URGENT - Jeff Adachi's pension reform effort already well along; he requests rapid assistance

The Public Defender apparently has already drafted a measure and is
already circulating it (see his response to my letter, below). It was
not previously clear to me that the measure has been written and is
currently circulating. Jeff Adachi is asking for our immediate
assistance in getting petitions to our members to sign and circulate.

  I just read the text of the measure (direct URL - http://www.sfsmartreform.com/read.html)
, and my take on it is that it is a straightforward but relatively
small and moderate step in the right direction. Ideally it might be
preferable for the city of San Francisco to declare bankruptcy and
thus be able to renegotiate all employee contracts, but I do not know
enough about the details of such a step to say for sure. And of course
there is no guarantee that either a bankruptcy filing or favorable
contract renegotiation will come about if moderate pension reform is
not enacted. This measure, designed for the November 2010 ballot,
would enact at least mild reform faster than anything might otherwise
change for the positive. Of course it's possible that its passage
might make other more radical pension reform efforts *less* likely to
be put forth or to pass if they are put forth, but those efforts are
currently non-existent while this measure is here and now.

  It is claimed in support of this measure (see e.g. http://www.sfsmartreform.com/qa.html
, under the heading "Should city employees be supportive of this
measure?") that it is designed to sustain the overall pension system
(and preserve funding for government services) by reducing future
pension payouts. It may well be that Adachi is calculating that some
kind of pension rollback will happen one way or another, and that by
enacting mild reform, he can head off potentially more sweeping
reforms, while taking credit for being fiscally responsible. Obviously
these are not exactly libertarian goals, but can we in good conscience
oppose baby steps in the direction of fiscal responsibility in the
hope that greater system failure down the road will prompt tougher
reform efforts?

  My tentative view is that we cannot, and so we should seek to get
what we can from Adachi in return for supporting his measure. For
instance, we might ask him to pledge to seek to give the Libertarian
Party of San Francisco a more active role in shaping public policy in
this city, while leaving it up to him what specific forms that would
take, but suggesting some possible avenues such as:

-appointing one or more of our members to a city commission or other
government body
-sitting down with us on a regular basis, or sending members of his
office to do so, in order to give us an inside view of the PD's
operations and efforts and solicit our input on those operations/efforts
-making us part of the team that hammers out wording for any future
initiatives he might put forth
-giving us a strong statement of public recognition urging other
progressives to work with us as allies

  As with the Patrol Specials, I recommend that we present a united
front at the virtual "bargaining table" in the attempt to secure as
much in the way of quid pro quo from our allies as possible, with the
private understanding among our group that we will in the end support
their efforts even if they give us virtually nothing. Thoughts and

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))


  You ask, "Whatever happened to having all City employees pay an d
benefits scaled so the average pay and benefits equaled the private
employees pay and benefits?" Nothing happened with it -- that's the
problem. I am thoroughly unconvinced we have the resources or will to
mount a ballot initiative on our own. And of course the current
pension scheme for Fong, et. al., is badly in need of reform.
Certainly I agree with you that a measure written along these lines
would be far better than the one proposed by Adachi. But his is the
one circulating right now. If you think we should refuse our support
and hold out for something better, I'm more than willing to hear your

  Apparently the Public Defender makes at least some appointments. The
following language appears in the 2004 report of the city's Elections
Commission: "In this month the Commission welcomed Eric Safire, who
was appointed by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, to the Commission."
Besides, I suggested several possible ways other than commissions that
Adachi could seek to give the LPSF a more active role in shaping
public policy. I'm not necessarily *expecting* him to make such a
pledge to us, but I see no harm in seeking it.

  What exactly are you proposing we do?

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))