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11 June 2012

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Todd Juvinall

George, you write, "The only things at which they excel is their scamming of the ignorant and gullible segments of our electorate. But that may be all that is needed for the damage to continue." That is the problem. The Jerry Springer/Maury Povich voters want a good speaker not a leader. My hope is they stay home from the booths and let the grownups vote.

billy T

I would like to echo usually mild mannered Bob Gates and say shut up. Zip it now. I suppose if I wanted to start an investigation into the national security leaks, I would pick up the trail exactly where Bob Gates left off: The Nat'l Security Agency. Bob knows what was discussed and when. Should save a lot of time to start there. Obama continues to puzzle me with his off the cuff remarks. He sees things so differently than I. His comments at his press conference on the economy reveals that he really really thinks the public sector is the engine of growth. I see public sector hiring as a footnote or an "also ran" when talking about the economy of the U.S.ofA. He used corporate profits as proof the private sector is doing fine as it was his very next statement following his fine comment. Profits do not necessarily translate into growth or hiring. Corporate profits are up because of lack of expansion, lower HR costs, and becoming leaner and more efficient. Guess if you finish the year in the black it means all is well. Ah, never mind. Obama's past sheds light on his comments. Worked for ACORN which got its money from the government via an act of Congress. ACORN exists to trash evil banks for not lending sums of money to less than qualified risky mortgage seekers and shaking down big businesses through intimidation. All wrapped up in the cloak of fairness and voter registration. What a hoot. Maybe Obama is right. Big brother is the source of real jobs, all 14% of the jobs in Amerika. All this time I thought consumer spending and small businesses were the pistons of economic growth and hiring. In related news, S&P just announced that California's economy is "depressed". Rather strong words from the rating agency. S&P places the blame on California's tax structure on the source of our state's "deficit problem." S&P singled out the Teachers Union's underfunded pension liabilities as a big ratings no-no. I think S&P should talk to Obama. Our President will straighten them out.

Ryan Mount

I find it ironic and somewhat appropriate that Governor Brown is having to deal with the mess that he enabled in 1976.

And just when I thought he might be on the road to vindication, he's signs the vague and horribly written CA SB 922. In a nutshell, this seemingly innocuous Bill is designed to strengthen Union Labor by protecting "project labor agreements." Some critics maintain that this will force people into joining a Union.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/11-12/bill/sen/sb_0901-0950/sb_922_bill_20110914_enrolled.pdf

Commentary here:

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2011/oct/02/governor-signs-bill-prevent-blanket-bans-labor-fri/


So what really frustrating here, is that on one hand, you've got the Brown Administration talking big about returning control back to the local municipalities (for reasons everyone has already discussed), yet at the same time is signing SB 922 which ensures central State control, um I mean oversight, over the contractor requirements using Union Labor.

I have nothing against Union Labor, for the record. I have many issues with the GOVERNMENT favoring Unions. It's one thing to protect their Constitutional Right to collective bargain and assemble; it's another thing to have the government go to bat for you as the biggest bully on the block.

THEMIKEYMCD

Look at the drama at the Nev Co Consolidated Fire Department thanks to the Unions... $180k salary to Chief with unbelievable pension... citizens forced to pay additional taxes to support salaries... in a vote counted by Nev Co Consolidated Fire Dept...

http://www.theunion.com/article/20120608/NEWS/120609771/1066&ParentProfile=1053

Douglas Keachie

Get real, everyone. The unions fought for better wages and in lieu of wages, better pensions. Those on the other side of the table said. "thanks, suckers, we won't be around when the bill come due. Here's your lower wages and tyour la la land pie in the sky pensions, so long and thanks for all the fish!' All at the behest of the , "don't tax me now, bro" equivalents of the Tea Party back when the unions were naive. From here on out, swapping pensions for salary increases is going to be a real hard sell. Of course, now that the Tea Party no longer needs an American middle class, it's probably all moot.

