Politics & Government

The Buzz: San Jose mayor close to filing California public pension measure

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed has been talking up a proposed ballot measure on California’s public pensions, and proponents appear poised to take the next step.

“I hope we’ll be in the position of filing for the title and summary in a few days,” Reed said Wednesday at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

State law requires the Attorney General’s Office to prepare the official title and summary of a proposed initiative before backers may collect petition signatures to place the issue before voters.

Reed, a Democrat, has been recruiting support for months for altering California’s constitution so that state and local governments may lower pensions prospectively for current employees while keeping their earned benefits intact.

Prevailing legal wisdom says that retirement promises to current employees are constitutionally protected.

Unions are testing that theory in court, challenging a voter-approved rollback for San Jose city employees, which Reed promoted.

Experts figure Reed will need $2 million to $4 million to collect the petition signatures required to qualify the measure for the November 2014 ballot.

Jon Ortiz


A new 16-state study of workers’ compensation systems says it’s too early to gauge the effects of last year’s overhaul of California’s system. But the Workers Compensation Research Institute’s study did find that after the state’s previous overhaul in 2004, disabled workers here received permanent partial disability payments more often than those in other major states and that those payments tended to be longer in duration – confirming an employer complaint that last year’s reforms addressed.

Dan Walters