San Jose Police Jobs Could Be Saved By Money Set Aside For The Arts

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Arts funding in San Jose could be taking a hit after a city council member proposed diverting some of the money to reduce the number of police officer layoffs.

Councilman Pete Constant, a former San Jose Police officer, has released nine budget proposals to provide the funding to prevent 97 police officer layoffs. One of his proposals calls for decreasing arts and cultural funding.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

“The City of San Jose has long funded various arts and cultural programs, and those are programs that are important to the community, but quite frankly those are not as critically important in this time of need as public safety,” said Constant. “I’m suggesting taking only the portion that is funded by the general fund. That is approximately 17 percent of the arts funding that’s currently being spent, and allocating it to the police department to hire more officers.”

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said that he will seriously consider the plan.

“We have a big problem in our police department; the escalating costs primarily due to retirement and cost increases, we’re going to try to cover some of that with sources elsewhere in the fund, and arts is something we’re going to have to look at along with other funding sources to try to save some jobs in the police department,” said Reed.

Police department staffing could be reduced by more than 200 if the Police Officers’ Association doesn’t agree to ongoing ten percent wage and benefits concessions by the end of June.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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  • putitupmike

    Sorry, and I know the first counter argument will go something like…when you get in trouble, who you gonna call? A Sculptor? But this is pathetic. I love all my Cop neighbors, and some of my Best Friends are Cops. But they have to adjust to the current crisis just like the rest of us. Maybe a little real management. NO more overtime would help. Making the Federal Government pick up the tab when additional services are required for visitors. Hell, make the State pay for their visits too. Get suggestions from the Citizens as to what they think ought to be done. Leave Art alone!

  • larry adams

    leave the arts alone. they have already made many cuts and layoffs. go after some of those double dippers and some of those retirees that spiked their incomes to ridiculous levels in their last few years on the job!!

  • Rosie the Riveter

    Maybe Pete Constant, a double dipper himself, should give up his police disability pension, which is more than the amount he wants to cut. After all, he is being paid full time as a city council member. Just sayiin’ is all.

  • Chris

    Yes! a want a safe city but a safe city with no arts and culture…I do not want to live in that city! The arts have already been deeply cut over the last couple of years…to save the police jobs and start down the road of zeroing out the community centers, libraries and art and cultural activities…those programs also contribute to our safety, economic development and the community fabric.

    I know the budget outlook is not going well and we can not hide from it. I just hope this discussion does not become the arts vs scare tactics….that approach and pressure over the last ten years, on our budget and council contributed to our budget problems in the first place.

  • Tammy Taxpayer

    Re-read the article. It is only 17% of the arts funding. That means there will still be millions spent on arts. He’s not suggesting eliminating, just reducing. When the cops are being asked to take a 10% pay cut and reduce their pensions, isn’t a 17% percent cut reasonable? I heard that planning, parks and community centers took a 28% cut.

    Of course we could sit back and do nothing and watch our city become dangerous and not have any crime investigated.

  • Chris

    Tammy…what you may not understand…is the police union have let everyone and everything suffer through the budget cuts over the last several years…even all the other union workers maybe except fire…have already sat at the table…so yes, 17% more is just another reduction on top of 4 + years of reductions.

    and of course as stated above…lets try to both keep an open mind and not let this turn into a discussion about the sky is falling…and all of our families are in danger…but in hard budget times how do we best work towards the right balance that keeps our communities moving in a healthy direction.

  • Blanche Hayase

    Hi! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the great job!

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