Virginia Coalition of Police
and Deputy Sheriffs
March 18, 2005
Dear Police Labor Advocate:
You may have heard California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing
a pension initiative that will cause irrevocable harm to law enforcement in
California. His proposed pension "reform" plan viciously attacks civil
servants, with law enforcement taking the
significant financial blow. You should be concerned, because he has
publicly proclaimed that, if passed, this "reform" will not stop in
The Governor's pension initiative will prohibit "defined benefit"
plans for police officers hired after 2007. A prime component of the
initiative is the elimination of death and disability benefits for all
police officers hired after 2007. The Governor is currently employing
thousands of paid signature gatherers to place the initiative on the ballot
for a special election in late 2005.
Under the "defined benefit" plan currently provided to California police
officers, there is a lifetime payment to an officer's surviving spouse and
family members if he is killed in the line of duty. If he is disabled in
the line of duty, he gets a disability retirement, which pays him lifetime
income stream that represents a percentage of current salary.
Under Schwarzenegger's "defined contribution" plan, the officer will get a
limited match of salary from his employer. That is all. The families of
future officers killed in the line of duty, and officers disabled in the
line of duty, would receive only the federal death benefit and the proceeds
from funds the officer had saved in a 401 (k) account.
Death and disability benefits are a moral obligation of society in return
for asking us to take risks to our lives and health, in California and every
state. However, when the Governor heard protests of his elimination of
death and disability benefits, the response was even more callous. The
official reply from the Governor's office was that officers pay for their
own private insurance to compensate for the proposed budget cuts! Not
satisfied with taking away the financial security promised for putting our
lives on the line, he now wants us to foot the bill.
This plan is terrible for California law enforcement. However, it will not
stop here. The Governor has proudly proclaimed he is setting a trend for
the country. In recent trips to the East Coast to raise money for this
initiative, he boasted that his "pension reform", if adopted in California,
would sweep across the country and we worry that it is a "slippery slope"
that will encourage other states to adopt similar penny-wise and
pound-foolish pension "reforms."
The Governor has been on a non-stop fund raising campaign to gather over $50
million dollars to put this to put this ill-conceived plan on the ballot and
try to pass it. Up and down the State of California, police unions have
banded together to oppose him. Through a series of press releases, press
conferences and radio ads we are attempting to convey the ugly truth of
Schwarzenegger's plan to California's voters.
Even though this group is large, it is facing a well financed enemy.
Schwarzenegger has the power of a fat wallet, and we will need the power of
numbers in order to wage an aggressive effective battle for our rights. In
short, we need your support!
We want to stop Governor Schwarzenegger in his tracks and demonstrate to him
definitively that law enforcement and in fact every one who respects the
risks that law enforcement officers take every day is on the other side in
this debate. By stopping Schwarzenegger now, we can keep our families and
the families of future officers secure.
Attached are the press releases we have done to date on this issue, but we
need your financial support to so we can fight this battle statewide.
Feel free to contact me at the Los Angeles Police Protective League
(LAPPL) at (213) 251-4554 to discuss further, as we would welcome the
opportunity to work with our police brethren to fight this issue.
On behalf of the more than 9,000 men and women who proudly serve in the rank
and file of the Los Angeles Police Department, thank you, for your attention
to this matter.
Very truly yours,
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Los Angeles Police Protective League