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Unions Attempt to Undermine San Diego’s Pension Reform Measure

Unions Attempt to Undermine San Diego’s Pension Reform Measure

I recently described how San Diego citizen activists helped pass public employee pension reform in San Diego, when we approved Proposition B in June of last year by an overwhelming majority.

Of course, no conservative victory can go unchallenged. And, when conservatives win clearly, opponents head to the court system to reverse the results of a vote they don’t like.

Such is the case with Proposition B.

In fact, there was a pre-election challenge that was led by the San Diego Municipal Employees Association (MEA)to prevent the measure even being on the ballot. As an example of union tactics, a case was filed with the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) alleging that the City was required to bargain over Proposition B and so it shouldn’t go to a vote. Tim Yeung of the PERB blog reported on the first union failure:

The superior court denied PERB’s request for injunctive relief, finding that the electorate should have the opportunity to vote on Proposition B. Subsequently, the superior court issued a stay of PERB’s proceedings until after the election.

After passage of the measure, the unions went to PERB again to attempt to stop its implementation.  This act, too, was full of fail.

PERB sued the city in Superior Court earlier this year to get the pension reform initiative removed from the June ballot and, after it was approved by two-thirds of the voters, tried to stop its implementation.

The agency has, separately, commenced administrative proceedings that have not been resolved.

According to the documents, a lawyer for the board filed for the dismissal on Monday.

“The Superior Court lawsuit was a wasteful effort by this politically charged agency to deter pension reform initiatives in California,” San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. “PERB lost its motions because we demonstrated it had no legal justification.”

Opponents of Proposition B — primarily labor unions that represent municipal workers — contended that the city erred by placing the measure on the ballot without consulting them. Goldsmith maintained that the meet-and-confer process with unions was not required until the city began to implement its provisions.

The implementation process is taking place now.

The City Council recently instituted an interim 401(k)-type plan to offer most new employees, who will not be enrolled in the debt-ridden pension system. The plan was developed in consultation with union officials.

Negotiations are under way on a permanent retirement benefit.

Other provisions of Proposition B will be negotiated with the unions later.

Goldsmith indicates that more lawsuits filed by the unions are likely, as the implementation process continues.

The importance of having taxpayer-sensitive judges on the courts cannot be overlooked. Here is a question for Legal Insurrection readers to ponder: During elections, how much research do you do on judges?

One of the most important actions our group of activists in San Diego take is promoting a website that assesses the background and rulings of candidates, the California Judge Voter Guide.  There also is a wealth of information on California judges at Judgepedia.

A court win over unions is a sign that slowly, the network of information promoted by citizen organizations is having a positive effect — even in my crazy state!


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Leslie, if you ever start your own blog, you can count on me as a founding commenter.

Ummm, that’s not meant as a threat… :mrgreen:

“During elections, how much research do you do on judges?”

I usually spend about 30 minutes doing research on each judge, but am convinced I’m the only one in the entire United States that does so. I guess I feel like Hillary, “What difference does it make?”

    Anchovy in reply to snopercod. | January 24, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    At the local judge level, not being a lawyer or having much to do with the legal system, I usually depend on the recommendations of my local liberal newspaper and then vote for the other guy.

      snopercod in reply to Anchovy. | January 24, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      That’s one way to do it. I usually rely heavily on various groups that send questionnaires to all the judicial candidates. Reading the answers (or failures to answer) is very instructive. (Of course you never know if the candidate is telling the truth in that situation.)

No Dark Things | January 24, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I’ve been in CA too long to believe this will end up a win for tax payers. After the presidential election I’ve been looking into having my house declared a sovereign nation: Reaganistan.

Presumably a nationwide list of judicial elections exists, but I haven’t found it in the limited time available. This site itemizes state by state. It may well be a lefty site, but the data is there.

I usually ask around at the (law firm) office to see if people have experienc with a particular judges. If they are fair and unbiased, I have no problem voting for re-election.

For state Supreme Court justices, I check out some of their more controversial cases and vote against the liberals. I’m proud to say I helped kick some judges off the bench in Iowa in 2010.

The pension reform bill is interesting. A union contract is negotiated between the People and the Union. The People are represented at the table by the Government. The People expressed, through their votes, how they wanted the Government to negotiate (pension reform). There is no place for the Court to step in and require that the Government act contrary to the desire of its citizens.

Researching judges isn’t easy.

Especially in States like Michigan that have some that must be unaffiliated by law.

I had to search for lib code speak to sniff out the rats. Even that was tough, as they now seem to carefully cloak their rhetoric.

However, I found the Achilles Heel.

That would be..the “special interest groups” that endorsed them. OUTED!

It is outrageous that a voter has to be in effect an unpaid professional to vote in the vastly overblown stateist elections the left have built over the last 50 years. Then to be outvoted by paid morons the left brings in by the bussload. . . Leslie : Your Temple of Mutt sight I suspect reflects you. It is unique.

Counter intuitively, the real big winners of pension reform are the government workers. The older workers and retirees that will see an easier to match pension obligation for the city, and the younger workers who won’t see their retirement funds get sucked away by retirees.

Everyone wins. Too bad the Unions don’t see that.

So, unions have destroyed California.

As the incredibly stupid Hillary Clinton would say, ‘What difference does that make now?’

In NC the dims put into law that judges could not say what party they belong to. That’s because they were osing elections left and right. This makes it very difficult to know who to vote for. If I recognize a republican candidate I vote for him/her. Otherwise I don’t vote for that slot at all. I fear voting for a dim and refuse to do that. The republican party sends out a brochure telling which are republicans but I always forget to take it with me to the polls

The advice I got was this: since we have a liberal Governor in Colorado right now, vote to keep all judges in. If a good conservative was voted out, the liberal Governor would replace him with a liberal. Conversely, if we had a conservative Governor we should to vote them all out. The Governor could then find more conservative judges as replacements.

The unions are truly short-sighted.

The brits are a strange breed. Before WWII many, many of them said they would not fight for their country. They did not believe in war; nevermind war was being forced on them. For some reason they are influenced by communism in its various forms. If not that, they are certainly influenced by socialism. They are pacifists, they say. Does that mean they will lay down and let their enemies walk on them? Maybe the ones who refused to fight did just that. Luckily for them enough patriots answered the call to defend the country.

Back in the 70s and 80s and 90s Time magazine defended the Palestinians in many sob stories. I read Time at that time and found myself sympathizing with this riffraff. I thought maybe they had a point. Then one day I woke up and remembered the history of all this farce. The media, including Time, worked hard to change our perception of Israel and, unfortunately, they succeeded with many. We have to face the fact that the media and our government are allied with not only the Palestinians but with other muslim organizations to the detrement of our country. If anyone doubts this they should remember the alliance of Hitler (a socialist cum communist) with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem before and during WWII. Now we have obama allied with the muslim brotherhoos and more than likely al quaeda allied also and people are still blind to this fact.

I have a question for the group. How does this affect contract law, when a party can basically invalidate a good-faith negotiated contract by going to court when one side decides it no longer likes the terms of the agreement? Doesn’t that pretty much make all contracts un-enforceable? While I agree that some of the benefits seem ridiculous when compared to private sector benefits, remember that two parties sat down at a negotiating table and agreed to these. Why is this not being handled as most contract disputes, by being renegotiated at the end of the contract term? I believe the judge over-stepped in this case, and should have advised the parties to renegotiate the contract, either when it expires or at an earlier date (if allowed by provisions of the contract). Hold elected officials accountable for agreeing to these contracts.