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Employees union pulls controversial contract proposal off the table

Original post made on Feb 16, 2011

The Pleasanton City Employees Association--the union that represents 227 city workers—withdrew its pending two-year contract agreement last night with the City Council agreeing to go back to the bargaining table for new negotiations.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 8:01 AM

Comments (202)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bethany
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:12 am

Thank you Kay. APT next please.


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Posted by Way to go!
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:21 am

Thank you Bart Hughes and David Miller!!! I agree. Now help us with the contract with APT, especially those growing pensions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:28 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Thanks to PCEA also.


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Posted by Bart Hughes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:37 am

Yes thanks to everyone involved with this discussion and decision including PCEA. I do hope we can now construct a process that is more inclusive of public input and consider alternative fixes to the problem beyond the contribution/paycut option that has been discussed. If the union is willing to consider changes to the pension formula for both future and current participants, they will be able to minimize the impact to current paychecks.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:46 am

Wonderful news. Now if only Fialho will do something other than give in to their every demand.
Propose this:
No raises for the foreseeable future
Employees contribute the full 8%
Formula is 2 % of last 3 year average at age 65
Employees pay all health costs after retirement
Do not forget that these people enjoyed over 40% in raises for the last 8 years of the contract. They were protected from any downturn and they now need to pay some of that back.


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Posted by Tennessee Jed
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:48 am

"$290 million and are growing"

I think this speaks volumes!


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Posted by Tennessee Jed
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:56 am

Here's the break down:

Unfunded pension liabilities $290,000,000
------------ = $100,000 per household
# of households[approx] 29,000

that's my share...:(


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Posted by Vinelander
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:22 am

$10,000 per household. Still ridiculous. Bravo to Nelson for voluntarily agreeing to contribute 8%. Now the rest of the employees need to step up to the plate.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:23 am

How about correct math? $290,000,000/29,000 = $10,000 per household.

Still a lot of money.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:35 am

The council took a real pounding from the unions and employees for their action on this. The power of the unions and the reason this has become such a problem was on full display. The council did the right thing sending this back. They need support as well as criticism.

Many of the posted suggestions are draconian and unfair. This should not be about anger or some type of retribution. It should be about moving staff to a fair market rate with market benefits.

They should not get fully paid medical in retirement because nowhere in the market is that available, but many plans include some benefit or at least access to a group plan.

They should not get fully funded risk free retirement because the market does not offer that either. There is however variety shared risk plans with a defined contribution and a guaranteed returned set annually based on corporate bond rates.

Retirement ages need to come in to alignment with the market across the board as well. This is got to the point due to public inattention and apathy. If public does not stay engaged the problem will now be resolved


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Posted by Tennessee Jed
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:49 am

Frank, I checked your math, and you are right! It is only $10,000 per household...I will be sending in my check today...everyone should able to easily afford that tab...


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Posted by Bart Hughes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:53 am

It is important that we all use accurate information to convey the magnitude of the problem. I suggest we all need to be diligent with getting the cold-hard facts on the table, otherwise we will be challenged with finding an effective solution.

$185M is a better number to use than the $290M one. $290M includes the Livermore portion of the fire department and includes future projections from CalPERS. $185M is the unfunded liability to date based on services already consumed to date and is based on MVA.

Regardless, the number is large and more troubling it is growing. But it is best if we all use the most valid numbers available.


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Posted by Enough already !
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:07 am

When the state report with the NEW numbers came in the interium, the temtative could NOT POSSIBLY be signed as it was !
40% RAISE in 8 years, I would say this council has been MORE than generous, and it is time to contribute to their own retirements like we do....AND, for local labor leaders to stand at the mic and threaten council with future NON elections....we ALL knew that already, but was tacky to SAY it.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:11 am

Bart, I agree with you that the MVA number is best used for the sake of the local discussion, but the unfunded pension liability per household is probably close to $29,000 when you factor in what we also owe for specials districts (like the school district), Alameda County, and the State.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:20 am

Those arbitrary and disputed numbers take no account of recent investment gains, nor the rapidly recovering economy.

Our hard-working city employees receive fair market pay--below market pay and above market benefits, that balance out to total compensation completely in line with comparable private and public compensation.

Further, our city can afford to offer reasonable market compensation in order to attract the best employees the market has to offer.

This is nothing more than a greedy grab by people who aren't willing to pay their fair share of taxes for the city services they consume, and will hurt many hard-working people in their attempts to put a few more dollars in their own pocket.

For my part, I've done quite well helping to lift people up, not tear them down. A rising tide lifts all boats. Our city will only be hurt by people being forced to take pay cuts, reduced city services, and more multi-million dollar lawsuits over citizens initiatives.

Say no to Bart and Kay.


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Posted by Bart Hughes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

Agreed Arnold. I continue to be astounded by people who still claim we don't have a pension issue or try to blame it all on the financial meltdown.

When you provide a 35% retroactive bump to public pensions based on extremely rosy market projections, it is only a matter of time before you have issues.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bethany
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:26 am

Hogwash. I say yes to Bart and Kay and applaude their efforts


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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:30 am

"Further, our city can afford to offer reasonable market compensation in order to attract the best employees the market has to offer. "
What rock to you live under? Our city has unfunded debt in the millions for these pensions. We cannot and NEED NOT continue to pay these wages and benefits. Remember to 40% in raises that they all took in the past 8 years. These people are paid MORE than market rate for what they do. It is time to bring that under control.
If the employees want to quit and try to find a real job with reasonable benefits feel free. There will be thousands lined up, with qualifications, to fill the positions.


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Posted by Bart Hughes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:30 am

b - you crack me up. So I guess the city itself is now publishing arbitrary and disputed numbers?

This has nothing to do with taxes and all to do with a city who's personnel costs have increased from 63% to 80% because of exploding pension costs. It has everything to do with not letting personnel costs continue to get out of control and starving the rest of Pleasanton's budget.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:50 am

Bart,

I'm very disappointed to hear that. While this may be a fun political game to you, many people take my concerns seriously. The city council clearly gets it, but you simply make fun of my concerns. You're playing with the lives of real people here, and you better start taking seriously the consequences of your rhetoric.

Yes, they are arbitrary point-in-time numbers, taken as a snapshot at the worst point of this recession. They will be far more favorable next year. But you knew that, because I've already told you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by William
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:52 am

Thank you Kay Ayala, David Miller and Bart Hughes.

The majority of the City Council would have approved the bad union contract if it were not for you.

Please next go to PUSD and try to straighten them out with their union APT and the automatic step and column raises. Take a bottle of Tylenol with you. You'll need it! :-)


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Posted by sknywench
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:55 am

sknywench is a registered user.

Private sector employees pay 4% towards SSI in 2010 per the tax break extension, but typically and historically it's 6%. Contributing at a minimum 4% towards PERS is reasonable.

I believe the process for establishing job classification salary ranges should be discussed and evaluated.

Deferring retirement benefits to match Social Security timetables is also appropriate. If public sector wants to be aligned with private sector salary and benefits, then the above is necessary. Bonuses for public sector would then be performance-based and paid in the form of a employer contribution towards PERS, with the combined employee and employer contribution matching the SSI payroll tax.


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Posted by Bart Hughes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 11:10 am

There is absolutely nothing fun about what I am doing. Trust, me I'd prefer to spend my leisure time doing other things. But I got to a point where I couldn't look myself in the mirror if I didn't try to help solve an obvious problem facing our city. A problem that if left unattended would undermine the financial future of our city. Silly me being a political newbie, I thought that people on both sides of the issue when faced with the facts would engage in a constructive problem solving process. Instead we have ended up with this hihgly politicized event that still hasn't put all options on the table to fix the problem.

I do hope you are right and that we are at the apex of the issue and that things get better from here. But hope isn't a strategy and hope that the market would continue its unsustainable climb (SB400) is what got us into this mess.

Pleasanton employees have been treated extremely well has evidenced by the fact that personnel costs grew so dramatically from 2001. It is time for them to offer up more meaningful compromises so we can dig ourselves out of this financial hole. A financial hole that each one of them will benefit hugely from.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned Californian
a resident of Valley Trails
on Feb 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

Lots of people at the city council meeting don't understand Federalism - folks complained about the national financial crisis and bank bailout as having wrecked the economy. Sorry, but what does that have to do with Pleasanton? Our city property taxes and sales taxes did not fund the bank bailout. Same with people complaining about the Iraq war - I don't think Mayor Hostermann voted for those wars, nor sent any Pleasanton City troops overseas (hint - there is no such thing as city troops). Also, with so many of the dispatchers who gave their sob stories living out-of-town, it makes me think there's no advantage to having these folks in town. Dispatch systems are controlled by CAD software and communications are made over phone lines - outsource this to lower-paid, private sector native English speakers in Kansas.


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Posted by comment
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

"Our city property taxes and sales taxes did not fund the bank bailout. "

Ah, but our city property taxes and sales taxes were reduced significantly as a result of the bank bailout and financial crisis.

"Same with people complaining about the Iraq war "

Funding that war lead to an enormous unfunded liability in the Federal Government which lead to more borrowing. That had the knock on effect of harming the US economy when it was already struggling. People in Pleasanton had less money to spend and there was less sales tax to collect.

It is all related.


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Posted by Thanks
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 16, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Thank you to everyone who is working to shine a light on these issues.

California is a work at will state; if you don't like it, leave it.

I don't see any city employees sympathizing with those that have lost their jobs due to businesses closing or businesses downsizing.

A major problem with government employment is everyone thinks it's for life. No, it's only for as long as you find the work to be valuable to you and the government finds you valuable to them.

There are no guarantees; just ask the family that has no income right now!!

Find a job near your home and quit the commute; I think you'd be surprised at how much less you can make if you don't have that expense. Find a different job if you don't feel appreciated by the citizens of Pleasanton or your "boss" the City Council.

Free will people!


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Couldn't look at myself in the mirror unless I shared this:

During the weeks that followed the 2010 midterm elections, there was lots of speculation about the sweeping shift in power from one political party to another, and what it would mean for educators and other public employees. We are no longer speculating. In what can only be described as a full-on, coordinated attack on public employees, governors and legislators in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and several other states have introduced job-killing legislation that targets public employees and an already struggling middle class.

While the exact wording varies from state to state, the intent of the bills is the same; they all seek to deny public employees the right to have a say in their working conditions and to bargain over wages and benefits. This attack on workers' rights is led by shadowy, well-funded groups that have emerged in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision, which removed the limits on the amount of money corporations can spend on attack ads and other "electioneering communications." Groups like Americans for Prosperity and Karl Rove's American Crossroads have poured millions of dollars into campaigns to roll back the advances that working people have made in the past half century. According to a new report released by Public Citizen, spending by outside groups jumped to $294.2 million in the 2010 election cycle, almost four times the amount spent in 2006, and nearly half came from just ten groups. In 60 out of 75 congressional races the candidate benefitting most from outside spending won the race–an almost unheard of 80 percent win rate. Additionally, the source of the money that flowed into the 2010 election is still largely unknown.

However, here is what we do know:

In Ohio, 9 percent of the state budget is spent on public employees. Firing every state employee would result in a savings of $2 billion, and would still leave the citizens of Ohio with a $6 BILLION deficit and completely without the vital services that state employees provide.
In Wisconsin, Governor Walker's attempt to ban collective bargaining has little to do with the budget. The budget deficit is estimated at roughly $3 billion, and the estimated savings from proposed cuts to public sector workers' benefits amounts to only $300 million. Many of his proposals reduce workers' rights without producing any savings at all.
In Michigan, public sector workers have already shouldered a serious burden in the wake of the state's budget crises, accepting six furlough days and preparing for hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions. They are also already paid less than their private sector peers and many public employees will not be able to maintain a living wage and a decent standard of living if this legislation passes.
Governors Kasich in Ohio, Snyder in Michigan, Walker in Wisconsin, and many of their peers have tried to paint public employees as overpaid, unskilled, and unnecessary. The truth is that public employees provide a wide range of necessary services that states depend on, for an average salary that is 11 percent less than their private sector counterparts. They drive children to and from school safely. They patrol our streets, put out fires, provide transportation for disabled and elderly, safeguard our prisons, plow our streets, fix our busted waterlines in freezing weather, research life-saving developments, and teach our students. Allowing them to be scapegoated for state budget shortfalls does nothing to solve the real budget crisis and encourages those forces that are currently tearing at the fabric of our communities to continue.

The future of our communities and of quality public education in this country depends on our ability to unite and respond to these politically motivated attacks with facts. The time has come for us to rally to save our public institutions and the workers who maintain them.


