Thursday, April 07, 2005
Just two days after a massive street protest in San Francisco, the Gubernator turns tail and runs from the so-called "special interests":
Under pressure from firefighters and police officers, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday backed off, for now, his plan to privatize California's public employee pension system.UPDATE (courtesy of Atrios): 43 percent?!?
The Republican said "misconceptions" among firefighters and police officers that privatization would strip them of death and disability benefits had come to dominate the issue.
Over the past few weeks, Schwarzenegger has waged a campaign to put privatization on the ballot during a special election next fall. But on Thursday, he said he would wait until the June 2006 election if lawmakers did not craft a compromise measure in the coming months.
"Let's pull it back and do it better," said Schwarzenegger, flanked by more than a dozen police, fire and local government leaders.
The move followed days of meetings with police and fire chiefs and survivors of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty, all of whom expressed concerns that the ballot language opened the possibility that the employees would lose death and disability payments.
The attorney general's office, analyzing the proposed ballot language, had earlier reached the same conclusion . . . .
The pension plan is now in its "proper place, the rejection pile of bad ideas," said Democratic Treasurer Phil Angelides, a critic of Schwarzenegger's proposal and a candidate for governor in 2006. The retreat, he said, was a "clear defeat" for the governor.
A poll released Thursday by San Jose State University showed Schwarzenegger's job approval rating dipping below 50 percent for the first time since he took office.