Early results show strong support for Measure B

June 5, 2012 11:45:20 PM PDT
Early returns show San Jose's much-debated pension reform Measure B leading with 71 percent approval, signaling a big victory for Mayor Chuck Reed, who has been watched nationally for his attempts to rein in retirement costs.

If the measure passes in spite of the efforts by city employee unions to defeat it, future pension benefits will be altered significantly. Tom Saggau, a union political consultant, said a passage of Measure B tonight would be swiftly followed by legal action by the city employee unions.

Reed said around 9:30 p.m. that although he expects the initiative to pass, he is not celebrating yet.

"It's going great, and it's good news for the people of San Jose," he said.

Reed was on his way to an event in support of Councilwoman Rose Herrera, who is up for re-election in District 8 tonight. Herrera was leading by a wide margin, with 49 percent of the vote based on early returns.

Among the changes contained in Measure B, new employees would pay 50 percent of pension costs, while current employees would be given the option to choose a lower-cost plan or pay more for their current one. According to Saggau, that amounts to the city walking away from a contract it made with employees.

"It's absolutely unconstitutional ... we're going to court very shortly to litigate over Measure B," Saggau said.

The measure would also give the City Council the right to temporarily suspend retiree cost-of-living adjustments during fiscal emergencies and would require voter approval for any future increases in retirement benefits.

Reed has said the city's retirement costs have tripled in the last decade and now cost the city $245 million per year.


Load Comments