SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— State officials say proponents of a pension reform measure backed by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed can start collecting signatures to put it on the ballot.

The measure, opposed by union employees, needs more than 800,000 signatures before June 5th for it to qualify. One of the main issues here is whether or not public employee pensions are bankrupting cities. Can the cities afford to keep paying the deals that they’ve cut?

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To be clear, these were deals made between city councils, city managers and unions, but that was most likely in better financial times.

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Chuck Reed wants to go to a statewide initiative to change the rules as far as pensions go. Reed has gone to Attorney General Kamala Harris who then takes his initiative and re-writes it. From there it gets written in neutral language for the voters at the ballot box.

Reed, however, has said that it’s not neutral and that politics are playing into things with Harris weighing things in favor of the unions. Unions, on the other hand, deny that claim and say they’re not getting enough of a push.

How this gets worded if it makes it to the ballot is crucial. Mayor Reed is thinking of polling this issue to see how people react and to see if the wording influences their decision.

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