Sacramento Bee Columnist Dan Walters has apparently come to believe the spin spun by the pension “reformers” who assert that cities’ fiscal woes are due to the high costs of providing pensions to the women and men – the first responders and others – who put their lives on the line for these cities’ residents.
The word whirling by the likes of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed – and the Texas millionaire who is supporting his efforts – holds that if these “high pension payments” were reduced to better levels, all would be right for the cities.
In fact, cities in fiscal trouble don’t have their police officers and firefighters to blame. The voters should be blaming officials – like Mayor Reed – who made fiscal and urban planning decisions that have put their localities in the hole.
Public employees in cities around the state have negotiated 538 contracts with city management. To assert that pension costs are sinking cities in a “perfect pension storm” is to ignore the fact virtually all of these cities are alive and afloat, while cities under the direction of a pension reformer like Mayor Reed are foundering.
In fact, Mayor Reed’s handling of pension costs in his city – ramming a “pension reform” measure onto the ballot – has already cost taxpayers $5 million in unneeded legal costs.
So here are the facts:
These issues should be – and have been – successfully handled through public sector negotiations.
The mayor’s rush to the ballot – both locally in San Jose and his effort to qualify a statewide ballot measure – is a headlong run in the wrong direction. It won't get anyone where they need to go.
Worse yet, the Mayor’s proposed budget measure will break promises made to California’s finest - current teachers, firefighters, school bus drivers, and police officers -- who have earned, contributed to, and deserve a secure retirement
Now’s the time to add your own voice to the hundreds writing to the Sacramento, Fresno, and Modesto Bee newspapers that all carried Mr. Walters’ column.
Let the three Bees’ readers know just how wrong Mr. Walters is…..write a letter to editor…..
Dan Walters' Column in the Bee, including the Fresno Bee
Sacramento Bee Letters to the Editor
Modesto Bee Letters to the Editor