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Attorneys Spar Over Pension Benefit Rollbacks in Court; No Ruling

San Diego’s city attorney was back in superior court Thursday contending that $500 million in pension benefits should be rolled back. Attorneys for the city’s retirees say only a fraction of that amount is at stake. KPBS Radio’s Andrew Phelps explains.

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Barton asked both sides to make their case in his courtroom. City Attorney Mike Aguirre argued that a half-billion dollars in pension benefits should be retracted because they were granted illegally. He says that would make a big dent in the city’s $1.5 billion pension deficit. The pension board and labor unions say only $40 million is at stake. They say a legal ruling in 2000 protects most of the benefits Aguirre wants to roll back.

Last week, Judge Barton agreed in a tentative ruling, but he wanted to hear from both sides again. The judge ended the pre-trial hearing without a final ruling. Both sides will make their case to a jury in a trial scheduled for next month. For KPBS, I’m Andrew Phelps.

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