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Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

Paul Sakuma / Associated Press

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed at a 2012 city council meeting.

California pension ballot measure dead for now, proponents aim for 2016

Published: Friday, Mar. 14, 2014 - 3:01 pm

The push to put a public pension measure on the November ballot is officially dead.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and his allies gave up Friday after a judge rejected Reed’s challenge to the language describing the measure for purposes of signature collection.

Despite the loss, Reed said in a statement, that “we will be targeting the 2016 election cycle for our proposed pension reform initiative.”

The measure he proposed would have given government employers, under certain circumstances. the authority to freeze accrued retirement benefits for current employees and then reduce them in the future. A body of case law says that pension benefits, once promised, can’t be cut without an offsetting benefit.

Reed and others who backed his measure say public pensions can’t be sustained at the benefit levels promised without siphoning money from crucial government services. Unions counter that the measure scapegoats government workers, that changes must be bargained and that officials such as Reed exaggerate the issue for personal political gain.

Today’s announcement came after a Sacramento Superior Court judge made final a tentative ruling on Reed’s lawsuit.

“I am disappointed that the Court declined to correct the inaccurate and misleading summary produced by the Attorney General.,” Reed said.

Call Jon Ortiz, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1043.

Read more articles by Jon Ortiz

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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Note: The State Worker blog switched blog platforms in October 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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