Adachi Pension, Healthcare Reform Measure
Qualifies for November Ballot

Written by Luke Thomas. Posted in News, Politics

Published on August 02, 2010 with 11 Comments

Pubic Defender Jeff Adachi submitted over 77,000 signatures to the San Francisco Department of Elections, July 6, to qualify a pension and healthcare reform measure (now certified) for the November ballot. Photo by Luke Thomas.

By Luke Thomas

August 2, 2010

A controversial pension and healthcare reform ballot measure sponsored by Public Defender Jeff Adachi has qualified for the November ballot.

The measure, dubbed SF Smart Reform, qualified with 49,178 valid signatures, according to the San Francisco Department of Elections.  A minimum of 46,000 valid signatures were needed for ballot certification.

“I would like to thank the people of San Francisco who signed our petitions and the Department of Elections who confirmed qualification of the measure for the November ballot,” Adachi said in a statement.  “The Sustainable City Employees Benefits Reform Act is a reasonable and moderate step that San Francisco can take to bridge our escalating budget deficit and save $170 million per year. These savings can be used to preserve the services that people rely upon and the jobs that people depend upon.”

The measure aims to rein in unsustainable pension and healthcare costs projected to exceed $1 billion by 2016.

The initiative is opposed by labor groups who say the measure is regressive and will hurt low-income working families.  Mayor Gavin Newsom also opposes the measure.

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas

Luke Thomas is a former software developer and computer consultant who proudly hails from London, England. In 2001, Thomas took a yearlong sabbatical to travel and develop a photographic portfolio. Upon his return to the US, Thomas studied photojournalism to pursue a career in journalism. In 2004, Thomas worked for several neighborhood newspapers in San Francisco before accepting a partnership agreement with the SanFranciscoSentinel.com, a news website formerly covering local, state and national politics. In September 2006, Thomas launched FogCityJournal.com. The BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, New York Times, Der Spiegel, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Magazine, 7x7, San Francisco Examiner, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly, among other publications and news outlets, have published his work. Thomas is a member of the Freelance Unit of the Pacific Media Workers Guild, TNG-CWA Local 39521 and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookGoogle Plus

  • Pingback: Adachi Pension, Healthcare Reform Measure Qualifies for November Ballot – Fog City Journal | Support Health Reform

  • http://www.jamiewhitaker.com jamiewhitaker

    Thanks for the fabulous news! Now we get to find out who is beholden to the unions and who truly supports doing what is best for the most San Franciscans. Thank you Jeff Adachi … It is about time somebody demonstrated some leadership to DO SOMETHING instead of just talking about the need to do something while vital city services get cut to the bone. This will easily pass …

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Adachi Pension, Healthcare Reform Measure Qualifies for November Ballot | Fog City Journal -- Topsy.com

  • Patrick

    Great news. Unless we reform the pension system, the City will head toward insolvency (and our State is already there). Kudos to Adachi for showing leadership on this issue. And the personal attacks and retribution Adachi’s enduring — Chis Daly trying to cut his public defender budget, Bob Muskat questioning his taxes, etc. — are outrageous. These attacks indicate that Labor cares about Labor, not the City.

  • http://www.fogcityjournal.com/wordpress/author/hbrown/ Harold Brown

    OK!

    Game on. Perhaps Marc Salomon could write a 10,000 word comment?

    h.

  • DavidD

    Jeff Adachi is a hero for doing this. The whole idea of a pension is totally outdated. We should get rid of all pensions for new hires and have people sign up for 401K’s like all the rest of us.

  • Marc Salomon

    This has nothing to do with pensions and everything to do with making health care unaffordable to families of city workers, all so that we can pay Adachi’s attorneys hefty six figure salaries to defend repeat offenders against Kamala Harris’ incompetent, overpaid prosecutors.

    -marc

  • Sflocal

    “The $170 Million Fallacy

    The big selling point of Adachi/Moritz is that it not only saves the city from financial disaster, but also allegedly redirects $170 million in city funds to public services like parks, MUNI and housing. That’s very attractive, given constant MUNI fare hikes and service cuts, and battles to keep streets clean and parks functioning.

    It sounds too good to be true. Which it is.

    First, as noted above, the projected savings does not account for the costs of dependents forced to use SF General Hospital because their parent or spouse cannot afford the over $3500 annual premium increase.

    Second, the projected savings does not account for the loss of local tax revenue. Employees forced to pay over $5000 more in increased pension and health care costs will spend less in San Francisco restaurants, bars, clothing stores and other businesses. This reduces the city’s business revenue, and hurts small businesses already under stress from the recession.

    Third, the initiative does not require that a single dollar of savings be spent to improve MUNI or any other public service. Why not?

    If the goal were to protect vital public services, why did Adachi and Moritz not create a “lockbox” to ensure this?

    Instead, the measure allows city managers to take the savings and hire more administrators Or they can raise management salaries. The initiative even allows the next Mayor to direct the savings toward hiring a bunch of highly paid aides to work on pet mayoral projects.

    Adachi/Moritz didn’t have the courage to take on these sacred budget cows. It was easier to promote the corporate agenda of blaming public pensions for urban fiscal problems.

    The Single-Bullet Theory

    When I first learned that Jeff Adachi was trying to address spiraling pension costs, I applauded his political courage for taking on a tough issue. Unlike some who will oppose the initiative, I do not have a problem with addressing employee pension costs as part of a comprehensive strategy to address San Francisco’s structural budget problem.

    But I never suspected that Adachi would use a pension reform measure to attack city employees’ ability to provide medical care for their spouses and children. That’s a strange strategy for somewhat with the title, “Public Defender.”

    Adachi/Moritz exempts downtown corporations from helping solve the city’s budget crisis, despite these corporations’ prior litigation against the city’s business tax. This litigation, settled by the city in 2001, has cost San Francisco hundreds of millions of dollars and has not been adequately replaced.

    It appears that Moritiz and his wealthy allies were kept out of sight so that the fighting Public Defender with strong progressive credentials could front for the signature drive. But the measure’s protection of corporate interests and targeting of union workers has all the fingerprints of the Schwarzenegger policies endorsed by Stephen Crane, one of the initiative’s drafters.

    In targeting city employees and their families to “solve” the city’s budget crisis, Adachi/Moriz is counting upon big money and misrepresentation to foist Republican economic policies on the nation’s most Democratic city.”

    http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=8373#more

  • http://District5Diary Rob Anderson

    “Targeting families”? Rubbish. You have to read the Grand Jury’s report to understand what this is about. Adachi is doing the city a huge favor.
    http://sfsuperiorcourt.org/modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2660

  • http://www.linkedin.com/myprofile?trk=hb_tab_pro Ann Garrison

    Are all affected City workers represented by the Labor Council?

    Also, @Marc: I appreciate most of what you write, but urge against lashing out at “repeat offenders” about this. Unless you’re counting on “repeat offenders” and those concerned with their defense not voting.

  • davidpwaggoner

    @ Marc – “…all so that we can pay Adachi’s attorneys hefty six figure salaries to defend repeat offenders against Kamala Harris’ incompetent, overpaid prosecutors.” Way to use the flamethrower!

  • seej

    …Seriously, did someone actually post this piece from BeyondReality.org in its entirety? Comments in all caps.

    “The $170 Million Fallacy

    The big selling point of Adachi/Moritz is that it not only saves the city from financial disaster, but also allegedly redirects $170 million in city funds to public services like parks, MUNI and housing. That’s very attractive, given constant MUNI fare hikes and service cuts, and battles to keep streets clean and parks functioning.

    FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, THE CITY HAS AN $800 MILLION STRUCTURAL DEFICIT, HOW COULD THE MONEY BE “REDIRECTED” FOR ANYTHING??

    It sounds too good to be true. Which it is.

    First, as noted above, the projected savings does not account for the costs of dependents forced to use SF General Hospital because their parent or spouse cannot afford the over $3500 annual premium increase.

    EMPLOYEES WILL PAY THE INCREASE OR IF THERE’S A BETTER DEAL OUT THERE, PURCHASE INSURANCE FROM A THIRD PARTY OR GET A NEW JOB WITH BETTER BENEFITS. SOURCE ON THE $3,500?? WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING TO COME FROM TO PAY THE 9% PER YEAR INCREASE IN PREMIUMS AND THE $4 BILLION UNFUNDED RETIREE HEALTH LIABILITY?? YOU THINK SOMEONE ELSE SHOULD PAY THIS OTHER THAN THOSE RECEIVING THE BENEFITS, THEN STATE WHOM…

    Second, the projected savings does not account for the loss of local tax revenue. Employees forced to pay over $5000 more in increased pension and health care costs will spend less in San Francisco restaurants, bars, clothing stores and other businesses. This reduces the city’s business revenue, and hurts small businesses already under stress from the recession.

    THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A DECENT ARGUMENT IF CITY EMPLOYEES LIVED IN THE CITY…

    Third, the initiative does not require that a single dollar of savings be spent to improve MUNI or any other public service. Why not?

    $800 MILLION STRUCTURAL DEFICIT- SEE CONTROLLER’S REPORT.

    If the goal were to protect vital public services, why did Adachi and Moritz not create a “lockbox” to ensure this?

    ARE YOU DENYING OUR STREETS LOOK LIKE CRAP ALREADY, OUR PARKS ARE RUN DOWN ALREADY, THERE ARE FEWER POLICE OFFICERS ON THE BEAT THIS YEAR THAN LAST – THE CROWDING OUT OF VITAL PUBLIC SERVICES IS ALREADY HAPPENING….IT IS A FIRST STEP TO STEMMING THE GUTTING OF OUR VITAL CITY SERVICES. THE CITY HAS ALREADY OVERSPENT BY $800 MILLION…

    Instead, the measure allows city managers to take the savings and hire more administrators Or they can raise management salaries. The initiative even allows the next Mayor to direct the savings toward hiring a bunch of highly paid aides to work on pet mayoral projects.

    WITH GIGANTIC DEFICITS LOOMING, THIS IS NOT REALISTIC.

    Adachi/Moritz didn’t have the courage to take on these sacred budget cows. It was easier to promote the corporate agenda of blaming public pensions for urban fiscal problems.

    YOU DON’T THINK PENSIONS HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE CITY’S FISCAL PROBLEMS – WOW.

    The Single-Bullet Theory

    When I first learned that Jeff Adachi was trying to address spiraling pension costs, I applauded his political courage for taking on a tough issue. Unlike some who will oppose the initiative, I do not have a problem with addressing employee pension costs as part of a comprehensive strategy to address San Francisco’s structural budget problem.

    But I never suspected that Adachi would use a pension reform measure to attack city employees’ ability to provide medical care for their spouses and children. That’s a strange strategy for somewhat with the title, “Public Defender.”

    HE’S ATTACKING CHILDREN!!!

    Adachi/Moritz exempts downtown corporations from helping solve the city’s budget crisis, despite these corporations’ prior litigation against the city’s business tax. This litigation, settled by the city in 2001, has cost San Francisco hundreds of millions of dollars and has not been adequately replaced.

    HOW DOES THE ADACHI AMENDMENT PRECLUDE ANYONE FROM PUTTING TAX INCREASES ON THE BALLOT – WERE NOT THE TAX INCREASES SLATED FOR NOVEMBER PULLED UNILATERALLY BY THE BOS??

    It appears that Moritiz and his wealthy allies were kept out of sight so that the fighting Public Defender with strong progressive credentials could front for the signature drive. But the measure’s protection of corporate interests and targeting of union workers has all the fingerprints of the Schwarzenegger policies endorsed by Stephen Crane, one of the initiative’s drafters.

    IS IT ASKING TOO MUCH TO AT LEAST GET THE NAMES CORRECT OF THOSE YOU ATTACK SENSELESSLY?

    In targeting city employees and their families to “solve” the city’s budget crisis, Adachi/Moriz is counting upon big money and misrepresentation to foist Republican economic policies on the nation’s most Democratic city.”

    TRUST ME ON THIS BRO- DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS AND THE GREEN PARTY WANT PUBLIC EMPLOYEES TO PAY MORE FOR THEIR BENEFITS…

    THAT WAS FUN…

  • Marc Salomon

    “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, THE CITY HAS AN $800 MILLION STRUCTURAL DEFICIT, HOW COULD THE MONEY BE “REDIRECTED” FOR ANYTHING??”

    Ask Jeff Adachi:

    “I would like to thank the people of San Francisco who signed our petitions and the Department of Elections who confirmed qualification of the measure for the November ballot,” Adachi said in a statement. “The Sustainable City Employees Benefits Reform Act is a reasonable and moderate step that San Francisco can take to bridge our escalating budget deficit and save $170 million per year.

    —> These savings can be used to preserve the services that people rely upon and the jobs that people depend upon.” <—

    That was fun.

    -marc