Filner Still Loves the Pension Plan He Scrapped

Filner Still Loves the Pension Plan He Scrapped

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Bob Filner

 

Bob Filner just can’t give up on his pension plan.

“I propose refinancing our debt,” Filner said at a downtown Kiwanis Club of San Diego meeting on Tuesday. “I save $500 million in 10 years. No new taxes. Five hundred million dollars. That’s a lot of money. Why don’t we do it?”

Filner’s comments are curious because, as of last week, he wasn’t supposed to say things like this anymore.

In the primary, Filner made a big deal out of his idea to borrow money from Wall Street to finance the city’s pension debt and ostensibly save money. The financing is known as pension obligation bonds.

But after he advanced to the general election, Filner embraced Proposition B, the voter-approved pension initiative, which among other things, gives most new city workers 401(k)s instead of guaranteed pensions.

Last week in a strange turn of events, Filner reaffirmed his support for pension bonds in an interview, only to have his campaign dismiss the plan hours later as “no longer relevant” given his support for Prop. B.

So if you’re keeping score, in the space of eight days, Filner was for pension bonds, against pension bonds and for them again.

Here’s a 46-second video of Filner’s comments and below is the full transcript.

Filner transcript:

I propose refinancing our debt. I save $500 million in 10 years. No new taxes. Five hundred million dollars. That’s a lot of money. Why don’t we do it?

[Mayoral opponent Carl] DeMaio says I’m kicking the can down the road, I’m financing debt with debt. That’s not true. I’m refinancing a $1 billion debt at 3 percent lower interest rates. I think we’d be silly not to do it.

Now, there are risks. There’s risks now because we’re in the bond market, we’re in the stock market. There’s risks with any bond you buy. Same thing. But that’s not what I would choose if I had full freedom. But in a bad situation you take the best you got. That’s the best we got. I think we oughta do it.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for Voice of San Diego. He covers San Diego City Hall, the 2012 mayor’s race and big building projects. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

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8 comments
Michael Russell
Michael Russell subscriber

And what does refinancing the existing pension obligations have to do with future employees 401(k) (i.e. lack of pensions) anyway?

philosopher3000
philosopher3000

And what does refinancing the existing pension obligations have to do with future employees 401(k) (i.e. lack of pensions) anyway?

Tammy Tran
Tammy Tran subscriber

The average interest rate for all types of debt (municipal or pension) should not be more than 4% annually (maybe even less).

TammyT
TammyT

The average interest rate for all types of debt (municipal or pension) should not be more than 4% annually (maybe even less).

Fotis Tsimboukakis
Fotis Tsimboukakis subscribermember

I am shocked! lol. I'm joking. Anybody have any ILLUSIONS IF Filner would rush to implement the VOTER APPROVED Pension reform. And bite the hand that feeds him? REALLY? His Democracy is Democracy as long as it JIVES with his ideas. Not that Republicans don't pull the same stunts. Just that Carl is not inclined to have to file for bankruptcy as a Mayor. Filner will have to. This from a Realist Democrat. More Democrat than Filner will ever be too. Reality says TIMES ARE CHANGING PEOPLE.

FrankT
FrankT

I am shocked! lol. I'm joking. Anybody have any ILLUSIONS IF Filner would rush to implement the VOTER APPROVED Pension reform. And bite the hand that feeds him? REALLY? His Democracy is Democracy as long as it JIVES with his ideas. Not that Republicans don't pull the same stunts. Just that Carl is not inclined to have to file for bankruptcy as a Mayor. Filner will have to. This from a Realist Democrat. More Democrat than Filner will ever be too. Reality says TIMES ARE CHANGING PEOPLE.

Marc Davis
Marc Davis subscriber

You and many of your colleague have let your boy Carl off the hook throughout his run for Mayor! Next time your board or just lazy write something boring about Carl just to humor us.

big red
big red

You and many of your colleague have let your boy Carl off the hook throughout his run for Mayor! Next time your board or just lazy write something boring about Carl just to humor us.