South Bay News

Unions accuse SJ mayor of campaign law violation

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The rift between San Jose's mayor and the police and fire unions is growing. The unions have been at war with Mayor Chuck Reed over pay cuts and pension reform. Now they're accusing him of breaking the law.

Campaign mailers you'd expect to see with elections just over three weeks away. But they've caught the eye of the San Jose police and fire unions. They think they're being financed by what they consider an illegal transfer of $100,000 from one independent campaign fund to another.

"On Tuesday I spoke with three different campaign law attorneys and walked them through these facts; all three of them said unequivocally this is a clear violation of the law," San Jose Police Officers Association President Jim Unland said.

So the unions have filed a complaint with the state's Fair Political Practices Commission singling out Reed. They've been locking horns with him over a 10 percent pay cut and pension reform to ease the city's budget deficit.

"I would hope that they would have enough integrity to stand up and say there's been a mistake where we did something wrong, and we need to stop what's going on," Unland said.

Reed maintains nothing illegal was done.

"The FPPC allows transfers between committees, that's permissible, so that's what was done, one committee to another," he said.

Reed says there's a political agenda behind the complaint. The unions are acting to unseat District 8 City Council Member Rose Herrera, whom they do not support.

"Rose Herrera is part of a very thin council majority; if they can take her out, then they figure they can control the council, and that's what this campaign in District 8 is about, control of the city council and whether or not these fiscal reforms will be implemented," Reed said.

The unions shared with reporters a letter to Herrera, urging her to respond. However, she told us she has not received it.

It's not clear how quickly the FPPC will act on this complaint. A decision could come after the election.

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Tags:
SJPD, chuck reed, san jose, unions, south bay news, david louie
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