Major newspapers and pundits across the state are reporting Wednesday that San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has his tin cup out … or as Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters politely puts it: Reed is trying to get “deep-pocketed backers to pony up the billions of dollars – perhaps $10 million-plus – that they would need to qualify the measure and wage a competitive campaign for it.”
Where’s Reed’s money going to come from? So far, Reed has refused to disclose the source of the dark money fueling his campaign, repeatedly dodging the question when pressed by the media in recent radio appearances.
But as The State Worker writer Jon Ortiz notes: “The money could come from out-of-state interests and Bay Area entrepreneurs and the Silicon Valley tech sector, if history is a guide.” (Emphasis on out-of-state interests is ours, since the bulk of his funding came from a $200,000 behest from Texas Enron billionaire John Arnold.)
And as Walters also reports: “The public unions have no natural enemies among the usual political interest groups, so campaign money for a measure would probably have to come from wealthy individuals and they would be publicly pilloried by the unions.”
Yet even the billionaires in silk pajamas Reed is courting are wise enough to see that Reed’s poorly-drafted measure is dead in the water. A nonscientific poll in the Bee Wednesday found 70 percent of respondents believing Reed wouldn’t find the funding.
Consider this too:
- An assessment from the nonpartisan Legislative Analysts Office (LAO) indicating the measure would cost communities “billions” in the short-term, invite massive litigation costs, and possibly hurt the state’s economy that would likely be repeatedly featured in ads against the measure;
- A poll from a respected Washington, D.C. firm showing only 36% approval for the Reed measure, with strong opposition from Republican women and every other demographic group except GOP men;
- A key December decision by a Santa Clara court that threw out Reed’s plan to slice retirement benefits in San Jose; and
- More than 30 Republican and Democratic elected officials from across the state who have announced their opposition. (Meanwhile, Reed’s own minimal support has eroded — the Democratic Mayor of Santa Ana has renounced his support. And Vallejo’s City Council shelved action on proposal to endorse it — despite one of its members being one of the proponents of the measure.)
It’s time for Reed to face the music. He should do what real leaders are doing across the state: stop playing political games and sit down with public servants at the negotiating table and finding solutions that are mutually beneficial to our communities. That’s been the case in nearly 400 jurisdictions around the state. It’s time for Reed to stop attacking public employees retirement security and find solutions that work.