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Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

You people are disgusting, (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff) Seriously think there are no jobs out there go to 911hotjobs and apply, guess what. (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff) Go call for help in oakland or other agencies see if they care to not hang up on you. Your dispatchers save you, your families, and your expensive homes. If you want mcdonalds workersin your 911 center, costing you less then put your lives in their hands guess what they wont care when they screw up and a call and somebody dies because taking away benefits reduces a career to just a job. A stepping stone to something better. Your dispatchers treat citizens so well its not even funny..you people can be so unappreciative. (Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


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Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm

And really you think dispatch Is controlled by cad ...omg you are so ignorant have you even walked in to center anywhere. Obviously not. Have kansas dispatch for pleasanton..pssh really and when you can't give an address they wont send help to the right place. Really I would hope you people realize that everybody sees changes coming with pers, but reducing to personal attacks is uncalled for. I just called bart out earlier because he has his own agenda. Back in 2009 he was targeting public sector employees with san ramon fire screaming for two tier and saying public sector makes more than private sector....really because bart you are private sector and you are living high on the hog. You just found enough people to listen to you and gather with their torches. You would think with your wife being on the soccer board that you would appreciate the beautiful parks that city of pleasanton workers make beautiful. And I have to say you lie when you say this isn't funny to you because people saw you chuckling with your friend david miller last night.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Let's all take a deep breath here. I'm sure that the council and union can put their heads together and find a solution that works for everyone this time. There will be a viable solution, let's make the effort to find it. I think all sides to this problem are trying their best to do what they think is right for this community.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Woody,

What say you regarding the recent public employee pension-related initiatives in communities around the Bay Area and elsewhere in California that passed? PCEA did the right thing rather than risk both themselves and the City from being restricted in negotiations by initiative.


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Posted by William
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm

No one likes to do an initiative. Think about it...gathering signatures in the rain and cold.

But with no ridgeline ordinance promised since 1996 and city council inaction in turning down any work in that area, signatures were finally collected to create Measure PP.

This time, the union has the opportunity to work with the city council, but if there is no progress, I'll bet signatures start being collected just like what just happened in Menlo Park.


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Posted by Woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Guess I'd have to say that it's easy to convince members of a populace that witches exist, especially when you link it in a deceptive way to their pocketbooks. Given the way wealth is distributed in the United States, I'd have to encourage brother and sister union members to prepare to strike if that is what it takes to ensure against further encroachments against middle-class ways of life. See below. (Actually, the disparity as indicated below -- with top 20% having 93% of total wealth in U.S. -- is understated, for the top 20% have all sorts of nifty ways of hiding their incomes and assets.) But, yes, let's point our condemnatory fingers at public workers. That'll help.

The Wealth Distribution
In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one's home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%. Table 1 and Figure 1 present further details drawn from the careful work of economist Edward N. Wolff at New York University (2010).



Table 1: Distribution of net worth and financial wealth in the United States, 1983-2007
Total Net Worth
Top 1 percent Next 19 percent Bottom 80 percent
1983 33.8% 47.5% 18.7%
1989 37.4% 46.2% 16.5%
1992 37.2% 46.6% 16.2%
1995 38.5% 45.4% 16.1%
1998 38.1% 45.3% 16.6%
2001 33.4% 51.0% 15.6%
2004 34.3% 50.3% 15.3%
2007 34.6% 50.5% 15.0%

Financial Wealth
Top 1 percent Next 19 percent Bottom 80 percent
1983 42.9% 48.4% 8.7%
1989 46.9% 46.5% 6.6%
1992 45.6% 46.7% 7.7%
1995 47.2% 45.9% 7.0%
1998 47.3% 43.6% 9.1%
2001 39.7% 51.5% 8.7%
2004 42.2% 50.3% 7.5%
2007 42.7% 50.3% 7.0%

Total assets are defined as the sum of: (1) the gross value of owner-occupied housing; (2) other real estate owned by the household; (3) cash and demand deposits; (4) time and savings deposits, certificates of deposit, and money market accounts; (5) government bonds, corporate bonds, foreign bonds, and other financial securities; (6) the cash surrender value of life insurance plans; (7) the cash surrender value of pension plans, including IRAs, Keogh, and 401(k) plans; (8) corporate stock and mutual funds; (9) net equity in unincorporated businesses; and (10) equity in trust funds.

Total liabilities are the sum of: (1) mortgage debt; (2) consumer debt, including auto loans; and (3) other debt. From Wolff (2004, 2007, & 2010


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Posted by EJC
a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Woody...thanks for the statistics..

Again.. the issue at hand was an unfunded pension liability in the city of Pleasanton. If we want to discuss and address the distribution of wealth in this country then that is a whole other discussion and one that is outside of the scope of the city of Pleasanton or the Pleasanton City Council.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 3:58 pm

"Posted by b:
Bart,

I'm very disappointed to hear that. While this may be a fun political game to you, many people take my concerns seriously. The city council clearly gets it, but you simply make fun of my concerns. You're playing with the lives of real people here, and you better start taking seriously the consequences of your rhetoric."

Really, "b", I certainly hope that isn't a thinly veiled threat. As far as your concerns go I've heard them and I appreciate your participation on this site and the work you do on the unions behalf. But, you say you told Bart what the facts are. I've heard your version of the facts and I can honestly say that they are a distortion at best. I'm not impressed or in agreement with your CalPERS version of the facts. Did you see the Myth vs. Facts section of the CalPERS website?

I think this process has been very difficult and emotional for people on both sides of the argument. And I'm sure the issue has been twice as difficult for the Mayor and City Council that were placed in a very difficult situation; between a rock and a hard place. No matter which they voted they would make many people unhappy.

I'm actually proud of the way the process was handled, the way the council meetings and forums were conducted, and the way both the citizens and employees conducted themselves with dignity. I actually think these meetings, for the most part, could be incorporated into local civics lessons. "G" rated council meetings covering contentious topics don't happen all the time.

"b", please don't denigrate all the good that has transpired by making misguided comments that can be viewed as threats. You aren't doing anyone any favors.

"Yes, they are arbitrary point-in-time numbers, taken as a snapshot at the worst point of this recession. They will be far more favorable next year. But you knew that, because I've already told you."

- I bet that next year the unfunded liability is more than this year. And 'b", nobody is asking for employees to work for minimum wage. I think the contract can be resolved in a manner that is acceptable to all concerned. Most of what we're talking about here has to do with making sure that the pensions that have been promised will have the required amount of money to ensure the employees receive their retirement check, without adversely impacting the city. The city doesn't exist for the benefit of the employee union. What amazes me is that the only people that don't seem at all concerned about the issue of unfunded pension liabilities are the employees themselves; the people that are depending on the money being there for decades of retirement security. Please don't expect to place that entire burden on the backs of the taxpayers - most of which are working class families without pensions.


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Posted by Ptown
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Congrats to those who turned the spotlight on the City Council-Union process - without this the Council would have approved it and feigned ignorance the next time the contract was up.

I keep hearing that the City is worried about losing its reputation as a good place to work; and that increasing worker contributions for pension and health care will cause it to lose good people and not be able to replace them with quality employees. That is absolute hogwash. Let's post a job on the city web site with a typical $75K salary, working in town, no commute, and count the number of applicants. You will be astounded. So let's stop using this arguement.

And to those that keep saying the City broke their promise on the contract; we're sorry you did not get it signed before the facts came to light. The City is not obligated to keep paying your pension contribution; you should consider it a gift for the past 8 years. I say any new contract gets the employees paying the full 8% within 4 years, 2% at a time. The Union will want something in "return", but there should not be anything - as this was a gift to start with.

Keep the heat on the City Council and do not let them kick the can down the road for the next administration. We need to swallow our medicine now and get it behind us, otherwise this is the proverbial gift that keeps on giving, literally.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Great to see reason being made a part of the process.

Bring down the debt, then talk about increasing benefits.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm

The bottom line is no one is exempt from sharing our current financial problems. A public employee is no better nor worse than a private sector employee. If reduced public services solves the current problem I am for it. Judging from public salaries paid thoughout Californa, a la Bell and San Jose, its time to address that issue. Let Pleasanton lead, not follow, other cities.


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Posted by Pleasantonian
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Just a side note to the union/city of Pleasanton negotiations....another company has declared bankruptcy today. Borders is closing many stores in the Bay Area, perhaps Pleasanton's store as well. With private companies shedding payroll and cutting pay and benefits, it is a retrenching time for all, public or private.


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Posted by Upset
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Thanks said:

California is a work at will state; if you don't like it, leave it.

There are no guarantees; just ask the family that has no income right now!!

Find a job near your home and quit the commute; I think you'd be surprised at how much less you can make if you don't have that expense. Find a different job if you don't feel appreciated by the citizens of Pleasanton or your "boss" the City Council.

Then I say this to you, if you don't like the way Pleasanton is run, the LEAVE. In YOUR WORDS Thanks, "if you don't like it, leave it" No one is forcing you to stay here.


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Bart Hughes has done a great service for Pleasanton by taking the old time, smoked filled ,behind the scenes negotiating between interested parties out into the glare of the real world. No one has looked after the taxpayer and we have been heading straight to disaster. The genie is out of the bottle and we will never have these fox tending the chicken coop kind of negotiating again. The employees should be happy that their pension plan will be viable instead of getting pennies on the dollar. These veiled threats at Bart are disgraceful. He has educated the City Council and done the job of Nelson Fialho. We should be grateful to him. I knew union politics was dirty but this is ridiculous.


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Posted by Upset
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Also to all of you who think it was brought back to the table because of Bart Hughes, you're wrong! The union wanted to be the "better person" and not degrade ourselves and stoop down to the level of these citizens that are trying to control our lives. Remember this, be very careful what you wish for, be very very careful!

To our council and city manager, you are gutless and have lost ALL RESPECT and INTEGRITY with most of the city employees.


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Posted by William
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm

The Bell, California fiasco has had a resounding effect:

People who choose to be employed in government positions funded by the taxpayers need to expect that citizens are watching. The citizens elect the city council. The city council must accountable to the citizens.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Bart Hughes said: "Silly me being a political newbie, I thought that people on both sides of the issue when faced with the facts would engage in a constructive problem solving process"


For precisely the reason I just stated: there are very, very serious consequences to your proposal. You're right, if it were simply a matter of cutting a big chunk of wasted money, it would be simple to get everyone on board.

But the fact of the matter is that your proposal is going to hurt a lot of people, disrupt the city's ability to recruit and retain high-quality people, and a number of other things I've outlined in previous posts.

As long as you continue to ignore those consequences, I will continue to defend my city and my quality of life.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Arthur, you clearly haven't been reading carefully.

Once again, you are confusing "facts" (undisputed) with "interpretations" and "spin" (very much disputed.

Threats? Come on. We're having a conversation about consequences. Not the same thing.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Arthur said: "I bet that next year the unfunded liability is more than this year."

Statistically, that is nearly impossible. Since the last calculation was made, the stock market has rised sharply, the real estate market has firmed up, and contribution rates have been increased.

Unless CalPERs suddenly sold all of its substantial real estate and equity holdings and stuffed it all in a mattress, or the markets suddenly take a 40% plunge in the next few months, it is all but impossible that the next unfunded liability calculation could be worse than this one.

Better get your initiative passed before the recent market performance and recovering economy catch up with your faulty statistical analysis.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm

"risen" not "rised" Guilty of poor proof-reading ;)


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Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm

Upset says - "Remember this, be very careful what you wish for, be very very careful!"
Or what? You will continue to do the crappy job that you most assuredly do now? Your union is not the "better person" or it would not have insisted on the obscene benefits that you have had for the past 8 years. Spent all of your 40% in raises? Don't like the fact that the people who pay your salary are tired of your performance to benefit ratio? Then get out. Your job will draw hundreds of applicants before the door can even hit you on the ass.
Just be very careful yourself about your threats because more than a few people are watching.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm

Posted by b:

"Arthur, you clearly haven't been reading carefully.
Once again, you are confusing "facts" (undisputed) with "interpretations" and "spin" (very much disputed.
Threats? Come on. We're having a conversation about consequences. Not the same thing."

"b", the name is Arnold. I have read very carefully. And it is you that are confusing "facts" from "spin". If we are just having a conversation about consequences then what consequences are you alluding to? I understand the consequences that the various union reps that spoke last night were conveying. It was obvious every time a union rep spoke to the council, while reciting the number of union voting members that they represent, including the number that live in Pleasanton, that the consequenses of city council sending the contract back to the bargaining table meant a lack of union support. I get it, and that makes me appreciate the council decision even more. However, your comment is different and I do not appreciate it.

Again, If we are just "having a conversation about consequences" then why are you singling out one individual. What are the consequences, "b". BTW, your misinformation is doing a disservice to the PCEA, the city council, and everyone that your members work for.

We need to work together.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 6:50 pm

It does absolutely no good to name call anyone who makes a comment here, its their opinion, and its their right to have an opinion.

The problem at hand is to live within our means and our means today is we need to tighten our belts. And dont let fear be a factor, when you hear a policeman or a fireman say they wont be at your home as fast, should that sway you? Or, do they say that to protect their jobs?


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm

EJC cannot see how the way wealth is distributed in the U.S. is relevant to the matters at hand. I seriously doubt anyone could actually be that stupid. Instead, I'll choose to believe that EJC simply wants to ignore the facts. It's easier to scapegoat public workers.

I sincerely hope that Pleasanton's public workers will engage in work slowdowns, stoppages or strikes as a way of countering the way some in the community have scapegoated them. This is done in many European societies, many of which have standards of living far higher than we have in the United States. Sometimes the selfish and the dull in society don't appreciate what they have until it is taken from them for a spell.


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Posted by David Miller
a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Feb 16, 2011 at 7:16 pm

David Miller is a registered user.

This has never been about about trying to tear down the city workers or the unions. I reject class warfare tactics from any side.

We are trying to collectively solve a problem as a community. The previous contract proposal did not take meaningful steps to address the growing budget issue or the unfunded liabilities.

