SD's Aguirre: I'm Still in the Pension Fight

January 14, 2008 ( - San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre, a consistent and vocal critic of the city's pension policies leading to its current pension crisis, is not ready to give up his legal battle.

A San Diego Union-Tribune news report said Aguirre vowed to continue his fight against underfunded city employee pensions – even though the city recently lost at the trial court level in its bid to get the certain underfunded benefits overturned (See  San Diego Illegal Pension Challenge too Late: Judge ).

“Quitting would mean a billion-dollar tax burden on taxpayers,” Aguirre said in a recent speech, according to the newspaper. “It would mean our people take money from their families to pay for benefits that were not paid for or earned.”

In his speech, Aguirre continued his assertions that the city attorney needs to be independent and said some of his predecessors “fell into the habit of acting as private lawyers for some officeholder” and did not enforce the city’s charter or municipal code, the Union-Tribune said.

He also blasted the mayor and council, saying they tried to mislead the public by putting a good face on the city’s financial mess. “When some city leaders proclaimed we had adopted a budget and plan for fixing most of the major financial issues, we exposed it as pretense,” he said, according to the news report.

Making the city auditor an elected position would help restore financial control and public confidence in the city, Aguirre contended. “An elected city auditor will be accountable to voters for financial controls, just as the City Attorney is answerable to them for legal controls,” he said.