|Obviously Bill is not amused. -|
I didn't think so. Since only around 1 in 5 (or 6) registered voters in Pasadena is expected to show up for this train wreck of an election today, it appears that even the people actually living there couldn't care less. And if you think about it, why should they? There are just so many far more fabulous things for them to be doing than drive to some stuffy old school foyer and vote for one of the two Mayor wannabe Councilcritters who snoozed through the biggest embezzlement scandal in that city's history. And then blamed it all on city staff, of course.
Here is an interesting Pasadena fact. According to CityData.com (link), the average household income in Pasadena in 2012 was $65,423.00. Which is actually somewhat above what the average California household is making these days. But not that much. Here is the helpful two-toned graphic CityData supplied to illustrate this important data for us.
Either way, I don't know how a household living in the Rose City could get by on that little dough. What with the price of a new Lexus these days. Not to mention the cost of pastry at Euro Pane.
But Pasadena actually does have its less well-off citizens. You just are not encouraged to view them for any length of time. Besides, they're too busy running for their lives from members of a gun happy Police Department who are making an average of $175,000.00 per year. And are currently conducting labor actions for even more.
So what exactly does the average City government employee make in Pasadena? The following figures are supplied to us by Transparent California (link), who obtained this information through a PRA request to the Home of the Dome.
That average city employee compensation figure would be $128,040.90, or approximately double what a typical resident household in Pasadena takes home. Outrageously out of balance I know, and a telling indication of just how badly the city government there is ripping its taxpayers off.
Not that too many seem to mind enough to actually go to the polls and throw the bums out, mind you.
However, those crazy out of whack numbers do make sense if you happen to be newly elected PUSD Board of Education member Patrick Cahalan. Here is how he attempted to explain this troubling math yesterday to the readers of the near informative Pasadena Politics Facebook page.
The problem is that you're only doing a first-order analysis on that data and thus you're not really finding out anything.
Yes, we have a 137,000 residents according to the 2010 census. Pasadena has a decent number of folks who live here and work elsewhere (mostly downtown).
We also have a significant incoming commuter population. Back in 2000 I seem to remember seeing a traffic analysis that suggested that about half of our working age population are exports to other local working areas (folks with commutes > 30 minutes) and about half of our working population is inbound on the freeway every day.
Can't find the citation, I thought it was somewhere in my pile of 210 extension docs, but the tag line was something along the lines of "Pasadena has a living population of 135,000 and a working population of 180,000 and most of the folks that work here don't live here and vice-versa".
Searched for it just now and can't find it, so I'm trusting memory here and I could very well be wrong.
But it points out a serious flaw in trying to draw out anything from what our resident population is v. what we pay for city government. Also, as I previously mentioned, it ignores a lot of nuance in Pasadena, such as revenue streams from things other than taxes (e.g., the Rose Bowl).
We also have a lot of municipal employees that other cities don't have, who provide services that are given by the private sector in those cities. For example, the link you keep posting? If you scroll through that list you'll find all sorts of folks employed by Pasadena Water and Power. Arcadia gets their power from SoCal Edison, so that entire tree of expenditures wouldn't even show up under their list of city services.
Now, yes, maybe you think PWP should be privatized, but the fact is that it's not, at the moment, and thus the numbers for Pasadena that result in it making it into your "top 10 most expensive city payrolls" are misleading, because you're comparing apples to internal combustion engines.
Everybody get all that? Is this crystal clear now? Good. Because Patrick is going to be making a lot of important decisions for you as a voting member of the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education over the next four years. Spending your tax money, and for the well-being of your kids.
Just so you know, Patrick was referring to this figure:
For a family of 4 that would come out to right around $6,200,00 a year. Or, for that average Pasadena family with a yearly income of approximately $60,000,00 (averaged out), around a tenth of everything they earn. Before taxes, of course.
And yes, that is the 10th highest city government employee compensation cost per resident in all of California. I do hope they enjoy their services.
One candidate in the runoff for a Pasadena City Council seat actually became a millionaire on the public dime. I kid you not. And now he wants to get elected so he can make sure a lot of other oppressed city workers will become millionaires as well. Which is why the city employee unions there are throwing mad stacks at him.
It's a gold rush, and all on the backs of families making an average of $60,000 a year. His name is Calvin Wells, and here is what he pulled down in his last two years of serving the people.
Yep. That is well over half a million dollars in 2012 and 2013 alone. After which he retired on a yearly pension that could choke a plow horse. How awesome is that?
A lot of unfortunate things can happen when you're off at the Cheesecake Factory pounding down fatty snacks instead of doing your civic duty and voting.
Now if you were a Pasadena City Hall worker hauling down a cool six figure salary, this next example of the Rose City Misery Index for the average wage earner would not trouble you. Why? Because, as the recipient of compensation far above that of mere taxpaying residents, you would be sending your sprouts and tads off to private school. Right? Of course you would. Most of them do.
One website of note has just published its "Best School Districts for Your Buck in California" list for the year. They rank 375 Cali public school districts by using various insightful criteria, all of which is explained in some depth here.
So would you care to see the Bottom 10 Schools Districts in the State of California?
Here they are.
Not bad for one of the most heavily taxed cities in California, right? And with among the most lavishly compensated city employees to boot. Maybe we can get recently elected PUSD Board of Ed member Patrick Cahalan to explain that to us as well.
Be sure to bring along some tinfoil.