News - October 27, 2010

Election: Pension reform initiative: Finance report is found

by Sandy Brundage

The "No on Measure L" committee battling the pension initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot planned to file its eagerly anticipated financial disclosure report by the Oct. 21 deadline, according to Jerry Jimenez, spokesman for the Service Employees International Union Local 521 (SEIU).

But the report never reached the Menlo Park City Clerk on Thursday.

Mr. Jimenez told The Almanac on Oct. 22 that the report had been sent via overnight mail to the city, and should have arrived Friday.

However, city offices were closed on Friday, as they are every other week.

He did provide The Almanac with an electronic copy of the report. It shows $22,000 total in monetary contributions, donated from the two unions who filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to keep Measure L off the ballot.

An estimated $22,050 in non-monetary contributions came from those same two unions — SEIU and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) — as well as a third, Californians for Health Care and Retirement Security.

City Clerk Margaret Roberts confirmed that she didn't receive a copy of the report on Oct. 21, but said unless someone files an official complaint with the state's Fair Political Practices Commission, sanctions against the group are unlikely.

She did get a fax earlier this month showing a $15,000 contribution from SEIU to the "No on Measure L" committee.

Residents of Menlo Park reported receiving mailers from the committee during the past week. The return address? The San Carlos headquarters for SEIU Local 521.

The financial report indicates the group has spent about $13,000 so far on mailers.

Yes on Measure L

On the other hand, the "Yes on Measure L" crowd filed on time. Their financial report showed $200 in donations between Oct. 1 and Oct. 16, split evenly between Menlo Park attorneys Robert Grant and Michael Brandt.

That brings the total monetary contributions to the committee to $24,194.

"Yes on Measure L" also reported $1,174 in non-monetary contributions, but didn't provide an itemized description since those occurred during a previous reporting period.

If donations decreased, so did expenses during this round, to $2,231; the first filing period included the legal costs of defending the measure against a lawsuit filed by SEIU and another union to keep it off the ballot.

The unions may mount a post-election legal challenge. The "Yes on Measure L" committee still has $4,069 remaining in its bank account.

The ballot measure seeks to raise the minimum retirement age for new public employees, excluding police officers, by five years to 60, and also decrease their maximum pension benefits by 0.7 percentage points to 2 percent of their highest annual salary averaged over three years.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields