New Court Complaint over Measure B

UPDATE: The California Superior Court set a hearing for Monday, April 2, to rule on competing lawsuits regarding Measure B.—Editor

Councilmember Pete Constant and Ballot Measure B’s campaign treasurer, Ben Roth, plan to file their own complaint in California Superior Court on Friday morning. Their petition claims opponents of the pension and benefits reform ballot measure used false and misleading statements in their arguments.

The writ of mandate asks for six statements from the argument portion against Measure B to be removed. The filing comes almost a week after labor unions filed their own lawsuit over ballot language. Constant and Roth’s complaint names Helen Chapman, Pattie Cortese, James Spence, John S. DiQuisto and Cay Denise Mackenzie as respondents. Roth was formerly the campaign treasurer on Measures V & W in 2010.

The matter will be heard in court Friday morning and could result in a judge ruling on both the unions’ lawsuit and the more recent petition ahead of the scheduled April 3 hearing.

Click to read the petition.

Here is the argument against Measure B as currently worded (The six points the petition disputes have been bolded):

Here’s what Measure B backers aren’t telling you: It could eliminate disability retirements for police and firefighters injured on the job and unable to perform their previous duties, it increases by thousands of dollars the amount widows and seniors pay for promised health care, and the City admitted that Measure B may not be constitutional because it violates employees’ vested rights.

Measure B is riddled with legal risk. Read what City Hall told Wall Street bond investors about its pension scheme: “Finally, existing law regarding vested rights and impairment of contracts may limit the City’s ability to change retirement benefits for current employees and retirees … “. But city officials never even tried to offer taxpayers a way to achieve any savings that would stand up in court.

Legal pension reform is important, but so are facts. City workers recently took 10%-18% pay cuts and don’t receive Social Security. The average federated pension is approximately $37,885.

Employees proposed dozens of legal pension reforms that would have increased retirement ages, reduced benefit levels and lowered COLA’s. Police and fire even proposed to cut pensions back to 1962 levels. Putting politics above policy, politicians said “NO”. Now, these same politicians want you to gamble with our City’s financial future.

In December, as an excuse for putting this measure on the ballot, politicians unsuccessfully tried to declare a fiscal emergency and described catastrophic cuts to city services. Now, all of a sudden, there is a $10 million budget surplus and millions to improve roads near a proposed sports stadium and to subsidize the Downtown Association. This pattern of inaccurate financial projections, meant to scare voters, helped convince the State’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee to audit the City of San Jose’s finances.

Tell the city to negotiate legal pension reform, Vote NO on Measure B!

Josh Koehn is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to josh@metronews.com or follow him on Twitter at @Josh_Koehn.

5 Comments

  1. Pete C. what a beauty! He is the same guy who wants to limit library access and not limit junk food, so every one will be like him big belly and no brain. Go ahead continue collecting your disability check and your Council pay while wanting to deny disability to police and fire.

    • > Here’s what Measure B backers aren’t telling you: It could eliminate disability retirements for police and firefighters injured on the job and unable to perform their previous duties, . . .

      ….

      >> Go ahead continue collecting your disability check and your Council pay while wanting to deny disability to police and fire.

      Sounds like Constant’s ballot measure would take away his disability.

      Isn’t that what you want?