Pension reform proponents petition court to reverse Union Appeals Board decision

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The official Proponents of Proposition B, the citizens’ Comprehensive Pension Reform initiative, petitioned the Court of Appeals Monday to review and reverse the ruling of the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).

In December, the PERB issued a ruling that would invalidate Prop. B. The Proponents — April Boling, Stephen B. Williams and T.J. Zane — believed the ruling was illegal and beyond the jurisdiction of PERB.

Now that the board’s ruling has been made, the city is going to the Fourth District Court of Appeal. The city contends that even though municipal officials like then-Mayor Jerry Sanders backed Proposition B, they did so as private citizens.

"The people’s right to circulate and support citizen ballot initiatives is guaranteed by our state constitution,” City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. "This right is not subject to negotiation — it does not depend on who supports the initiative — it cannot be stripped from the people by a government agency.”

 “The reversal of the voter-passed initiative, and the silencing of the peoples’ voice, violates the intent of one of the landmark Progressive reforms of the early 20th century: the citizen-led initiative. Leave no doubt, it is an insult to the voters of San Diego who wished to have a direct voice in shaping our city’s laws,” Zane said, who served as chairman of the volunteer campaign committee.

The Proponents, acting as representatives of the voters of San Diego, further contended the unions’ claim was an affront to all the people who supported the initiative.

“We, as the Proponents, drafted, signed and circulated – along with countless volunteers – the initiative that would later become Proposition B. We urged its passage and 154,216 San Diego voters agreed with us. Prop B passed by 65.87% of the votes cast. We will not allow the voice of the voters to be stifled by unfounded, unproven union claims,” Boling said, who served as Chair of the Pension Reform Committee that initially identified the pension crisis that threatened to bankrupt the city. “And we will take every step necessary to preserve the cost-saving pension reform measure that benefits the entire City of San Diego.”

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