Altercation at the LRC

Gisela Lagos, Editor in Chief

The battle for pensions makes its way to San Diego Mesa College as Jim Mahler, President of the American Federation of Teachers was accosted while trying to inform students against petitioners gathering signatures for a pension destroying bill.

On Sept. 15 petition workers walked into the Mesa College campus and Mahler, along with others from the AFT were ready for them.  They stood near the petitioner workers, held signs and as students gleamed interest in signing the petition, Mahler and his group explained what the petition actually entailed.  This angered one petition worker enough to verbally and physically assault Mahler.

The petition was started by City Councilman Carl DeMaio’s who is running for mayor of San Diego and is making what he calls “pension reform” his platform.

DeMaio says his bill will equalize retirement for everyone in San Diego, “City employee compensation should be no better, and no worse, than what is available to other employees in San Diego.”

Yet the changes DeMaio is proposing will completely wipe out pensions for people who are already receiving it and for the city workers who are due a pension once they retire, it will also make them ineligible to collect social security.   Instead a forced 401K will replace the pension, which will likely leave them with less than they are currently getting.

“It’s not pension reform it’s a pension destruction, it’s a petition to do away with pensions for workers,” said Mahler

Currently city workers pensions give those who are retired about $20,000 a year, according to Mahler, Couple the pension with social security and it’s not that much money to live off of, but still more then what DeMaio is trying to give city workers.

“It’s pretty horrible, DeMaio is a pretty horrible human being,” said Mahler.

The workers gathering signatures where brought in from out of town and in some cases have criminal records.  While the people gathering signatures are just trying to work and make money, it’s important that people are informed about the petition they are asked to sign, explained Mahler.

“The bottom line is don’t sign petitions, the ones out right now are not good,” said Mahler.

Alric C. King, a student at Mesa College, was annoyed by the proposed changes to the city employees’ pension and said, “they should take away his [DeMaio’s] pension.”