A legal fight may keep San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s state public pension initiative off the November ballot now that proponents want to sue over the way California Attorney General Kamala Harris worded the ballot language.
“The ballot summary is just plain wrong,” San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, the initiative’s chief proponent, said in a statement. “It provides an inaccurate description of our initiative and misleads the voters as to what the measure does. The Attorney General’s Office has failed to meet its legal duty to give voters a ‘true and impartial’ summary of our initiative.”
Realistically, if the Pension Reform Act goes to voters it won’t be until 2016, he said.
“Every day that goes by is one less day to collect signatures,” Reed told the SacBee.
The challenge is expected to be filed in Sacramento Superior Court next week and may take a matter of weeks to sort out, which holds up signature-gathering.
Reed says the official description of the ballot measure was inaccurately worded by Harris’ office because it says the proposed reform “eliminates constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree healthcare benefits for current public employees, including teachers, nurses and peace officers, for future work performed.” Reed says it would only roll back pension benefits if bargaining falls through.
When the official language was released earlier this month, unions said they hated the wording, too, arguing that it didn’t reflect the goal of the measure to “slash the retirement benefits and retiree health care of current and future employees.”