California is the poster place for irresponsible government, union thuggery and general incompetence. For the life of me I can’t understand why the pundits seem to think understanding the fiscal crisis in California (and the nation for that matter) is so complicated. Too much stupid spending.
At the top of the list for stupidity, that even FDR clearly understood, is unionized public employees. It’s the picture of corruption. Unions deliver votes in large quantities to Democratic politicians who control contract negotiations. Bottom line is a direct transfer of taxpayer money from the taxpayer through the employee’s wages to unions. The cash doesn’t even slow down because it’s automatically deducted and wired to union accounts.
The result of JFK paying off union supporters by allowing public employee unions is now threatening to bankrupt the nation one city and state at a time. Public employees get paid obscene wages and have break-the-bank benefit packages and many of them (teachers) work at jobs that are best described as part time.
Let’s take a look at Stockton, CA. They’re the largest city, so far, to file a Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy. As Bloomberg reports, the public employee unions – including police and fire who are among the worst offenders – are burying the city.
Police Chief Tom Morris was supposed to bring stability to law enforcement when he was appointed to the job four years ago.
He lasted eight months and left the now-bankrupt city at age 52 with an annual pension that pays more than $204,000 — the third of four chiefs who stayed in the position for less than three years and retired with an average of 92 percent of their final salaries.
I’m in the wrong business. Eight months of work at age 48, get fired (assumption), retire at 52 with $204,000 annual pay check. He’s probably working somewhere else building a second retirement income.
Note that Stockton has had three police chiefs who’ve had less than three years in the job and who are knocking down big six figure retirement checks.
To their credit a few cities, well OK, two, are addressing the problem with ballot initiatives that passed with huge majorities that are bringing pension costs into line. San Diego and San Jose (a liberal stronghold) have been on the leading edge and are also going to court to defend their ballot initiatives. Expect the cases to go to the Supreme Court because the cities don’t stand a chance against the unions in the 9th Circus.
The mayor of San Jose even made an honest comment on the situation:
The pensions are the consequence of decisions made when stock markets were soaring, technology money flooded the state, and retirement funds were running surpluses.
“We didn’t have very many people looking out for the taxpayers when these deals were negotiated,” San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, 63, said in a telephone interview. San Jose, the state’s third-largest city, approved a ballot measure in June to contain annual retirement costs that soared to $245 million from $73 million in the past decade.
Let’s take a quick look at the “general incompetence” charge.
San Bernardino … is typical of the phenomenon. Its city council voted July 18 to approve an emergency bankruptcy filing, about six years after the panel unanimously lowered the retirement age for public-safety workers to 50 from 55.
The council acted in August 2006 even though Aon Plc, the city’s risk-management consultant, had warned it that such a change would add millions of dollars to San Bernardino’s long- term pension costs. In the fiscal year that ended in June, pensions consumed 13 percent of the city’s general fund, up from 9 percent in fiscal 2007.
“I knew it was going to be costly in the long run,” San Bernardino City Councilwoman Wendy McCammack said of the lower retirement age. “However, this city is one of the toughest to police. In order to attract and retain the kind of officers that it takes to police a city like this, that was a benefit that we had to negotiate.”
“I knew it was going to be costly in the long run…” Like hell you did. Where is Darwin when he’s needed most. City and state politicians who cut the deals – note please that “d” is the first letter of both “deal” and “democrat” – are at best utterly incompetent and stupid, at worst they are corrupt and need to do time in one of California’s understaffed and overcrowded prisons.
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You really should read all of Bloomberg’s article, but have alcohol at the ready. I will toss in a snip that should raise your blood pressure just as a parting shot…
Across the state, former city managers and public-safety employees are collecting six-digit annual pensions for life at taxpayers’ expense as cities slash staff and basic services such as police and fire protection and library hours to keep up with the payments.
In San Bernardino, two former police chiefs are among those who receive six-figure pensions, according to Calpers. Keith Kilmer, who retired last year, gets a pension of $216,581, Calpers said. He now serves as interim chief of the Seal Beach, California, Police Department. Michael Billdt, his predecessor, who receives $205,014 annually, took a medical retirement in 2009 after two no-confidence votes by officers.
Billdt, who had no college degree, was accused of trying to induce an officer to withdraw a union grievance in exchange for the department dropping an internal-affairs investigation into his conduct. Billdt didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment, and Kilmer declined to comment.
There’s not much to add to that. Public employee unions and their members are, by and large, thieves.