Sometimes, the more you look at an issue, the more you realize that simplistic descriptions fail to do it justice. That takes us back to our discussion of the relationship between the 2014 mayoral candidates and Measure B, Mayor Chuck Reed’s pension reform proposal in 2012. In part, the candidates have staked their campaigns on Measure B, which is why it’s important to make sure that their positions are accurately portrayed.
It’s easy to lay out the approaches of four of the five candidates — Sam Liccardo, Madison Nguyen, Pierluigi Oliverio, and Rose Herrera -- because they voted as city council members to place the pension reform measure on the ballot. It’s another story with the fifth candidate, Supervisor Dave Cortese, who went on record opposing Measure B as trying to do too much, although he favored the concept of pension reform.
Here’s where the specifics need to be clarified. Among the major candidates, Cortese stands alone as expressing satisfaction with the decision by a judge that overturned the most controversial part of the measure, while approving some reduced benefits. Cortese also wants to work out a mutually satisfactory agreement with the unions on further pension reforms in a collegial manner.
Cortese’s position clearly separates him from the rest of the field’s major players. Whether that helps him or hurts him remains to be seen. Either way, the pension reform issue goes on.
Dr. Larry Gerston is a political science professor at San Jose State University. He also serves as a political analyst for NBC Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @lgerston.