I agree with the comments above that we need to be working with the facts that have been confirmed by the city at the workshop and arrive at a solution that will keep the city fiscally sound and treat the workers as fair as possible. This has been a growing problem for 8 years, it is now time to deal with it head on.

I recommend we put aside the hyperbole and ad hominems and propose constructive solutions to this problem.

One solution would be to fire all the city workers and solve the fiscal issue, but destroy our great city. I don't want this extreme.

Another solution is to remain status quo and have the city budget continue to be consumed by personnel costs. Have the unfunded liabilities continue to drag the city down and not deal with this problem until it is truly too large to address. I don't want this extreme either.

Let's work together to find a solution somewhere in between.
David.


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Posted by Upset
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Posted by resident:
Or what? You will continue to do the crappy job that you most assuredly do now?

You have no place to speak on my job, you don't know anything about me. If you did, you'd know that I give more than 100%, you would know that I go above and beyond my normal duties, you would know that even when I'm at home on my own time I still research things that are job related. What pisses me off is that many other employees are the same way and are still looked down on.

The fact that you and all these other citizens get to live in and enjoy this city while I can't because the city doesn't pay us enough really gets me. We (city employees) make this city a great place for all of you, not for us. It's like we're your slaves, you want us to do the work but then at the end of the day get out so we (city residents) can enjoy it all. The citizens should be thanking us all the time for keeping Pleasanton the way it is. Pleasanton isn't the way it is by magic.


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Posted by J.G.
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Woody, well said:
"I sincerely hope that Pleasanton's public workers will engage in work slowdowns, stoppages or strikes as a way of countering the way some in the community have scapegoated them."

And something that is very true everywhere:
"Sometimes the selfish and the dull in society don't appreciate what they have until it is taken from them for a spell."

I wonder what the citizens in this town will think or say if the above happened to them?


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Oh, I see, when the other side pushes back it gets termed 'class warfare tactics'. But when segments of the city insist that public workers roll over, Miller terms this a 'constructive solution'?

Sorry, not buying it. I do think it is magnanimous as all get out that Miller personally doesn't want to fire all of the workers. Very broad minded of him.

Look at the way wealth is distributed within America. Look at Pleasanton's income levels. You should be ashamed.


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Posted by Ptown
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Response to "b":

You said: "But the fact of the matter is that your proposal is going to hurt a lot of people, disrupt the city's ability to recruit and retain high-quality people, and a number of other things ..."

That's hogwash...don't even go there. Post some of the city jobs and see how many people apply, good people.

My employer has minimal money for raises for several years...1-2% was for about 50% of the employees was all there was, and in addition we had an across the board pay cut. So please don't make it out that the city employees are being singled out. It's just their turn now to face what everyone else is facing - revenues are down, and expenses must be cut...people are the biggest expense.


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Posted by almost speechless
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Resident said "Or what? You will continue to do the crappy job that you most assuredly do now? Your union is not the "better person" or it would not have insisted on the obscene benefits that you have had for the past 8 years. Spent all of your 40% in raises? Don't like the fact that the people who pay your salary are tired of your performance to benefit ratio? Then get out. Your job will draw hundreds of applicants before the door can even hit you on the ass.


Just be very careful yourself about your threats because more than a few people are watching. "

I've been paying attention to these blogs for awhile now and this is the one and only time I am going to post on here.

First, I want to state that I am a city worker and I am not in the union. I also happen to pay for health care rather than use Kaiser like most probably do.

It truly amazes me how the public has acted overall with these blogs. I personally feel that the majority of you are cowards who hide behind your keyboards. I obviously do not care too much for Bart or David, but I give them credit for coming out and saying who they are. That said, you all rag on any city worker, union or not, for being anonymous when you darn well know they would be committing career suicide by putting their name up. Kind of funny because I wonder what the reason is for most of you not putting your names up.

Resident, I personally take offense to your post talking about our crappy jobs that we absurdly do.
Here is something I can promise you: You have no clue what I do each day for this city that I grew up in and still love. I can also guarantee that you probably would not even be able to get out of bed if you spent a week working with me you would be so sore and tired. And yes, I chose my job and I love the work. which is why I take offense to your comments.

All, let's not forget that there are quite a few people who give their physical bodies for your city to look the way it does. Remember that the next time you complain about the benefits. I know there are more than a handful of people that have given their bodies to the city and their backs, knees, shoulders, etc will be hurting forever an never be the same. I am not trying to give a sob story or get some sympathy. Just stating a fact!

I invite any of you who feel that city workers do not work hard to spend a day working with the street dept in the summer, work with the water dept on a main break, work with utilities on a sewer break (to clean your crap, too), or work with the park dept during a big storm or helping keep the sports park looking the way it does. I'd bet more than half could not do it and get out of bed the next day. All of you can say that we chose our jobs and you are right. I love my job and I take offense to anyone saying I do not work hard.

I honestly thought that most of the people who have been posting on these senseless blogs for the past few months would have been a little more grateful with the turn of events this week. I am very sad to say that I think I was wrong.

Please feel free to continue to kick us while we are down. It does wonders for helping boost the low morale quite a few of you on these blogs have already caused.

Again, I have no intention to respond to any comments any of you make based on this. I am just giving another city worker's point of view.

Thank you for your time and I will continue to bust my hump to make your city look good.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Woody, wealth distribution has nothing to do with this issue. There are plenty of people who work in the private sector who make far less than the public sector and who certainly can not afford to retire at 55. The public sector has many people making over 100k if you count overtime etc., which is way more than the national average salary plus they get great benefits.

The issue is should we keep paying the EMPLOYEE pension contribution of this contract. I think many are saying we get it and will still pay half of the employee contribution for a bit and the employees should pick up the other half. That sounds fair to me.

If I said I would slow down my work at my job, I would get fired. Same if I didn't go to work. This is the real world and we have to work, face reality and move forwards and try somehow to be competitive as a country for the sake of our kids. Surely we can all agree to this. I think the union and the council did the right and fair thing to say let's look at this again.

I was interested to see all the unions, even totally unrelated ones show up at this meeting and talk about how many votes they felt they had. Just out of interest, if you don't like this mayor and council are you really all going to vote for a more right leaning one next time?


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm

By the way, I want to add that I also think "resident"'s statements were wrong, insulting and not at all helpful. I personally am very grateful for the very hard work the city empoyees do. "Almost speechless", I can understand how you feel and am sorry for the rude comments made. While I think a few changes need to be made to the contract, there is no reason to insult hard working people.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:17 pm

David Miller said: "We are trying to collectively solve a problem as a community. The previous contract proposal did not take meaningful steps to address the growing budget issue or the unfunded liabilities."

This is the point on which we fundamentally disagree. I see you fabricating a crisis in order to further a larger anti-government agenda.

There *isn't* a crisis here in 2011. The city is very healthy financially.

There *may* be a crisis in the future--if the economy crashes again, and stays down for a very, very long time. That's a HUGE assumption you're making that has no precedent in history or basis in reality.

We continue to disagree on the pension issue because of your failure to address this fundamental discrepancy.


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm

The 'real world' consists of those who possess ungodly wealth, don't want to give it up, and finance orgs and movements to do their bidding. Don't fool yourself, they are laughing their you know whats off at what is happening here in Pleasanton.

Then there are the misled wannabees who want to compare public and private sector. Jeez, if I slowed my workpace down on my job, I'd get fired, states two cents. Yeah, I imagine so. But instead of wallowing in resentment and punishing public sector employees, why don't you show a little gumption and organize a union in your workplace? If your workplace is that bad, maybe you need a union to protect you. (Scared, I bet. Easier to lash out toward public workers.) Unions, believe it or not, are part of the 'real world' you refer to -- just not the 'real world' you want others to partake of, I guess. No, instead you swallow hook line and sinker how the real world should operate in a manner like your workplace where you're afraid that if you stand up for something you believe in you'll get fired. And this is the world you want your children to grow up in? This strikes me as incredibly stupid. You should be embarrassed by such reasoning. Two cents waiting for a penny change, more like it.

Go ask some of the laid off private sector workers at Borders to put out your house fire. Ask them to respond to a domestic disturbance in your neighborhood. Ask them to teach your children. Have them dispatch an ambulance to a family emergency in your home. You seem not to be able to see past your own servile nose.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm

b - the world has changed since the last contract was negotiated and this needs to be reflected in the new contract. It no longer makes sense or is just for taxpayers to pay the employee part of a pension contribution (although I appreciate maybe we have to pay for some of it for a little while). Maybe people thought it did before, but I think we all know better now and that is the whole point of negotiating a new contract.

If we can build a sustainable path forwards then we can honor our obligations in the future, which some other cities in the US are finding that they can't do now, which is no good for the employee and previous employees.


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:30 pm

You see b, there is no tolerance for your point of view because it goes against what Bart, Kay and David are saying. Just read through the posts ladies and gentlemen, does this sound like collectively solving a problem? It has been out right ugly and demeaning to the workers of this town. My father's name and retirement was posted, he continues to get harassed by members of this community. After the years of commitment and dedication, this is the thanks he gets? I call it sickening, what a disgraceful attitude that prevails on these blogs. And THANKS to Bart et al, real people are affected by the panic they have incited. I hold YOU responsible.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm

"Jeez, if I slowed my workpace down on my job, I'd get fired, states two cents. Yeah, I imagine so. But instead of wallowing in resentment and punishing public sector employees, why don't you show a little gumption and organize a union in your workplace? If your workplace is that bad, maybe you need a union to protect you. (Scared, I bet. Easier to lash out toward public workers.)"

I am not scared in the slightest of my employer. I would never slow down in work because I was taught a responsible work ethic from my parents and I firmly believe in doing my job well and always trying my best. That's how to get ahead in life.

I don't think there would be any point if a union in my workplace because it would make us less competitive internationally. I want this country to work - my kids and our future depends on this.


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:47 pm

two cents, i feel badly for you. I really do. You should read Eichmann in Jerusalem. He was responsible for the trains arriving to and departing from the concentration camps. Held up for war crimes, he used your exact argument: i was merely doing my job, showing a strong work ethic, trying to do my job well, trying to get ahead. Arendt called this way of thinking the Banality of Evil.

Look again at the gross disparity of income in this country (see figures provided above). Today, the wealthy are sitting on their wealth and laughing all the way to the bank while their ignorant, bamboozled workers fail to unionize, fail to push for higher wages, because of some cockamime notion of remaining internationally competitive. The real problem is that so many like you believe such tripe. You deserve everything you get, and when you get laid off while your ceo gets mucho bucks bonus, perhaps you'll then recognize what nonsense is your kowtowing idea of international competitiveness.

Unfortunately, you attempt to impose your impoverished head in the sand view upon others, and there are so many others like you. Fox News? Poor education? Bad parenting? I don't know. But today, it has led to a lot of working class people getting hurt. Don't you worry, though. Keep trying to get ahead.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Being rude doesn't help your case and no, I'm not a FOX fan or right wing. So other than acting superior, saying other people are stupid and asking people not to work hard at . . . work . . . what is your issue with this specific contract renegotiation? Can you justify why we should pay the employee part of the pension contribution when we're already paying the employer part?

And please justify why retirement at 55 makes financial sense when people are living into their 80s.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Way up above it had been written by Woody thusly: "Given the way wealth is distributed in the United States, I'd have to encourage brother and sister union members to prepare to strike if that is what it takes to ensure against further encroachments against middle-class ways of life."

What the heck does wealth distribution in the US have to do with keeping both the Council and city unions free to negotiate, keeping citizen initiatives out of it, and keeping the unfunded liability from consuming Pleasanton's long-term fiscal health?


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Two cents you are full of it. You thank our workers then throw out the statement that they are all retiring at age 55. This is exactly what I was talking about and the lies that this movement has perpetuated. You continue to disgrace my father's work for this community. You are just not getting it, yet you all can congratulate yourselves here. Sick.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

b,

New article for you: Web Link "Current Accounting Rules Understate Pension Problem"

"To build assets sufficiently to satisfy the liability, the portfolio has to earn at least the discount rate every year. "We often falsely assume that the differences between money- and time-weighted returns are negligible," says Norman Ehrentreich, principal of Ehrentreich LDI Consulting & Research in Minneapolis. "Yet large cash flows, high return volatility and low funding levels can drive a big wedge between these two rates. Funding costs are path-dependent on the specific return sequence, and time-weighted returns are inappropriate to use to make any statements about past funding costs." The problem is solved, he says, by incorporating more-conservative discount rates." ....

"The dispute over discount rates is not just an academic amusement. Proper valuation is essential to the current efforts to get pension plans on an affordable long-term trajectory. If the discount rates used to value pension obligations are too high, the liability is understated by 50 to 60 percent, according to pension scholar M. Barton Waring. "And that colors everything else," he says. "Benefit promises look less expensive than they really are, because they are based on the liabilities."

Adds Waring: "If we keep up the fiction, funding will become worse and worse until plans go bankrupt. The only path to saving them is to build the emperor a new set of clothes, and that includes the painful and unwelcome task of renegotiating benefit levels.""