Blaming the unions entirely for this pie in the sky deal is ignoring the responsibilities of the swindlers on the other side of the aisle.

billy T

Unions served their purpose and helped the American workers in the private sector in days gone by. We should have a parade to honor their past contributions to our Nation. Their victories were hard fought in a bygone era. Yes, the private sector unions still exist in many trades such as electrical workers and coal miners and grape pickers. Although only 7% of our workers in the private sector belong to a union today, we should honor them with a moment of silence. Today 37% of public employees belong to a union. Local municipalities and states have to balance their budgets. They don't have the luxury of printing money to overcome shortfalls. When the money is gone, the party is over. There are certain high stressed and dangerous jobs in the public sector such as law enforcement and fire suppression that warrant having those workers exempt from increasing their retirement age. They are indispensable to society, which may be the reason Gov Scott Walker exempted them from his tiny reforms. When Gov Walker opened the door for struggling cities and counties in WI to reform instead of firing thousands of peripheral workers, the general public was well served and countless public service union workers were spared the ax. Hard to say, but me thinks the general populace is in no mood to continue things as they were, which was an disproportionate increase in spending for a product diminishing in value. Hard to justify. Something wrong with paying more for less. The people are deeply supportive of keeping our streets safe and clean out of civic pride. To those who continue to be members of public service unions with their ever shrinking enrollment, I wish to thank them as well for their service to our communities and likewise will hold a moment of silence in remembrance of their former contributions to society.

Dixon Cruickshank

Mikey damn 180K, how many damn fires could a BFE county have ??? Bet their all good at video games

Billy your getting worse than keachie, if you want me to read anything you gotta shorten it up dude - I ain't got all day

billy T

ok DC

George Rebane

billyT 708pm - "There are certain high stressed and dangerous jobs in the public sector such as law enforcement and fire suppression that warrant having those workers exempt from increasing their retirement age."

This is understanding is typical and wrong. In the Bureau of Labor Statistics list of the most dangerous jobs, police and firefighters don't even make the top ten. The error has been promoted by their unions and accepted without examination by a grateful populace. The marketplace corroborates it by the number of applicants who show up for every new position in a police or fire department.

The bigger problem is finding the money to pay for all of their benefits. First responder pensions are the first and foremost factors causing cities to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The pages have pointed out this now obvious fact for years when it was first denied by the more reasonable Left. Now these have fallen silent as Democrat mayors lament their fate. Only the looney left continues to hold the public service unions harmless.
http://rebaneruminations.typepad.com/rebanes_ruminations/2009/07/dear-government-employees.html

Douglas Keachie

For the short attention spanned: This is going to be a gaff rigged election. Dedicated to the memory of Don Hilbun.

http://www.photographersdirect.com/buyers/stockphoto.asp?imageid=2571614

Douglas Keachie

Get rich quick, become an EMT: http://www.emtadvice.com/wages.htm

(This post has been certified as safe for those with AADD.)

Douglas Keachie

What's causing governments big and small in the USA to file for bankruptcy, is the loss of all the income taxes from the workers whose jobs were sent off to the Far East. All was good until the 1% decided to make money totally without regards for the effects on the country, and rigged (lobbied) laws to make it easy for them to do it. Put the blame where it belongs, not on those at the bottom who controlled nothing..

Gregory

"All was good until the 1% decided to make money totally without regards for the effects on the country, and rigged (lobbied) laws to make it easy for them to do it."

CalPERS and CalSTRS are the 1%?

"In San Diego, the example of a retired city librarian making $227,000 annually from her pension after being paid a top salary of $154,000 while working hit home with voters in this military community, who learned that her pension topped that of a four-star general."
http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/political-potpourri/2012/jun/6/labor-unions-feel-pain-pension-reform-votes-san-di/


Gregory

"Only the looney left continues to hold the public service unions harmless." GR 9:44

The proof came along very quickly...

Douglas Keachie

As usual, Gregory comes out swinging with a very misleading old worn out bat, from 2010, plenty of time to fact check, but no, Greg's gotta have his day in court, even if it means purgering common sense:

"
Fact Check: A Giant, Roving Misleading Billboard

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Posted: Friday, October 29, 2010 5:59 pm | Updated: 2:46 pm, Fri May 18, 2012.

by Liam Dillon

Statement:
Photo from No on D Facebook page

Image: misleading Determination: Misleading

Analysis: If you've gone outside over the past few days, there's a good chance you've seen this giant roving billboard from the anti-Proposition D campaign.

The claim is startling. The annual pension for a four-star general: $149,000. The pension for a San Diego city librarian: $227,000.

The message is clear. A vote for Proposition D's half-cent sales tax increase funds pensions for book pushers that are 52 percent higher those of our nation's top military leaders.

The billboard is riddled with problems.

