Los Angeles Police Protection League Challenge Mayor Over Pensions

LAPPL challenges Richard Riordan to publicly debate his controversial pension plan

Los Angeles, November 13, 2012- Los Angeles Police Protective League President Tyler Izen today presented former Mayor Richard Riordan a challenge: a series of three public debates over the merits of the pension scheme he is trying to qualify for the ballot, on days and times of Riordan’s choosing, before December 7.

In light of his self-proclaimed belief in the importance of civic education and an engaged and informed electorate, which he expressed as recently as October 27, 2012 in a panel he headed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, we are confident that Mr. Riordan will eagerly accept this challenge to debate.

“I am challenging Richard Riordan to three debates between now and December 7 because he has yet to offer any independent analysis that supports his wild claims. Riordan has chosen to hide behind carefully orchestrated radio talk show appearances where no challenging or insightful questions are asked, appearances before groups where he knows his ideas won’t be challenged, and well-crafted media releases that lack any pretense of substance,” said Izen.

The Riordan charter change initiative titled “New Defined Contribution Plan; Amendments to Existing Retirement Plans” will dramatically increase the City’s required payments to the three Los Angeles pension systems. These increased costs, which will be in addition to already scheduled contributions, would take effect as soon as the systems are closed to all future employees, and will continue at the increased level for a decade or more. This means less money for public safety and other vital City services.

“Riordan repeatedly claims that rising City costs will lead to bankruptcy. It therefore makes no sense for voters to adopt a pension scheme that immediately and for a lengthy period of time increases City costs. His plan isn’t factually supported and doesn’t save the City money,” said Izen.

In the past 18 months, nine separate states and New York City have examined and rejected closing their respective defined benefit pension systems. After study and debate, it was determined that closing the pension system would not save money, but instead would be more costly than continuing with the existing pension system. For example, this year New Hampshire commissioned two separate actuarial studies on the costs of closing their pension plan to new employees. The reports concluded that “total pension funding costs would rise” and that “in all areas” transition to a “proposed defined contribution plan will be more expensive to employers and employees than maintaining the current defined benefit system,” with an added result of cost shifting to future generations.

“Richard Riordan chose to go to the public and try to place this poorly thought-out scheme on the May 2013 ballot. Because of his personal wealth, we know that he does not have to debate to have his plan qualify for the ballot. However, if he has any confidence in his plan, he will relish the opportunity to debate me so that he can explain in detail the merits of his plan and outline specifically why voters should sign petitions to place it on the ballot,” concluded Izen.

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