Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nothing on TV Monday Nights?

A standing room only crowd attended the ECIP meeting last night. Some of the topics covered were open government, environmental issues, upzoning, low income housing. senior transportation, and pension debt. Some revelations drew gasps from the audience. A lot of people did not know about some of city's recent history as the crowd was a mix of folks, from all parts of the city. There were some good challenging questions. There was also a common theme among the comments; city hall has forgotten that their duty is to the people.

Charlie McDermott presented some stuff on pensions. Here is a sample. (click to enlarge)


  1. That is alarming.

    I wish we had that $20 million back from the library and that $17 million from that empty field next to i-5. What a bargain that was! Way to go Dan.

  2. Let hear from Smitty, Chris, Loser, and all the other government ticks. they will say that 20th centery math doesn't apply to pensions. Don't worry about it.

    Too bad our children and grandchildren have to live with the huge mistakes being fed to us from loser leaders like Jerome Stocks.

    Jerome Stocks led the City to a 35% increase in all City Pensions including his own in 2005. There is a devil in our own neighborhood.

  3. @ Bob-o,

    Just want everything in it's right place, my man.

    As the son of two teachers and a current 'pension-less' city employee, I can still appreciate that the pension crisis is the real deal.

    It's one of those issues like global environmental degradation that should matter, no matter your political affiliation.

    Some questions: Can pension reform be approached without calling for the end of collective bargaining, calling people fat cats, calling for the replacement of all pensions with (401)K's?

  4. Schmitty,

    What's so objectionable about city workers getting 401(k)s like everybody else?

    And isn't collective bargaining what got us here in the first place?

    For what it's worth, that great champion of the working class Franklin Delano Roosevelt was against public employee unions:

    “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government…. The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. [...] [a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.”

    Unions were created to keep poor workers from being exploited by greedy employers. How does that translate to city workers getting multi-million-dollar annuities at age 55 from politicians whose campaigns the unions themselves fund?

  5. Why the pension? Let the market set the correct wage for the workers at City Hall and let them manage their own retirement like all the real workers.

    It is likely that City Salaries would go up 10 to 15%, but that is far more fair to the public then blessing these public employees with millions of dollars in annuitees at the ripe old age of 50 and 55.

    Schmitty and other gov employees think is fare? Stealing all our tax dollars so are kids get even worse educations than we did, and their is no money for projects like the Mega Sports Complex?

    Kevin is spot on with this post. The new city Manager compensation should not include a pension. Period. If Stocks votes for a pension in the compensation he continues to be a yellow belly low life owned by the employee unions.

  6. without calling for the end of collective bargaining,


    calling people fat cats,

    Yes, and I hope my union dues will no longer be used to do the same.

    calling for the replacement of all pensions with (401)K's?

    Yes and I think it makes it more complicated, unfortunately, and will require all sides to consider the common interest rather than their personal interest.

    The current SYSTEM fails to pass the economic justice smell test. If I am wrong I'd like to know so I can go back to other things (BTW, no one took me up on my $200 pension sustainability analysis challenge).

    Schmitty, if the community gets behind an effort to change the system I hope you will volunteer some of your time to help come up with something just and sustainable. Will you?

  7. Ah yes... The math. First. City workers do not pay into that pyramid scheme Social Security or Disability. The pool of money Calpers workers get for their benefits is Statewide just like SS, so you are paying for everyone in the system with your tax dollars and everyone else including me. You also asume every city slacker gets hired at 25 and works for the same city for 30 years and they all get paid $100,000 a year. I certainly don't fit into any of those categories. I have no problem with pension reform. No problem with a 401K. I have lost two in my lifetime already. Yeah... I was also a working stiff just like you guys. I am still a blue collar guy just trying to feed and take care of my family. I won't be getting any golden pension when I retire and it won't be at 55. I have been told I will not be able to double dip from all that I paid into SS without a stiff penalty. So what's fair guys?

  8. giving 3% of your highest paid year salary for life as an annuity forever is not sustainable for government employees. The social security system is morphing now and will need to morph big time in the future. Meaning they are cutting benefits and I will likely get 30% of what was promised to me when I started SS. The same needs to apply with CALpers and all the other Pensions. They need to cut promised benefits. Probably like 50%. The taxpayers should be asked to pay more.

    Loser- I don't feel for you. I would opted out of S.S. in one second and trade up to an gauranteed annuity for life.

    Your lucky you latched on to the government job. Now go on and continue leach the blood right out of our children s future. I bet that blood tastes so good. Let call it American children s blood.

  9. @ K.C., I'm no expert, but I would absolutely be willing to lend time to something like that.

    @ W.C., I don't believe that in swearing an oath of public service one should have to forfeit basic worker's rights. To suggest that public sector unions are too powerful as evidenced by unsustainable retirement plans seems fair. We don't need to strip their right to a democratic work place to overhaul pension plans and benefits.

  10. Schmitty,

    I wouldn't characterize collective bargaining as "basic worker's rights." Federal employees and most private employees don't have collective bargaining, but we don't say they lack basic workers' rights.

    Collective bargaining is more about compulsion and extortion than rights. See Shane Atwell and Mike Shedlock.

    Five Ways Collective Bargaining Tramples Various Unalienable Rights

    1. Collective bargaining agreements take away the right of individuals to pursue a career of their dreams void of union affiliation
    2. Collective bargaining agreements force individuals into organizations against the free will of those members
    3. Collective bargaining agreements force union dues out of members who do not even want to belong
    4. Collective bargaining agreements dictate what members can and cannot do with their free time.
    5. Collective bargaining agreements even dictate what non-members can and cannot do with their free time!

    Example of Point Number Four

    Union firefighters are frequently prohibited from being volunteer fire department workers for their city.

    Example of Point Number Five

    Union rules prohibit volunteers from helping schools paint, trim shrubbery, answer phones, clean blackboards, etc. The absurdity of such pro-union, anti-taxpayer arrangements should be self-evident.

  11. Pat, I don't feel sorry for you either. I am not getting rich on taxpayer dollars. I make less than the median income in this City. My pension, if I ever receive it will be less than poverty level. I have no problem with pension reform or a 401K. W.C. pointed out what is bad about colective bargining. All of the points he made are true and I feel the same way. I had no choice in joining the union and I do not get to make policy. While I do feel fortunate that I have a job, any job at that. Luck had nothing to do with it. I went to school worked and studied hard and learned my profession well. I have worked for the private sector, even owned my own business. I have earned all that I have in life, luck had nothing to do with it. Good luck to you Pat, you seem to need it.

  12. "Federal employees and most private employees don't have collective bargaining, but we don't say they lack basic workers' rights."

    I would definitely say that most private employees lack basic workers' rights. All of the problems you have associated with collective bargaining are legit, but the last bastion of work place democracy /self-determination rests with the few remaining unions' power of collective bargaining. I don't see an easy answer, but I'm pretty sure that ending the the right to collective bargaining would render the few remaining unions utterly powerless, finally destroying the few remaining middle class occupations, heralding in the new day of total American Plutocracy.


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