Judges Denies PERB IR Request in San Diego

Public Employment Relations Board vs. City of San Diego (San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2012-00092205-CU-MC-CTL).

According to news reports, a judge has denied PERB’s request to remove a pension reform measure from the June ballot.  PERB went into court his morning on an ex parte motion seeking a tempoary restraining order to prevent the “Comprehensive Pension Reform” measure from appearing on the ballot until PERB adjudicates an unfair practice charge filed by one of the City’s unions.  According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, “Judge William Dato said case law is clear that the court should only block a measure when it is “clear beyond doubt” that it is invalid. He said he found no compelling reason to keep the initiative from the ballot when its legality can be still be challenged later.”

In my humble opinion the judge got it right.  Caselaw strongly supports post-election, as opposed to pre-election, challenges.  Plus it was never clear to me what the irreparable harm was in letting the people vote on the measure.  If it’s rejected, there is no harm.  If it passes, you can still challenge it post-election.  It’s true that if you’re an opponent, there is the time and expense of having to mount an opposition.  But I believe that in an election context the interest of the electorate to vote on a measure must prevail.

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