September 6, 2012
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
There was a gremlin on the
website last week that resulted in many of you inadvertently opening the Aug.
23rd Farsider instead of the Aug. 30th issue. If that happened to you, clicking
on the link below will display the Aug. 30th newsletter that you missed...
This missive by
Councilman Kansen Chu appeared on the Letters page of Tuesday's paper...
Pension Reform Will Help Hiring
Letters to the
Mercury News — Sept. 4, 2012
Although I did not support Measure B because of the out-of-sequence approach,
I support the second-tier employee pension reform proposed by the governor and
Legislature for new hires at the state and local level. The proposal is more
than 80 pages in length.
I am happy that the state did not rush to establish a constitutional amendment.
San Jose will not be seeing any savings from Measure B for quite some time, and
we are losing talented city employees in droves. I am hoping that enacting the
state’s pension plan will put San Jose at a more competitive level in filling
the vacant police and fire positions.
Member, San Jose City Council
~ ~ ~
As a counterpoint to the
councilmember's letter, yesterday's paper included this tongue-in-cheek
Lowering the Bar to Third World
Letters to the
Mercury News — Sept. 5, 2012
San Jose City Councilman Kansen Chu (Letters, Sept. 4)
is happy that the governor has proposed second-tier employee pension reform
because it will lower the bar to the San Jose level and make San Jose more
competitive in filling the vacant police and fire positions. San Jose is losing
talented city employees in droves, so making sure they have nowhere else to go
makes sense. If we lower the bar enough we can obtain wage parity with China and
other Third World nations. The faster benefits and public employee unions are
eliminated the faster that can happen.
• • • • •
Good intentions that
don't work out is a lesson learned from this story that made the front page of
the Local Section of Tuesday's paper...
San Jose Pension Protest
—Figone out of
town; police bounce group opposing city’s reform plan—
By Dana Hull
Mercury News — Sept. 4, 2012
SAN JOSE — A planned Labor Day “barbecue” in front of
City Manager Deb Figone’s house to protest the city’s major cuts to police
officers and firefighters’ salary and pensions fizzled out.
Figone was out of town. The half-dozen protesters neglected to bring a grill.
And the police, who protesters had hoped to treat with free food, told them what
they were doing was illegal.
“Public official or not, there’s no protests in residential neighborhoods,” Lt.
Brian Ferrate said.
Some demonstrators attempted to hand out chocolate cookies to police officers,
At one point, a woman with a bouquet of balloons sat on Figone’s front steps but
moved when an irked neighbor warned her that she was trespassing on private
A lot of Figone’s Rose Garden neighbors were out of town for the long weekend;
others were washing their cars or drinking sangria.
Members of Peninsula Direct
up in front
of San Jose City Manager Deb
house Monday in San Jose.
The police officers arrived first, then news crews and finally about half a
“The rank and file officers are on our side,” said Shaunn Cartwright with an
Occupy-affiliated group known as Peninsula Direct Action.
In June, San Jose voters passed Measure B, a
contentious pension reform plan that reduces retirement benefits for new hires
and makes current workers pay more for their pensions if they don’t choose a
more modest plan for their remaining years. “She used phony figures to pass
Measure B, cut their jobs and their pay,” Cartwright said of Figone. “Now
veteran officers are leaving the force, and the crime rate is up.”
Last month, the California State Auditor reported that San Jose “likely
overstated” that its future pension costs could reach $650 million by 2015, a
figure the audit called “unsupported.” Figone and Mayor Chuck Reed have denied
misleading anyone about the city’s pension problem. City employee unions are
suing to block Measure B, calling it an illegal breach of their pension rights,
and have pounced on the audit as proof that city officials cannot be trusted.
Christy Wong of Peninsula Direct Action
briefly sits on Deb Figone’s front porch
Monday. The group was protesting San
Jose’s pension reform plan.
James Lee, another member of Peninsula Direct Action,
said that pension reform should start with top city managers, not public safety
personnel. He said that actions in San Jose to reform pensions will likely
spread to other Santa Clara County cities.
“I’m from Redwood City, and what happens in San Jose gets exported to other
cities,” Lee said. “If we’re talking pension reform, we should reform Deb
Figone has been San Jose’s city manager for about five years and previously
worked as town manager for Los Gatos.
