"The best I can guess is that he has an idea that federal prosecuters might consider federal criminal charges against leaders of the police union," he said. "And that's an interesting theory, but boy it's really, it's really out there in the chances that it could work."
Weisberg also said it's possible Reed believes just the threat of an investigation would be enough to have the unions back off their opposition to Measure B, which was approved by voters in 2012.
Reed is also asking the City Council to appoint an independent investigator to look into the same allegations. He is supporting Councilman Sam Liccardo -- who also supports pension reform -- in the San Jose mayoral race. But Reed said the investigation is not politically motivated.
"It happens to be Oct. 19 is the date this item was in the newspaper. I'm responding to that bit of information," he said. "We finally have a person who's willing to stand up in public and say what's been going on, and that has prompted this action."
Police Officers' Association President Jim Unland said he never told anyone to quit. He just told them the details of Measure B, which includes higher pension payments and puts limits on disability retirement.
"To say that somehow my speech to them educating them about their benefits is affecting recruitment is absurd," he said. "This isn't given at recruitment stations."
Unland did call Measure B a "terrible, terrible idea" and blamed it for the destruction at the San Jose Police Department, which has seen officers leaving for other departments.
Unland is now calling for another investigation into whether city officials encouraged Rivas to write the op-ed piece. He noted that Rivas backed off her original statement that Unland told the cadet class "it would be better for the department and for us if we would just quit, right then and there," telling a Mercury reporter on Monday she could not say if Unland has used the word "quit" but insisted that was what he meant.
"It stinks of a politcal trick," Unland said, referring to Reed. "With less than two weeks before an election, the polls are out. Everyone sees that his guy is losing and I think they're getting desperate."