If ballot measures are like football games, then the proposed 2014 public pension initiative announced this week by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is putting on its pads.
Reed and the four other California mayors who joined him to file the proposal, which would change the state constitution so governments could lower current employees’ pension and retiree health benefits prospectively, have a campaign committee and little else.
No official ballot title and summary yet. No reported money, although at the mayor’s request a Texas millionaire last summer gave $200,000 to Reed’s local chamber of commerce for issue research.
No big-name coach/cheerleader besides the 65-year-old Reed. Although San Jose voters last year approved a city pension measure he backed, he remains a relative unknown outside of Silicon Valley and the political class.
Still, campaign strategy experts say it’s clear that Team Pension Reform has a playbook built from three failed attempts to put a pension measure before voters. A few pages:
“If the proponents convince them to separate from the public-sector workers, it becomes a competitive campaign,” Schnur said.