In November, a small group of Occupy San Jose protesters shouted in front of
Figone’s home, blaming her for refusing to give them a permit to camp at City
• • • • •
This article from last
Saturday's paper may or may not be of interest to you. It's an update on what
the State is doing about pension reform...
Pension Reform on to Brown
passes ‘sweeping’ changes to system that will mostly eliminate worst abuses—
By Steven Harmon
SACRAMENTO — Delivering on Gov. Jerry Brown’s campaign
promise to reform the state’s pension system, the Democrat-controlled
Legislature sent him a bill Friday that will alter retirement benefits for
public employees and save the state billions, though it will take years to see
Though critics called it a small step toward tackling the runaway costs
stressing state and local governments, the votes in both houses of the
Legislature were overwhelming, handing Brown what could be a major success
heading into the fall campaign.
“With strong bipartisan support, the state Legislature today passed the biggest
rollback of public pensions in California history,” Brown said in a statement.
“This sweeping pension reform package will save tens of billions of taxpayer
dollars and make the system more sustainable for the long term.”
In asking voters to support his tax-hike initiative, Proposition 30, Brown will
say that he and Democrats fulfilled voters’ desires to ratchet down government
spending, in part with the pension reform.
The bill, AB340, passed on a 50-8 vote, with two Republicans voting for it and
two Democrats voting against it in the Assembly. Of the 22 Assembly members not
voting, 19 were Republicans, three were Democrats.
The Senate later passed it 36-1, with Sen. Joel Anderson, R-San Diego, the only
The legislation caps benefits for new public employees who make more than
$110,100 — 20percent for those who don’t get Social Security. It also eliminates
pension “spiking” and raises the retirement age for new employees. That and
other fixes are estimated to save between $52 billion and $72 billion over 30
years, according to CalPERS, one of the state’s two largest pension funds. That
was higher than estimates earlier in the week of $40 billion to $60 billion.
CalSTRS, the pension fund for teachers, estimated there will be an extra $12
billion in savings on top of the CalPERS estimates.
The Legislature on Friday also fixed a gaping loophole in the pension reform
bill that would actually have enabled more spiking of retirement pay in 20
California counties, including Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo. The
existence of the loophole was first reported by Bay Area News Group columnist
Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, gives
thumbs up as the Senate approves the pension
bill 36-1 at the Capitol on Friday.
Action came relatively early in the marathon last day of the session amid a
flurry of other last-minute votes, including one on workers’ compensation.
When the debate over pensions began, state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg said,
it was the egregious six-figure pensions, the double dipping, spiking and other
abuses that outraged the public.
“This package we voted on deals with all that and a whole lot more,” said
Steinberg, D-Sacramento. “There are those who defined pension reform as
eliminating defined-benefits middle-class pensions. I wouldn’t go for that.
“I hope this puts this issue, which has so dominated our public discourse for a
long time, if not away, at least to the side.”
Steinberg disagreed with criticism that the reform failed to cut deeply into the
state’s long-term pension liabilities, but said he is open to looking into
reforming public employees’ health benefits as part of implementing federal
health care regulations.
Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose, said the bill wasn’t perfect but it’s a
“Is now the time to defer this, or should we start the process?” Beall said.
“We’ll have to watch this over the next several years, but let’s take this
considerable step now.”
Assemblyman Chris Norby, R-Fullerton, said the Legislature should have accepted
the 12-point plan Brown proposed last October. Democrats, he said, “emasculated
and gutted and amended” the governor’s original proposal, which included a
hybrid plan that would have required new employees to build part of their
pensions through a 401(k)-style plan.
Republicans questioned whether labor truly was as outraged as they’ve expressed.
“This is a very, very, very short haircut for unions,” said Assemblywoman
Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield.
“Each of us know in our hearts that this is a small, small, small step,” said
Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Escondido.
That’s not how Democrats saw it. Under the reform, a future public employee
working for 30 years and retiring at 55 would get 48 percent less than a current
employee, said Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto.
“You hear me right,” Simitian said. “The difference between what we’re obliged
to pay today and what people will be entitled to is close to half. I don’t think
anyone can call that nibbling around the edges.”
The bill does affect local governments that have CalPERS plans, but not cities
such as San Jose, which has its own plan and passed its own reforms, now being
challenged by unions in court.
