After three decades in San Jose and leading the city through some of its most pressing fiscal challenges, former Mayor Chuck Reed is saying goodbye to San Jose — sort of.
Reed confirmed to San José Spotlight that he’s moving to Monument, Colorado, where his daughter, son-in-law and two grandkids live.
“My wife wants to live near the grandkids,” Reed said. “And I want to keep working. So I’m going to commute to San Jose.”
Reed said his family is building a new home in Monument and putting their San Jose property — which they built and has been home for 29 years — on the market this week. The former mayor said he’ll stick around until his home in San Jose sells.
Reed and his wife, Paula, will then take a road trip around the country to see national parks, he said, before heading to Monument, which is about 20 miles north of Colorado Springs.
Reed’s daughter, Kim, and her husband Scott both work for the Air Force and have traveled all over the world for the last 20 years. Now they’re settled in Colorado, along with their two children, who are 10 and 6 years old.
The ex-mayor himself was an Air Force captain, serving in Thailand during the Vietnam War.
“Yes, it’s bittersweet (leaving San Jose), but we want to be close to the grandkids and my daughter and son-in-law,” Reed said Wednesday.
After leaving the mayor’s office in 2014, the 70-year-old Democrat joined the prominent downtown law firm, Hopkins & Carley, mostly working on land-use issues. He isn’t resigning from the job, Reed said, and plans to fly back to San Jose every few weeks to meet with his clients.
“I enjoy the work. I don’t need to be physically in the office very often,” Reed said. “I’ll be back in town whenever it’s necessary.”
Reed’s term as mayor brought a pivotal shift to San Jose with his signature Measure B, a voter-approved initiative to scale back pensions, his push to revitalize San Jose’s airport with international flights and his green vision plan which he unveiled in 2007.
Longtime political scientist Larry Gerston said Reed leaving San Jose is not the “end of an era” because some city leaders today still carry his values.
“He was certainly a leader among those who were worried about government being too big, holding up construction in building,” Gerston said.
But the most important question, according to Gerston, is whether Reed can continue to push statewide pension reform from Colorado.
“Chuck’s been a leader in pension reform,” Gerston said. “He and others started to put a statewide measure on the ballot this last year and decided to wait until 2020. That measure would have profound impacts on local government pensions. With him leaving, one wonders whether that movement will still be as strong, and whether someone will be able to step into his shoes to continue the efforts of pension reform.”
Reed is leaving California but he insists this isn’t goodbye. He’ll always find his way back to San Jose.
“We have a lot of friends here and a lot of reasons to visit,” Reed said. “But we’ve very close to our grandkids. We’ll be five minutes from home and 45 minutes if they run away. So we’re close, but not too close.”
Contact Ramona Giwargis at [email protected] or follow @RamonaGiwargis on Twitter.