Michael Zucchet
San Diego Port Commissioner Michael Zucchet / Photo by Adriana Heldiz
If you want to know about the nuts and bolts, the nitty and the gritty, the wonk when it comes to the city’s long-running pension saga, you have come to the right place.
Host Scott Lewis sat down with Michael Zucchet for an interview this week. Zucchet is the leader of the largest union of San Diego employees, the Municipal Employees Association, as well as a Port commissioner.
Zucchet is in the middle of the big dilemma the city is facing about how to make good with city workers on pensions. A landmark pension reform was put on the ballot illegally, the state Supreme Court determined, and now that the courts declined to invalidate the measure in question — Proposition B — city employees must be compensated for lost benefits.
On that, Zucchet said: “No case exists in the history of the state of California where a ballot initiative has been ruled to be illegally placed on the ballot to be, have violated state law that stays on the books. So if invalidation is inevitable, it’s going to be cheaper for the city to get on board and help with that process. And I do believe that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”
The interview with Zucchet starts at 23:30 in the podcast.

Street Lights and Dem Clubs

Also on the show this week, Voice associate editor Jesse Marx joined Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Sara Libby to talk about two stories he worked on this week. One shed light on the ways in which police are accessing footage captured by “smart” streetlights, though the technology was sold as a tool to help mitigate traffic.
Marx also broke down what happened at a long meeting of Democratic Party officials in which they considered many reforms to the process by which they endorse candidates.
He joined us at the top of the show.

The Mayor’s Triumph

On Monday, Mayor Kevin Faulconer finally scored a Convention Center win. The San Diego City Council voted to move a proposed increase to the hotel-room tax to the March 2020 ballot. That tax would fund the Convention Center expansion, road repairs and homeless services.

This, theoretically, bolsters the measure’s chances since it won’t be competing with several other tax measures. The crew talks about the vote at 14:20.

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at nate@vosd.org.

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