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm

two cents,
By your response, you've clearly identified who you are. I'll not engage you any further.

stacey,
If you can't connect the lines between distribution of wealth in the U.S., distribution of wealth in Pleasanton, and this recent assault on public sector workers, then it is beyond me to attempt to explain it for you. I can only hope you are being intentionally dimwitted.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:09 pm

"Two cents you are full of it. You thank our workers then throw out the statement that they are all retiring at age 55"

I did not say they are ALL retiring at 55. I asked someone who was being very rude to me why retirement at 55 makes financial sense when people live a lot longer than that.

I know that many public sector workers retire far later than this and I am grateful for the hard work that they do.


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Posted by Upset
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Two cents, I thank you for the comment:
"By the way, I want to add that I also think "resident"'s statements were wrong, insulting and not at all helpful. I personally am very grateful for the very hard work the city empoyees do."

you also said:
"And please justify why retirement at 55 makes financial sense when people are living into their 80s."

I don't know to many of my fellow co workers that can retire at 55. I'm one of MANY that make 60K and less. I'll have to work to about 63 and at that age I won't be able to do the back breaking work that I'm doing now. Even when the day comes that I do retire as with many of my co workers, we still won't be able to afford to live in this city. It is a sad thing to know that even after retirement I'll never get to enjoy this city as a resident.

The people that live here should be thankful that they are a citizen of Pleasanton. There are so many of us (city employees) who would like that same opportunity some day.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Woody,

I think you are just offering a distraction to focus attention away from the main issue. Wealth distribution in the US or in Pleasanton has little to do with Pleasanton's costs for services.


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Well, there it is. Stacey claims: 'Wealth distribution in the US or in Pleasanton has little to do with Pleasanton's costs for services.'
Like I said: One can only state such things if one is intentionally attempting to be dimwitted about an issue. The banality of feigned ignorance.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:25 pm

I'm not a city employee but just a regular citizen of 22 years. I do have to say to these other residents that if you want the "Pleasanton Standard" of living, it's going to cost you and it's no small cost. I'm willing to pay that cost to live here. I've lived in Hayward and Oakland so I know the difference in lifestyles. I think most Pleasanton residents have never lived in the "real world" and have always lived in the "leave it to Beaver" world. I say to you, go live in the worst part of Oakland for a week and see how quick you come running back to Pleasanton. After that adventure, you'd be willing to pay double the price.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:30 pm

To upset - Thanks for clarifying. I do appreciate not many people can retire at the age of 55, I sure can't either. Maybe it's just management?


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Thank you for this Stacey

""If we keep up the fiction, funding will become worse and worse until plans go bankrupt. The only path to saving them is to build the emperor a new set of clothes, and that includes the painful and unwelcome task of renegotiating benefit levels.""

Based on the infamous and misguided comments of "b" this is probably the best and only option. Unfortunately, she seems to have spread the same misinformation amongst her union membership that she is perpetrating on this site. "b" says she wants to deal in facts so maybe it is time to give her what she desires. The city council should probably do what they set out to do several years ago; commission a study that compares Pleasanton wages to both other agencies and the private sector. It has been almost 9 years since the last study so it is past time to do so again.

Let's see the study, the facts, and then we can ensure that both sides are using the same data to formulate their argument.

"b"? I disagree with you that the Calpers recent rate of return - 12.5%, + the increased taxpayer contribution, will lower the unfunded pension liability. Maybe you can demonstrate your credibility by showing me the math you are using to come to this conclusion?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Woody,

You may think there is a link, but if you can't explain it then perhaps that is because there really is no link, only a general belief/assumption on your part. If you want your audience to agree with you that there is a link, you should show your reasoning.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

What the heck does wealth distribution in the Pleasanton have to do with keeping both the Council and city unions free to negotiate, keeping citizen initiatives out of it, and keeping the unfunded liability from consuming Pleasanton's long-term fiscal health?


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Posted by Upset
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Two cents,
You got it right, just management. When most of us retire, we're looking at about $24,000 - $27,000 a year. Not a whole lot, is it? I know for a fact one can't live in Pleasanton on that number or in a lot of other places either. Most of us give our all everyday to this place to make it what it is and I ask, what is going to happen to us when we can no longer do the work and retire. Will we ever get to see the benefits of this place in our retirement years or will most of us have to live in other counties/states.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm

I'm not a city employee but just a regular citizen of 22 years. I do have to say to these other residents that if you want the "Pleasanton Standard" of living, it's going to cost you and it's no small cost. I'm willing to pay that cost to live here. I've lived in Hayward and Oakland so I know the difference in lifestyles. I think most Pleasanton residents have never lived in the "real world" and have always lived in the "leave it to Beaver" world. I say to you, go live in the worst part of Oakland for a week and see how quick you come running back to Pleasanton. After that adventure, you'd be willing to pay double the price.


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Posted by comment
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 9:54 pm

Stacey,

The point Woody is trying to make is that unions have historically protected the wealth of the middle class, but as union influence has eroded wealth has become more concentrated with the wealthy.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I understand that point. It has nothing to do with the questions I've been asking.


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm

"You got it right, just management. When most of us retire, we're looking at about $24,000 - $27,000 a year. Not a whole lot, is it? I know for a fact one can't live in Pleasanton on that number or in a lot of other places either. Most of us give our all everyday to this place to make it what it is and I ask, what is going to happen to us when we can no longer do the work and retire. Will we ever get to see the benefits of this place in our retirement years or will most of us have to live in other counties/states."

No, that's not a lot. I have no idea what social security will pay on this side either if it even exists. All up in the air right now, which is why I hope this country (and city) can keep going in the right direction.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Upset,

Where did you get that $27,000 number from? CalPERS? Did you know that they manipulated that number by including retirees from before SB400? I'm not saying that that isn't a whole lot, only that the number is misleading.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

"CalPERS data shows the average career public employee, who put in at least 30 years of service and retired in the 2008-09 fiscal year, collected a starting pension of $67,000 a year, or 21/2 times the advertised figure. The higher number is buried deep in the retirement system's financial statement and never makes it to the promotional material CalPERS hands out."

Upset,
I'd personally like to see a kind of pension reform that allows lower-paid employees like you to have retirement security while not putting the community in debt for something that higher-paid employees can afford themselves.


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Posted by Upset
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Stacey,
I got the number by my # of years times 2.7% comes out to 54% of my salary. That number comes out to $25,300 a year.


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Posted by Upset
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Sorry Stacey it's $25,760


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

You've only been working for 14 years?


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Posted by Upset
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Stacey,
20 years of service get's you 54% of your paycheck and I make $56,000 a year. So regardless I don't make the $85,000 or $100,000 a year like the top people. by the way, there are a LOT of us that make under 60k a year.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 16, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Oh, I thought you said you made $60,000. I'm not sure how you're calculating. Take your salary and multiply it by 0.08 then add that amount to your salary. That's the PERSable amount because the City is paying the 8% employee contribution to CalPERS. Then take 54% of that for 20 years.

$56,000 + $4480 = $60,480 PERsable income
$60,480 * 54% = about $32,660
(or PERSable income * 0.027 * number of years)

If I were you, I wouldn't work for only 20 years. They say you need from 60% to 80% of your pre-retirement income in retirement to maintain your current quality of life. I think they typically mean that when you're retired you don't have a lot of the other costs you may have had when you were working, like costs associated with supporting children, so you don't need so much. If you're not in that kind of situation then you'd probably want to shoot for the higher number: 80%. That means almost 30 years.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 17, 2011 at 8:18 am

The contract is back in negotiation, but it is not clear that anyone is negotiating for the Pleasanton taxpayers. Ms. Ayala said that we need a citizen representative in this collective bargaining process. I agree. The Council seems far more sympathetic to the union members lamenting that they may have to actually pay some of their salaries into their own retirement fund. That's a shame, but that's what the rest of us have been doing for years. Moreover, we taxpayers have nothing about our retirement guaranteed, including retirement itself. That's a shame, too, but that's the real world for most of us, and we cannot afford to finance utopia for the unions.
Bill


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Posted by Concerned
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2011 at 8:34 am

The Pleasanton taxpayers have to be included in the negotiation of the contract. That is the only way we will be represented.


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Posted by mike
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 17, 2011 at 8:49 am

Only could employees with union protection could get away with behaving so disrespectful to their employers, I found the meeting hard to watch.

Thank you to PCEA members who are behaving reasonable and respectful.

Thank you to Kay , Bart, David for your respectful manner in bringing this problem to light and approaching it in a non-emotional, analytical manor.


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Posted by Steven
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 17, 2011 at 8:49 am

Jeff, you said:
" I'm not a city employee but just a regular citizen of 22 years. I do have to say to these other residents that if you want the "Pleasanton Standard" of living, it's going to cost you and it's no small cost. I'm willing to pay that cost to live here. I've lived in Hayward and Oakland so I know the difference in lifestyles. I think most Pleasanton residents have never lived in the "real world" and have always lived in the "leave it to Beaver" world. I say to you, go live in the worst part of Oakland for a week and see how quick you come running back to Pleasanton. After that adventure, you'd be willing to pay double the price."

You have to realize that the "Pleasanton Standard" of living is created in large part by the "standard" of people that live here: namely educated, professionals, family oriented, not into drugs, or gangs, or killings, etc. The city employees are NOT responsible for the "Pleasanton Standard" of living.


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Posted by West Side Observer
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 17, 2011 at 10:14 am

Thank Bob Cordtz too. He raised the issue first in his January 29, 2002 issue of OpinionPleasanton.


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Posted by comment
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2011 at 10:31 am

It is truly sad that these few well off people are trying to attack what remains of protection for the middle class. Unions are the solution, not the problem.

Web Link=


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Posted by We are not alone
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2011 at 10:45 am

Pleasanton's push for pension reform is not unique. In fact, we are behind:

Web Link


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Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2011 at 11:10 am

Anyone know of a country or community where liberty, freedom and economic non-discrimination exist so I can move there?


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Posted by bill
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 17, 2011 at 11:50 am

Pleasanton has a huge and growing unfunded liability. We are on the hook to fund pensions for a group of retired employees: that group is growing larger, living longer, and getting paid more and more in their retirement years. The City management and the Council have all recognized the problem, but they seem reluctant to deal with it. The previously proposed contract did not reduce the liability or change the direction of the trend - the unfunded liability remained unfunded into the distant future. The "concession" proposed by the union was that City employees would pay 2% of their income toward retirement, while the City pays the other very much larger portion. Wake up, Pleasanton. Everyone should save for their own retirement - I don't care what their job happens to be. People who are struggling to pay their own expenses and save for their own retirements should not be paying taxes to pay for another person's retirement.
At the last meeting we heard from the one of the City Management that it is "silly to compare Pleasanton to Union City or Vallejo". These other cities are just further along: Vallejo had plenty of time to fix the problem, but they did not. Pleasanton has time to fix the problem, but the previously proposed contract does not fix it. Let's fix it now. City employees should pay for their own retirement - period.
Bill


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Comment,

I've seen that article before. Such a solution requires all workers in the world to be unionized. That is not the case so Pleasanton's unfunded liability and costs for services can continue to grow if not checked while waiting for a global union.

This is the one big difference between public and private sector unions. Private sector unions are much more concerned about keeping members employed than in pushing for higher benefits. The reason is because private sector unions have to compete with non-unionized workers (and international non-unionized workers). Public sector unions have little such competition.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

"at the state level, where unions compete over a more limited pot of government money, the divisions are becoming much more stark. Both private and public unions agree that more revenue is needed, preferably from tax increases on the rich. But public-sector unions want that money to go toward lavish pension plans for government employees, while private-sector unions want more infrastructure projects to get their members back to work."


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Here's another one highlighting the push and pull between public and private sector unions. Web Link


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2011 at 1:21 pm

"Private sector unions are much more concerned about keeping members employed than in pushing for higher benefits."

I wish the school unions would behave like private sector unions!


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Posted by stupid- used to be EJC
a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm

"EJC cannot see how the way wealth is distributed in the U.S. is relevant to the matters at hand. I seriously doubt anyone could actually be that stupid. Instead, I'll choose to believe that EJC simply wants to ignore the facts. It's easier to scapegoat public workers."


Woody, clearly I refuse to see the facts. In the next City council meeting I strongly suggest you bring forth to the City council your statistics on the distribution of wealth and ask them to address this issue head on. I'd suggest a full multimedia presentation with music. Maybe you could do some sort of interpretive dance depicting the inequities and tie that into the pension funding discussion. With your strong leadership and understanding of the facts I am sure we will find a resolution to this problem without any unneccessary scapegoating or name calling. To make sure that the presentation goes without a hitch I would check with the unions to make sure that they haven't scheduled a work slowdown or stoppage during your time with the Council.


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Posted by EJC
a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm

BTW- I want to also back all of the comments on how good Pleasanton's city workers are. Every City employee I have ever engaged with has been outstanding. The pension discussion is a fiscal discussion and not a reflection on the workers. Unfortunately we cannot pay for the pension plan as it currently stands.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 17, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I wrote:
"I'm not a city employee but just a regular citizen of 22 years. I do have to say to these other residents that if you want the "Pleasanton Standard" of living, it's going to cost you and it's no small cost. I'm willing to pay that cost to live here. I've lived in Hayward and Oakland so I know the difference in lifestyles. I think most Pleasanton residents have never lived in the "real world" and have always lived in the "leave it to Beaver" world. I say to you, go live in the worst part of Oakland for a week and see how quick you come running back to Pleasanton. After that adventure, you'd be willing to pay double the price."

