Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist: Measure B Compromise

I have tried to avoid this topic, but the recent murder spree and popular opinion that the SJPD is degenerating because of Measure B has made it unavoidable.

First off, I think some incarnation of Measure B was bound to happen sooner or later. People like to scapegoat Chuck Reed, but I think the truth is that he was handed a bad deck of cards with two options: 1.) do nothing and bankrupt the city 2.) reform the pension plans. The decision was clear but I think the execution could have been softened substantially. The reduction in benefits has reduced officer moral and made our force less competitive than our neighbors in retaining top officers. Ideally, SJPD would have been given something in return for the lower pensions.

So my wishlist for the week is a compromise between the city and the SJPD. I think the reforms are here to stay, but the doesn't mean salaries cannot be increased. I would love to see the temporary 10% paycuts officers when the downturn began to be immediately lifted along with a timeline for adding an additional 10% increase in salary. Additional salary can be just as if not more attractive than a better pension. In 2010, Google conducted surveys to see which form of compensation would be more likely to motivate and retain their employees if that benefit were to be increased. They discovered that the answer was not bonuses, free haircuts, or even more Google stock... it was salaries, and they ended up increasing the base salary of all employees by 10%.

I think the same strategy Google took to prevent employees from jumping ship to Facebook (which I bet they are now regretting) can go a long way to keep SJPD officers that have worked long and hard for the city of San Jose from going to other departments. If you look at the map below, there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and having a content and motivated police department is going to be critical to maintaining San Jose as the safest big city in the world.

(As a side note, if you look at the crime map below note that none of the homicides were in Downtown San Jose.)

Image from the Mercury News


  1. Maybe no murders downtown (your chart only shows a couple weeks though...), but I came home Saturday night to find a huge brawl outside Fahrenheit with two people on stretchers, blood on the sidewalk and about 30 cops. Two hours later and and hour apart, two shootings on the same street. This is the same street as the 88. You know, the 88 that's so fantastic and makes downtown so awesome? Yeah, right.

  2. How many have quit SJPD for other departments? Most departments have hiring freezes. I'd be more interested in seeing how staffing levels have changed.

  3. I'd be more interested in them doing their jobs intelligently and with respect. Have you ever seen how many show up downtown to babysit drunk, disgusting club goers? It's a freakin army. If you happen to live downtown, they are barely civil. Meanwhile, with all the whining about staffing cuts, almost everyone of their cars has a bumper sticker inviting people to apply. Madness.