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Judge allows Prop. B to move forward

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San Diego Superior Court Judge Luis Vargas on Tuesday denied a state agency’s request to halt Proposition B, the city of San Diego's pension reform measure.

The ruling allows the city to move forward on implementing Prop. B while the state examines its legality, an exercise that may take years.

A temporary restraining order preventing the city form beginning the implementation of the plan expired Friday. On Tuesday the judge found no reason to extend it.

“The Court finds traditional equitable considerations now weigh in favor of the voters, the city of San Diego and of a proper and orderly implementation of (Prop. B),” Vargas wrote in his ruling. “The Court is satisfied substantial progress is being made toward implementation of a proposition placed on the ballot by nearly 116,000 citizens and supported by a significant voter majority.”

The June ballot measure, which passed by a 2-to-1 margin, seeks to cut pension payments.

The state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) had sought a preliminary injunction to stop Prop. B from taking effect. It was acting on an Unfair Practice Charge brought by the San Diego Municipal Employees Association.

In a release, Mayor Jerry Sanders said, “Judge Vargas made the right decision to allow this measure to move forward. The voters have spoken and now the city will act to implement their will. This initiative, which has now become a national model, will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars that can instead be used to extend library hours and hire more police officers and firefighters.”

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he was eager for city and labor negotiators to return to the bargaining table. Tuesday’s ruling clears the way for those talks to continue.

“We need to implement Proposition B according to its terms in a legal and fair manner,” Goldsmith said. “We’re happy to continue meeting and negotiating with our labor unions to help make that happen.”

Mayoral candidate and City Councilmember Carl DeMaio was pleased with the ruling.

“Today San Diego citizens scored a big win for pension reform. Judge Vargas’ decision clears the way for the city to respect the mandate of 66 percent of San Diego voters who approved Prop. B’s pension reforms," DeMaio said in a press release.

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