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For nearly a decade, a challenge to the 2012 city pension reform measure known as Prop. B has wound its way through various courts.
This week, it might* have come to an end. (*This is San Diego, though, where nothing – vacation rental plans, stadium sagas – ever truly ends, so who knows.)
As Scott Lewis explains in a new piece, if this week’s decision by a Superior Court judge that Prop. B was invalid, that means the city has an enormous new challenge on its hands: how to make whole the city employees hired since that measure went into effect. Prop. B ended guaranteed pensions for new city employees, with the exception of police.
“The most likely outcome is that new employees hired at the city are put into the pension system as it stood before voters approved Proposition B in 2012. But roughly 4,000 city employees were hired after that – some of them have left – and they have been building a 401(k)-style retirement account. Most of them built investment portfolios in stocks that may have performed well,” Lewis writes. “It may take years to figure out whether they can continue in that option, can buy into the other, guaranteed pension option or take another route.”
With few new sources of revenue and dwindling reserves, officials in Lemon Grove are again considering a new tax measure to help the city avoid insolvency.
The small, cash-strapped city presented a three-quarters cent sales tax to voters last spring with a blunt message: If residents couldn’t secure a new revenue stream, they would have to say goodbye to their independence. The measure was rejected, though some said it wasn’t because they wanted to relinquish control of city government to the county.
“The biggest issue that I have come across, and I know it’s different with everybody, is trust,” said Chris Williams, who ran an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2020. “Right now, there is a lack of trust in leadership and that was proven when Measure S ran.”
City leaders will need to gain the trust of voters who are dissatisfied with the way the city manages their tax dollars, reports Bella Ross in a new story. Some residents have suggested they aren’t opposed to disincorporation, pointing to other larger cities that are not incorporated like Spring Valley, Lakeside and Alpine, while others are pushing for a clear plan for how the city will spend new revenue.
The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood, and edited by Sara Libby.