It’s the city versus the unions in this year’s local election, a direct reflection of the runaway deficit and how it affects everything from parks to public safety. Public figures aside, the election is revolving around local Measure V, which could impact the salaries and benefits of city employees.

Measure V prevents arbitrators from awarding raises that exceed revenue growth or that would require cuts to other services. In other words, policemen will not be able to get a raise if public library hours must be cut to pay for it. This is the position taken by Mayor Chuck Reed and the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, who have raised almost $300,000 in support of the measure.

It’s a tight race, but police officers and firefighters opposed to the measure have already raised $360,000, 16 percent more than the Mayor and the Chamber of Commerce. San Jose Police Officers Association President George Beattie says that the measure would put “safety at risk.” The real problem is that both the SJPD and the SJFD are barred from striking. Their only choice in salary disputes is to turn to arbitration, and the proposed measure effectively ties the arbitrators’ hands by limiting what they can demand.

The Daily Fetch reported yesterday on a series of anti-Carrasco mailers that were sent to District 5 voters by South Bay labor groups. The mailings link to a supporting website,, which challenges District 5 candidate Magdalena Carrasco’s financial judgment, based on personal bankruptcy issues. “Does Carrasco have the financial judgment to protect our libraries, parks, and community centers?” one mailer asks, while another calls her a financial disaster. In fact, Carrasco’s supporters’ main concern is that her opponent will gut services like libraries, parks, and community centers to raise salaries and increase benefits for police and firefighters.
Read More at The Mercury News.