Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan abandoned efforts this week to gather signatures for a ballot initiative to reform the city’s public pension plan. Riordan said he didn’t think he could acquire 300,000 signatures by the Dec. 28 deadline to get his measure, which would rquire city workers to contribute more toward their pensions and convert all employees to 401K-type plans, on the May ballot.
It will come as no shock that Service Employees International Union Local 721, which represents public service workers in Southern California, and the Los Angeles Police Protective League led the opposition to Riordan’s initiative.
Tyler Izen, the president of the LA Police Protection League, said Riordan’s plan was “both simplistic and costly … for the taxpayers.” But what is truly costly is avoiding reform. According to the Los Angeles Times, the city’s pension shortfall hinders its ability to balance its budget. Miguel Santana, LA’s chief financial officer, said the faces a $222 million budget shortfall now and a $427 million gap by 2014-15.