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Of the country's largest cities fighting back against the unsustainable cost of public worker pensions.
Joining me now reform supporters from both cities Sam Ricardo the San Jose city councilman and Kevin south winner.
San Diego City Council president pro -- welcome via both.
-- -- -- last night -- only what was gonna happen he said voters there were excited.
They were ready for change and boy -- they vote for it the margins in your city unbelievable what's your reaction today.
-- right and it it was it was a fantastic margin 66%.
Jerry and -- and I'll tell you just as you are are talking earlier with senator Thompson.
This cuts across partisan lines it cuts across demographics.
People in San Diego were hungry for change ready for change.
And the overwhelming margin which this past last night I think cements the fact that.
Not only can we do it here in San Diego but as we -- San Jose and asset predict we will see in other cities across the country.
Voters have the power to make these changes.
-- that it -- margin in San Jose was even bigger 70% voting for change and boy you're changes there really dramatic.
Requiring at at a real heavy participation and pension savings at retirement savings by city workers there.
I tell me about your reaction today's numbers were you surprised at how popular this initiative was.
Thanks Jerry you know we weren't we had been hearing from our residents for.
A long time and we've been wrestling with this now for several years.
About how although we're -- very democratic city we believe in government.
We're tired of seeing cops laid off in libraries close nor to pay for pensions.
And so residents were really desperate as we all work for a solution and the majority of the council members who voted to put this on -- measure on the ballot we're Democrats just as Kevin mentioned.
This is something that crosses party lines and people believing government believed that we need to.
Tighten the belt from going to be -- -- provide services and meaningful way insidious cross country so appealing -- to both parties here haven't TU -- you mentioned that other cities might be picking up on this are you getting phone calls from city councilmen and mayors.
All over the country.
Well so we're certainly get an interest stuff from not only cities across the state of California many of -- -- fortunately in a very similar position but that yes that the national spotlight.
Is intense because of what this means and you know Jerry as as I said it before we want to -- retirement system that's fair.
But it's we have to have one we have to have one that's sustainable for the taxpayers.
Or paying the bill.
And every dollar that we're not putting in the pensions as a dollar that we can put back into our neighborhoods our streets our parks are public safety it it just makes common sense.
Any way you look at it and and I do think that other cities are gonna look at this and say.
How can we get this -- here because to do nothing.
It's simply just will not work.
To do nothing won't work.
Sammy -- TU I you know I live in San Francisco so I I know how liberal can really be an -- part of the country.
And it's interesting that that you were mentioning that so many Democrats were supporting this initiative that this is really a progressive cause.
You think this can become a bipartisan issue across the country.
Did try to rein in the spending to to control -- so -- we'll leave a legacy of debt for our kids.
Well absolutely should be and -- you know we've got a democratic governor here in California has proposed.
The very substantial pension reform package unfortunately the legislatures not biting right now.
But this should cut across parts of -- it seems to me that we all believe.
And -- sustainable government.
Regardless of how we believe the size of that government should be.
Do you agree with that I mean.
Could you get the governor on board with saving you know the state itself is facing some sixteen billion dollars in debt I mean at the state is in a heck of a massive they -- only follow the lead of your two cities boy you be doing much better.
-- I think the state would do well to look at what's going on in San Diego and San Jose Jerry.
I mean in our situation.
There was there was so much you know angst over what we're gonna do.
And we knew that if we actually got this before the people if we actually -- it and people were ready to make this change because they've seen.
What are growing pension payment has been in -- city of San Diego up to 230 million dollars a year.
And if we did nothing that would grow to over 330.
And so they wanted to change that dynamic.
I think if you look at the voters of California.
I know because I've talked to some of my colleagues and other cities and other people across the state.
They know that they have to take action or else.
Like I said it is not gonna have the money to do what we're supposed to be doing -- which is right services the taxpayers are footing the bill.
Well it I've heard about San Jose having just terrible problems even being able to.
To man their fire stations I mean -- they've really got draconian there.
And other parts of the state as well Tim -- I ask you though there was up at talk of a lawsuit being filed this morning by public unions.
What's the latest on that and how are you gonna respond.
Well there's been a race to the courthouse on both sides we're going to federal court seeking declaratory relief.
So we can get.
Settled -- clarified early on and see if we can resolve the legal issues at least as a -- to enable us to go forward.
And make the changes we need to save the dollars and restore services.
We recognize there was going to be litigation of course -- will be litigation -- California after all.
But the reality is that there wasn't litigation and trying to reform.
This this pension -- We'd be going the way of Stockton where they just voted at recently to authorize -- city manager file for bankruptcy in UB in bankruptcy court.
Facing a similar lawyers and similar judges.
So take your core way or another either -- addressed relatively -- -- up in court.
You guys have to be happy that you're not -- today that's for darn sure filing bankruptcy.
That's a disaster -- Kevin thanks for coming on tonight fascinating stories good luck with your cities and we will be following the legal fight that -- thank you so much.
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