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Scott Lewis talks with Rep. Bob Filner, mayoral candidate, about his career, his work in Congress and his plans for San Diego. They also spend a lot of time talking about pensions, pension reform and 401(k)-style retirement plans. Filner says:

I think the proposal that’s being circulated for a referendum that switches new employees to a 401(k) plan is wrong, it’s unfair and it’s ineffective. That is, it’s wrong because here we take the employees that have picked up our trash, clean our water, patrol our streets, put out our fires and we’re going to say to you — you are — we’re going to let you go to the casino of Wall Street. 401(k) puts you at the mercy of Wall Street.

Think, if that was your only retirement, Scott, in the last three weeks on the stock market, you probably wouldn’t need a retirement or a pension because you’d have a heart attack. But that’s what employees would be given. Let’s remember, city employees do not have Social Security. And when we took the employees out of Social Security in the 80s, it was in return for — by federal law — in return for a decent pension. Well, now you’re taking that away! That’s not fair. That’s throwing them under the bus.

And besides, it doesn’t do anything to help that annual payment, at least for maybe a decade because no new money is coming into the pension system because they’re out of it. Second, the federal and state laws require certain transition costs into that new program. That takes more money out of the system. So you have a greater annual payment.

Listen to the podcast to find out Filner’s solutions to the pension problems and the Hero and Goat of the Week.

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I’m Grant Barrett, engagement editor for, in part a new-fangled opinion editor. Got some strong opinions and ideas? Let me help you get them in front of tens of thousands of readers. Drop me a line at or call me at (619) 550-5666.

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