San Bernardino Seal

By Ryan Hagen, The Sun
Posted: 10/08/13, 8:16 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Mayor Pat Morris’ State of the City speech on Tuesday was a candid assessment of the city’s “nightmare” and the changes he thinks are needed to move out of that nightmare over the next 10 years.

Those changes won’t be easy, he conceded, saying that he’d pushed for some of them earlier and had met with opposition from the city attorney, City Council and police and fire unions.

“The giant whale in the general fund deficit that eats the city’s services and destroys the city’s financial viability is public employee pensions and related benefits paid into the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, CalPERS,” Morris said in a 90-minute speech at the Sturges Center for the Fine Arts. “The growth of this monster goes back many years as the public unions acquired control of this city’s political process with their political action committees.”

Along with San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, Morris said, he will call today for a state constitutional amendment that would explicitly allow pensions and retiree healthcare for existing employees’ future years of service to be reduced.

“This will be a major public pension reform that will help save our cities and counties and the vital services we provide,” Morris said.

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