As pretty much everyone knows by now, Jeff Adachi collected enough signatures to place a charter amendment on the November ballot that would reform the city’s retirement and health benefits plan. His amendment has become such a hot political topic that the Potrero Hill Democractic Club asked the 15 candidates who spoke at the club’s August 2 and 3 District 10 forums what they thought of Adachi’s “smart reform."
By my understanding of what the candidates said, four seemed unsure what the Adachi amendment would do, or were open to the idea, while the other eleven were opposed. But read for yourself what the D. 10 candidates said and decide where they stand on this issue:
Kristine Enea: “Certainly something needs to be done. I did sign [Adachi's] petition. Adjusting for new employees has an inherent fairness. The path we are on is not sustainable."
Nyese Joshua: (After admitting that she didn’t know much about Adachi’s amendment), “In terms of bringing it to the ballot, I agree.”
Lynette Sweet: “What Jeff Adachi did was not a bad thing, but the way he went about it was.”
Stephen Weber: “I don’t believe it was done right way, but I like the idea. The labor leaders are willing to sit down and discuss the pension plan. They just want to discuss it with the Board that is sitting there now.”
Eric Smith. “I love Jeff Adachi. And initially it looked great. But Beyond Chron [for which Smith sometimes writes] has an interesting story: When I read it, it says the measure goes after people’s health benefits. That’s troubling. I can’t really get behind this. We need to do reform from the bottom up, not from the top down.”
Malia Cohen: “Adachi’s a great public defender, but he’s taken an approach that’s disrespectful of public policy. Instead, he’s created a policy. I’m not in favor of it, if it unfairly taxes those at the bottom."
Steve Moss: “The labor unions are rightfully furious. Pensions need reform. Things are out of whack. But this could lead to folks losing healthcare because they have to pay more to cover their dependants.”
Geoffrea Morris: “He had a point. The unions are very powerful in the city, he didn’t want to go through the red tape. Something needs to be done to reform healthcare and pensions.”
Isaac Bowers: "I thoroughly reviewed the San Francisco civil grand jury's 'Pension Tsunami' report. I don’t think his initiative is the right way to go. I fear copayments for healthcare will throw people back on the city.”
Tony Kelly: “Great guy, stupid idea.”
Espanola Jackson: “You should talk to Adachi. Don’t shoot him down.”
Chris Jackson: “The measure is popular, it’s polling in the 60 percent range. But Adachi never talked to the nurses and the workers who make $35,000. And then there is the fact that this in an attack on healthcare. So a large percentage of the ‘savings’ is what workers will have to contribute. It’s a move away from supporting working class individuals.”
DeWitt Lacy: “We need pension reform. But no one likes change rammed down their throats without any negotation with, or input from, the workers. It addresses an important issue, but it’s too divisive.”
Diane Wesley Smith: “It’s ridiculous. Some reform has to happen, but this isn’t it.”
Marlene Tran: “Jeff Adachi took a lot of risks in this pro-labor town. He claims a $170 million savings. I would support it, because everyone should pay into the pension fund.”