Most of you will remember when then-Attorney General Kamala Harris wrote ballot summaries for both of the proposed pension reform initiatives led by former Mayor Chuck Reed, in 2012 and 2016.
In both instances, A.G. Harris used language in the summaries stating that they “eliminated constitutional protections for vested pension and retiree benefits for current public employees, including those working in K-12 schools, higher education, hospitals, and police protect, for future work performed.”
Although highly misleading, Harris argued that
"even though previously earned benefits could not be taken away, it is conceivable that voters could cut back future benefits for existing workers.”
Both initiative efforts were withdrawn from the ballot. The new Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, is following in his predecessor’s footsteps.
As you will read in coverage in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, AG Bacerra’s title summary for the Gas Tax repeal effort states that the initiative “eliminates recently enacted road repair and transportation funding by eliminating revenues dedicated for those purposes.”
The gas tax repeal initiative backers appealed this wording and Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley rewrote the title, agreeing that it did not accurately reflect the initiative.
AG Becerra has now appealed that ruling.
Citizens for Sustainable Pension Plans opposed this tax for the simple reason that the money for infrastructure, roads, and a myriad other core services would have been available had it not been for massive, unfunded pension debt and a broken public employee pension system. We see this tax as yet another way to avoid needed reform.
It is obviously time to remove the attorney general’s office from the writing of ballot summaries. Until that happens, we need to get the word out that this effort to mislead voters is not acceptable.