Measure L, the pension reform initiative, passed easily Tuesday night with a 72-percent "yes" vote. Click here for latest count.
Even at 8:15 p.m., long before the final votes would be tabulated, Measure L supporters were cheering at their election night party.
Roy Thiele-Sardina, who hosted the gathering, was still crunching numbers to demonstrate his calculations of what a city employee would get for pension benefits under Measure L -- in all cases, more than the Social Security payment non-public employees would receive after working the same number of years as a public employee.
Measure L raises the minimum retirement age for new public employees, excluding police officers, by five years to 60, and also decreases their maximum pension benefits by 0.7 percentage points to 2 percent of their highest annual salary averaged over three years.
Under this measure, a new hire who retired at age 60 after working for the city for 30 years would receive 60 percent of that average salary. Current employees can retire at age 55 and get 81 percent.
The measure headed to voters after a grassroots campaign organized by the Menlo Park Citizens for Fair and Responsible Pension Reform collected enough signatures to place it on the ballot. Council candidate Chuck Bernstein and Planning Commissioner Henry Riggs spearheaded the drive, along with Mr. Sardina and Ed Moritz.
Two local unions, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), lost a lawsuit in August to keep the measure off the ballot, and then poured at least $44,050 into defeating it during the election.
Public figures opposing Measure L include Councilmember Kelly Fergusson and former mayor Gail Slocum. Of the six council candidates, incumbent Heyward Robinson said he also opposes it, while Mayor Rich Cline said he's remaining neutral.