Before the Nov. 6 election, I had been encouraged by signs of reform in the pension arena, especially given overwhelming primary votes in favor of reform in San Jose and San Diego. But the general election results mean an end to reform efforts. San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio lost his bid to become mayor, and the incoming mayor will almost certainly use his power to gut the pension measure. We'll soon start seeing the death of local reform efforts. Here we see a California Forward story about the end of reform in Los Angeles.
As the article explained:
Schnur is right about the long-term prognosis. Eventually, cities will have to reform pensions as they run out of money. But after Nov. 6, the energy for reform will dissipate. The question is: How long before California's profligate-spending cities will have to rein in the outrageous packages provided to municipal unions?"It's a very significant victory for organized labor. After the passage of initiatives in San Jose and San Diego, earlier this year, it's clear that organized labor in Los Angeles was ready for this challenge and they mobilized to stop it in a way labor wasn't able to do it in those other two cities," said Dan Schnur, director Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC. "That said, the issue isn't going away and the next mayor is going to have to deal with it."
The Legislative Analyst's Office provided a ridiculously rosy scenario about California's budget. California officials no doubt are accepting the idea that the economy will soon come roaring back and these problems will be solved. So expect nothing to change until the economy forces officials to grapple with scarcity.