It distorts the career of the librarian in question and the comparison between the two pensions isn't exactly apples-to-apples. Beyond the stats on the billboard, the comparison leaves out important details about the retirement income for both.

Let's start with the librarian.

Her name is Anna Tatar and for the last 11 years of her career with the city she wasn't just shushing patrons and stamping books. Tatar was the city's library director in charge of the city's 36 branches and 3.4 million book system until she retired in 2008. Her official title, even as head of the department, was "librarian," making that part of the billboard accurate, but misleading. It wasn't just any old librarian as the billboard leads you to believe. No on D campaigners note, correctly, that when they've been asked to clarify the librarian's position they've said she was the head of the department.

Tatar's pension payment in 2009 was $227,249, according to data from the city retirement system. That includes her standard pension and an $85,000 annuity payout from the city's Deferred Retirement Option Program. Since the DROP payment is a pension benefit, the billboard's characterization of Tatar's annual pension is accurate."

"city's Deferred Retirement Option Program" note that the city set this up, not the unions.

Source: http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/fact/article_4efd02a8-e3c1-11df-8ffc-001cc4c002e0.html

Whenever Greg makes weak tea, he never cites sources. And yes, Greg, this is more meta-communications commentary about your writing style and habits. You can expect me to keep it up, forever, so back off with the silly stuff.

Gregory

Keachie's meta-reality remains a stumbling block. Even $142K (from the numbers Keachie provided) is an excessive pension for life for a city employee, and the issue is public employee pensions, not just those of unionized public employees.

"Whenever Greg makes weak tea, he never cites sources. "
To the contrary, I gave the link I was referring to. To quote Keachie, "You lie". Otherwise, if I am quoting something and the reader wants to find the source, try googling a sentence from it to find it yourself. It's not rocket science.

Gregory

http://www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/cd5/pdf/news/pensionreport.pdf

The former librarian's annual pension exceeds the current salary of the position, and the total expected lifetime payout is $6,084,998.

Or at least was, before San Diego passed their reform.

Ryan Mount

Yikes.

The question for me is this: is this librarian's salary an anomaly? This slide deck you provided is deeply disturbing. And the double-dipping is outrageous. 44% live OUTSIDE of San Diego. Nice way of getting those dollars back into the community, eh? They're probably living in Nevada. Who knows?

My spidey sense says no. But to be fair there's got to be pensions + benefits that are more reasonable? Right?

Douglas Keachie

"try googling a sentence from it to find it yourself. It's not rocket science." been doing that since the 1990's, been using keywords since 1974. Your link goes to straight propaganda, not to any of the details of the case. You merely repeated the old news, with no effort put into finding out what is going on. Who are you to judge what a manager of that large of a library system should get paid? And what their retirement should be after 36 years?

Books, not guns.

"The former librarian's annual pension exceeds the current salary of the position"

And has that salary been reduced in the last three years, and was the extra cash a one time thing that she paid into to earn it, in lieu of a higher salary? Inquiring minds want to know.

THEMIKEYMCD

Nevada County's recently retired librarian had a salary of over $155k (before benefits). The average salary (before benefits) in the Nevada County Library system was over $68k (circa 2010).

billy T

The librarian's pension and the salary of the GV Superintendent of little grammar schools are a problem. We don't need to blame anyone or China. We have identified the problem and the next step is to correct it. Time to move forward. It will be a long hard battle as administrators actually believe they are deserving of their pot of money confiscated from the unwashed masses. Once found out what the City Manager of little Grass Valley made. Think our population was about 9,000 at the time. His salary was more that the State's top boss of CDF, more than the person in charge of the State's Social Welfare Department, more than a lot of top posts in the State. Think it just under the CHP's top brass's salary. We may not have the power to do anything about the State. But we can influence our County and little bergs and address the problem ASAP. Little populations should not pay the same salaries of administrators in SF or San Diego or San Jose or Pasadena or even Redding or Auburn.

George Rebane

Expanding on billyT's 1133am, IMHO as a taxpayer I have every right and, moreover, a duty to opine on the amounts public sector workers get paid. It is only the supine socialists who believe in the ultimate wisdom of governments that reprimand those who dare doubt that wisdom.

According to my lights, both librarians here in NC and in San Diego were grossly overpaid, and their over-generous pensions continue to be a blight on the land. But we always have to remember that these sums were made real by politicians we elected, politicians who sat with the unions when these plans were put in place. No one represented us. The librarians took what was placed there for their taking - we all would have done the same.

