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Former Mayor Richard Riordan Surrenders and Suspends His Campaign for Radical Pension Evisceration!

Former Mayor Richard Riordan Surrenders and  Suspends His Campaign for Radical Pension Evisceration!

Claiming that Los Angeles employees’ retirement benefits were driving the city into bankruptcy, multi-millionaire and former Mayor Richard Riordan proposed a draconian ballot initiative for the May city ballot that would have ended retirement security for an entire generation of workers. He poured over a million dollars into a city wide signature gathering campaign. If it had reached the ballot and passed, it would have:

• Eliminated guaranteed defined benefit pensions for all new L.A. City workers and replaced them with risky 401(k) retirement savings plans.
• Closed all three existing LA City pension funds to new contributions, shrinking those plans, restricting their ability to invest, and increasing the city’s costs– exactly the opposite of Riordan’s stated goal.
• Prohibited future salary increases for new city employees to count toward their pensions.
• Required new city employees to pay fully half of the city’s pension costs, including unfunded liabilities.
• Authorized the City Council to restrict or eliminate defined benefits for current employees, regardless of collective bargaining agreements.

But thanks to a concerted “block and rescind” campaign by organized labor, it became clear to Riordan that all his money could not stop the truth. In only 10 days hundreds of workers educated voters and collected more than 8,000 rescission signatures to reverse their support for Riordan’s proposal (which he claimed would prevent eminent bankruptcy).

Today, on November 26, Riordan announced he would suspend signature collection, claiming there wasn’t enough time. But the problem wasn’t time. The problem was that voters simply could not stomach an attack on retirement security by the 1%.

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