Judge stops PERB process, clears way for Prop. B pension reform to appear on ballot
A Superior Court judge has called a halt to a state agency’s attempts to pull a local citizens’ initiative off the June ballot.
Judge Luis Vargas yesterday ordered the California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to cease its administrative proceedings aimed at stopping Proposition B (Comprehensive Pension Reform). Judge Vargas also quashed subpoenas that PERB had issued to Mayor Jerry Sanders and other City leaders ordering them to appear before the agency on April 2.
Vargas’ actions put on hold any PERB actions against Proposition B until further order of the court.
“We asked the court to defer all such legal challenges until after the election, and that is what Judge Vargas did,” said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. “These court orders ensure that San Diegans can exercise their constitutional right to vote on this initiative without meddling from PERB.”
PERB, at the instigation of local labor unions, recently sued the City of San Diego claiming that the City violated state labor laws by refusing to negotiate the terms of the local pension initiative before placing it on the ballot. PERB sought an injunction removing the initiative from the ballot, which was denied by a Superior Court judge in February.
Goldsmith’s office said this was a first of its kind lawsuit for several reasons. Given that the initiative qualified for the ballot with 116,000 signatures and is a citizens’ initiative regardless of who supports it,nNever has there ever been a law requiring or even allowing government to negotiate away the terms of a citizens’ initiative. If that were the case, Proposition 13 wouldn’t exist today.
It’s also believed a state agency has never filed a lawsuit to remove a citizens’ initiative from the ballot.
Although the request for an injunction was denied last month, PERB scheduled an administrative hearing to begin on April 2 in Los Angeles, seeking to do administratively what it could not achieve through the courts.
PERB issued 9 subpoenas requiring testimony from the mayor, Councilman Kevin Faulconer, the chief
operations officer and six additional staff members.
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