This just in -- San Jose's police officer union and Councilwoman Rose Herrera are still duking it out. The San Jose Police Officers' Association backed Herrera's untested re-election challenger two years ago to punish her for supporting Mayor Chuck Reed's pension reforms.

With two years left on her term, she's now running to succeed termed-out Reed, whose reforms have had the unfortunate collateral damage of spurring some of the city's officers to bolt for other cop shops, egged on by an embittered SJPOA that has welcomed outside recruiters. Crime's up now and a top voter concern, so to bolster her public safety cred, Herrera proposed exempting former officers who wish to return to the SJPD from the reduced retirement benefits for new hires under Reed's Measure B reforms. Herrera called it an olive branch that could bring 40 to 100 cops back to San Jose.

But the SJPOA mocked the idea in a presser last week, stating that a survey of 101 former officers found just two would return to San Jose while 97 said they wouldn't.

"Many of the 'No's were emphatic and contained the specific reasons why they would not come back to SJPD," the officers' union said in a news blast to reporters. One of those reasons must be that Herrera remains in office.

Herrera dismissed the union jabs. Three officers, she said, already have returned under the reforms' reduced retirement plan for recruits. "That alone should tell you that more than two would come back," she said, if they could continue with the old pension that would let them retire in their 50s with as much as 90 percent of their former salaries.


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Herrera said "sources in the police department" told her as many as 100 might return, adding her union critics are "feeling threatened" because she's proposing something that might work.

Her proposal faces many hurdles beyond SJPOA sniping. It's unclear whether there's support on the council and voters who approved Measure B would have to go along. Herrera insists it's not a peel-back of the reforms whose savings in the city's multibillion dollar pension problem weren't based on driving current cops off the force. But it's complicated. Would the three cops who already returned to much cheaper reduced pension plans get included in Herrera's amnesty? "That's something the council could decide," she said.

Congressman's tweet produces angry responses

Part of any modern politician's job these days seems to be dispensing acknowledgment via social media of various milestones, events or occasions. But there also are pitfalls to this practice as Rep. Mike Honda found out earlier this week when a clumsily worded recognition backfired spectacularly. The San Jose Democrat tweeted this on Sunday:

Rep. Mike Honda @RepMikeHonda Happy to celebrate the beautiful cherry blossoms, & over 100 years of Japanese-American friendship http://instagram.com/p/mvZTRii3uM/

The twitter-verse instantly noted this was historically obtuse. Bizpacreview.com called it "Dumbest tweet of the year from Democrat Congressman: Responses hilarious." Among them:

J.T. @Votegoat1 Either #WorldWar2 never happened OR 2014 -- 1941 = Over 100. Only #CommonCore math could explain that ...@RepMikeHonda

And ...

Dewey Oxberger @OxOxberger @RepMikeHonda always nice to know only the brightest and the best are elected to office, except when they aren't.

Honda the next day attempted to clear things up:

Rep. Mike Honda @RepMikeHonda .@BIZPACReview @sanjoseinside To clarify my previous tweet, the cherry blossoms in DC were received over 100 years ago in 1912

It didn't seem to help.

Victorena Minchew @Merleliz @RepMikeHonda @BIZPACReview @sanjoseinside I don't know which tweet was stupider, the rewrite of history, or the rewrite of the tweet. FAIL

Former superintendent took care of colleagues

Before leaving town last month, ex-County Office of Education Superintendent Xavier De La Torre made sure to take care of his lieutenants. De La Torre, who was eased out by his bosses on the seven-member Santa Clara County Board of Education, extended the contracts of his seven cabinet officers until 2016.

Last fall, when he was already looking for jobs in Texas, he began extending the terms for top staff, whose contracts were expiring either in June 2014 or June 2015. The move provides them two years' job security even if the next superintendent wants to do some housecleaning.

De La Torre first ensured 2½ more years for those he himself had hired -- Chief Business Officer Micaela Ochoa, Chief Academic Officer Angelica Ramsey and Chief Strategy Officer Toni Cordova Woodruff. General Counsel Maribel Medina, hired in December, already had a contract extending to June 2016.

Then in January, the then-supe gave the same benefit to Executive Director-Human Resources Philip Gordillo, Chief Technology Officer Kelly Calhoun and Chief Schools Officer Mary Ann Dewan -- who had just joined the county office in October.

Dewan now is serving as interim superintendent until the board selects a permanent chief.

Their extensions didn't come with raises. That happens every year automatically: With a satisfactory review their salaries rise with Consumer Price Index increases. Medina's base pay is $235,000. When she was hired in 2012, Ochoa's was $205,000, plus a $10,000 retirement-account contribution.

Southern California senator benefits from Yee scandal

It was the home stretch of the 2011 mayor's race in San Francisco and state Sen. Leland Yee needed all the help he could get. An early favorite in the campaign, he would end up plummeting to a fifth-place finish.

But there was still some hope on Oct. 19, when the campaign for state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Van Nuys, contributed $500, the most allowed by San Francisco law, to Yee's flagging campaign.

Two and a half years later, Padilla is the front-runner in the 2014 race for California secretary of state. Yee was a strong candidate until the "Shrimp Boy" corruption scandal forced him to withdraw.

Given Yee's now-ironic record of promoting open government, the secretary of state position was long considered a logical landing spot once he was termed out of the Senate. Was Padilla rooting for a Yee win in San Francisco to clear the field for his secretary of state bid or did he think his fellow Democratic lawmaker was the best man for the job?

It's pure speculation, which the Padilla campaign wouldn't dignify. Following the Senate vote to suspend Yee and two other Senators, Padilla issued a strongly worded statement regarding his vanquished electoral rival:

"The people of California expect and deserve elected representatives they can trust and the Senate did the right thing in suspending three Senators today," Padilla said in a statement. "I'm especially troubled by the shocking and disturbing charges announced against Senator Yee."

Internal Affairs is an offbeat look at local and state politics. This week's items were written by John Woolfolk, Sharon Noguchi, Aaron Kinney and Paul Rogers. Send tips to internalaffairs@mercurynews.com, or call 408-920-5782.