Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Applause for Mayor Sanders

I have been a harsh critic of Mayor Sanders at times. But I need to give credit where it is due, he worked with purveyors of competing reform plans to come up with a single ballot measure. This increases the odds that a measure will pass, because there will be a unified reform effort. Today's U-T has the news.

The new measure, to be announced Tuesday, combines elements from a proposal two weeks ago by Mayor Jerry Sanders and Councilman Kevin Faulconer with ideas from Councilman Carl DeMaio and business leaders.

Under the measure, if approved by voters, new police hires would be the only ones to receive the guaranteed payouts of a traditional pension while other new hires would contribute to a 401(k)-style plan and take on the risk of money invested.

Pensions for current workers would remain unchanged, although the measure proposes limits on pay that prevent future benefits from growing as quickly as they do now.

Predictably, the forces of leftism are gathering together to defeat any meaningful reform. The Voice of San Diego ran an article implying that a pay freeze in the plan is illegal. (My response? See you in court.) They also claim that there will be no short term savings. (I agree, but that's not the point, you have to get started.)

The city's public employee unions commented negatively as well.

Frank De Clercq, head of the city firefighters union, said the change would have long-term consequences for public safety as the city would struggle in future years to recruit and retain firefighters. He also questioned the wisdom of devaluing any worker who puts his or her life on the line.

“I don’t know how anyone, morally and ethically, would not consider the risk that firefighters take being absolutely similar to what police officers and lifeguards take,” De Clercq said. “We risk our lives on a daily basis. I’m disappointed to say the very least that they’ve chosen to go down this path.”

Actually, I read an article in Reason that being a police officer has been getting safer for 35 years, so I don't know why they aren't also included in the reform.

I believe this has a great chance of passing, but expect every dirty trick and court fights to keep it off the ballot. This effort is worthy of the support of the San Diego Tea Party.

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