Public safety at forefront of San Jose mayor's race

The hotly contested San Jose mayor's race has eight people running for the job to replace Mayor Chuck Reed, who has termed out.

The frontrunners are Santa Clara County Board Supervisor Dave Cortese and San Jose City Councilmember Sam Liccardo, followed closely by Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen.

San Jose residents continue to turn to the city hall for answers on the city's growing crime rate. And if elected mayor, the city's top two candidates promised to improve public safety.

The last-minute phone banking and campaigning seems to have paid off for mayoral candidates Dave Cortese and Sam Liccardo. Both promise to improve public safety, but in very different ways.

"We can keep our neighborhoods safe, not by spending more, but my spending smarter," Liccardo said.

"We need to do some tweaking," Cortese said.

That tweaking includes offering police officers better disability benefits and higher pay. Cortese is backed by the Police Officers Association and the city's public employee unions. The county supervisor is confident he can work through current pension litigation problems and start hiring and retaining officers, immediately.

"The money is there to at least get back up by 140, but one of the reasons people are leaving is economic of course," Cortese said.

Right now, there are 876 street-ready officers in San Jose. Five years ago, there were 1,350. However, Liccardo insists the city doesn't extra money. That's why he wants the police department to do more differently.

"There are things like restoring community policing, like using technology, data analytics that will help us deploy our officers more effectively," Liccardo said.

Reed admits he is worried the fiscally conservative path he's led the city down could end. He told ABC7 News, "Mr. Cortese has made a lot of promises to the public employee unions that are going to be very costly to deliver."

Nguyen is running in a close third at this point.
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politicsSJPDcrimechuck reedelectionsprimary electionSan Jose
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