Today is Friday the 13th, a day typically associated with bad luck. Bad luck is something Carl DeMaio and Chuck Reed know about. For several years now, they have tried to gut the retirement security of California working families with no luck. Next year they’ll try again.
You may remember DeMaio and Reed. They were two of the “pension ghouls” haunting the House of Pension Horrors this year. Neither of them is new to the fight over retirement security. DeMaio is a former Republican city councilman in San Diego. Reed is a former Democratic mayor of San Jose. They both led campaigns to gut pensions in their cities. While their local ballot measures were successful, courts later invalidated parts of both measures. In 2016 they will try, once again, to pass a pension cutting measure throughout the Golden State.
They’ve tried this before. In 2014, Reed tried to get a measure on the statewide ballot, but his effort collapsed, in part, because of revelations that he had taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from anti-pension ideologue John Arnold to fund his campaign. Reed sued Attorney General Kamala Harris attempting to get more favorable language for his measure, but the Courts ruled against him.
DeMaio and Reed have already run into problems this year. Their original proposal, the “Voter Empowerment Act of 2016,” was once again given an honest title and description by the Attorney General. It turns out they don’t like it when you explain the harm their measure would do to teachers, firefighters, nurses, and other public employees. They have now decided to split their effort into two separate measures and choose whichever one they think would be most likely to succeed.
If DeMaio and Reed are successful in getting a pension-gutting measure on the ballot next year, this promises to be a huge battle for the retirement security of California’s working families. Millions of teachers, firefighters, nurses, librarians, and other public workers are already preparing to stand up and fight for their hard-earned pensions. If you’re a California public worker, please share your story with us here and tell us how the DeMaio-Reed pension-gutting measure would harm you and your family.