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DeMaio, Goldsmith Discuss ‘Future Of Pension Reform’

Above: Ex-City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith at a SDCTA forum.

Aired 3/14/13 on KPBS News.

San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and former City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio talked about the future of pension reform Thursday morning.

A breakfast forum this morning brought back a familiar face from last fall’s mayoral election. Ex-City Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio joined City Attorney Jan Goldsmith at a San Diego County Taxpayers Association breakfast forum. The topic was one of DeMaio’s favorites: pensions.

Tweets from SDCTA's pension forum using the #sdctaforum hashtag.

The men joined San Jose City Councilman Pete Constant and attorney Timothy Davis, a negotiator for the city over employee pensions.

Although Proposition B was approved by San Diego voters in June 2012, it has since stumbled into some blockades.

The state’s Public Employment Relation Board ruled against the measure, so now San Diego must now take the measure through PERB's review and then it will likely head to the state Courts of Appeal. Goldsmith says the city can already begin implementing pension reform now, but Mayor Bob Filner has said he will only wants to implement it if it's approved by the court. Either Filner or the City Council could take action to stop the measure from spending more time in court.

The appeals with the state could take years. DeMaio made pension reform the centerpiece of his campaign, so he seemed to relish the chance to continue the pension discussion this morning. When asked when we can finally stop talking about pensions, DeMaio said, well, not yet.

“If you don’t have a mayor and a council committed to solving the problem with that framework, you give them a tool and they say, well we won’t use the tool," he said. "Then we’re not going to get pension reform. And so it’s not just Prop B, it’s Prop B properly implemented by our elected officials. And that needs to be our focus for the next several years.”

Some have said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith gave bad legal advice to former Mayor Jerry Sanders because he didn’t recommend staying away from the Prop B campaign. And Goldmsith got pretty heated when moderator Scott Lewis, the CEO of Voice of San Diego, brought that up.

“There is nowhere in the entire country, ever, ever Scott, anywhere, where a elected official’s involvement in an initiative has either been criticized or found to bind the city or found to be an unfair labor practice," Goldsmith said.

Lewis also asked DeMaio if he plans to run for Congress. DeMaio flatly ignored him.

This story has been updated to clarify pension reform's current legal status.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 14, 2013 at 5:22 p.m. ― 4 years ago

Well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well what do we have here!?

Whom would have ever thought these two would be paried-up!?!?!

Certainly not a certain Anatidae Anseriformes named after a Northeast Asian capital. *quack*

As I wrote in the other story about Mr. Goldsmith's disgusting abuse-of-power behavior, I'm sure when you pull away the curtain you find all the old-establishment Republican cranks like Machester and DeMaio pulling the strings of their slithery puppet Goldsmith.

Seeing these two boys together is enough to ruffle anyone's feathers.

They both ooze creepiness and corruption.

Can't they take a hint - San Diego is moving on, the old backroom corporate hags ruling our city is something we don't want anymore.

Go away.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | March 14, 2013 at 6:16 p.m. ― 4 years ago

The last GOP mayoral candidate talks with the next GOP mayoral candidate.

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Avatar for user 'lifesaver1'

lifesaver1 | March 15, 2013 at 10:33 a.m. ― 4 years ago

To correct some misinformation in this article:

The state’s Public Employment Relation Board has NOT ruled against the measure. An administrative law judge working for the PERB ruled against the legitimacy of Proposition B (Comprehensive Pension Reform). The decision would have become final had the City Attorney not filed an exception (appeal). He has done so and now the PERB has the chance to uphold or overturn the finding of the ALJ. How the PERB rules remains to be seen.

Pension reform in accordance with Proposition B is already being implemented. For example, new employees (other than police) are no longer part of the pension system.

Please detail, Ms. Trageser, what aspects of Proposition B are not being implemented at this time. I found your report on the evening news and this article highly misleading on this subject.

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Avatar for user 'Claire Trageser'

Claire Trageser, KPBS Staff | March 15, 2013 at 3:58 p.m. ― 4 years ago

Hi lifesaver,

Thanks for your comment. The story has been updated to clarify pension reform's current legal status.

Best, Claire

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Avatar for user 'WonderProfessor'

WonderProfessor | March 16, 2013 at 3:31 p.m. ― 4 years ago

Pension reform is indeed an important issue. But simply moving to defined benefit plan (often referred to as a traditional pension plan) to a defined contribution plan (such as 401k plans) is not going to solve the long-term problems. A defined contribution plan can cost an employer as much or more as a defined benefit plan, depending upon the implementation. The root problem is that we are living much longer. While it is a great problem to have, it is still a problem. Employees used to retire at 62 and die at 65, especially men. Now, we are retiring at 62 and living until 92. There are many ways to address the problem but the most apparent and tempting remedy is to increase the retirement age. Our health is better and we are living longer, therefore, we will need to work longer. While there are many who disagree with this course of action, it seems to me the most obvious. We will see how it plays out over the next 10 to 20 years.

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