I often fantasize about public sector jobs being put up for auction. You submit your resume to an independent vetting board, and once qualified you get to bid for the job (pay and benefits). Lowest bidder wins. No doubt some tweaking of the process will be required, but I wonder how that would work out. I can already hear the collectivists shrieking.

Gregory

Yesterdays politicians made promises today's politicians can't fulfill without decreasing current services. Tomorrow's politicians won't be paying them off.

The golden goose has been slaughtered, roasted and is being eaten. The leftovers won't last too long.

Good for the people of San Diego, San Jose and Wisconsin. Last Tuesday may well have been an inflection point for the nation.

Gregory

"I often fantasize about public sector jobs being put up for auction. You submit your resume to an independent vetting board, and once qualified you get to bid for the job (pay and benefits). Lowest bidder wins. No doubt some tweaking of the process will be required, but I wonder how that would work out."


George, when you hired people, did you farm out the selection process to an "independent vetting board"?

George Rebane

Gregory 1205pm - No, I vetted and hired my own people (people who reported to me), but several times I did use head hunters to be the first level filter. And as a consultant I also vetted candidates a couple of times for a critical position for my client. But here I was just talking about public sector jobs ...

Ryan Mount

> Who are you to judge what a manager of that large of a library system should get paid? And what their retirement should be after 36 years?

Whoa. Hold on there mister. The people (us, you and I) pay their salaries and we have more than just barking rights here.

However in fairness, you make a point about someone's long service and I think that should be considered. But at this $227K mark? It's absurd to defend that salary.

More practically, how is a municipality supposed to maintain those rates? It seems like the solution is all new employees get the shaft. We'll work you part time, at lower rates. For legacy employees? It's the American way: they give newbies (and us) proverbial middle finger and tell themselves, "I got mine."

Todd Juvinall

RyanM you are right on the mark. We once tried to get rid of a County employee we caught parked at the Mustang Ranch (he was inside during working hours) in broad daylight. Took a year and 100K to throw him out of government.

Ryan Mount

I knew if I stayed around long enough on this topic that hookers and government would come up. They seem like bedfellows. I think there's a double pun in there somewhere.

But more seriously, or not, I want to recognize the grief of a 36 year librarian career. But to the tune of $220K+ in retirement, presumably with family benefits which are going to be considerable more expensive in the twilight years? That's absurd.

Gregory

George, an independent panel isn't likely to be any better in screening than your headhunters, and I doubt you'd have thrived had the low bidders been the ones you had to hire for your team.

Public retirees have spent years working in a variety of positions. That they can retire and get more money than their highest paid position, every year so long as they or their spouse lives, is ludicrous. A 401(k) style plan allows transparency of expenditures, and their nest egg would grow in lockstep with their pay and frugality, not just bumped up to stratospheric levels at the end of their career.

That 36 year librarian, in retrospect, earned an extra $169,000 for every year they worked, in retirement benefits. Including their first years where all they did was returning books to the shelves and other entry level tasks. This is nuts.

George Rebane

Gregory 419pm - don't confuse my remark as favoring defined benefit over defined contribution. To my knowledge Mike McDaniel and I were the first to argue for defined contribution in front of the BoS five years ago before that body even acknowledged unfunded liabilities.

And I never underestimate the low bidders in the marketplace. It is they who are the impetus to competition and its blessings. In government employment we have neither low bidders nor competition. Seeing as what that has gotten us, I thought I'd suggest something else.

Douglas Keachie

"According to my lights, both librarians here in NC and in San Diego were grossly overpaid, and their over-generous pensions continue to be a blight on the land. But we always have to remember that these sums were made real by politicians we elected, politicians who sat with the unions when these plans were put in place. No one represented us."

So you don't vote? you can opine all you want, but don't whine if you don't vote. Maybe others value librarians more? Well, knocking the crap out of public pensions will certainly help moral and attract new and better qualified applicants for public postions.

Any idea what corporations pay for top notch librarians?

Douglas Keachie

"don't confuse my remark as favoring defined benefit over defined contribution. To my knowledge Mike McDaniel and I were the first to argue for defined contribution in front of the BoS five years ago before that body even acknowledged unfunded liabilities.'

so who licks up the change under the latter when someone dies early? If the balance is paid to the estate, that might be fair. How about making sure all pensions (public and private) are required to be defined contribution? Oh, if not, why not? Goose and gander.