Brown hopes to use the reforms — and other cost-cutting moves he made this year
— to enhance his chances to win voter approval of his tax-hike initiative,
Proposition 30, in November. His proposal would raise income taxes on the
wealthy and boost the sales tax by a quarter-cent, raising about $6 billion a
year, enough to prevent massive new cuts to schools and colleges.
After months of negotiations with Brown, legislators produced the pension
legislation earlier this week, pounding out a 40-page bill with no time left to
send it to the floor. Republicans complained that Democrats were rushing through
a bill with little scrutiny.
But the howls of outrage came from labor groups, who said that they were being
thrown under the bus by Brown and Democrats.
Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Retirement Security, said the governor
was about to sign into law a “political overreaction on pensions.”
“Ripping billions of dollars of pension benefits from public workers without
collective bargaining is unfair and wrong,” Low said. “Wall Street interests who
caused the economic crisis and are now calling for unconstitutional and illegal
actions should take stock of their victory before attempting to further
undermine retirement security for public workers.”
THE TRIALS AND
TRIBULATIONS OF SAN JOSE AND THE SJPD
Last Sunday's op/ed page
in the Mercury News included these words of wisdom for the citizens of San
San Jose Must Try to Retain
Editorial — Sept. 2, 2012
Eight murders in 11 days in San Jose — some gang
related, some just bizarre — have unnerved residents already alarmed by the
uptick in burglaries affecting much of the Peninsula and South Bay.
It happened amid an exodus of experienced police officers heading to better paid
jobs, leaving fewer than the authorized level of 1,100 sworn personnel.
And even that is a number nobody thinks is sufficient.
On Sept. 18, the City Council will conduct a public study session on how to deal
with all of this.
We hope it results in an incentive for talented officers to stay on while San
Jose works to overcome its chronic budget deficits.
The departures are the result of plunging morale and lower take-home pay, thanks
in part to a 10 percent pay cut the police union agreed to in 2011.
Recruits are now being hired and trained, but it takes a year to get them up to
speed. If the cost-saving pension reforms approved by voters last November hold
up in court, then it should be possible to start restoring salaries, but that
The police union is calling for restoration of that 10 percent in pay. But
remember why the police agreed to it: If they hadn’t, an additional 150 officers
would have been laid off in 2010, leaving the force at a frightening low of 950.
Restoring 10 percent of pay would cost about $20 million a year, according to
city staff. The entire library budget is $24 million. Still, there may be a way
— a retention bonus? — to do something if money becomes available.
San Jose has not been cavalier in its budget cuts — and none of them was based
on hypothetical future pension costs, political grandstanding to the contrary.
They were based on actual costs and revenue. Another deficit is forecast next
year, even at current pay levels.
A bonus or some other gesture is important, however, because officers now feel
unappreciated — demonized is their term. Voters’ approval of Measure B to impose
pension benefit reductions last fall hit them personally, and they primarily
blame Mayor Chuck Reed. Many city employees, not just police, further resent the
mayor’s refusal to champion a sales tax increase this fall, but a tax could not
have passed this year.
Reed led the effective campaign for Measure B, but it cost $1 million. Reed said
he looked at his donor list and saw almost nobody who today would help finance a
tax campaign, which he believes would require at least $500,000.
The Chamber of Commerce quickly opposed the tax, and labor is leading the
county’s sales tax campaign. There would have been opposition, and no money to
Reed believes 2014 is the time for a tax measure. By then the courts are likely
to have resolved pension issues, and residents can be prepared for the proposal,
which surprised many this summer.
The immediate challenges, of course, are the current crime wave and reassuring
residents who fear their safe city is in decline. Police Chief Chris Moore has
good ideas for allocating the existing force more efficiently, and he’s working
with city finance staff to find resources to devote to retaining current
We hope he succeeds.
San Jose still has an excellent police force. But it accepted a pay cut for good
reason, and sadly, that reason still exists.
• • • • •
Be still my heart. Did
this Mercury News editorial from yesterday's paper actually get it right? If so,
perhaps it's because so many of their newspaper stands are covered with
Writing Is On the Wall for
Editorial — Sept. 5, 2012
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen might
appear to have gone nuclear against a gang of graffiti vandals, charging them
as, well, a gang, which makes their felony vandalism guilty pleas a first
strike. This from a DA who thinks the current three strikes law is too extreme.
But really — how do you stop people who keep committing the same crime if you
don’t escalate the consequences?
