Let’s Start With This Idea on the Pension Initiative: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Don’t buy it.

Editorial: The pension (and retiree health) initiative on which we have been reporting on this blog sweeps in UC for no particular reason.  Yet all the propaganda concerning it so far deals with mayors and cities.  UC has no mayor and isn’t a city.

Were the Regents consulted by initiative proponents?  Was anyone at UCOP consulted?  Anyone at UC at all?  Yours truly sincerely doubts it.  Did anyone in the group pushing the initiative look at such issues as faculty recruitment, compensation, or any other UC issue?  Did they look at the issue of the constitutional autonomy of the Regents?

Basically, UC needs out.  The proponents of the initiative have plenty of time either to file a revised initiative excluding UC or making an amendment to what they have filed so far. 

The Regents, as blog readers will know, amended the UC pension plan in 2010, well before the state enacted its own plan (which exempted UC because of its earlier action).  We don’t want to be swept into someone else’s plan.  Where the governor stands on all of this is unclear.  The Sacramento Bee is reporting that he put a proponent of changes similar to the ones in the initiative on to a state board.  See http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/17/5830657/jerry-brown-taps-pension-reform.html.  CalPERS opposes the initiative.  See http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/16/v-print/5827735/calpers-weighs-in-on-new-public.html and http://www.calpers.ca.gov/index.jsp?bc=/about/press/pr-2013/oct/pension-ballot-initiative.xml.  However, the legal fight that CalPERS is having with the bankrupt City of San Bernardino is tending to inflame the pension issue in the public mind.  See http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/18/5831919/calpers-renews-san-bernardino.html. The renewed BART strike in the Bay Area also is not going to help with public opinion.  So, again, UC needs out.  And if it can’t get out, UC needs a plan pronto.