Steven, you then replied back with:
"You have to realize that the "Pleasanton Standard" of living is created in large part by the "standard" of people that live here: namely educated, professionals, family oriented, not into drugs, or gangs, or killings, etc. The city employees are NOT responsible for the "Pleasanton Standard" of living."

How can you say for one second that: "The city employees are NOT responsible for the "Pleasanton Standard" of living." It's the city employees who keep our parks looking beautiful, streets clean, a library that is open 7 days a week, graffiti covered up as quick as possible. Do you think the magic fairy comes in and does it?


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm

Steven,
Just to let you know we do have drugs and crimes in this city. You need to look no further than the Pleasanton Weekly and read the police reports each week. There's a lot going on in this town, its just not talked about as much. I urge you to read the police report in the next issue of the weekly.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 17, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Steven,
I forgot to add this in the post above and this is right out of the weekly under police bulletin:

Yogurt shop burglarized


A burglary at Viva Yogurt in the 3000 block of Hopyard Road netted a $600 computer, $100 flat screen monitor, a $200 espresso machine, $300 in cash and a $50 printer according to a police report, which said the break-in occurred between 9 p.m. Feb. 3 and 9:40 a.m. Feb. 4. Access was gained through a smashed rear door; damage to the door and lock was valued at $200.


Jewelry worth an estimated $9,800 was stolen in a residential burglary in the 7100 block of Valley Trails Drive, according to a police report, which said the burglary took place between 8 a.m. Jan. 31 and 7:30 a.m. Feb. 3. Three women's gold rings worth $2,500 apiece were stolen, along with a $1,000 wedding band, $600 earrings, and a women's gold watch worth $200, the report said.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 17, 2011 at 6:21 pm

This is just one day on the Police report section

Feb. 3


Theft


- 4:08 p.m. in the 1300 block of Stoneridge Mall Road; shoplifting


- 5:04 p.m. in the 4500 block of Rosewood Drive; theft, under the influence of a controlled substance


Failure to register as a sex offender


- 3:32 p.m. in the 1800 block of Harvest Road


Battery


- 12:10 a.m. in the 8000 block of Canyon Creek Circle


- 9:56 p.m. in the 4400 block of Black Avenue


Drug/alcohol violations


- 2:15 a.m. in the 300 block of Main Street; public drunkenness


- 2:20 a.m. in the 4300 block of Valley Avenue; DUI


- 8:58 p.m. at the intersection of Hopyard Road and Valley Trails Drive; paraphernalia possession, public drunkenness


- 10:55 p.m. at the intersection of Sonoma Drive and San Luis Court; public drunkenness


- 10:57 p.m. in the 4300 block of Railroad Avenue; DUI, possession of someone else's prescription, possession of a controlled substance


- 11:14 p.m. in the 1800 block of Santa Rita Road; public drunkenness


- 11:18 p.m. in the 4400 block of Black Avenue; public drunkenness


- 11:33 p.m. in the 4300 block of Valley Avenue; public drunkenness


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm

You do not get it, it would not matter how well the grass is mowed in Oakland or Richmond.
I agree the value in Pleasanton is the citizen and our shared value and respect for our community. The educated citizens who value the mutual repect for this commuity is why employees want to travel here to work in a safe pleasant community.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm

You do not put 60,000 people together and not have some crime. Show us a day in the life of Tracy, Vellejo or most other cities.

We appreciate the good people who work for our city but they are not why we are a good city.


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Posted by PTown
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 17, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Folks - Nobody is saying the folks against this contract think all city workers are worthless. What they are questioning is why the city should pay their share of the retirement costs. It's the "EMPLOYEE" portion, not "EMPLOYER". Thus it should be paid by the employees. It's pretty simple.

Yes the city workers work hard and the city looks fabulous as a result. They are paid to do that - that's their job. It has nothing to do with me as a taxpayer paying their portion of the retirement costs.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 17, 2011 at 8:28 pm

All I ment when I said:
"I'm not a city employee but just a regular citizen of 22 years. I do have to say to these other residents that if you want the "Pleasanton Standard" of living, it's going to cost you and it's no small cost. I'm willing to pay that cost to live here" is that we're just going to have to pay for the services we have in this great city. Why does one choose to stay at The Plaza Hotel in New York and pay $1,000.00 a night when they can stay at a motel 6 for $49.00? You're paying for the luxury and quality. Both are rooms and both have a bed but the prices are like night and day. Same with this town, you have to pay a lot for the luxury and quality here. There are other cities (the motel 6's) that might be more affordable. Everybody has a choice and nobody is forced to stay in a place they can't afford.


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Posted by Hotel Pleasanton
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Jeff - continuing with your hotel analogy ...

Here is the issue. A hotel (Pleasanton) needs quality workers plus a quality building, furnishings, etc. It all has to balance out. If revenue is fixed/flat and it is forced to spend more than they historically had on workers, the building, furnishings, etc. will suffer. The hotel won't have the money to make the fixes it needs. Also it won't have the capital to add infrastructure that guest want (e.g. sport parks, etc.).

This is the situation facing Pleasanton. The cost of personnel is crowding out the rest of the budget and Pleasanton does not have the ability to raise revenue (taxes) to cover this increase. So the rest of Pleasanton will suffer long-term as it is forced to fork over a greater percentage of its budget to retirees.

We all want Pleasanton to be nice today and tomorrow.


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Posted by Enough already
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm

I agree with Concerned, taxpayers need to be represented, by somebody 'actually representing' the employer/taxpayers.


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Posted by Enough already !
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2011 at 9:35 pm

At this week's meeting, I could not believe the sheer number of assorted union "Leaders". Most of the union mess is about keeping the massive number of 'leaders' happy and in the chips. Just like the 'castlewood' 'LOCAL LABOR LEADER' speaker, responsible for KEEPING the workers from settling and working a year ago. So many of these 'leaders' just hold 'their' workers hostage to their system...being a roadblock and wall between two civil groups. They could get along much better without the massive number of middle layer 'local labor leaders' preventing the two from working together.


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Posted by rick
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Feb 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Payroll costs have went up from 67% to 80% of payroll over 7 years.
This happened during a hiring freeze.

This proves that personnel costs are out of control.


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Posted by Educated
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm

To the police department dispatcher who "commutes 100,000 miles a year to work here":

I certainly hope that is a typo! If you work 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year, that's 400 miles a day. Seriously?

That's a minimum of 6 hours a day commuting, and a new car every couple years. You really should find a job, or even two, closer to home.


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Posted by Educated
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 17, 2011 at 10:49 pm

To Woody:

Is that why unions organize? So they can slow down their workpace? Wow. I'm glad you have the guts to admit that. You make union members sound really pathetic though.

Some of us don't mind working hard, and actually get a lot of satifaction from it.


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Posted by Educated
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Woody,

You say "the wealthy are sitting on their wealth and laughing all the way to the bank while their ignorant, bamboozled workers fail to unionize, fail to push for higher wages, because of some cockamime notion of remaining internationally competitive."

You should take a basic economics course. Even the poorest people in America are better off than the middle class or even the 'rich' in most countries. Internationally competitiveness is a key reason this is so. America's prosperity did not happen by chance but rather because our economic system. Anyone of sound mind in this country can be successful if they make good decisions (like not having kids before they can even take care of themselves, working hard in school, etc.) That's why so many people want to come here. If we continue to redistribute wealth and therefore stop rewarding risk, innovation, and hard work, we will become like the rest of the world, and I for one do not want that.

We all make choices about tradeoffs between time, money, fulfillment, and lifestyle in our jobs. Don't expect someone else to pay for the choices you make, which is exactly what redistribution of wealth is all about.


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Posted by Mark
a resident of Walnut Grove Elementary School
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:15 am

Dear "Educated"-

Your arrogant response is THE reason that police dispatcher earns every penny of her salary and EVERY penny of her pension. Having to listen unreasonable, unappreciative people like you making snide comments and questioning her dedication to her job is disgusting. You could not last one day working as a police dispatcher or police officer. These people are what make this town a safe and great place to live. I suspect you know nothing about commitment and integrity.


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 1:36 am

Unable to afford to live in Pleasanton, which has one of the highest income averages in the country, the city's workers are expected to use time and expense to commute, to do the job, and then return to their 'affordable' homes in other locales. Can they vote on such matters as raising additional tax revenues? No, they are not residents of the city. And then, because the streets are clean, the neighborhoods safe, and children well educated, they are reminded that it is the Ptowner citizens who are responsible for the city's quality of life. Hey, maybe Ptowner public workers should start referring to themselves as guest workers?

Moneybags is rich. Has a million dollars in his pocket, but determines that only have one hundred dollars can be spread around for those guest workers who serve him. Times get tough, he hears threats about govt rolling back those tax cuts which helped destroy the economy and which continues to add substantially to the deficit (something you'll not hear all the union-busting bean counters complain about at all, ever). He induces (wink-wink) a slew of possessive individualist types (moneybags wannabees) to do his bidding. Gets them to count the beans. Gosh, is the lament. Costs have gone up and we can't afford to pay. We only have a hundred dollars to work with! Better to gouge away at what the guest workers earn. After all, we're a community and must all contribute to the pain. Meanwhile, he sits smugly with his 999,900, viewing the damage done to lives. Bean counter: it's not exactly one hundred, she exclaims, but one hundred dollars and fourteen cents. Truly, she states, that's all there is! Really! Us budget cutters, she claims, are all about justice. I couldn't look myself in the mirror unless I cut, volunteers another. Only they spell injustice incorrectly: it should be 'just us'.


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Posted by Kelley
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Feb 18, 2011 at 3:23 am

This is a great example of everyone coming to the table and creating results that will positively affect Pleasantons fiscal health. A good start is the withdrawal of the contract (thank you PCEA).

Lousy services etc are a result of allowing our city to become a Vacaville and union run. Yes, that could happen if it were not for local heros over the years in which Pleasanton is made up of that continuously come forward out of love for the city they live in. Citizens like Bart Hughes, David Miller, Kay Ayala and many, many more... Thank You! These Avante-garde citizens should not let up and should be encouraged to continue to petition the city counsel to allow open and transparent participation from all citizens in advance of future contract negations. As noted in the article above, "the council said it would have Fialho and the union return to the bargaining table to develop a new contract". Sorry Nelson Fialho, you should clearly be fired from the nightmare negotiation position you just put Pleasanton in. You have proven you are not capable of negotiating on behalf of what's best for Pleasantons.

The most disappointing factor in this entire process is the behavior of Mayor Hosterman and her outright hostility towards the good citizens of Pleasanton. She unfortunately displayed child-like, immature behavior during the workshop (grinning and at times smiling widely with nods of approval and exaggerated adoration) when city employees brought up their class warfare attacks or loud obnoxious union representatives got up to the podium and hollered at the citizenry or rattled off their socialist workers of the world unite messages.

We all know that our very liberal Mayor Hosterman is on her last term here in Pleasanton (Thank God because if she were not, I would suggest here a recall) and setting her eyes on a state of CA position. I sincerely hope that citizens are ready to elect a fiscally responsible moderate Mayor who, when presented with challenges can show all of his constituents the utmost respect regardless of whether he agree with them. Who when presented with tough decisions, he is not hiding behind closed door meetings as Hosterman continues to encourage.

We simply must elect a mayor who when it comes time to make tough decisions in our community he will comprehend long-term fiscal sustainability for a prosperous Pleasanton and act when needed to tighten our fiscal belts and live within our means, unlike Hosterman who continues on the low road, where her ends justify her means.




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Posted by Woodless
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 8:21 am

It is a good thing the Woodies of the world don't rule the world. I'll bet you're tickled pink that janitors at Carnegie Hall make $500k/year. Better get after Beverly Hills - I understand that not all residents can afford the multi-million dollar mansions.

More seriously though, I agree with your concern regarding the increased income inequality in the US. But over-compensated public employees is not the problem area. You are protecting the wrong group.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2011 at 9:07 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Must be easy to ignore the fact that personnel costs rose from 67% to 80% of payroll over the 7 years during which time Pleasanton has shed employees via attrition and revenue increased most of those years.


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Posted by Educated
a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 18, 2011 at 9:22 am

Mark,
Do you REALLY believe the police dispatcher commutes 400 miles PER DAY? And if s/he really does, you think that's a reasonable decision? Wow.

I assume the 100,000 miles is either a mistake or a gross overexaggertion. I wasn't questioning his/her dedication...I was suggesting that 400 miles a day would be way too much dedication.

I know for a fact that you know NOTHING about my committment and integrity or for that matter about the work I do, have done in the past, or am capable of doing. Perhaps you're the arrogant one???


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 18, 2011 at 9:26 am

My husband is a union worker in the construction trade. We moved here from Hayward 40 years ago. Homes were actually less expensive here in Pleasanton than the Hayward area. My husband drove probably 120 miles a day so we could live here and have a home. My husband is STILL working at 70 years of age because we will lose our healthcare upon retirement. I am not old enough for Medicare, and have a pre-excisting condition.
We never complained about anyone oweing us anything. I'm sorry, but I don't feel we need to be taxed more to give city workers free healthcare for llife while the private sector goes without. All people in Pleasanton are not rich!

Please look to your Union bosses that are sqaundering your retirements on polictical elections, and promises they can't possibly keep. Millions of your union dues are going to polictical elections and Democratic causes.


