Our City Council, largely backed by public employee unions, once again tried to play dirty tricks and undermine the clear will of San Diego voters: “Pension reform now.”
It happened Monday night at City Hall, where the Council voted 5-3 to initiate the process to place the “Comprehensive Pension Reform” measure on the June ballot.
Unfortunately, several councilmembers strongly opposed the action and suggested the vote be delayed until November 2012. Some councilmembers even made it clear that they intend to skew the measure’s description, voter guide summary, and fiscal analysis. The resistance by these councilmembers comes despite the fact that the measure qualified for a public vote with 115,991 valid signatures.
San Diego politicians must learn from the past and put these tricks in the trash bin where they belong. This reform measure is so desperately needed precisely because former politicians used tricks and deception to push through unaffordable, gold-plated pensions in the first place.
The “Comprehensive Pension Reform” ballot language, signed by more than 115,000 San Diegans, makes it clear that, if passed, these reforms are to be implemented as soon as possible after the June 2012 election — not November and not any time after that. Millions of dollars in taxpayer money are on the line and these reforms cannot be delayed any longer.
However, given the behavior we witnessed at Council this week, no San Diegan should assume that this measure will be automatically placed on the upcoming June 2012 ballot. In fact, the City Council will have to vote again in January on whether to place the measure on the upcoming ballot. We must be diligent and hold elected officials accountable when this decision comes before the Council.
Any delay in the vote on pension reform is completely unacceptable. Millions in taxpayer savings would be lost if the City Council neglects its Constitutional duty to place this measure for a public vote in June 2012. San Diegans have waited long enough for pension reform, and I will fight any attempt to delay the vote on this measure.
Carl DeMaio is a primary author of the “Comprehensive Pension Reform” measure, the San Diego City Councilman for District 5 and a candidate for San Diego mayor.