I rarely weigh in on political shenanigans here in SF but sometimes certain issues really need a proper beating.  The most frightening and potentially catastrophic is proposition B.

Prop B will force city employees to start paying their own retirement and insurance costs in full. Costs for themselves as well as all of their dependents. Forgetting for a moment local unions have already negotiated with the city to restructure retirement payments, it totally misleads people into believing the proposed changes will solve the cities financial problems. Even worse, it bars the city from raising base salaries in any way to compensate for the sudden and significant burden it dumps on the worker’s backs. Oh but it gets better, the person who wrote it works for the city as an attorney. Naturally, he exempted himself and his cronies from the cuts. So he expects us line workers to give up our hard earned benefits while he keeps his. Oh yeah, that sounds really fair.

As a civil service worker, I’m extremely afraid of this initiative passing. If it passes, I will lose roughly $450 a month out of my take home pay. I already give up between 30/40% of my gross salary for taxes/benefits. And I only have one dependent. Imagine what it does to someone who has 2 or 3 kids? Not to mention I’ve already given up almost 15% in cost-of- living increases for the last 3 years and any cost-of-living increases for the next 2 years.

If this initiative passes, I’ll be forced to choose between having insurance for myself and my partner or move out of the City into a cheaper smaller apartment just to make ends meet. I’m lucky in that I make a decent salary for what I do. I shutter at the thought of how all the folks who make much less than I do will be impacted by this initiative.

I’ll be the first to admit the city has fiscal problems. This initiative is being sold to the public as an attempt to fix those problems. The reality is its nothing but a political ploy for power and clout. Besides part of it being possibly illegal, it also would cost the City $100 million in federal funding if it passes. This tiny little detail alone negates any positive impact of the ordinance. Not to mention, the fuzzy math used to sell it is deceiving.

I support budget cuts and initiatives that make sense. But blanket cutting hard-working employees benefits to gain political clout is shameful and extremely damaging for SF. Even worse, this proposition pits the unemployed and non-unionized employees against unionized city employees. It does nothing to solve the real problems we all face. I can only hope that people realize the truth of what this proposition means before its too late.

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