[UPDATE: Writer Joe Eskenazi has the deets on the prospects for F. Warren for getting a $50K refund from the Prop B people. The chances don't look good at this point. And further explication comes from Heather Knight. That will have to do for now...]
The Question of the Day is this:
How do you get a strong-willed (and is there any other kind?) billionaire to change his or her mind?
No matter, San Francisco’s #1 banjo playerwants out of the pro-Proposition B campaign. Get all the deets, plus reaction from San Francisco Labor Council President Tim Paulson, below.
(This is seismic, baby.)
(This is unprecedented, baby.)
Click to expand. His head’s not really blue – it’s just the way the lighting was.
(Hello, MSM, are you there? It’s me, Margaret. Can we get a little follow-up, please? Show us what you can do with this one. Starting…now!)
Statement from F. Warren Hellman:
“I’m leaving the Yes on Proposition B campaign for the same reason I got involved in the campaign in the first place – we need a meaningful dialogue in San Francisco between business and labor to solve long-term problems threatening the city’s future without name-calling and fingerpointing.
“We must address the issue of spiraling public pension and health benefits costs. They’re like an iceberg floating beneath the surface that threatens to sink cities like ours. At the same time, I’m not willing scapegoat police officers, firefighters and other public workers to do it.
“We got into this situation together and we must work together to solve it in the interest of a city we all love.
“I was reminded of this spirit at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival this past weekend. We pulled off a massive free concert in Golden Gate Park without one major injury, disruption or arrest, which is a testament to the professionalism of San Francisco’s public workers and our City’s spirit of cooperation.
“I believe that organized labor appreciates that it is in San Francisco’s interest – and the interest of its members — to head off a looming pension and benefits crisis before it cripples public services and leaves police officers, firefighters and other public workers without retirement security.
“And I also believe that San Francisco business must understand its responsibility to pay its fair share to fund quality public services. And that begins with workers who are properly trained, fairly paid and able to retire with dignity.
“We have a history of working together in this city and settling issues without expensive and divisive political fights at the ballot box. I’m going to focus my attention and resources on restarting those discussions.”
Statement from Tim Paulson, San Francisco Labor Council
“On behalf of the Labor community, we are very pleased that Warren Hellman has withdrawn his support from the Yes on B campaign. Many of us in organized labor have worked closely with Mr. Hellman in recent years to rebuild San Francisco’s schools and fund public education and we were disappointed to be at odds on this measure.
“We share Mr. Hellman’s legitimate concerns about rising pension and health care costs and commit to work with him and other likeminded leaders in the business community to address them. We want to find sustainable and affordable ways to attract and retain the best public employees, compensate them fairly and allow them to retire with dignity. In short, we acknowledge and respect Mr. Hellman’s goals, even if Prop B is not the vehicle to achieve them.”
Ever more deets, from the Anti-Prop B people, after the jump