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Aguirre Asks Judge to Declare Past Pension Agreements Illegal

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre launched his legal effort to roll back city pension benefits Tuesday. He urged a Superior Court Judge to undo the 1996 and 2002 agreements that resulted in the city’s billion dollar pension deficit. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

Aguirre, who is facing a phalanx of six pension fund and labor union attorneys, asked Judge Jeffrey Barton to "undo the damage" by declaring past benefit agreements illegal. He invited the judge to see the case in terms of a hierarchy of values, and put restoring the health of the pension system above the rights of individual retirees.

Aguirre: This is not about taking away benefits - because an unfunded benefit doesn’t exist - this is about resorting the actuarial soundness of the system by removing the rotten core.

Aguirre compared the deal to raise benefits and underfund the plan to a cancerous tumor that must be removed. He suggested the judge issue a temporary ruling that the deal was illegal and then call a 90 day “stay” in the trial. That would empower the city council and the mayor, Aguirre said, to declare the benefits illegal. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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