San Francisco Criminals Forfeit Retirement, Proposition C (June 2008)

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San Francisco Criminals Forfeit Retirement Measure C appeared on the June 3, 2008 ballot in San Francisco, California, where it was passed. It amends the city and county charters so that city and county employees convicted of certain crimes including those involving moral turpitude shall forfeit the retirement benefits to which they would otherwise be entitled. The measure was placed on the ballot by a vote of the county supervisors.

San Francisco has barred employees convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude -- such as theft, fraud or the breach of public trust - from collecting employer-funded retirement benefits since 1966. A recent court decision regarding the 1966 law determined that morally turpitudinous employees could still collect disability claims and "vesting allowances." Measure C is intended to close that loophole by making it explicit that these benefits are not available to criminal convicts.

Supervisor Chris Daly and the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club were opposed to Measure C on the grounds that the phrase, "moral turpitude" has been used by courts to discriminate against gay people. Some opponents also say the measure could vilify hard-working public employees.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who is gay and a supporter of C, was dismissive of the idea that the retirement benefits of gay people might be in any way imperilled by Measure C, saying that the measure applies to criminals, not gay people. "From a legal standpoint, I don't think it means anything more than people who violate city laws are going to have repercussions."

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