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 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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