Eyes on San Diego and San Jose as Voters Approve Pension Cuts

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders backed a measure to cut pensions and switch to 401(k) plans for city employees. Voters approved the measure Tuesday. (Photo: Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)San Diego voters have approved a closely watched measure to cut public retirement funds.

The semi-final tally reported early this morning by county elections officials was 110,738 votes for to 56,559 votes against, a roughly 33-percent margin. Though officials are still tabulating the vote for last-minute mail-in and provisional ballots, the margin is so wide the outcome is already all but certain.

Prop B will move all new city hires over to a 401(k) plan instead of giving them a traditional pension. A similar measure was approved by voters in San Jose, but in both cities opponents are already moving to challenge the statutes in court.

Unions are among the most vehement opponents, claiming it was a ruse, of sorts, to get around labor negotiations. Prop B was a voter initiative, but it enjoyed the support and influence of Mayor Jerry Sanders and at least two city council members.

Other municipal and state governments are sure to be watching as the legal challenges take shape. Public pensions have come under increasing scrutiny as government agencies look for ways to control ballooning budgets and weather the recession.

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Web Editor for SoCal Connected, KCET's award-winning television newsmagazine. He has worked in just about every medium, with stories appearing on TV, radio, Web, and print. He is also the editor of the Online Journalism Review at ...
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