After pension meeting, business group reaffirms support for Greuel
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The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce on Thursday reaffirmed its support for mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel after calling her in to clarify remarks she made about retirement benefits.
Chamber president Gary Toebben said Greuel reassured his group that she is looking to make new cuts in pension costs and has no interest in challenging any of the reductions in benefits that have already been approved. The chamber’s political action committee endorsed Greuel in February.
‘She assured us she has no intent to make an effort to roll back any of the pension reforms that have already taken place at the city,’ Toebben said, ‘and that her goal would be to sit at the table and negotiate more reforms in the future.’
Toebben said Greuel did not offer specific proposals during the hourlong meeting. ‘She did say that what we have done in the past she supports, but that it’s not enough and won’t lead us to fiscal solvency,’ he added.
Greuel left without speaking to The Times. ‘She’s on a tight schedule,’ said spokeswoman Shannon Murphy.
Greuel was asked to appear before the chamber after she told The Times she would reopen negotiations with city unions on a decision to increase the retirement age and reduce pensions for new hires. She backtracked a few days later, saying she only wants to talk with union leaders about avoiding a lawsuit over the cuts, which take effect July 1.
For weeks, Greuel has sided with city unions who say the city failed to properly negotiate the pension changes before imposing them. That argument is at the heart of a challenge by the unions, who want city officials to rescind the reductions.
The pension rollbacks are designed to save $4 billion over three decades, according to city budget officials.
Greuel campaign co-chairman Bob Hertzberg, a former Assembly speaker, sought to reassure chamber officials earlier this week, sending an email saying Greuel would explore increasing the retirement age for existing city employees.
Toebben said the chamber also will reschedule a campaign fundraiser for Greuel that was originally set for this week. It was canceled because of last-minute scheduling and a weak response, he said.
-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall