Sen. Mark Leno joins coalition against Proposition B

A state senator and assemblywoman have joined a coalition of politicians who oppose a controversial San Francisco budget reform measure on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, are raising concerns about Proposition B, a measure that would increase both the health care and pension contributions of some 26,000 city workers.

The measure, proposed by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, has drawn the opposition of labor groups that claim the measure’s proposed increase to city workers’ dependent health care contributions is unfair to working families.

Leno said in a phone interview Tuesday morning that the measure is inherently flawed.

“It’s really a stake in the heart of collective bargaining,” he said. “Benefits that are negotiated can only be reversed through further negotiation, otherwise there is no good-faith bargaining.”

Adachi has said Prop. B could save The City — which had to close a $482 million deficit this year and faces another $400 million deficit next year — about $120 million annually.

“I don’t believe there will many, if any, cost savings,” Leno asserted. “There will only be cost shifts.”

Leno said that if workers are unable to pay for their children’s health care, visits to the county hospital and the emergency room will increase.

“I’d say it’s a simple-minded, one-dimensional idea, in a complex, three-dimensional world,” Leno said.

Leno and Ma are scheduled to speak against the measure at a noon event Tuesday at Laguna Honda Hospital, along with supervisors David Chiu, Ross Mirkarimi and Carmen Chu.

Mayor Gavin Newsom, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Assemblywoman Tom Ammiano have also signed on in opposition.

Prop. B campaign spokeswoman Darcy Brown has said some elected officials oppose the measure because they need the political support of labor unions.

Former Mayor Willie Brown and former Supervisor Matt Gonzalez have come out in support of Prop. B.

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