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First Phase of SD Pension Trial Nearing End

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Aired 4/19/09

Attorneys are waiting on a Superior Court judge to decide the first phase of San Diego's pension trial. Closing arguments wrapped up yesterday. The judge's ruling will significantly shape the stakes of the case, which was brought by City Attorney Michael Aguirre. KPBS Radio's Andrew Phelps has more. 

In his closing arguments, Aguirre said, "It is impossible to make the stakes of this case any higher." If Aguirre gets his way, the city could recover hundreds of millions of dollars of its budget deficit.

Aguirre says employees started getting fatter pensions starting 10 years ago – but officials did not create a way to pay for those increases. So, he says, the increases were illegal. 

Representing the labor unions, attorney Ann Smith says the city must find a way to pay for those benefits. She says this case is about peace of mind for thousands of workers, who expect retirement security. And she says it would be wrong to rob them of that security now that the city is strapped for cash.

The judge's ruling could end this trial or let it to continue for two more phases. For KPBS, I'm Andrew Phelps.

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