Capitol Alert

AM Alert: 2016 election battle over California pensions begins early

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed discusses his failed effort to put a public pension overhaul measure on the ballot at the Sacramento Press Club on April 3, 2014.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed discusses his failed effort to put a public pension overhaul measure on the ballot at the Sacramento Press Club on April 3, 2014. The Sacramento Bee file

We’re still 19 months away from the 2016 election, but the pension battle has already begun.

After a lengthy legal fight held up their last effort in 2014, former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio announced last month that they were launching a new drive, well ahead of deadlines, to get an initiative rolling back local public pensions on California’s November 2016 ballot. Reed and DeMaio argue that pension obligations are suffocating local governments’ core services.

Pension defenders are fighting back early. Californians For Retirement Security, a coalition of firefighters, teachers, police officers and other public employees unions, is staging a protest outside a “pension reform summit” hosted by the Reason Foundation, where Reed and DeMaio are scheduled to speak, 9 a.m. at the Sterling Hotel on H Street. The protesters will tie Reed and DeMaio to liberal bogeymen the Koch Brothers, who have helped fund Reason, a libertarian think tank.

GOING SHOPPING: The Department of General Services’ quarterly state surplus property auction is this weekend, with a preview today at 8 a.m. and the auction Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Surplus Property and Reutilization Warehouse on National Drive. Among the items you can bid on are cheese knives, a pizza dough press, a soft service ice cream machine and a Guitar Hero guitar, video game not included.

LISTEN UP: The Assembly Select Committee on Mental and Behavioral Health and Proposition 63 Implementation meets in Los Angeles today for an informational hearing about autism and other simultaneously occurring mental health disorders in minority communities, 9:45 a.m. at the California African American Museum.

ELECTION PREP: After making modest legislative gains in the 2014 election, Republicans are gearing up early for 2016. California Trailblazers, an organization to develop Republican candidates, is holding its first training session of the new election cycle in Sacramento on Saturday, where prospective candidates will hear from Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen and Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, as well as political and communications strategists.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, who turns 55 today, and to Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, who turns 75.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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