefits for current public employees.”
A pension reform approved by San Diego voters last year, Proposition B, was
designed to bypass the vested rights issue. All new hires, except police, were
switched from pensions to 401(k)-style individual investment plans.
For current workers the initiative called for a five-year freeze on pay used to
calculate pensions. Unions agreed to the freeze, expected to reduce the $275
million city pension payment this year by $25 million, U-T San Diego reported.
But the city pension board declined to immediately include the freeze in cost
projections, so current year savings were lost. The city retirement system has
projected that Proposition B will save $949.5 million over 30 years.
Reporter Ed Mendel covered the Capitol in Sacramento for nearly three decades,
most recently for the San Diego Union-Tribune. More stories are at <Calpensions.com>.
THE TRIALS AND
TRIBULATIONS OF SAN JOSE AND THE SJPD
Did yesterday's Mercury
News editorial really quote Mayor Chuck Reed as saying it was either close five
libraries or lay off POA President Sgt. Jim Unland? Well, yes it did, but it
also said that HSS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has filed papers to run for Mayor
of San Jose. Ditto with Edward Snowden. It may be the first time in the past
several decades that tongue-in-cheek humor has infiltrated the paper's
editorial. That being the case, we suspect that Editorial Page Editor Barbara
Marshman, who usually pens the paper's opinions, took the holidays off and told
columnist Scott Herhold to "Git 'er done."
2013 RIP, and Not a Tear to be
Editorial — Jan. 1, 2014
It’s hard to find humor in a year of rising crime,
lagging job growth, government shutdowns and, courtesy of the same Congress, a
middle class vanishing like Houdini’s elephant.
There’s the Obamacare rollout.
There’s Edward Snowden, who tugged on Superman’s cape and then whisked it off,
exposing the NSA in the name of liberty and truth — and then fled to Russia,
providing his own punch line.
And there’s the 2014 San Jose mayor’s race, which already is so crowded that if
a debate is held in downtown’s reborn City National Civic, the candidates will
have to sit in the auditorium while the audience fits comfortably in some
folding chairs on the stage.
So we’re off.
We actually have a theory about the Web site disaster that ushered in President
Obama’s health care reforms.
Last winter the president huddled with advisers in the situation room (and
shouldn’t every home have one?). He was worried that the monumental task of
making real health insurance available to millions more Americans would end up
looking too easy.
Voters might not appreciate it. “What can we do,” he challenged his cabinet, “to
make this look really hard?”
Their success is now legendary.
First, instead of coming to Silicon Valley to design the Web site, they went to
Canada and hired a company called “Computers, Eh?”
Use Microsoft Vista as the model, they said.
Then they decided not to let people keep their old insurance policies after all
unless they met the ridiculous standard of actually covering something. This
enraged millions of Americans who were happy paying for policies that covered
the Black Death and being hit by Russian space debris, just not, say, diabetes.
With this kind of attention to detail, Obama’s
Web site quickly convinced people that getting real coverage was harder than
figuring out who our friends are in Syria. Voters are sure to remember until
mid-term elections. If not forever.
Meanwhile, Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius has filed papers to
run for mayor of San Jose.
In Santa Clara County, it was the changing of the guard.
George Shirakawa Jr. actually has a guard, being in jail, and Cindy Chavez has
replaced him on the board of supervisors, causing a spike in its average IQ so
sharp that it attracted the attention of the NSA. Not that the NSA is interested
Just move along, please, nothing happening here.
Over at San Jose City Hall, the clerk’s office had to double its staff to deal
with people filing papers to run for mayor: so far half the city council, 20
percent of the board of supervisors, 10 percent of the Sharks and the entire
Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
To deal with the clerk’s cost, Mayor Chuck Reed said it was either close five
libraries or lay off Sgt. Jim Unland, head of the Police Officers Association.
Reed struggled with this, wringing his hands in obvious anguish, but finally
decided Unland would have to go “for the good of the pension reform. I mean the
city.” As to Snowden — speaking from Moscow at the year’s end, he declared
victory for his crusade, even as a U.S. judge declared it was peachy keen for
intelligence agencies to gather data on Americans as long as it gathered data on
all of them.
We couldn’t make this stuff up.
Snowden now can concentrate on finding permanent sanctuary, not that he minds
living in Russia, speak directly into the nesting dolls please.
He has explored options in Europe and South America, but his ideal is to fade
into a mass of humanity so large and dense he will never be noticed again.
We hear he’s filing for mayor of San Jose.
Anybody out there sad to see 2013 fading into memory?
Anybody? Didn’t think so. But 2013 did build an, um, interesting foundation for
Last Week's Poll
For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:
The President of the
SJPBA dons his festivus costume for the boys and girls about to hit the streets
of San Jose...
In a momentary lapse of judgement, Lt. Lisa Gannon called and asked if I would
come in on Christmas Day and call roll. it seems that the Dept. has gotten away
from having fun in briefing what with all the political correctness combined
with the lack of a sense of humor. Lisa scored a Santa suit and I came in and
had a ball, mostly at the three lieutenants' expense.
