Reactions to the CA Supreme Court pension reform ruling

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SDUT: Supreme Court rules San Diego skipped key legal step in taking pension reform to voters

Some reactions, including from those principally involved in the passage of Prop B:

San Diego County Taxpayers Association Chairman of the Board, Gregory Stein and President & CEO, Haney Hong

The will of the voters in enacting Proposition B is clear, and we are pleased that Proposition B remains in effect.

“Pension reform reduces pressure on the City of San Diego to cut vital services, like law enforcement, parks, and libraries. Without reform, pension costs will consume the budget.

“You can count on SDCTA to work with our elected officials and community organization to ensure that Proposition B’s reforms are responsibly implemented.”

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer

“San Diego pension reform remains the law of the land and today’s Supreme Court decision keeps Proposition B in full force and effect. While the court’s deference to an earlier ruling means the debate over this issue is not over, it does not change the fact that voters amended the City Charter to bring fairness to city pensions.

“My administration will work closely with the City Attorney’s Office on the direction provided by the Supreme Court. The public mandate for reform is as valid now as it was when Proposition B passed in 2012, and I will insist that taxpayers continue to be protected as we move forward.

“Pension reform gave us the tools to clean up San Diego’s finances, save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and return government’s focus to improving our communities. The will of the public is clear, and I’ll continue to fight for the change San Diegans called for.”

Brian Pepin, President, The Lincoln Club of San Diego County

“Six years after San Diego’s voters overwhelmingly passed the Prop B pension reform measure, the California Supreme Court today upheld the will of the voters but raised new questions that should put any taxpayer on high alert.

“The court maintained Proposition B. However, it called for a “remedy” to the government unions’ claim that this voter-backed measure should have gone through a labor negotiation process before passage. What that “remedy” is remains unclear.

“The Lincoln Club of San Diego County was on the front lines of this fight in 2012 as skyrocketing pensions slashed city services, closed libraries and fire stations, and brought the city to the brink of financial disaster. The Lincoln Club led the effort to bring pension reform directly to the people when the unions and politicians were unwilling to address this crisis, and we will do it again if needed.

“Prop B has been a resounding success and has turned the city’s finances around. On behalf of the people of San Diego, we will fight any attempt to overturn or undermine the will of the voters.”

Former San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio (see website story)…

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court refrained from ordering the reversal of Prop B – a citizens initiative that was overwhelmingly approved by San Diego voters in 2012. However, taxpayers must be very concerned by what may happen next.

“Specifically we are concerned that the Supreme Court ruling opens the door for the lower court to consider a yet-undefined “remedy” for the so-called the so-called violation of the City of San Diego’s duty to meet and confer on pension changes before implementing them. That remedy could range from a simple monetary fine for not meeting and conferring or it could be as wide-ranging as overturning part or all of Prop B.

“We will vigorously fight any attempt to modify or overturn any part of Prop B. As a result of today’s ruling, we are prepared to take the following steps:

“First, we intend to defend the implementation of the Prop B Pension Reform Initiative in the “remedy” phase of this dispute when the Appeals Court takes up this matter. If the Appeals Court in any way changes or reverses the voter-approved pension reforms in Prop B, we intend to appeal that violation of the People’s vote back to the Supreme Court. That appeal will force the Supreme Court to decide whether the Constitutionally-protected Citizens Initiative right can be invalidated by unelected bureaucrats using a little-known state law. We highly doubt this will occur.

“Second, we will proceed with our previously-announced plans to file, qualify and pass a statewide Pension Reform Initiative that will be a Constitutional Amendment that the no court will not be able to ignore. The statewide initiative will apply to San Diego in addition to all other parts of the state and is modeled after Prop B. We are also exploring language in our statewide initiative to reverse any remedy imposed by the Appeals Court.

“Third, while we pursue our legal defense of Prop B, we intend to file, qualify and pass another San Diego Pension Reform Initiative for the 2020 election that will shift the cost of any reversal of Prop B to city employees so taxpayers do not bear any costs. This measure should serve as a warning to government union bosses that their attempts to seek any remedy to invalidate Prop B will be met with retaliation by irate voters who will not accept their votes from 2012 being invalidated.”

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