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Bonnie Dumanis Says She Deserves Pension, Supports Eliminating Pensions For Future Workers

Mayoral candidate Bonnie Dumanis talks to KPBS.

Guest

Bonnie Dumanis is currently serving as San Diego County's District Attorney and is a candidate to be San Diego's next mayor.

Transcript

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District Attorney and mayoral candidate Bonnie Dumanis says when she retires, she stands to earn just under $200,000 for her pension. She also supports Proposition B, which would put an end to pensions for new city employees and give them 401(k)-style plans instead.

Dumanis told KPBS that after her career in public service, she feels she earned her pension, but said as mayor she would vote to end pensions for new employees.

"I worked for 38 years from a junior typist to prosecutor to superior court judge and district attorney, breaking many glass ceilings along the way," she said. "But never was I in a position to make a decision about pensions or on my salary and as mayor I will be in that position."

She said if Proposition B passes, new city employees will know they aren't receiving pensions when they are hired.

"And the market has changed," she said. "We can't afford the benefits and we've got to look at the salaries in the private industry as well."

She added that younger workers are more mobile today, so they do not expect pensions.

Dumanis said reports in Voice of San Diego that she will receive at least $249,000 for her pension are incorrect.

Although Dumanis has consistently been last in the polls, she told KPBS she is not worried about the election on June 5.

"I'm not in fourth place," she said. "Campaigns are always in flux, polls are for the moment, and the same polls showed me 20 percent behind a week before I won district attorney in 2002."

She added her campaign was not showing television commercials when the last poll was taken, but they are now.

"We have been very aggressive," she said. "As I go out to talk to people I'm really humbled by the support I get about my plans, about my experience, and the difference about what I bring to the table, which is 38 years in San Diego, working in San Diego and giving back to the community."

Dumanis said she doesn't look at polls "because the only poll that counts is June 5."

"It's really just something the insiders look at," she said. "People really haven't started focusing yet, and now they're beginning to because the ballots have gone out."

"I'm in it to win it and I plan on being the next mayor of San Diego," she said.

A mayoral scorecard created by Voice of San Diego shows Dumanis largely holds the same positions as City Councilman Carl DeMaio and state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, and Dumanis agreed "we are similar on a lot of issues."

"But the difference is the three others are legislators," she said. "The type of experience you get as a Washington insider or a Sacramento politician or a city councilman doesn't prepare you for the job of mayor."

She said being mayor is like being CEO of a multi-billion-dollar organization with 10,000 employees.

"So I think I bring something different to the table," she said.

Dumanis said she has long supported same-sex marriage and stood with Mayor Jerry Sanders at a press conference to urge people to vote against Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage. She said she has been married to her partner Denise for three years.

She also said she has always been supportive of abortion rights.

Dumanis added if elected, she will donate her entire mayoral salary to education programs and would not enter the pension system "at all."

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