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San Francisco Public Defender Tries Again On Pension Reform Measure

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi started gathering signatures Wednesday to put a revised version of his failed pension reform measure before voters in November.

"We learned a lot from the campaign," Adachi said.

Since voters rejected Proposition B in 2010, Mayor Ed Lee, the Board of Supervisors and the public employee unions have all looked at ways of changing the city's public employee pension system.

KCBS' Barbara Taylor Reports:

San Francisco is paying more than $375 million this year, a number the city controller's office expects to explode to $800 million by 2014 if nothing is done.

"Prop B, we said, was an important first step towards solving the problem. This proposal will solve the problem if it's passed in November," Adachi said.

The scaled back version of what had been Prop B leaves aside health care contributions and addresses only pensions.

"What we've advanced today is a measure that will answer all the critics of pension reform in November," Adachi said.

It would amend the city's charter to cap pensions for new workers at $140,000 and raise the retirement age three to seven years, depending on the classification of the worker.

Like the plan put forward by the mayor, Adachi's measure requires a contribution from every public employee towards their retirement benefits—7.5 percent for most and 10 percent for police and firefighters.

That contribution would rise and fall depending on the health of the pension fund, based on the employee's income level.

"It's a progressive plan. It's fair to workers," Adachi said.

Unions campaigned aggressively to defeat Prop B last year, and have also been critical of the plan Mayor Lee hopes to put on the November ballot.

Adachi has until July 11 to collect the nearly 50,000 signatures needed to put his charter amendment before voters, while the mayor has until the end of May for the supervisors to put his measure on the ballot.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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