Fletcher's Union, Big-Gov't Record

Fletcher's Union, Big-Gov't Record

Steven Greenhut: Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher has announced that he is running for mayor of San Diego, an announcement trumpeted by many Republicans, but Fletcher’s rhetoric and record should be disturbing to anyone who actually believes in limited government.

He is an ally of public sector unions. His big pension-reform effort was co-authored by the San Diego police union. He said that his Assembly Bill 2510 will save the city of San Diego money, but it merely shifted the burden to other taxpayers. In fact, his bill epitomized the approach of the unions, which want to shift the investment portfolios from local, generally more conservative systems to the state system, which uses the most liberal assumptions to hide the burdens on taxpayers.

Here are Fletcher’s own words: “Assembly Bill 2510 will help rein in pension related health care costs for San Diego’s police officers. AB 2510 makes a simple change to the rules that govern how employee benefits are handled.  It will allow San Diego Police Officers to join statewide health care pools, and not be limited to San Diego-specific health care pools.” Note these words: “The Assembly just agreed to pass a smart, cost saving measure written by our office along with the City of San Diego and the San Diego Police Officers Association. ”

Fletcher’s idea of pension reform is letting the police union and the city that is the poster child for pension abuse write legislation that actually reduces employee contributions to pay for their generous benefits. He has yet to endorse a pension reform measure coming before city voters.

Read these words he gave as he announced his candidacy: “You don’t build a better city by tearing down those you need to implement a better future. Consider that a message to city workers, who are taking too much blame for problems created by politicians.” That makes it clear that he will not reduce benefits, cut government or rein the costs of the city bureaucracy. It’s code language — of the type cheered by unions.

Fletcher is a huge advocate for redevelopment in San Diego, and as such is in favor or eminent domain for economic development and a fan of corporate welfare. Here we see how Fletcher worked with big-government groups to expand redevelopment. Many of the bills he authored and championed expand government spending and increase government programs.

Listen to him champion corporate welfare programs.

Fletcher’s announcement on Flashreport is filled with the kind of banal politician-speak that lets us know that he will be the candidate of the establishment, of the unions, of the bureaucracy.

Here are some of his statements:

“San Diego needs a new generation of leadership that has a proven track record of building coalitions and delivering positive and hard fought results.  Our campaign will focus on unlocking the potential of innovation. Innovation is the key to our economic prosperity. It means jobs for our families and financial stability for our city. San Diego must be a powerful magnet for the innovative companies that will create good-paying local jobs.”

What does any of that mean?

And then there’s this:

“Rather than talk about making cuts alone we must also find ways to bring San Diego into the 21st Century by using the best-available technology, developing cutting-edge public private partnerships and bring together coalitions to get things done.”

This is the type of pabulum offered by the likes of Jerry Brown and Barack Obama. We don’t have to cut our government! We can innovate our way out of our problems. Fletcher has largely avoided taking stances on tough issues, which has generated some controversy. He did have an ordinate number of bills passed by the Democratic Legislature, which suggests that his focus is more often in sync with the Democratic majority than many other Republicans.

Republicans like Fletcher because he is a Marine, and Fletcher made references to this his military service as reason that he can handle the job of mayor. That’s great, but Fletcher is a non-reformer, big-government Republican who doesn’t value property rights, is allied with the unions, is opposed to meaningful reform of pensions and the bureaucracy and is no champion of the free-market.

I guess that just means he is a typical California Republican, though.


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