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Posted by Unbelieveable
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 9:36 am

What a mean and vicious community of character we live in. This is a difficult situation on both sides, but character assassination isn't going to solve anything. This issue isn't unique to Pleasanton. It's happening in cities--large and small. Thank you to Bart and to all those involved who have stepped up and are doing the right thing for all parties involved.


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Posted by Jacquelyn R.
a resident of Stoneridge
on Feb 18, 2011 at 9:50 am

I simply cannot comprehend the mentality of the "Woodies" of the world. I for one would simply love it if the city of Burlingame where my husband is employed were to afford us with quality, affordable housing and all of the "perks" that you people seem to think you are entitled to. WAKE UP!! There are plenty of affordable homes in Pleasanton and throughout the Tri-Valley. At what point will we finally come to our senses and realize that there simply must be accountability to the public sector employee unions and end this entitlement mentality.


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Posted by Steven
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 18, 2011 at 10:52 am

Jeff you said:

---- How can you say for one second that: "The city employees are NOT responsible for the "Pleasanton Standard" of living." It's the city employees who keep our parks looking beautiful, streets clean, a library that is open 7 days a week, graffiti covered up as quick as possible. Do you think the magic fairy comes in and does it? ------

They were hired and it is THEIR job to do these things! and they get a paycheck, from their employer (Us, the citizens, through our elected representatives) for doing it. So just because the library is open 7 days a week (Starbucks is open 7 days a week) or the streets are clean, does it mean they are a "protected or special class??" Lots of folks get up every day, commute to their work, and make a living. It would be obsurd for me to ask the city of San Francisco where my employer is located to do something because I cannot afford to live in San Francisco. Why should city employees be entitled to preferential treatment? Because they work for city government?

Look at what is happening with public employee unions across the entire country. The unions want to kill the "goose the laid the golden egg" (the taxpayers)!!!!

The politicians made promises (pay and pensions) to the unions. However the "keepers" of the promises are the taxpayers, you and I included, and our children (because that is who is going to be paying in the near future).

The promises are no longer sustainable, they would bankrupt us. Plain and simple.









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Posted by Chris
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Feb 18, 2011 at 11:03 am

I too am thankful to all sides for stepping up to try and come to a workable solution around this issue.
I am thankful to all of the city employees for all of their hard work and dedication that they have to this city! Thank you!
I also believe that Pleasanton has been very fair on the compensation side increasing benefits over the last 8 years but financially we need to think about the longer term viability of this city to I am thankful to all of those that are asking the city to look at their own facts and to try and solve the underfunded pensions that are impacting what services we can offer today and into the future.
What is disappointing is that people are connecting being more fiscally responsible and not appreciating what the city workers do for our city. These are not connected. We want both and asking the employees to share in the burden is not saying we don't care or we don't think we should support the middle class. A resolution can balance the impact today and tomorrow.


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Posted by Sue
a resident of Las Positas
on Feb 18, 2011 at 11:14 am

To Educated:
"I assume the 100,000 miles is either a mistake or a gross overexaggertion. I wasn't questioning his/her dedication...I was suggesting that 400 miles a day would be way too much dedication."

It is a mistake, by Jeb Bing who should double check his notes. The dispatcher in question said she commutes 100 miles round trip a day. How he heard 100,000 a year is beyond me. He either needs to take better notes when he attends meetings, watch city council archived video, or perhaps find a new profession.


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 11:40 am

Dear Citizens of Pleasanton,

Bean counters, moneybags wannabees, and their minions, have the money for increased pay and pensions. They simply refuse to admit it. They could raise tax revenues. But instead, they want you to focus on Pleasanton's guest workers, otherwise referred to as public sector employees.

Dear Guest Workers of Pleasanton,

First your pensions, next will be your right to bargain collectively. Have no doubt about it, Wisconsin is coming to Ptown. I'm certain they'll say something like 'They couldn't look themselves in the mirror unless the guest workers of Pleasanton are made to sacrifice more'. Save your pennies before the second wave of moneybags, bean counters and moneybags wannabees wage their next campaign. Their ideal model is China where they've taken their companies for the cheap labor and absence of unions. They'd send you there if they could. But they can't. So, next best thing is to bring China here. Not at all a pretty picture if you're a guest worker.


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Posted by Woodless
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 11:58 am

Woody - sure would be great to get your take on this:

Please Read the Following Paragraph Carefully and Guess Who Said It


All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.

The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that "under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government."
So.. Who do you think said that?

If you did not already know the answer may shock you ...

The quote is contained in Letter on the Resolution of Federation of Federal Employees Against Strikes in Federal Service written August 16, 1937 to Mr. Luther C. Steward, President, National Federation of Federal Employees


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

What the heck does wealth distribution in the Pleasanton have to do with keeping both the Council and city unions free to negotiate, keeping citizen initiatives out of it, and keeping the unfunded liability from consuming Pleasanton's long-term fiscal health?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Push the emotional buttons on this topic and it gets everyone riled up and angry and stressed out and solves nothing. Citizen, employee, friend: don't let yourself be manipulated in such a manner. Don't let the dignity of your fair reasoning and intellect be hijacked by such demagoguery.


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Guest workers, citizen, friend (who can't afford a home in Pleasanton):

Smile! Be happy!

Signed,
Chief propagandist and bean counter for Mr. and Mrs. Moneybags


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

But Woody, you still haven't answered my question about what the wealth distribution in Pleasanton has to do with protecting the collective bargaining process from citizen initiatives and keeping Pleasanton's long-term fiscal health healthy!


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Posted by Chris
a resident of San Ramon
on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Let's remember: the pension and healthcare issue is NOT about the value of public employees. It is about fairnesss! Is is unreasonal to increase taxes on everyone in order that unsustainable benefits are paid for those in public employ. This puts undue burden on non-public employees who face pay reductions, increased benefits contributions or layoffs. These citizens must manage to support their families on reduced total income while paying more in taxes to support public employees who are unwilling to contribute even a miniscule amount for their own personal benefit. Let's put an end to this two level form of citzenary and replace it with fairness in shared sacrifices by all citizens.



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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Make no mistake about it. Income earners in Ptown are on an entirely different plane than Ptown's guest workers, otherwise known as public employees.

This isn't about guest worker janitors v. private sector janitors. This is about guest worker janitors v. among the highest wealth and income levels in the U.S. When top 20% of population owns 93% of effective wealth, you can't cry poor mouth for those poor Ptown richies. If you believe the poor mouth cry, I've got some oceanfront property in nebraska I'd love to sell to you. Oh, you say you've already bought some oceanfront property in nebraska from pleasanton's Secretary of Bean Counting?


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Why are you calling our employees guest workers? They are citizens and valued employees and many live here. Guest is a weird word to use.


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Posted by Enough already !
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Woody, you probably shouldn't bring up china, not too bright. You're right, US is NOT competitive in manufacturing.! ! But competitivness is not an issue with PUBLIC employees.. it's just a deal between them and the taxpayers..period.

Have I missed the response and accounting for the stimulus dollars that were used for our Pleas Public employees last year...like where we would have been without it ! ! ! even worse off ? ? ? So we've already used our public money for more excessive benefits than we should have....plus their 40% raises in last 8 years (add in the surplus) or please show the accounting, like what column it's in.


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Posted by Woodpecker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm

It seems the best to do from now on is to ignore posts from Woody. He clearly doesn't have a sense for the facts and likely refuses to investigate them as they would undermine his class warfare/income redistribution mantra. I suspect he is not even from the area given the guest worker/etc. labels he uses.

It is unfortunate to see when ideology blinds someone so much that they can acknowledge reality. But Woody is not alone with this as many in our country (on both sides of the isle) are aflicted with this.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm

There was a forum held yesterday in Southern California, "Pension Boot Camp", that catered to city leaders and elected officials. While some Southern California Unions encouraged their elected officials not to attend, the forum was well attended. The purpose of the event was to educate community leaders on pension issues and also help to dispel some myths.

If you google "pension boot camp" you can read articles on the topic and view some video. Hopefully, by Sunday, this one day forum will be condensed into an easy to read front page news story.


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Posted by Drew
a resident of Happy Valley
on Feb 18, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Steven,
I aggree with your response to Jeff. Well put!

"They were hired and it is THEIR job to do these things! and they get a paycheck, from their employer (Us, the citizens, through our elected representatives) for doing it." ETC....

I have worked for a very large well known corporation for 33 years. I have always had to make contributions for my healthcare, Dental,Retirement,Etc..Even when my husband was laid off a couple of times over the years and things got tough. The contributions I have to make just keep going up every year. But you know what, I feel lucky I have the option!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 18, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I will always reject it whenever someone tries to make the fiscal health of a public agency into a class issue. I make it a habit mostly to omit details about myself when I write here because my personal life is mostly irrelevant to the discussion, but I think in this case it is better to inform. Additionally, I refuse to disrespect myself with class or race-based thinking because that is an insult to human dignity.

Quite a while ago I was a so-called public "guest worker" working at UC. I worked in facilities and cleaned public bathrooms, took out the trash, cleaned floors and windows (nobody cleans windows better than I), removed rust from giant water pipes, set up for meetings and events, and did other general maintenance to take care of the public building. From that experience I know first hand about how ungrateful (and disgusting) the general public can be. I didn't give much credence to that though and still don't; people are people. I always take great pride in my work and would not trade my experience for the world and yes I'd work that job again. It hearkened back to my old days haunting the Amador Theatre. I also have much respect for others working such positions and you'll never see me leave a public bathroom in a worse condition than when I entered (I normally leave it better). You'll also never hear me making comments like how ungrateful public employees supposedly are.

I also learned first hand about nonsensical spending practices by public agencies. My position was a non-union job, one of the many so-called student jobs available where no employee was expected to stay long. And here's the big joke. I was earning a UCRP pension and I didn't know about until after I left the job. I was young and naive and there was no money taken out of my paycheck for my retirement. The way I learned about it was the little surprise letter saying I needed to take a lump sum distribution that came in the mail one day because I didn't work long enough to become fully vested (needed 5 years, most students only stay 4!). Why the heck was a student job even getting a pension that no employee expected or would ever realistically see? Who made that decision? And look where UCRP is now, having for 20 years gone on pension holiday and lived off market returns with no contributions being made for normal costs. If they hadn't done that they'd be superfunded today, but now it will take them many years and a lot of California taxpayer money to recover!

Fresh out of college with a liberal arts degree that had little job market value, I went on to work in operations at a small manufacturing company. I did mostly odd-jobs, some data entry and analysis, and I also worked on the floor, in receiving, doing inventory audits. It was surreal to be driving in the dark through Niles Canyon at 4am in the morning on my way to the company on the Peninsula do the annual end-of-the-year inventory and seeing a burning car. It was at this company that I got into tech work part-time while still working in receiving the other part of the time and then launched a full-time tech career and became a salaried worker. My pay was well below $40,000, yet I always put away the max on my 401(k), which at the time was $15,000. I later went on to a dotcom company and earned $64,000 for roughly 5 years with no raise because of the dotcom bust and got worthless overvalued stock options. Somehow I intuitively knew that the market was going to crash sooner or later so I didn't get involved in gaming it. I was also one of those who never thought I'd be able to get a home in my hometown, the big joke amongst those of us who grew up here in the last 30 years. How did it happen? I met my husband and we became a two-income household.

My husband and I were able to purchase our modest home in Pleasanton during the market stagnation right after the dotcom bust on a $40,000 and a $64,000 salary from which we were maxing out our 401(k)s. Don't no one here tell me that it can't be done because I won't believe you unless you are single or disabled in some fashion. We put 20% down on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage (even though the broker was trying to push us into a 5-year ARM) with money we had saved up in mutual funds from previous jobs. My husband saved his money from his union construction job with his father (now retired with a union pension who is more than happy to give anyone an earful about public employee unions and the crooks in his own union who fleeced the pension fund and finds the current situation a kind of day of reckoning that was a long time coming).

And all this time my household's income is still below Pleasanton's median household income of $119,000. So why do I write all this? Because frankly I don't care much about wealth distribution in Pleasanton or the US or in sitting around and waiting for someone else to come in and save the day like magically all private sector workers globally will become unionized and the tides will rise, yadda yadda, or there will be more taxes on the rich. Tides rise and also recede as is the natural way of things. The rich are able to move to more favorable climes to continue their lifestyles and leave the rest with the bill, if we're able to stay at all. Until there's a single-payer universal health care system, health care costs will continue to erode wages for everyone, both public and private worker at all income levels, and line the pockets of insurers. Nor do I care about the fact that those usually most vocal in Pleasanton politics can be considered to be above the median household income or live in fancy houses in Ruby Hill or Grey Eagle. Most people do not have time to participate in government because they are too busy making ends meet or don't believe they can make a difference when I think they really need to. Who is their voice against those who fantasize about rich people and try to make class-based arguments? Why should my family or others wait for such things to be resolved? Others can say I'm some bean counter soldier for the Koch brothers or something, but the truth is that I'm just like anyone else here trying to look out for their family right here and right now. My family is conscientious about shopping locally to ensure that money stays local. And we care about money being taken from working people who were fiscally responsible and prudent enough to not treat their homes like an ATM to pay for financial mistakes and the other shenanigans by public agencies that have a fiscal responsibility to both taxpayer and employee to do what is right with other people's money and the shenanigans by Wall Street. That's why I think there is a better way to get to having Pleasanton's employees paying the full 8% again without taking such a big hit in actual take-home pay to those that will have a difficult time in affording it. That's why I'm glad for the tentative agreement being pulled in order to preserve the ability to negotiate without initiative-imposed rules restricting it. That's why I'm saddened when everyone publishes or speaks their sob stories because we're asking someone else to make an unfair choice between the lady who has been out of a job for 9 months and took a 30% cut to household income (and doesn't have union power behind her) and the lady who is a single mom with three kids trying to do the best for her family. How can such a choice be made? On what moral ground can others be asked to pay more for what they can't seem to fund for themselves? When we talk about raising taxes locally to pay in the future for services already consumed (as if that's an easy solution), we're mostly talking about property taxes and the rich are not the only ones who pay for such things. Half of those who live here, unionized and non-unionized public and private sector households make below median and live here too, whether in a house or renting, it doesn't matter. Mostly it comes down to either personal choices or other uncontrollable circumstances. My personal choices of employment made me happy and I hope others make choices that make them happy. As a society we can afford to help those with the uncontrollable circumstances. But I never expect my choices to become a burden on someone else.


