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UPDATE: Riordan Ends Campaign for New City Pension Plan

The former mayor shut down his Save Los Angeles initiative on Monday.

Former Mayor Richard Riordan (ATVN).
Former Mayor Richard Riordan (ATVN).

UPDATE | Nov. 26, 2012 1:27 P.M. PST:

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan ended his campaign for a new pension plan for city workers on Monday.

The Save Los Angeles campaign determined that it would not be able to gather the needed 260,000 signatures to put the initiative on the ballot by the Dec. 28 deadline.

The initiative recieved fierce criticism from public employee unions when it was introduced last month.  The Los Angeles Police Protective League even challenged Riordan to a series of debates about his pension reform.

"The plan proposed by Riordan...was both simplistic and costly for the taxpayers," said Tyler Izen, president of the LA Police Protective League. "We appreciate Mr. Riordan's concern for the city's financial status; we just disagree that this...change was a viable option."

Campaign spokesperson John Schwada said that Riordan is eyeing "various other options to accomplish the goal of pension reform."

"I ask the mayor, the city council and union heads to work with me over the next several months to save the city from bankruptcy and drastic cuts to public services," Riordan said Monday.

ORIGINAL STORY | Oct. 15, 2012 2:31 P.M. PST:

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan filed a draft intiative Monday to turn the city's employee pension system around. 

Riordan and his advisers believe the adjustments will save Los Angeles hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

City workers' retirement plans and pension costs have been projected to increase within the next several years. In addition, a larger fraction of funds that go toward landscape maintenance - repairing potholes and trimming trees - may have to be used to pay for the pension budget.

Riordan has predicted the city will only be able to pay for police, firefighters and pensions until 2017. 

Riordan's May 2013 ballot measure calls for new city workers to be given 401(k) retirement accounts instead of government pensions. City workers hired after July 1, 2013, will also be expected to retire at 65 instead of 55.

Employees will need to contribute more to their retirement plans and their spouses' health care costs will no longer be covered by the city. In addition, the ballot measure will prevent city workers from receiving city pensions on top of their salaries, a practice that many call "double-dipping."

Los Angeles' top budget analyst predicted that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's current pension plan could save the city up to $70 million over the next five years. As city workers retire and new workers are hired, $4 billion is expected to be saved over the next three decades. However, Riordan does not believe that Villaraigosa's plan is doing enough to save the city's budget.

"Los Angeles has a billion-dollar problem, so we need a billion-dollar solution," Riordan said through a spokesman.

Riordan and his team will need to collect 254,998 signatures for the measure to qualify for the May 2013 ballot.

Those who oppose Riordan's ballot measure believe there is an insufficient amount of specifics to support his plan.

Service Employees International Union Local 721 president Bob Schoonover held an emergency meeting on Saturday to examine the initiative.

Schoonover has said the proposal, if approved, will destroy the retirement plans of thousands of city workers.

"The plan is wrong-headed, lacks factual support and is just plain mean," Schoonover said. "There's nothing fair about it."

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