Letter of Opposition to Chuck Reed's Proposed Pension Ballot Initiative

November 26, 2013


The Honorable Chuck Reed
Mayor, City of San Jose
200 East Santa Clara Street, 18th Floor San Jose, CA 95113

RE: Letter of opposition to your proposed pension ballot initiative

Dear Mayor Reed:

We are writing to express our opposition to your proposed ballot measure regarding the pensions of California’s firefighters, police officers, teachers, school employees, and other public employees.

Like most Californians, we believe pension matters are best decided locally and addressed at the bargaining table

rather than at the ballot box. Our cities have been successful in doing just that – as have the overwhelming majority of those in California.

According to CalPERS, more than 386 jurisdictions have negotiated more than 538 changes to pension benefits that have resulted in higher employee contribution levels, reduced employer costs and reduced benefits. We believe that engaging our public servants in constructive dialogue rather than political battles is a more effective way of achieving balanced budgets.

We also are extremely concerned about several specific provisions of your measure that will likely increase costs to California’s cities by hundreds of millions of dollars. We believe those dollars are better spent on local services and attracting and retaining quality public employees than in reducing their retirement security.

Last year, Governor Brown and the Legislature enacted sweeping pension measures that will save our communities and the state nearly $100 billion. Combined with the actions we are taking in our communities, we believe this will address the concerns about retirement benefits that your measure proposes to address. As a result, we urge you to withdraw your measure and engage with us in constructive dialogue with public employees to address the pension challenges facing our communities.


Mayor Pete Aguilar

City of Redlands

Mayor Rusty Bailey

City of Riverside

Mayor Connie Boardman

City of Huntington Beach

Mayor Aja Brown

City of Compton

City Councilwoman Erin Carlstrom

City of Santa Rosa

Supervisor David Chiu

City and County of San Francisco 

Mayor Gary Davis

City of Elk Grove

Mayor Marie Gilmore

City of Alameda

City Councilman Mark Johannasen

City of West Sacramento

Mayor Joe Kravoza

City of Davis

Mayor David Lim

City of San Mateo

Mayor Evan Low

City of Campbell

Councilman Kevin McCarty

City of Sacramento

Supervisor Mike McGuire

Sonoma County

Mayor Gayle McLaughlin

City of Richmond

Scott P. Bartley

Mayor, City of Santa Rosa

Mayor Jean Quan

City of Oakland

Mayor Andre Quintero

City of El Monte

Mayor Gina Papan

City of Millbrae

Mayor Jason Scott

City of Corona

Mayor Tony Spitaleri

City of Sunnyvale

City Councilman Dan Wolk

City of Davis

Mayor Jim Wood

City of Oceanside

Vice Mayor Jim Wood

City of Healdsburg

City Councilman Victor Gordo

City of Pasadena