Rosen charged HYSU (Have You Seen Us) with scores of felony acts of vandalism
totaling more than $60,000 in damage and, for five of the seven members, added a
gang enhancement, which allows for more serious penalties.
The enhancement is mostly used to put away violent street gangs, but violence is
not a requirement under the law.
Some defense attorneys and community activists are appalled at the first strike,
since the men are not charged with violent crime. But burglary isn’t a violent
crime, either, and nobody says it shouldn’t be a strike. The gang charge feels
right to us, given the measured way Rosen has applied it and the degree to which
graffiti harms a community.
A critic of the prosecution told Mercury News reporter Tracey Kaplan that “no
one is hurt or even threatened” personally by what taggers do.
But graffiti can terrorize a whole neighborhood where it implies — true or not —
that violent gangs are marking territory like tomcats.
Recurring graffiti on signs, walls and fences is a constant reminder of danger
that may lurk every time the kids go outside to play or teenagers walk to the
store. It’s an in-your-face declaration of who controls the street you live on.
(Hint: Not you.) Neighborhoods in San Jose take it so seriously that the
effectiveness of the city’s new graffiti removal contractor is a raging debate.
Rosen clearly views this first strike as a shot across the bow.
While the plea bargain included the gang enhancement, the DA did not impose it
at sentencing, so the vandals will serve a year or less in county jail, not
years in state prison.
The first strike mainly stands as a warning to the men, who have been arrested
for this before, often caught red- (or some other color) handed on video
surveillance. Nobody’s getting life in prison for graffiti, but if the gang
members get caught at it again, or commit other felonies, a second strike is
likely to mean real prison time.
These aren’t kids. The leader of the group is 33.
If they’re really artists, as their supporters say, and not just chronic
vandals, this could be the hint they need to start buying canvases to paint on.
For the five people in this extreme case, strike one was a good call. If it puts
other graffiti vandals on notice, so much the better.
Graffiti on signs, walls and fences is a constant reminder of danger and can
terrorize a whole neighborhood where it implies, true or not, that violent gangs
are marking territory like tomcats.
Results from last week's poll...
For the full scope of state and national polling by Scott
Rasmussen, click on this link:
For the most recent releases, click here:
Not sure if you had heard about this recent effort by a City Councilman to
undercut the POA. It's a public document from the City's agenda server. I've
included the memo and the url.
Please keep up the great work you and Leroy do with the Farsider. You guys do
a great job of keeping us all connected.
The author of the email asked that we withhold
his identity because he's a member of the Reserves. The link he provided will
download to your desktop a .pdf file of a City Memo with a recommendation by
Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio to utilize the SJPD Reserves for the SJPD.
NEW VANGUARD NOW
Click on the link below to
download September's POA newsletter to your desktop, then double-click the icon
to open it.
WEEKLY SNOPES URBAN
LEGEND UPDATE AS OF SEPT. 1, 2012
behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox
• Did Bill Nye the Science Guy 'blast' Rep. Todd Akin for accusing him of
'personally provoking Hurricane Isaac'?
• Photograph purportedly shows Michelle Obama with her
daughters draped in South African colors at the 2012 Olympics.
• Did Samsung pay off a $1.05 judgment awarded to Apple in a patent
infringement lawsuit entirely in nickels?
• Is the Obama campaign sponsoring an "Islamic Jumah" at the Democratic
National Convention but declined to allow a prayer from a Catholic cardinal?
• Is George Soros buying up and shutting down firearms manufacturers,
including Marlin Firearms?
• Did astronaut Neil Armstrong say 'Good luck, Mr. Gorsky' during the Apollo
11 moon landing?
• Woman accidentally leaves a bag of waste in her
• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a
collection of odd news stories from around the world!
Worth a Second Look
• Can overdue pregnant women induce labor by eating at specific restaurants?
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 reminder for the YouTube videos...
• • • • •
An email from Bob Bell
suggested that what we all learned about administering CPR has been updated to
the degree that chest compressions only — without breathing for the victim — are
just as effective. We checked online with the Red Cross, Mayo Clinic, American
Heart Assn. and a couple of other authorities and all confirmed that to be the
case. Have a look at the video below, and if you have doubts, Google "Continuous
Compression CPR" (without the quote marks). (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
This video on how we landed
the Spirit and Opportunity rovers on Mars a few years ago is going viral,
probably because the superb animation is blended with actual footage of the
feat. But don't confuse it with the Curiosity rover that NASA landed last month
and is currently beginning its exploration of the red planet.
