| March 14
March 14 Backers of a ballot measure to cut
California's public pensions, which was seen as a model for
other states, abandoned their campaign to win voter support on
Friday after a court ruling.
Chuck Reed, the Democratic mayor of San Jose, said he was
ending his campaign to put the statewide measure on the ballot
this November, but he did not rule out trying to re-launch his
effort for the November 2016 election.
Reed's measure aimed to give California mayors the freedom
to cut pensions already awarded to public workers, although not
to touch benefits already earned.
The campaign was abandoned after Sacramento Superior Court
Judge Allen Sumner rejected a lawsuit filed by Reed and other
measure proponents against Kamala Harris, California's
Democratic attorney general, for what they said was biased,
union-friendly language for the voter initiative.
Under California law, the attorney general is tasked with
writing the title and summary for ballot measures.
Unions, which had opposed Reed's measure, welcomed the
"We continue to believe that the bargaining table - not the
ballot box - is the proper place to address the budget
challenges facing our communities and state," said Dave Low,
chairman of Californians for Retirement Security, which
represents 1.6 million state workers and retirees.
Reed persuaded 70 percent of voters in San Jose -
California's third-largest city - to pass a pension reform
measure in 2012. Unions sued in state court to oppose the
The San Jose mayor maintains that generous public pensions,
in deals mainly struck before the 2008 financial crash, will
further strain municipal budgets.
"Unfortunately, California's pension problems are not going
away and will only grow larger in the coming years," Reed said.