Fresh off a court ruling that killed his major pension lawsuit, City Attorney Mike Aguirre vowed Monday to continue pursuing his $900 million crusade through appeals, other legal actions and by pressuring Mayor Jerry Sanders and the City Council to take up a fight most of them have been reluctant to embrace.

Aguirre told reporters the council should follow the lead of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, who will be voting next month on a plan that would rescind hundreds of millions in benefits given to deputy sheriffs in 2001. The council could claim the benefits were created illegally and top paying them, as Orange County plans to do, he said.

Aguirre said he thought Sanders would have to help pressure the council, which has mostly resisted Aguirre’s pension challenge, to enact such legislation.

“The mayor has to decide whether he’s going to lead the reform effort or if he wants Francis to lead the reform effort,” Aguirre said, referring to businessman Steve Francis, the former mayoral contender who has not ruled out a run against Sanders in 2008.

Aguirre also said he plans to appeal Judge Jeffrey Barton’s Friday decision, which held that the city attorney could not file the lawsuit because the statute of limitations had expired in 2004, before Aguirre even took office. He pointed to a law the Legislature passed recently would allow the city to continue its fight today.

The city attorney also said he was exploring the option of pursuing the case in federal court and that he will ask the state Supreme Court to decertify an appeals court’s ruling that Barton based his opinion on.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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