money.jpgSan Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is now officially among a small but growing number of city officials supporting San Francisco’s controversial Proposition B, the city’s pension and benefits reform measure.

Reed spoke out in favor of the measure alongside San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi at a press conference held on the steps of San Francisco’s City Hall Thursday morning.

If passed, Proposition B would raise city and county worker contributions to their pension plans to between 9 percent and 10 percent, and employees would have pay half of their dependants’ health care costs. That could amount to hundreds of dollars more per month.

Reed said the measure would provide funds for vital services to continue, and that the upcoming Nov. 2 election is an opportunity for community members to be heard.

“The people need to take a stand,” Reed said. “Otherwise services will be cut–like they were in San Jose.”

Due to a dwindling budget, San Jose has had to reduce the number of firefighters and police officers, Reed said.

“Pension costs are draining the budget,” he said.

Reed said that San Jose residents and San Franciscans have a lot in common because Proposition B is similar to San Jose’s Proposition V, which addresses police and fire arbitration procedures and compensations without service cuts, and Proposition W, which would allow the amendment of the city’s retirement plan for new employees.

Former assemblyman and Stanford University public policy professor Joe Nation also spoke at the conference.

“The city of San Francisco will run out of money to pay its retirees,” Nation said.

The city is expected to face a $400 million shortfall next year, the controller’s office reported.

Nation stressed the possibility of other service cuts, including public transportation and higher education.

Attorney and former San Francisco Supervisor Carol Ruth Silver expressed the need to save the amenities, including parks, streetlights, 911 and the 311 information hotline.

“This is about basic services that any city has to have,” Silver said.

Silver said people with high-paying jobs are being asked to give up a little bit of their compensation in order to save city services.

Protesters on the sidewalk held “No on Prop B” signs and countered the speakers’ remarks.

“Prop B does not take into consideration a person’s income,” Service Employees International Union Local 1021 worksite organizer Jonathan Wright said.

Wright argued that not everyone who works for the city and county of San Francisco is well compensated, and that additional health care expenses could be devastating to families.

Fellow protester Larry Stephens, an investigator for the city and county’s Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector, said a majority of city employees, including teachers associations, are against the measure.

“It doesn’t help anybody,” Stephens said.

Proposition B opponents include Mayor Gavin Newsom, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris and state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco.

A representative for Proposition B’s supporters said savings from the pension changes would amount to an estimated $82 million per year.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!