Russ Steele

As of last year, CalPRS has $525 billion in unfunded liabilities. But that was based on a return on equity of 7.75%. Instead the return was a NEGATIVE 4.8%–a difference of 12%.

That 12% will be added to the unfunded liabilities—$11 billion more of unfunded liabilities.

“The fund’s value declined to $226.1 billion as of June 8, down from $237.5 billion at the start of its fiscal year July 1. As recently as March 31, the fund was up 1.9 percent for the first nine months. Since May 1, the Standard & Poor’s 500 (SPX) index of stocks declined 5.8 percent. Half of Calpers’s money is invested in equities.”

We are not reading about this 12% difference in the news. Yes, I know that CalPERS in a long term investment strategy, but with the Nation on the cusp of the longest recover on record, and threat of a major depression, "long term" may be a failed strategy. There are going to be some public sector union employees that are not going to get the rosy retirement checks they were promised. You would think they should be up in arms in Sacramento.

Douglas Keachie

Steal from the poor, don't take one thin dime from the rich. My "rosy" retirement check after 20 years is less than $2,000, and I am not allowed to collect ANY of the social security I paid in and am STILL paying in. Over the last ten years the stock market has reached its highest levels ever, almost hitting 14K, and currently at 12.5K. I would expect to get the same amounts as always, but the dollars will be worth less. Virtually all clothing except shoes and outdoor gear comes from Hospice on Zion Street, and work shirts from Woodland thrift which sell white polos for $1.25.

Douglas Keachie

How many young enthusiastic teachers are going to gamble that 20 to 30 years from now they will still have the spark to hotwire the test scores? Only when you get above 30 years of service do the larger jumps kick in. You will never again see as many teachers with that kind of service record, as pissing on the profession takes its toll. It will be a temp slot until something real comes along.

George Rebane

In today's (13jun12) Union, Nevada County school teacher Ty Pelfrey writes 'Don't Get Me Started', a column on the life, benefits, and a career in teaching. It's a report in stark contrast to the accounts delivered by our own Douglas Keachie. Here's the link to the article -
http://www.theunion.com/article/20120613/OPINION/120619935/1024

Unfortunately, Jeff Ackerman still paywalls the Union's op-ed contributions.

billy T

Our dear overworked under paid teachers in Chicago are voting to call a strike if they don't get a 30% raise over the next two years. Guess that is how they do things in Chicago. The Chicago way: Blame big business, call Bill Clinton a racist, increase income tax 20% and give little Johnnie's teacher a bushel of apples every hour. Funny how Rahm Emmanuel(Chicago's new mayor) is whining about the fact that the unions are looting HIS city. He was singing a different tune when he was Obama's closest adviser. Politics is great spectator sport. http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/teachers-want-30-pay-raise-if-they-believe-that-we-can-afford-it-are-they-too-stupid-to-be-teachi/question-2707155/?page=2&postId=86155463#post_86155463

billy T

Opps, link starts on bottom of article. Gotta scroll up to read about our hard working dedicated teachers.

Douglas Keachie

I wonder how much Ty will feel like one of his coyotes when the pay decreases and pension and medical exclusions start to fall into place, under the Romney "no new taxes" plan and the Rebane's of the world voiding out the pension contracts?

http://www.longrangehunting.com/articles/pass-shooting-coyotes-1.php

After the college and the extra expense of the admin credential which may be helping that salary figure a bit, (can't tell if he's being paid at two different jobs at once), I would certainly hope that he could bring in at least 1/2 of the median salary of a California lawyer, 12 years ago. Started in SF years ago, due to family considerations, and finding a slot up here was way much harder, even on the sub list there are over 400 people, and that's for the equivalent of 18,000/year, if you could do it full time. were a full time slt offered to me up here, I take it in a flash, as would many, many more who are waiting in the wings.

Douglas Keachie

At his current salary, Ty is well into the sweet spot years. Let's find out what a newly minted teacher thinks of the prospects, long term, given the current economy, and the politics driving it.

billy T

Maybe if we saw tangible results over the last 40 years of pouring more dollars down the rat hole, the taxpayers would continue to spent more.....Spending less for less sounds reasonable, sensible, and the right thing to do.http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_20850824/new-haven-district-union-city-tries-ease-parce

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