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Posted by woody
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 7:33 am

Good citizens of Pleasanton. Let me tell you something about me personally. When I see statistics that members of the upper class (top 5%) live on average 10 years longer than do members of the lower classes, I get sick to my stomach. This condition is not and never will be the 'natural order of things' -- you know, like the ebb and flow of tides. When I see moneybags wannabees proudly identifying with the upper class and expressing an unwillingness to identify with persons of his or her own class -- you know, people who don't just clean toilets while working their way through college, but who must do so all of their lives -- I become ill. Calling a condition natural, where my kids are likely to live 10 years less than their upper class counterparts, makes me ill. Whether such a claim stems from ignorance or willful self-deception is beyond me. Either way, it makes me ill.


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Posted by Great Story
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 8:36 am

Stacey - Thanks for sharing your story. You highlight the traits that built this country and made us great: personal responsibility, hard wok, sacrifice, etc.

Unfortunately, we have eroded into a nation with a large and growing entitlement mentality with public employee unions (and many others) exhibiting this characteristic. E.g. let's blame everything on Wall Street (which I agree did wrong and needs to be prosecuted) and ignore our own financial irresponsibilities in the situation. "It is always someone else's fault, not ours."

As a society we have a choice and are at a crossroad. Do we continue down this entitlement path that will lead us to a dead end or do we rediscover what made us great, resolve to change course, and make the needed sacrifices for our future.

I'm not trying to ignore the income inequality issue in our country. All I know is that playing the victim and taking from others to force equality won't fix things in the long term. It never has ever in the course of humankind.


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Posted by Great Story
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 8:44 am

Woody - You seem to typify the victim mentality. It would be interesting to see the comparision of behaviors between your groups of victims/non-victims:

- Willingness to sacrifice and save for the future
- Personal health habits - smoking, drinking, exercise
- Willingness to spend a little extra time to prepare health food rather than just eat out with fast food
- Willingness to educate oneself rather than just sit around and watch TV
- Ability to learn from the hard knocks injustices of life and move beyond them


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Posted by Great Story
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 8:52 am

Woody - The only class I identify myself with is the class of people willing to work hard to better themselves. This class binds all sorts of types of people - race, nationality, sexual persuation, gender, income level ...


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Posted by Rick
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Feb 19, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Mayor Hosterman has to be more like Mayror Reed of San Jose.

He is not out to make friends with city unions.

He is representing the residents of his city.

We need a bulldog in there who is not afraid to fight and win concessions that will ultimately benefits the citizens of the city.

Bart Hughes for Mayor


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Posted by two cents
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

"Stacey - Thanks for sharing your story. You highlight the traits that built this country and made us great: personal responsibility, hard wok, sacrifice, etc."

+ 1! Agree so much with the things you said.


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Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Feb 19, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Bart. Hughes for mayor..puhlease?? All I see on this forum are sheep. Mayor Hosterman is amazing!!!! She's has class and morales and sees the big picture and isn't just focused on Barts number presentations. Have some respect people, the city is in good financial shape because of our citys leadership without somebody (bart) spewing numbers at them. Pleasanton is a fiscally sound city, heck per us census, Pleasanton is rated the richest midsize city in the nation. So you can scream the sky is falling all u want but you are wasting your breath and throwing your city workers under the bus. But you seem to be so proud of each other. Lol!


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Exactly Anon, yet here this post has over 150 people chiming in about how bad it is here. Funny how this article Web Link was buried quickly with only 11 comments.

It is just so much easier to be negative, very reflective of the greater society today. I work in the financial industry- the sky is definitely not falling, in fact, just the opposite of what many would have you believe here. But this way of thinking does further their agenda, that's for sure.


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Posted by you are morons
a resident of Avignon
on Feb 20, 2011 at 3:09 am

$290M and growing???? Did ANYONE actually attend the workshop? Those figures are so inflated as to be libelous!! Go ahead idiots, run this well-run, well-funded city into the ground to save a couple bucks. I couldn't care less - I'm only here for a few years, but I've never lived in a place where more spoiled people are more intent on ruining a good thing.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 20, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with working one's way through college.

I also studied to learn the necessary skills on my own so that I could make the jump from receiving to tech work to the dotcom company. Not everyone has the ability or time to do that. Paying lump sum distributions out of UCRP to hundreds of thousands of transient student employees who never needed such a benefit takes away from those career employees in true need of retirement security just as the pension spiking and other abuses does.

Practicality is what pension reform requires and society can ill afford to allow those that entrench themselves in ideology, like what is being done in Wisconsin right now on both sides, to further radicalize the discussion and dig the holes deeper.


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Posted by Mark094
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 20, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Bart Hughes for mayor? You have to be joking. He has a personal agenda that he has not revealed, and anyone who does not see this is simply lying to themselves. He has presented inaccurate and over-inflated numbers ($290 million) for months, and when he was proven wrong by the city's finance manger, he did not issue an apology, rather he continued attacking the city workers in different ways. Come on Bart, tell us who you are and what your long term plans are. Is it city council, state assembly, knocking Jerry McNerny out of office? I don't believe you are doing this out of some sense of civic duty, what is it you want?




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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 21, 2011 at 1:39 am

(Post deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff).


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Posted by Queenb
a resident of Avila
on Feb 21, 2011 at 1:57 am

I love the fact that you people have absolutely no respect for the men and women who are working hard every day to make this community what it is. Are you people so ignorant that you can not even understand that it is your city employees that make this community the desirable place that it is? If you think the employees can so easily be replaced, I challenge you to go to a neighboring jurisdiction with less standards and less benefits and see if you are treated with the same respect by the city employees. I can assure you no one in Oakland would give a crap about your barking dog or dead bird in your driveway. I also seriously doubt that any of the other city leaders would cater to Mr. Bart Hughes the way our city manager has.


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Posted by Rick
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Feb 21, 2011 at 5:31 am

Hosterman is out of touch.

Lets go down the list.

Hosterman supported, helped approve, then back down after public outcry over:

Home Depot development at Stanley and Valley
Oak Grove Development
The latest contract with city unions.

Next time she has any wacky ideas, she should call Kay Ayala and clear it with her.


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Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2011 at 5:53 am

Last time I checked kay isn't in public office anymore and she is somebody thatcosts the city a lot of money with frivolous initiatives. I think mickey mouse is awesome, doesn't mean he should hold office.lmao.


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Posted by pleeeaaassseee
a resident of Castlewood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 6:11 am

(Post deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


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Posted by John
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 21, 2011 at 7:04 am


Stacy, Bart and Kay are civic rock stars... Please KEEP THE DREAM alive. Close the unfinded liabilities and ignore the pettiness of those that either work in one of these city positions or for the union directly.


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 8:22 am

"He has presented inaccurate and over-inflated numbers ($290 million) for months, and when he was proven wrong by the city's finance manger, he did not issue an apology, rather he continued attacking the city workers in different ways."

Is this true Mark 094? I would like some more information since I was not at this meeting. I have not seen anyone post these corrected numbers. I believe this warrants a looking into, I mean, that's what Bart would have advocated in the first place isn't it? We are still paying for Kay's "civic duties" and now Bart, you seem to be silent about this information. I think we deserve an explanation as to why you lied to us.


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Posted by Let's go!!!
a resident of Danbury Park
on Feb 21, 2011 at 8:27 am

When can we vote for the initiative and when can we go to the polls and vote against the parcel tax........again? I would also support Bart Hughes, Stacy, Kathleen, and Kay for any office in this town they choose to run for but I think they are far more valuable not being elected officials but rather holding the "chosen ones" feet to the fire.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Danville
on Feb 21, 2011 at 9:54 am

Way to go,Rock on Tea Party,Next we will go after the Police,Firefighters,Teachers,BART,EBRPD,Nurses.Down with the middle Class.I think we should also go after the Homeless and the Disabled.We will stop at nothing,(Why pay for anything).


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Posted by Bart Hughes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

Mark094 - First, $290M is a valid number, that is why no apology is necessary. However, I do believe that $185M (MVA) is a more useable number for these discussions. The $290M includes two additional components: Livermore's portion of the fire department and CalPER's own estimate as to what Pleasanton's future unfunded liabilities will be. Rather than focus on future what if's, it's more effective to focus on the unfunded liability for services consumed to date - $185M.

Second, I have absolutely no agenda other than to get the city to start addressing out-of-control public employee pensions in a meaningful way. IMHO, allowing personnel costs to grow from 63% to 80% of the general fund was not a good thing and is not sustainable.

I guess this community is not used to an independent citizen who decides to get involved with a civic issue to try to make a difference. It is interesting to see how many people have tried to demonize me for this and project me as something I am not. According to the many unfounded accusations on these blogs, I am a dishonest extreme right-wing covert who plans to run for public office. Nothing could be further from the truth - those who personally know me laugh at this characterization. For example, I have voted for McNerney every time he has run except for this last time. I am simply a fiscally conservative, socially progressive independent.

For all of you out there who disagree with me, I challenge you to get involved and gain a thorough understanding of the underlying data for this issue. This community will be better served if we keep the debate focused on understanding the facts and nuances of the issue.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 21, 2011 at 11:02 am

Steven,
what I ment when I said:
"How can you say for one second that: "The city employees are NOT responsible for the "Pleasanton Standard" of living." It's the city employees who keep our parks looking beautiful, streets clean, a library that is open 7 days a week, graffiti covered up as quick as possible. Do you think the magic fairy comes in and does it?"

and then you replied with:
"They were hired and it is THEIR job to do these things! and they get a paycheck, from their employer (Us, the citizens, through our elected representatives) for doing it. So just because the library is open 7 days a week (Starbucks is open 7 days a week) or the streets are clean, does it mean they are a "protected or special class??" Lots of folks get up every day, commute to their work, and make a living. It would be obsurd for me to ask the city of San Francisco where my employer is located to do something because I cannot afford to live in San Francisco. Why should city employees be entitled to preferential treatment? Because they work for city government?"

Look at all these other cities that also have city workers that are in your words: ("They were hired and it is THEIR job to do these things! and they get a paycheck, from their employer (Us, the citizens, through our elected representatives) for doing it.") still have a city that isn't kept up nice, streets are dirty, graffiti that's been up on walls and buildings for months on end. If that's they're job, then why aren't these other cities getting rid of these things the day it happens like in Pleasanton? Why you ask, because the employees care here. City employees in these other cities just want to put in their 8 hours and get out. They have no sense of pride for the community they work in.


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Posted by Steven
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Jeff,

We are going in circles!!! Your arguments do not hold any water. Other cities have graffitti because they have gangs. They have dirty streets because their residents use the streets as a garbage can.

No matter how much city employees may care, the schedule for the street cleaning truck does NOT change!!!!! Get a grip.

Bottom line: Can we the taxpayers afford to pay public employees (no matter how dedicated), unsustainable wages and benefits? The answer is NO.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Sunday Perspective: Study gives bad advice on state pensions
By Bill Lockyer
Guest Commentary
Posted: 02/20/2011 12:01:00 AM PST
Updated: 02/20/2011 05:03:25 AM PST
Feb 20:
Sunday Perspective: Real pension issue is full disclosure of liabilityI HAVE helped lead efforts to curb public pension corruption, fight abusive benefits, reduce payouts and control liabilities. I'm committed to completing the additional work that needs to be done. But reforms should be based on sound accounting and real evidence.

Angry at folks who want to cook the books to win a political fight, I recently called last year's Stanford report on California public pensions' unfunded liabilities a "piece of crap." Indelicate? Yes. But the study definitely smells bad. So let's call it instead one of several stink bombs from academia polluting the pension reform debate.

The Stanford students authored their report at the direction of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who opposes defined-benefit pensions.

All these reports grossly overstate public pensions' unfunded liabilities. They have fueled hysteria about pension costs pushing governments to the brink of insolvency and default. And they've been exploited by politicians who despise public employee unions and their defined-benefit plans, and want to entrust families' retirement security to Wall Street's good graces.

They're dogma-inspired "studies" wearing academic perfume, used to further political vendettas.

