San Diego’s landmark Pension Reform Initiative faces two critical legal tests this week and next in the 4th District Court and at the U.S. Supreme Court. At issue is whether a Citizens’ Initiative can legally be thrown out simply because a sitting mayor publicly endorsed the measure in public.
“We will vigorously fight any effort to overturn this voter-approved pension reform measure because doing so would not only bankrupt San Diego but it would also strip Californians of their cherished rights to use Citizens’ Initiatives to impose accountability on their government,” said Carl DeMaio, author of the San Diego Pension Reform Initiative.
“The government labor union bosses have lied throughout these court proceedings and liberal judges have been happy to accept those lies as part of their desperate effort to invalidate an election,” DeMaio continued. “San Diego’s Pension Reform was a Citizens’ Initiative approved by 65% of voters and no dishonest attempt to overturn the results of that election should be accepted by any court,” DeMaio said.
In 2012, San Diego voters overwhelmingly approved a Citizens’ Initiative called Prop B to cap pension payouts for existing employees and close the expensive city employee pension program and instead offer 401k accounts to new hires. Over 150,000 signatures were collected to put Prop B San Diego Pension Reform on the ballot. The San Diego mayor announced his endorsement of the measure – which the unions are trying to claim tainted the entire effort and should be remedied by invalidating the entire election and throwing the measure out.
Starting today, the 4th District Court in San Diego will consider what remedy should be imposed on the City of San Diego if the Mayor’s endorsement constituted a violation of “meet and confer.”
On Monday, March 18, the US Supreme Court will decide whether to rule on a separate case that would overrule California’s determination that a sitting Mayor cannot exercise his First Amendment rights of free speech to publicly endorse ballot measures that may impact wages of government union workers.
See also San Diego’s reporting from KGTV: