From the Tony Hall for Mayor Campaign
Editor’s Note: Democracy is best served when all points of view can be heard. Mr. Hall, an independent with no party affiliation who has qualified for public matching funds, is being excluded from tomorrow’s San Francisco Police Officers Association mayoral forum because the POA doesn’t like what he has to say about pension reform.
August 3, 2011
Tomorrow there is to be a mayoral ‘forum’ held by the San Francisco Police Officers Association and moderated by a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. I inquired of the SFPOA’s leadership why I was not invited, and I was told specifically that it was because of my stance calling for stronger pension reform. I asked them to reconsider their position and I have not yet heard back. That is answer enough for me to issue this statement.
San Francisco’s political scene has now descended to a point where a major newspaper columnist and labor unions will put their brand on a false forum that intentionally shuts out opposing points of view. I suspect that even upon hearing this information, the other candidates will continue to participate in this false forum of ideas. Given the reasons for my exclusion, the fact that they were all invited reinforces my point that I am the only candidate for Mayor willing to ask more of stakeholders in the pension debate. I have said it in my campaign and it is clearer than ever that I am the only candidate willing to challenge the status quo to make this a better city. The other candidates will all be sitting side-by-side in a row Thursday night.
Let me also make clear that I have not committed to voting for either of the pension measures on the ballot. Although I have seen fiscal analyses that show that Jeff Adachi’s plan saves considerably more than Mayor Lee’s Charter Amendment deal, I have not come out in support of Jeff Adachi’s plan because if elected San Francisco Mayor, I believe I could negotiate a stronger pension reform plan that includes health care savings. As a Supervisor I had a strong track record of working with all sides and taking on big city issues, and I would take that same approach on the pension issue to achieve much greater savings with a new tier of contributions, while keeping promises to vested city employees, including police and firefighters.
The current pension deal is frankly a complete failure of leadership. It is a quick fix designed to head off real pension reform, and it barely scrapes the surface of our pension crisis. By the Mayor’s own analyses, pension fund overruns will continue to increase over the next five years, costing city taxpayers $4 billion dollars that should be going to fund a better quality of life for all citizens. Mark my words that if we don’t get the parties back to the table for a stronger deal, this crisis will continue to grow much worse.
I also differ from my opponents in that I welcome Ed Lee to the race if he chooses to run. I have said from the beginning that the interim Mayor deal was a blatant insiders deal that could and would be broken at any time, and I have also thought from the beginning that Ed Lee’s record needs to be on the ballot for voters to judge.
Now it appears Ed Lee will run with the backing of the city insiders, and with his various proposals on pensions and budget all passing 11-0 and meeting no resistance from the rest of the mayoral field, there is clearly only one candidate voters can choose if they want real change. Just as I was in my successful 2000 bid for Supervisor, I am proud to be the real reform candidate standing up against the insider machine, and I wont change my message to suit any special interest.
San Franciscans, your city’s future is at stake – you deserve real, unafraid leadership, and you deserve real pension reform. As your mayor, I will provide both.