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San Jose Voters Showing Support For Police Staffing Measure

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- Voters in San Jose are being asked to settle a bitter dispute over police pensions.

A Survey USA poll shows the majority of them are undecided about Measure-F.

Now, two long-time political rivals are joining forces to try to sway voters.

Despite their bruising 2014 San Jose mayoral election, Mayor Sam Liccardo and Supervisor Dave Cortese are now teaming up on an issue that once divided them - pension reform under Measure F.

"Measure f is so critical to improve our ability to hire officers, retain officers to address the crisis we have in officer staffing," Liccardo said.

The interview took place at the San Jose police substation, which was mothballed for years, and now serves as a training center because San Jose doesn't have enough officers to staff it.

"We've been adversaries in the past.  But on this issue there is only one answer, to support this measure," Cortese said.

Liccardo beat Cortese by just two percentage points, but he claimed victory before some votes were counted, and before Cortese conceded.

Cortese was against the original pension reform, Measure B, which is now blamed for causing hundreds of officers to leave the San Pose police department through resignations and retirements because it cut their benefits.

Liccardo was for it, but he's now one of the major backers of the reformulated Measure F plan.

"This is something we critically need for the future of our city," Liccardo said.

But while Measure F may ease the short term police staffing crisis, opponents say it will put San Jose back behind the financial 8-ball.

"The problems that we had before are going to return with another pension crisis.  We don't need that," Mark Hinkle with the Santa Clara County Taxpayer's Association said.

Last week, a KPIX-Survey USA Poll found San Jose voters favor Measure F by more than two to one, but there was also a large percentage of undecideds.  A new internal poll by the Yes on F campaign shows more undecided voters are turning into yes votes.

"What's important now is to get it right and start rebuilding our police force," Liccardo said.

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