|Goose: They want to close the Library. No, really.|
PensionTsunami's primary focus is on California's public employee pension crisis, but we also monitor developments in all three pension spheres nationwide -- public employees, corporations and social security -- since it is taxpayers who will ultimately be responsible for making up deficits incurred by any of them. We also try to monitor international trends. The site was launched in 2005 under the auspices of the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers (link).
PensionTsumani generates a daily e-mail blast that goes out to over 1,400 media organizations worldwide, and they have been at it for nearly a decade. Given their focus they have naturally developed quite a following, and yesterday we were the beneficiary of their hard work. Two Tattler posts were picked up and sent out to their vast e-mail list. Both of these articles deal with the Sierra Madre's unfunded pension crisis, which in-the-know residents understand is the actual driving force behind Measure UUT.
The articles selected were:
Why Is Sierra Madre's Employee Benefits Report AWOL? (The Sierra Madre Tattler - link)
City of Sierra Madre: Why the 7.9% CalPERS Investment Was All Wrong (The Sierra Madre Tattler - link)
Oh happy day. We got a wave of interested traffic from this fortuitous hook-up, and being grateful and all we figured we should repay their kind interest and give them as good a plug as we can here.
Of course, our two posts were hardly the only articles PensionTsunami blasted out to the world yesterday. Here is a Sacramento Bee article they linked to through a blog post by Redding.com's estimable Bruce Ross (link):
CalPERS poised to raise rates, but not on Brown’s timetable (Sacramento Bee - link): CalPERS and Gov. Jerry Brown agree the pension fund needs to significantly raise its contribution rates to keep up with ever-increasing life expectancies. They disagree on how quickly rates should rise.
The CalPERS staff, in a report to its board Wednesday, outlined a plan for raising rates starting in fiscal 2016-17. The increases, covering the state as well as several thousand local government agencies and school districts, would be phased in over five years under the staff recommendation.
The recommendation could meet with more friction from Brown. Responding to a preliminary CalPERS report issued in December, Brown last week labeled as “unacceptable” the plan to delay implementation until 2016.
Though you won't be hearing very much about this issue from Professor Goss or arriviste' Pasadena Attorney Noah Green this election season, it isn't really the Library that hangs in the balance should Measure UUT go down. It is the millions of dollars in unfunded pension liabilities the City of Sierra Madre is now up against. And with CalPERS costs rising again (what other way would they ever go except up?), things are not going to improve anytime soon.
Here an older article from The New York Times (link):
Police Salaries and Pensions Push California City to Brink - Emerging from Los Angeles’s vast eastern sprawl, the freeway glides over a narrow pass and slips gently into the scrubby, palm-flecked Coachella Valley.
Turn south, and you head into Palm Springs with its megaresorts, golf courses and bustling shops. Turn north, and you make your way up an arid stretch of road to a battered city where empty storefronts outnumber shops, the Fire Department has been closed, City Hall is on a four-day week and the dwindling coffers may be empty by spring.
The city, Desert Hot Springs, population 27,000, is slowly edging toward bankruptcy, largely because of police salaries and skyrocketing pension costs, but also because of years of spending and unrealistic revenue estimates. It is mostly the police, though, who have found themselves in the cross hairs recently.
“I would not venture to say they are overpaid,” said Robert Adams, the acting city manager since August. “What I would say is that we can’t pay them.”
Though few elected officials in America want to say it, police officers and other public-safety workers keep turning up at the center of the municipal bankruptcies and budget dramas plaguing many American cities — largely because their pensions tend to be significantly more costly than those of other city workers.
The real issues for this City Council election are pensions and taxes. Can a city of less than 11,000 souls really afford a City of Los Angeles style retirement program for its employees? Should we really want to support people who happened to have worked here at one time for the rest of their lives? And do we continue to pay constant rate, fee and tax increases in order to do this? Some of which, like our utility taxes, are today at the very highest levels in the State of California?
That is why Measure UUT is back on the ballot, and why those busy bees down at City Hall pushed so very hard to get themselves a do-over vote after their bruising UUT defeat in 2012. They want to write their retirement tickets, and for you to pay for them. It is just about all they've been doing these last few months.
But don't say it too loud. They're hoping it stays a secret.
Whose has a bigger pension? Gayle Bluemel or Edwin Diaz?
The Pasadena Unified School District might not be lighting up anybody's sky with academic brilliance these days, but that hardly means its management staff can't enjoy their golden years basking in the glow of six-figure yearly retirement payments.
The answer to today's question in red can be found by clicking here.