• • • • •
This video from Joe Wicker
of an F-18 making a low altitude canyon run through Northern California and
Oregon was posted to YouTube last weekend. After running the clip past my nephew
who commands a Marine Corps squadron of F-18s at NAS Miramar, he said that when
the Marines took over the San Diego air base, the Navy squadrons moved to NAS
Lemoore near Fresno, and that this is likely one of the Navy pilots. He also
said that the video was shot with a "Go-Pro" video camera that was
suction-cupped to the canopy which is being used by numerous pilots to document
their flights. (6 Mins.)
• • • • •
While the F-18 video above
featured a Navy pilot in his F/A-18 Hornet, this award winning video sponsored
by Raytheon that was sent in by Chuck Blackmore highlights Air Force F-15s
engaged in a simulated aerial battle. Grab your barf bag and hop aboard if you
dare. (10 Mins.)
• • • • •
If watching toppling
dominoes sparks your interest, you need to watch this clip from Bruce Morton.
How long did it take the organizers to set up all 128,000 for the great fall? We
speculate that they probably started in 2006 of 2007.
• • • • •
Bruce also sent in a clip
of an adrenalin junkie who performs what he calls the first reverse bungi. Leroy
and I have pulled our resources and will offer a $10 bill to the first Farsider
reader who can duplicate the stunt. Just make sure you let us know when and
where it's going to take place so we can show up and capture it on video.
• • • • •
Bruce's third and final
submission this week was this clip which he described as "breathtaking," which
may be only the second time in his life he has ever used that adjective. We
heard that the first time he uttered that word was when he ran over an oil slick
going around a turn at 60 mph on his police motor. (6
• • • • •
If you are curious want to
know what all the hullabaloo is about over the vile tweets by Nickolodian's (and
"American Pie" co-star) Jason Biggs about the wives of Mitt Romney and Paul
Ryan, you won't find the actual text being reported by the mainstream media. But
the tweets were easy to locate on the Internet. If you choose to read them by
clicking on the link below, be aware that they are extremely graphic and
• • • • •
If you can
watch this without laughing you have more restraint than we do. A Brit is having
en electrical problem with his Lexus. One of his kids is behind the wheel and
going to try to help him start the car. His other kid is in the back seat
capturing the incident on video and goading the kid in the front seat into
having some fun. Watch what happens. (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
This clip should bring back
some memories for those of you who remember the forgotten art of hand shadows.
• • • • •
Here's an interesting
submission from Dave Scannell. It's a morphing presentation of all 44 of our
U.S. presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama set to the music of
Ravel's Bolero. I found that shutting your eyes for a moment brings forth images
of Bo Derek in "10." That alone makes this worth a click.
• • • • •
This song sent in by Steve
Weesner is titled "Green Side of the Grass" and would be funnier if it didn't
hit so close to home for so many of us. (4 Mins.)
• • • • •
Ever heard of the Fun
Theory? This ad from Volkswagen has nothing to do with cars, but it could
provide a partial answer to losing weight and staying fit.
• • • • •
This short clip that asks
"Which is the guilty dog?" has gone viral and is certainly worth a look. See if
you can guess which one before you play the video. (1
• • • • •
Saving the most amazing
video we received this week brings us to this one about the underworld. No,
we're not talking about the Mob; this is about insects, specifically ants. Have
a look at this excavation of what is believed to be the world's largest known
city of ants that a handful of readers sent in. If you don't find this amazing,
it likely means you have no curiosity. (3 Mins.)
• • • • •
Pic of the Week:
Submitted by Alice Murphy
Lovemaking tips for seniors...
1. Wear your
glasses to make sure your partner is actually in the bed.
2. Set timer for 3 minutes in case you doze off in the middle.
3. Set the mood with lighting. (Turn them ALL OFF!)
4. Make sure you put 911 on your speed dial before you begin.
5. Write partner's name on your hand in case you can't remember
6. Use Extra Strength Polygrip so your teeth don't end up under
7. Have Tylenol ready in case you actually complete the act.
8. Make all the noise you want . . . the neighbors are deaf, too.
9. If it works, call everyone you know with the good news!
10. And finally, wait at least a month before trying it again.