What it does
This charter amendment is designed to correct an oversight in the original language of Proposition H, approved by voters in 1994, which extended benefits granted to surviving spouses of city employees to domestic partners. The proposed charter amendment would grant those benefits to a small group of people who were, however unintentionally, effectively excluded from applying for them at the time Proposition H went into effect.
Why it is on the ballot
Proposition H, passed in November 1994 requires that in order to qualify for survivor benefits equal to those of a surviving spouse, among other requirements, an employee must have filed with the retirement system a certificate evidencing their registered domestic partnership a year prior to retirement. The fact that there had not been such a requirement prior to the enactment of the 1994 charter provision made it impossible for those retiring on or before November 1994 to qualify for benefits. In short, for a brief period of time, no bureaucratic mechanism existed to allow this small group of people to file and thus obtain benefits for which they were other wise eligible.
Equal justice under the law benefits everyone in the long run. Correcting errors of omission is appropriate, especially when done in a way that does not create a burden on others. Clearly the authors of the original charter provision did not intend to exclude this group of retirees, who should not be denied the benefits due them because of a technical oversight.
There are no apparent cons to this measure.
This amendment, by eliminating that impossible requirement, allows a small group to qualify for equal benefits going forward. This amendment does not provide benefits retroactively. It simply extends benefits to those who were unable to file because it was not possible for them to have met the conditions set forth in the original measure. It is estimated that there may be 20 or fewer employees or domestic partners affected by this measure. The Controller's office has estimated that the fiscal impact of the measure would be negligible.
SPUR recommends a "Yes" vote on Proposition E.