Don Bauder 5:30 p.m., March 14
Business Group Announces Prop B Opposition
The Greater San Diego Business Association, which bills itself as “the second largest lesbian, gay and supportive [chamber of commerce] in the nation,” has issued a statement announcing its opposition to Proposition B, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Pension Reform initiative.
“After careful examination of data and objective analysis, GSDBA believes that the Proposition will be extraordinarily disruptive to City finances and actually adds no enforceable mandates. GSDBA finds nothing in this initiative that could not be negotiated with the unions today if the City Council so directed, despite the multi-million dollar price tag identified by San Diego's Independent Budget Analyst,” writes the Association.
As with other Prop B opponents, including mayoral candidate Bob Filner and union leader Michael Zucchet, the Association also notes that a five-year freeze on pensionable pay, the component of the plan that generates the entirety of the savings touted by the proposition’s supporters, is on shaky legal ground. Legal challenges have already been launched and unions have promised more upon the measure’s likely passage, involving issues such as equal protection, as police officers (whose pensions tend to be larger than other city employees) would receive a special exemption from the pay freeze.
“We do not oppose pension reform. In fact, we strongly favor it,” Tom Luhnow, the Association’s CEO tells the Reader. “However, this initiative won’t accomplish that.
“It doesn’t do anything substantial about pension reform; it is advisory only. It calls for the City’s employment negotiators to meet with the employees’ unions. Savings only occur if the employees’ unions agreed to freeze wages. We also considered whether Proposition B is likely to go into effect in the near future. Given the legal challenges we anticipate will be made against it on several fronts, we fear it will be tied up in the courts for several years, which means it will likely not go into effect, and the City will have to spend millions defending it.”
Luhnow said the proposal was reviewed by the group’s advocacy committee for a period of several months before a decision was made to publicly take a position.