Redlands and Riverside are two cities people often suggest San Bernardino should try to imitate.
One should therefore take notice when the mayors of these two inland cities speak out against a proposal being backed by failed San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris.
Last week Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar and Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey joined with over a dozen California local elected officials stating their opposition of a proposed statewide initiative to gut pensions and healthcare benefits across California.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is headlining the flawed pension initiative that he created with the assistance of Mayor Pat Morris.
Pete Aguilar, Rusty Bailey, and the other local government leaders sent a letter to Chuck Reed asking him to drop the proposed initiative. They are quoted as writing:
“Like most Californians, we believe pension matters are best decided locally at the bargaining table rather than the ballot box,” wrote the mayors. “Our cities have been successful in doing just that – as have the overwhelming majority of those in California.”
According to the CalPERS, more than 386 jurisdictions have negotiated more than 538 changes to pension benefits, producing hundreds of millions in savings through 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 balancing budgets,” wrote the elected leaders.
“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, providing services to our city than in reducing their retirement security.
“Last year, Governor Brown and the Legislative 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.”
It is very telling when the mayors of two nearby, prosperous inland cities call out the Mayor of San Bernardino for pushing a flawed ballot measure that will likely increase costs to cities – not lower them.
The message from Mayors Aguilar and Bailey to Pat Morris is clear: Just because you ruined your city, doesn’t mean you have to force us to ruin ours.