Home Pension Issues More than $1 million spent on fight over San Jose pension reform

More than $1 million spent on fight over San Jose pension reform


San Joses fight over a June pension reform measure has topped $1 million in spending according to expenditure reports filed Thursday. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has raised nearly $700,000 from business and taxpayer groups toward passage of his Measure B. “It’s going good,” said Reed, who has called Measure B critical to slowing employee pension costs that have more than tripled in a decade and outpaced revenue growth. “There are people who are concerned about the state of the pension problem around the state so that’s been helpful for fundraising.”

The yes-on-B campaign committee led by Reed and the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce political committee reported raising $637,919 this year. The Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association also reported raising $45,000 in support of Measure B.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, San Jose’s largest employee union which is leading the no-on-B effort to defeat a measure it argues is unlawful, reported raising a total of $442,178 this year for the campaign.

In the District 10 contest for the only open council seat where incumbent swing vote Nancy Pyle is termed out, planning commissioner Edesa Bitbadal has far outpaced her five rivals in raising campaign cash.

Records showed Bitbadal amassed $110,667 this year including a $1,000 personal loan toward her bid. Among donors are the San Jose police officer and firefighter unions.


adviser Johnny Khamis raised the second-highest totals in the race, reporting $71,154 for the year including $20,000 in personal loans and contributions from backers including former GOP Congressman Ernest Konnyu.

County appraiser Brian O’Neill brought in $48,276 for the year including $19,000 in personal loans and contributions from unions including AFSCME.

Sports broadcaster Robert Braunstein raised $42,380 toward his bid this year, including $20,000 in personal loans with contributors including the California Apartment Association.

San Jose Unified School District trustee Leslie Reynolds raised $39,639 this year, including $20,000 in personal loans with support from contributors including Garden City Construction co-owner Susanne Salata.

Denelle Fedor, an aide to Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio, has amassed a total of $32,790 toward her campaign with backing from Almaden Valley Community Association leaders Jerry Mungai and Susan Bailey.

Of the incumbents seeking re-election, none has faced a tougher battle than Reed ally and District 8 Councilwoman Rose Herrera. She’s raised $88,675 this year including a $1,000 personal loan and together with funds raised last year spent $94,343 this year toward her re-election.

But unions are spending furiously to force her into a November runoff against opponent Patricia Martinez-Roach, an East Side Union High School District trustee.

Martinez-Roach raised $11,654 this year including $2,710 in personal loans with backers including city police and firefighter unions. Attorney Jimmy Nguyen, another opponent, has raised $16,029 this year including $2,200 in personal loans with contributors including the County Employee Management Association.

But city records showed heavy independent spending by outside groups on the race. The San Jose Firefighters union, Santa Clara County Government Attorneys Association and Association of Retired San Jose Police Officers and Firefighters reported spending $62,199 opposing Herrera and supporting Martinez-Roach. The chamber and the California Apartment Association spent $32,582 promoting Herrera and opposing Martinez-Roach.

The chamber committee also spent $20,107 opposing O’Neill and $17,811 against Bitbadal in District 10.

In central San Jose’s District 6, incumbent Reed ally Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio raised no money since mid-March having already reached his limit of $121,157 for the year.

That’s three times the $35,280 raised this year by union-backed opponent Steve Kline, a lawyer who loaned his campaign $12,500. Also in the race is Bill Chew, who showed no fundraising activity.

In north San Jose’s District 4, union-backed incumbent Kansen Chu raised $90,401 this year. Together with funds raised last year, he has spent $106,642 toward his re-election with backers including AFSCME. The retired officers and firefighters independently spent $6,075 on his behalf.

City police detective Tam Truong raised $53,520 this year including $2,500 in personal loans, and enjoys $30,212 spent independently on his behalf by the chamber.

Neighborhood commissioner Rafael Sabic raised $6,041 this year including $3,896 in loans from his wife.

In southeast San Jose’s District 2, incumbent union-backed Councilman Ash Kalra amassed $43,522 this year including a $1,000 personal loan.

Opponent Tim Murphy, an engineer and former city councilman in Ohio raised $1,525 since mid-March from backers including Charles Munger Jr. toward a campaign largely financed with $14,000 in personal loans.

In the county board of supervisors race, incumbents George Shirakawa Jr. and Dave Cortese, a mayoral hopeful, are running unopposed.

Competing in the District 5 Santa Clara County supervisor’s race to succeed Liz Kniss, who is being termed out, are state Sen. Joe Simitian, the perceived favorite, as well as Cupertino Councilman Barry Chang and ex-Mayor Kris Wang.

Chang now leads the field in fundraising, but only because of $80,000 in loans from his wife during this period. He also raised $600 in cash, for a total of $96,984 year to date. Simitian followed, raising $22,333 this period, for a total of $69,503 year to date. Wang raised $10,367 this period, for a total of $69,654 year to date.

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