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 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts

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PostSubject: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:19 am

2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts


By ELLIOT SPAGAT

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SAN DIEGO

Voters in two major California cities overwhelmingly approved cuts to retirement benefits for city workers in what supporters said was a mandate that may lead to similar ballot initiatives in other states and cities buried under mounting pension obligations.

Public employee unions that aggressively fought the measures weren't able to overcome the simple message supporters used to attract voters in San Diego and San Jose: Pensions for city workers are unaffordable and more generous than many private companies offer. The result is reduced public services in the form of such things as limited hours at public libraries and unfilled potholes.

"The public is frustrated," said San Diego councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican who staked his mayoral bid on the pension measure and advanced to a November runoff in Tuesday's election to lead the nation's eighth-largest city.

In San Diego, two-thirds of voters favored Proposition B while the landslide was even greater in San Jose, the nation's 10th-largest city. With all precincts counted, 70 percent were in favor of Measure B.

"The voters get it, they understand what needs to be done," said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a Democrat who has called pension reform his highest priority.

Shrinking tax revenues during the recession are also responsible for service cuts in San Diego and San Jose, but pensions were an easy target. San Diego's payments to the city's retirement fund soared from $43 million in 1999 to $231.2 million this year, equal to 20 percent of the city's general fund budget, which pays for day-to-day operations.

As the pension payments grew, San Diego's 1.3 million residents saw roads deteriorate and libraries and recreation centers cut hours. For a while, some fire stations had to share engines and trucks. The city has cut its workforce 14 percent to 10,100 employees since Sanders took office in 2005.

San Jose's pension payments jumped from $73 million in 2001 to $245 million this year, equal to 27 percent of its general fund budget. Voters there approved construction bonds at the beginning of the last decade, but four new libraries and a police station have never opened because the city cannot afford to operate them. The city of 960,000 cut its workforce 27 percent to 5,400 over the last 10 years.

Tuesday's votes set the stage for potentially lengthy legal challenges by public employee unions. The measures are unusual because they address pensions for current employees, not just new hires.

Opponents say the measures deprive workers of benefits they were counting on when they got hired. Some workers decided against potentially more lucrative jobs with private companies, figuring their retirement was relatively safe.

Those arguments failed to resonate with voters.

"A lot of employees are disheartened," said Yolanda Cruz, president of the San Jose Municipal Employees Federation, who called the outcome disappointing. "We've been made the full problem of what's been going on."

The ballot measures differ on specifics. San Diego's imposes a six-year freeze on pay levels used to determine pension benefits unless a two-thirds majority of the City Council votes to override it. It also puts new hires, except for police officers, into 401(k)-style plans.

More than 100,000 residents signed petitions to put the San Diego measure on the ballot.

Under San Jose's measure, current workers have to pay up to 16 percent of their salaries to keep their retirement plan or accept more modest benefits. New hires would get less generous benefits.

Reed joined an 8-3 City Council majority to put the measure on the ballot. He said after Tuesday's vote that he expected other cities in financial binds to pursue similar measures.

"It's novel but it's certainly not radical," he said. "Mayors across the country are very interested. We're at the leading edge but we're not alone."

***********

One hesitates to become too excited by these developments and by Walker's Wisc. victory, but...

If voter sentiment in even heavily liberal locales is turning against public employee unions and, by possible extension, runaway government spending generally, this can only be a positive sign.


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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Sat Jun 09, 2012 3:35 pm

When do we vote??? It's about time. I'm thinking that will never happen in new jersery or new york though. The unions are under the politician's desks doing un-natural acts.
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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:16 am

Now Gov Walker won the recall vote and more unions are on the outs with the public sector! It is coming down to this; if you are one of the fat cats demanding more and more out of the public sector, better get ready to go to Kenya with your fearless leader!!! Unions have done some great things over the past years but they are not appropriate now for what they are doing. JMHO!!

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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:12 pm

That's fine with me, in their time they were needed. I think now that most companies know how to behave themselves, we dont need these POS in this country. Especially the way the union leaders have been acting in the last 30 or 40 years. Bunch of bullies and theives an liars.
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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:17 pm

I realize there was a time the unions did more good than bad. However, I think that time has long since passed!!!

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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:37 pm

I can see them doing some good if they would kick out these mob affiliated business agents and officers and such. Bunch of crooks.
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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:55 am

The unions have become so involved with the graft and corruption I doubt they would ever be able to overcome the public perception that they are bad now! TWIT!!!

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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:14 pm

It has been a way of life for them for many years. Time to stop and desist.
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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Mon Jun 18, 2012 8:42 pm

I think a lot of the unions are going to be turned on as time goes on! They are driving wages and costs up on every item in the stores and everywhere else. JMHO!!

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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Thu Jun 21, 2012 3:29 pm

I agree, it is a little out of hand. What makes it even worse they tend to produce much less then the good people who are not unionized.
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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:24 am

Just a good idea that its time has come and gone!!! TWIT!!!

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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:04 pm

Total agreement. When it is needed again them let them organize, until them cease your vile manipulation of hard working people and honest companys.
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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Mon Jun 25, 2012 7:58 am

There was a machinist's union that struck against Lockheed in the DFW area about 9 weeks ago. Lockheed brought in management folks to fill some gaps and hired a few that broke the picket line. Then they brought in some part time folks to get back to full staff where they could continue to produce the military aircraft as before. The union decided last week they best get to talking to Lockheed if they want to work again so they met for four days straight and came to somewhat of an agreement to vote on. It is in the process of being voted on and today Lockheed announced there would be massive layoffs and they would begin soon! Are these people just stupid by nature or what? If you kill the goose that lays the golden eggs there are no more golden eggs!!! JMHO!!

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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:40 pm

See...it aint like it used to be. Good for them. In an economy like this, we have to bleed a little for our employers so we can survive. Our employers are not all villians, they know our hurt, and when times get better, I am confident they will take care of the hard honest workers.
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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:24 pm

I think if you give the right person teh opportunity to do the right thing they usually will. Human nature I think!!!

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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:15 pm

You would hope so. I think you are mostly right in your assumption.
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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Mon Jul 02, 2012 8:14 am

And the voters continue to overturn the excessive pensions and salaries!!! This is going to be the main headline for the next few years as we try hard to bring our country back into reality for a change!!! JMHO!!

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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:10 pm

They should include the lawmaker's pensions and saleries in that.
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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:24 pm

It will come to that as we cannot afford what these arsewipes are doing to us any longer!!! It is just a matter of a short time. TWIT!!!

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PostSubject: Re: 2 California cities voters embrace pension cuts   Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:15 am

Agreed. We can not entertain the type of politicians that have plagued us in recent history. I beleive they have to be made an examle of so the ones that are voted in in the future tow the line.
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