Supervisor Eric Mar: Yes on Prop. D, No on 16
As the June 8 election approaches, I have been actively promoting fiscal responsibility, retirement system reform, and supporting Clean Power SF to strengthen local and community choice for utility consumers. That's why I am urging you to vote "yes" on Prop. D for pension reform and "no" on Prop. 16.
Support Proposition D for Retirement Reform
San Francisco, as well as many other cities and counties around the United States, is in a financial crisis. We at the SF Board of Supervisors are doing what we can to come up with short- and long-term revenue generating solutions and cost cutting measures.
This June, you will have the opportunity to help save San Francisco between $400 million to $600 million over the next 25 years by voting for Proposition D. The savings can help the City fund critical programs and core services.
I, along with co-sponsors supervisors Sean Elsbernd and David Campos, have authored Proposition D, which is the first step in city employee retirement reform. The city's employee retirement system has historically had high investment earnings, which allowed it to fund 100 percent of its future projected retiree pension costs while paying less than the normal cost for these benefits. There has been a recent decline in investment earnings, which has pushed the funding ratio down from 100 percent to 97 percent.
As time goes on this problem will get worse, which is why immediate action is necessary. A retiree's pension payment is calculated based on the retiree's retirement age, number of years of service, and compensation. Proposition D will use a two year, versus a one year, average to calculate employee pension payments.
Because Proposition D requires that an employee's earnings are calculated during a longer period of time, it is likely to reduce the pension payments of those employees hired on or after July 1, 2010, which will reduce the city's future retirement costs. Proposition D will also create greater equity for city workers by asking new public safety employees who have more generous pensions to contribute a higher share of their paycheck towards retirement.
This measure will also address the city's $4 billion unfunded liability to retiree health benefits by requiring contributions to the health trust fund when the economy is good. In short, Proposition D will decrease the City's long-term retirement liability by slightly reducing employee benefits, increase employee contributions and provide a mechanism to deal with the city's unfunded health care costs for retired workers, saving the City hundreds of millions over the next 25 years.
Join me in voting "yes" on Proposition D.
Oppose Proposition 16
I have served as a member of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) for the past year. One of the main issues that LAFCO has focused on is Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), a system that allows cities and counties to aggregate the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts. This is extremely important and necessary because it would mean cleaner energy for everyone.
This June, you will have the opportunity to flex your voice by voting "no" on Prop. 16, which is a measure on the ballot that would require two-thirds voter approval before cities, counties and local power agencies could choose an alternative energy provider. PG&E; is the sole sponsor of Proposition 16, which will destroy the ability of communities to deliver clean power to consumers at competitive rates.
Market competition drives prices down for consumers, while Proposition 16 would maintain the current monopoly. Prop. 16 also targets Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs, such as San Francisco's Clean Power SF and Marin Clean Energy. These programs will soon provide half of the counties' electricity from renewable sources, but Proposition 16 would force them to go to the ballot.
I hope you will join me, the Sierra Club, City and County of San Francisco and many other Bay Area cities, counties and organizations, in voting against Proposition 16.
For more information about either of these measures, please check Smart Voter, for nonpartisan election information, at the Internet address www.smartvoter.org/ca/state.
San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar represents District 1.