I think (hope?) I sent the crew out to the field with a smile. For me, it was
"like the old days."
The first photo (left) is me calling roll. I am immediately identifiable by the
"distinctive" grips on my Gov't model.
The second photo is of me, Johnson Fong (the lieutenant I made certain to scorch
at the briefing) and my son Michael, an Army Ranger who was home on a 3-day
• • • • •
Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Sorry to bother you, but I thought I had read in the Farsider that Verizon was
auditing their cell phone discounts. This is true as I have been asked to
provide a valid work email and/or a pay stub. I think that the discount comes
through the POA, and I never had a POA email or pay stub.
I contacted the POA and they emailed me a letter on their letterhead stating
that I was a member in good standing. I uploaded the letter but it didn't fly. I
then redacted my pay stub from the City of San Jose. I am not sure if that is
going to work.
I can't remember which Farsider had the info in it for the Verizon discount or
how to proceed.
If you can shed some light on this, let me know.
I wish you a healthy, happy, safe and prosperous New Year. Thanks for all that
you do to keep us all in the loop and provide hours of entertainment every
Thursday. I really look forward to opening emails on Thursday!
Jim was referring to a POA Update from the
Oct. 18th Farsider that acknowledged there was a problem with Verizon applying
the discount to retirees who were members of the POA. But it looks like it has
been corrected. The following message was received from Jim two days later on
I just received this message from Verizon. My redacted pay stub must have
~ ~ ~
Congratulations! Your employment has been validated. Your tracking number
is: W1388087041187. Please be sure to keep a copy of your tracking number for
For additional information, you can visit <www.verizonwireless.com/renewdiscount>.
Thank you for choosing Verizon Wireless.
~ ~ ~
I am sending you a copy of my redacted pay stub to show
what I crossed out.
Thanks again for your help.
The lesson here for retired POA members who have lost or believe
they have lost their Verizon POA discount is to follow Jim's lead.
• • • • •
More help is needed by
John Carr Jr. of the SJPD Historical Society...
I come to you again for assistance with the SJPD history book we are currently
On Nov. 2, 1960, JFK came to San Jose for a tour and we provided security and a
motors escort. I am hoping that one of your readers had a photo of the event or
even the news article showing SJPD escorting the president in his open top
vehicle. It would be a neat photo to show. I also heard there was an incident
years later involving president Nixon, or was that the attempt made on his life
in SF? I figure one of your readers would have some info on these significant
Thank you sir!
Can any of you
"age-challenged" retirees help John out? I was in college in 1963 when JFK was
killed. And I had just made the move from the S/O to the SJPD in Sept. 1970 when
Nixon came to town. (As a newbie, I wasn't invited to witness the downtown rock
I did, however, find an essay yesterday on Google in the form of a .pdf file
that was authored in 2005. It details the 1970 stoning incident of Nixon and his
party at the Civic Auditorium. Those mentioned in the essay include Don Ewing
(the author's mentor) and others who were interviewed for the essay. They
included Bob Moir, Gary Leonard, Vic Eastman and a couple of others who are now
deceased. (Google has other references to Nixon's visit to San Jose as well, but
I couldn't locate any photos.) Any readers who can provide John with info
regarding the visits of JFK or Nixon are asked to get in touch with John.
To view the essay, a click of this link will open a .pdf file with the table of
contents noted below…
Quo, 1970: A Historical Background…..6
The San Jose
Police Department: 1970…..10
for the Civic Auditorium Rally…..11
Nixon’s Arrival in San Jose…..15
at the Civic Auditorium…..17
President’s Departure from San Jose…..27
News Conference #793: (El Toro, California)…..28
Repercussions of the Rally…..31
The City Under
P.B.A. VALENTINE'S DAY DINNER DANCE
15th — 5:00 to 11:00 p.m.
POA Hall, 1151 N. Fourth St.
up the Ying-Yang
Entrees: Salmon and/or Prime Rib with all the Fixins'
Hosted bar + Wine on the Tables
Dancing to your kind of music following dinner
$25 per person
— $50 per couple
Make checks payable to the "SJPBA" and mail to:
P.O. Box 42
San Jose, CA 95103
Secretary/Treasurer Lumpy Lundberg at
THE HISTORY OF THE
SJPD SHALL NOT BE FORGOTTEN
Ruled (mostly) Illegal — An Open Letter to San Jose"
WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN
LEGEND UPDATE AS OF DEC. 28, 2013
The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox
• Can you quickly recharge your cell phone by microwaving it?
• Does the name of Boxing Day come from the need to rid the house of empty
boxes the day after Christmas?
• Was the song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' created as a secret code by
• Warning that the Facebook group "Becoming a father or mother was the
greatest gift of my life" was created by pedophiles to gain access to kids'
• Was Michael Jordan robbed of his shoes at gunpoint during an in-store
sneaker signing appearance?
• Does the AAA offer a free towing service during the holidays for motorists
who have had too much to drink?
