California Professional Firefighters

Victory in Ventura: Koch-Backed Forces Drop Legal Fight Over Anti-Pension Initiative

It’s official: An effort to wipe out secure public employee pensions in Ventura County is dead.

Organizers of an initiative that would have eliminated defined benefit pensions have decided not to pursue a court fight to force it onto the November ballot.

The decision by the anti-pension forces came one day after a Ventura County judge ruled that the Draconian proposal violated state retirement and initiative law, and ordered it removed from the ballot. The deceptive proposal sought to usurp state law by eliminating secure pensions for new employees, and imposing limits on retirement for existing workers.

"The outside forces pushing this pension grab learned the hard way that they are not above the law.," said Chris Mahon, president of Ventura County Professional Firefighters Local 1364. "We are grateful that the judge saw through their deceptive proposal and sent it to a well-deserved oblivion."

The well-financed backers of the pension initiative gathered enough signatures to put the pension grab on the county ballot and had the financial backing of billionaire hedge-fund ideologue John Arnold. The campaign chairman was the California director for the Koch-sponsored Americans for Prosperity.

A diverse coalition that included public and private sector labor and community leaders came together to oppose the initiative, and brought the legal challenge that ultimately invalidated the measure.

"This important victory could not have happened without the unity and commitment of working people in Ventura County and throughout California," said Mahon. "I am especially grateful for the efforts of CPF and the outpouring of support from our brother and sister firefighters up and down the state. Without that help, this victory would not have been possible."

READ: "Pension Reform Shelved As Backers Drop Legal Battle", Ventura Co. Star. 

WATCH:  CPF Firevision: Ventura County Pension Attack

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