Public Defender Jeff Adachi is on his way to a modern record. He has now submitted six potential ballot measures regarding pension reform that the city attorney refuses to categorize with the helpful description "pension reform."
Adachi's latest proposal drops any attempt at tweaking the health care system and focuses, entirely, on pensions. Be that as it may, Adachi says he has been informed that his measure will still be titled "retirement benefits for city employees."
Shakespeare's flowery words about roses notwithstanding, that which we call a ballot measure really does benefit based on names. For voters, "pensions" and "benefits" do not trigger the same reactions.
Incidentally, the tentative "benefits" reform package Mayor Ed Lee is touting does have health care ties. In the event of conflicting content with Adachi's proposal, the measure which receives more votes trumps the other. Nonconflicting provisions in successful measures would both become law, naturally.
Adachi said he's ready to stop submitting pension-related measures for the current voting cycle. When asked what it would take for one of the proposals to have the word "pension" included in its title, he replied, "An act of God."
But that all depends on who's been lobbying God.
Update, 3:55 p.m.: While the city attorney has crafted the titles and summaries for prospective ballot measures, the language that appears on the ballot and in voter handbooks will subsequently be determined by the ballot simplification committee.
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