• Did Pope Francis declare at the Third Vatican Council that 'all religions
• Will an unusual planetary alignment on 4 January 2014 make people on Earth
• Photograph shows a 'thank you' sign to Jews from the Chinese Restaurant
Association of the U.S.
• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news
stories from around the world!
Worth a Second Look
• A compendium of superstitions associated with New Year's Day.
Still Haunting the Inbox
• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's
circulating in the on-line world.
• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes
commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.
THE LIGHTER SIDE &
OTHER ODDS AND ENDS
Large or Full Screen strongly recommended for
• • • • •
Say what you want about the
French, but there's no denying that you can see spectacular dinner or lounge
shows in Paris that rival those in Las Vegas. Of the two dozen or so that we
have included in the Farsider over the past several years, this one received
from Bruce Morton is perhaps the most amazing. There's no question that the
illusionist uses contortionists in his act, but that begs the question: How much
contortion can a contortionist contort? (You know what we mean.) Watch as Hans
Klok presents 17 grand illusions in 5 minutes, and stick with it to the end to
see who serves him a bottle of champagne. (6 Mins.)
• • • • •
Sure, he may look like a
cute kid, but it was 5-year-olds like him that gave me and my buds a bad
reputation when we were in kindergarten. In fact, as soon as we learned what
matches could do we would go around and torch cars that had a bumper sticker
reading "My Child is an Honor Student at…" (5 Mins.)
• • • • •
What fun! We're talking, of
course, about Chicago's Magical Piano. Click on the link below if you want to
see how it works. (4 Mins.)
• • • • •
To the chagrin of some
segments of society, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame has managed to
extricate himself from a hot frying pan and go back to work with the A&E network
as a result of overwhelming support from the public at large, but listen as
Terry Bradshaw tells you something about the reality TV personality you probably
didn't know. This clip comes courtesy of Bert Kelsey.
• • • • •
From Joe Suske comes this
work of art disguised as a video clip. Set to music, it's a time lapse
presentation in high definition of the never ending fog rolling in over the Bay
Area. It might even provide you with a good night's sleep if it is the last
thing you watch before you turn in. (4 Mins.)
• • • • •
Dan Katz sent in a link to
an amazing collection of photos of San Francisco taken immediately after the
1906 earthquake. What makes them unique is that San Francisco photographer Shawn
Clover has been working since 2010 to composite the old images with photos of
the city as it is today. Shooting from the same location, the resulting photos
combine the stark images of the earthquake's devastation with modern scenes of
life in San Francisco. The two images are easy to tell apart; the earthquake
portion of each photo is in black and white compared to the color images of the
city as it is today. Click on the link below to view the collection of 25 photos
(you may have to give the photos a moment or two to load)…
Residents take to the grass at
Lafayette Park to get a view of the
fires engulfing the city while a Muni bus stops below.
• • • • •
If I'd had a teacher like
this when I was in high school there's no telling where I would be today. (I
take that back; I would probably be a billionaire and wonder why I was
publishing a stupid newsletter every week.) Have a look at this video of a
"Truly Amazing Teacher" sent in by Gary Johnson and see what you think.
• • • • •
Youse guys gotta listen to
Sal tell the story "Twas the Night Before Christmas" Brooklyn style. You may
have heard of him; his name is Sal Monella. (4 Mins.)
• • • • •
With so much said about
childhood obesity, we have the perfect solution. Take the video games and cell
phones away from the nation's youth and replace them with jump ropes. Look what
it's done for the youth of Hungary. (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
I might consider picking up
one of these new golf carts — but only if I was forty years younger. It's called
a Golf Board. Have a look. (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
How would you like a custom, room-by-room tour of
the Smithsonian Museum without having to deal with a crowd or buying a
round-trip air or rail ticket? That's what we are offering you here. This
virtual tour provides you with 360 degree viewing by using your mouse and
cursor. Just follow the blue arrows on the floor to move into new rooms. If you
click on the floors (upper right corner) you get a floor plan of that floor, and
you can click on a blue circle and go directly to that room. Play around with it
and you will be guaranteed a fun visit. Play around with your mouse and you will
be amazed what a little exploration can produce.
• • • • •
Ever watch a video where
you know something ghastly is going to happen, but you keep watching it anyway?
Why we tend to do that is best answered by shrinks. Whatever the reason, Alice
Murphy sent in an example of what we are talking about.
• • • • •
Has slapstick become a lost
art? Paul Salerno sent in a 48-year-old clip that may help answer that question.
It's from the 1965 ABC Hollywood Palace TV show featuring Milton "Uncle Miltie"
Berle with Johnny Puleo and his Harmonica Gang. (6 Mins.)
• • • • •
The image below pretty much
tells you what this clip is about. All we can add is that it will be worth a
couple minutes of your time. (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
To those who say the
holiday season is officially over, we say au contraire. We were fascinated by
this Rube Goldberg machine that extends one final Seasons Greetings wish to one
and all. (1 Min. 30 Sec)
• • • • •
Here's wishing all of you a safe, happy and prosperous 2014.
Bill & Leroy
Pic of the Week