San Diego City Council President Tony Young held a candid talk this morning with myself and other City Hall reporters, the Union-Tribune’s Craig Gustafson and KPBS’ Katie Orr, at a breakfast event sponsored by the San Diego Press Club.

Here are three quick newsy bits from the discussion:

• Young said he was open to the City Council putting a competing pension plan on the June 2012 ballot. Republican and business supporters of a plan to replace pensions with 401(k)s for most new city employees are nearing the final month of gathering signatures to get it on the ballot. But the City Council can place measures on the ballot, too. Democratic mayoral hopeful Bob Filner has said he’d like the council, which is majority Democratic, to do just that with his still-unfinished pension plan.

Any competing measure, Young noted, could undercut the 401(k) plan at the ballot box. Young also said he contacted white-collar union head Mike Zucchet to gauge his interest in putting a five-year employee salary freeze on the ballot. The Republican pension reform measure counts nearly all its $1 billion-plus in savings from a five-year pay freeze. Young said Zucchet wasn’t interested. (I’ve contacted Zucchet and will update this post if he gets back to me.)

• Despite no visible signs of progress, Young said his idea for a San Diego government complex was moving forward. When Young first became council president nine months ago, he proposed housing employees from the city, state, Unified Port of San Diego and the San Diego Association of Governments into a combined building to save money.

Young said he’s had meetings with lawmakers and representatives from each agency about the idea, planned to discuss the issue at council and create a working group on it this fall. The building, he said, would be located at the current City Hall site downtown. Mayor Jerry Sanders backed off plans to send a new City Hall to voters last year, effectively shelving the $294 million proposal. Young said he would be willing to approve the building without voter approval.

* Young said he voted for Proposition D, the sales tax increase that was soundly defeated by city voters last November. During the campaign, Young took a tightropey public position on the measure. He voted to put the measure on the ballot, but didn’t advocate for it.

Liam Dillon is a news reporter for 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 or 619.550.5663.

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Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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