To calculate their defined-benefit pension liabilities, corporations use a "discount" rate of return tied to yields on investment-grade bonds. Using accepted accounting standards, CalPERS and other public pensions use the expected return on their investment portfolio. Applying the corporate model to public pensions would make no sense, cost taxpayers a bundle and destabilize government budgets.

The Stanford students ignore these problems to satisfy their political sponsor. They even go beyond the corporate norm and say the state's retirement funds should use an unprecedented "risk-free" rate tied to low-yielding U.S. Treasuries.

The specific rate the study used was 4.14 percent. In contrast, CalPERS' expected return is 7.75 percent. The lower the number, the higher the unfunded liability. Using CalPERS' rate, its unfunded liability on July 1, 2008 totaled $35 billion.

The Stanford report's risk-free rate ballooned the unfunded liability to a ludicrous $239.7 billion.

CalPERS' 7.75 percent rate has worked because it's conservative and prudent. Over the past 21 years, CalPERS' portfolio has generated an average annual return of 8.6 percent. In 15 of those years, it beat the 7.75 percent assumed return rate.

Neither corporate nor public pensions invest their entire portfolios in Treasuries or bonds. They diversify to earn better returns. But it makes some sense for corporations to use a steeper discount in setting liabilities. Companies can disappear overnight. We need to know their pension liability if they suddenly go belly-up and have to terminate their plan. Corporations need to account for that scenario. Governments don't vanish. They need to figure out how to fund the plan over the long haul, not estimate its termination price.

This issue is crucial for anyone who cares about taxpayers and fiscal stability. The risk-free requirement hurts both. Artificially deflating expected returns and artificially inflating unfunded liabilities require taxpayers to unnecessarily contribute much more.


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Posted by anonymous2
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Funny how you publish the one oped perspective that supports your view but not the counter one that was published on the same day.

It is interesting that Lockyer states "CalPERS' 7.75 percent rate has worked because it's conservative and prudent." when it is wide knowledge that CalPERS is about to lower their assumed rate.

Isn't it also interesting that pension expenses continue to grow significantly every year and yet unions and union shills like Lockyer still say we don't have a problem or downplay it.

The good news is that fewer average joes are being fooled by crap like this.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Lockyer is part of the problem.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 21, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Steven,
As you said, "Your arguments do not hold any water. Other cities have graffitti because they have gangs. They have dirty streets because their residents use the streets as a garbage can."

My point is this, it doesn't matter that other cities have gangs. I've seen the same markings of graffiti on walls for months in other places. Why aren't they getting rid of it the day of or the day after like they do in Pleasanton. I've been to parks in Oakland, Hayward and San Jose and none look as nice as the ones here. Aren't the city workers there are also getting paid to do their job? Take it from me, like I said before, I've lived in Oakland and a few other places and have now been here 22 years. This place is beautiful compared to all the others.


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Posted by Angry
a resident of Jensen Tract
on Feb 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Are you people nuts. Fund the problems that the unions created. Collective bargining should be removed from every union everywhere so that we can get back to what is fair. I am sick and tired of paying for all of their greed and deception. Stop thinking that the property owners in this city will fund everyones deficit. Schools, City Workers ... whats is next banks. Oh ya we did that already!


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Angry,
I agree that they (city employees) should pay some of it but not all. Also the problems this country and state are having are the fault of Wall Street...PERIOD. Collective bargining should be removed? If that happens, aren't we now a dictatorship? We still do live in a democratic society and can't take every right away from people.


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Posted by to jeff
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Jeff. Didn't you know we haven't always had public sector employee unions - many liberal and democratic leaders thought it was just plain wrong to do so - and I don't think we were a dictatorship then.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

So you're basically saying that all cities should tell their employees, "this is how it is and this is what you'll get, live with it?" Unions were formed many years ago because companies weren't always fair with their employees and did whatever thewy wanted to. The employees had no rights. I'm not a city employee at all but I do feel like when can't deny people some of their rights. What about people that work for BART, should their union go away? Or the people that work for PG&E, Comcast, Safeway, etc.? You can't say one group can have them but other can't. After all we keep saying we just want what's fair to be fair.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I had to fix a few spelling mistakes

So you're basically saying that all cities should tell their employees, "this is how it is and this is what you'll get, live with it?" Unions were formed many years ago because companies weren't always fair with their employees and did whatever they wanted to, the employees had no rights. I'm not a city employee at all but I do feel like we can't deny people some of their rights. What about people that work for BART, should their union go away? Or the people that work for PG&E, Comcast, Safeway, etc.? You can't say one group can have them but others can't. After all we keep saying we just want what's fair to be fair.


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Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Angry- you are being a little ignorant if you think people are being greedy for performing jobs to keep the city running well. Nothing is for free. Trust me if you don't want to pay for city employees to keep your neighborhood safe and in good condition, im sure they would be more than happy to go work where people appreciate things like safety.
Bart, you now know how it feels to be demonized? Can't say I feel bad when that is what you've done to city employees. When you are pushing your scare tactics about PETRS instead of comparing them to how well the city is fiscally doing. You are being like chicken little and the sky is falling instead of looking at the whole financial picture. You don't seem to be struglling and are making more than anybody in the PCEA. They are the lowest paid bargaining unit, yet you choose them to pick on. The city is being run just fine without you and your number presentations. You are disrespectful to the whole city by creating the political storm and kicking the middle class workers that put on a happy face just to serve your ungratefulness.


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Posted by to jeff
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Jeff, there is a big difference between public sector and private sector unions. Public sector unions are voting in the policymakers that have allowed unaffordable excesses to happen. Many times the people agreeing to the extreme benefits are also the beneficiaries. The unions "interview" candidates, fund them etc.

Much of this can't happen in the private sector. And in the private sector, if a company goes bust, people are out of a job, so unions work harder to make things work out financially. You would never have a private company saying that they're going to reduce the quality of service or get the public to donate money to them so they can give their employees a raise.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

As it was just said:
"You would never have a private company saying that they're going to reduce the quality of service or get the public to donate money to them so they can give their employees a raise."

How do you think BART, PG&E, Comcast, Safeway, Gas companies, Pleasanton garbage, etc. give their employees raises? They raise your rates. How come no one is going to these people complaining? If you're a customer of them, you pay their salaries and retirement.


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Posted by to Jeff
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I agree re. the gas / electric utilities. With the rest you can walk away from them and not use their services unless they stay competitive. They only get income to pay salaries and retirement contributions if they stay competitive. And retirement is only as good as their contributions. It has nothing to do with the taxpayer.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Anon, this is about budget issues and fairness. Compensation was increasing faster than the revenue required to sustain it. And that was before the PCEA received 12% + in raises while city revenue was declining. The fact that the PCEA is offering a couple of zero COLA raises and a 2% pension contribution does very little to slow down the increased costs associated with: the last bad contract, pensions, healthcare, medical insurance, or employee liability insurance.

The truth is, speaking of fairness, the unions have been able to influence the bargaining process to the point that we've moved well beyond any natural equilibrium. If you've been paying attention you know this isn't just a Pleasanton issue.

What I would like to know is why are the PCEA members so unwilling to contribute to their own pension plan? Why aren't they willing to accept a second tier? I read an article the other day where it was stated that CalPERS state employee pension funds were funded at between 68 %(?)and 56% as of the latest valuation. Those are extremely bad numbers for pension plans, but your plan is only 52% funded. Keep in mind that the minimum acceptable level for pension plans is 80% funded. Your plan is 28 percentage points below this minimum level, or 54% below the low water mark. Are you at all concerned about this? If so, what is your bargaining group willing to do to address the pension issue?


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:14 pm

Arnold,
From what I understood the two tier system only works if the city actually hires new people and we all know that they aren't hiring anytime soon. Second, it was said that we wouldn't see any benefits from it for at least 15 years. That being said and it only being a two year contract, it didn't make sense.


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Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:30 pm

What you need to understand is two tier is a morale-killer, which will turn furture employees resentment upon the prior employees(part of the bigger picture). Another thing is some of the agencies that are paying into their PERS are receiving other money that equalizes that take home hit, that will be an immediate strangler on some households. They receive shift differential, bilingual pay, post pay,etc. If you want to see take a look at LPDs mean employees mou. The reason for raises was the cost of living that shot up as everybody knows and the PERS contribution was bartered for by bargaining teams long ago that passed up raises to get that negotiated benefit. Everybody knows how much fuel, groceries, etc has shot up. Anyways, yes I am paying attention to cnn, its is very saddening that people want to take away collective bargaining. I think people need to research the beginning of that principle to understand why it was created because we are the great nation of the united states.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm

If having a two-tier pension is such a morale buster, why don't the current employees negotiate on their own pension formulas to relax them so that annual costs can go down and maybe even the unfunded liability? Rather than attacking all the messengers regarding this issue, why don't you guys suggest solutions that will address the issue? And no, raising taxes can't be one of those solutions. It is morally wrong to raise taxes on someone else so that you can continue to have retirements that private sector people don't.

Start offering up some solutions!


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:09 pm

"From what I understood the two tier system only works if the city actually hires new people and we all know that they aren't hiring anytime soon. Second, it was said that we wouldn't see any benefits from it for at least 15 years. That being said and it only being a two year contract, it didn't make sense."

I keep hearing that the two tier system won't save money for 15 years also. It simply is NOT true. What I don't understand is if the city isn't hiring, and they will do some hiring, why would you say it doesn't make sense? What doesn't make sense is not agreeing to a two tier system that doesn't impact current workers. You do know that the city doesn't need the unions permission to create a two tier pension plan. They can do whatever they want in regards to future employees. Why not just agree to it and get it over with?

I want to say, again, a two tier system that pays reduced benefits costs less.


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Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm

You need to understand one voice and one opinion don't make the choices of all others involved. Im just trying to introduce the ideas to this forum, that people are working hard and in simplest terms as possible. People apply for a job with set benefits, pay and expectations to live up to and show up for work everyday with a smile. Nobody is expecting that one day all the citizens outcry that those employees are greedy individuals trying to bankrupt everybody. We are humans, that are simple and living paycheck to paycheck. My family is all rich private sector while I am treated as a working grunt. I see the extravagance of comped vacations, bonuses, etc. Employees are not the ones that see the finances of a city until times of question. Even now our city has a multi million surplus from smart planning. I hold faith in the powers of the city that they would not allow Pleasanton to even get close to a vallejo situation and I understand nobody wants to pay more taxes. How would you feel if you were forced into an immediate paycut of 4 to 8 percent when the budget is already at a shoestring size? Who said anything about asking for more money from taxpayers? Nobody in Pleasanton. In fact your city workers have been doing more with less, because they love their jobs and the city.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm

But the reality is that total personnel costs (even with the layoffs) have risen to an unsustainable level. Remember, it was the City Council that raised this point. Ask yourslef what caused personnel costs to rise to this level? If you look honestly at the situation, you must admit that it is retirement costs. So how do you fix retirement costs if employees don't want to contribute more to fix the problem? The only answer I see is that you need to change the retirement formula for all current employees.

Please help me understand if I am missing something here and what you'd offer up as an alternative.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Arnold wrote: "What I would like to know is why are the PCEA members so unwilling to contribute to their own pension plan?"

Well, PCEA employees were willing to contribute 2% with the last tentative agreement along with some other concessions. I don't think you could say they were so unwilling.

I think the two-tier thing has more to do with what agencies think will be more feasible to negotiate. Instead of two-tier, another option is to negotiate a greater retirement age and lower annual percent for pension benefits not yet earned. That would have a more immediate impact than two-tier and might even mean no cut in take-home pay. I don't know which is better. Two-tier is also on Jerry Brown's platform.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The LAO is recommending either a hybrid pension-401(k) retirement benefit or that employees and employers split the contribution 50/50, the idea being that unions would be less likely to negotiate such generous pensions if their members actually had to pay for it. That would mean something like 16% while we're sitting here talking about how to get to 8%!


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Posted by D
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm

To see a comment like:
"You do know that the city doesn't need the unions permission to create a two tier pension plan. They can do whatever they want in regards to future employees. Why not just agree to it and get it over with?"

makes me sick. We live in a democratic society and it is OUR RIGHT TO NEGOTIATE, this is not a dictatorship. The words: "They can do whatever they want" right there says dictatorship. This is exactally why unions are needed and why they were formed so many years ago.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm

I'd really like to get the perspective from some of the employees?

How would you guys recommend we solve this problem?

The previous tentative agreement (2%/etc.) was a non-starter as it guaranteed that both annual costs and the unfunded liability would countinue to increase.

Maybe some of you will respond? ...


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Pleasanton vs. San Jose: A few days ago someone mentioned that we don't want to end up like San Jose. Other than a difference in how we recognize unfunded pension liability we are already there. The only real difference is that San Jose, which isn't a part of CalPERS, has a 5 year smoothing plan for their pension costs (i.e. they fund unfunded pension liability over a rolling five year period). CalPERS have continued to stretch their smoothing policy to 15 years in order to hold down costs to their member agencies/cities. The industry average is five years. For the cost of the 2008 market losses CalPERS is extending the easy pay program beyond the 15 years.

CalPERS isn't doing this to protect the cities from financial ruin - they are doing to hide the true cost of the pension plan and to protect the unions pension plan formulas from scrutiny. Their plan isn't working and their agency members will eventually be in worse shape than San Jose. Unfortunately CalPERS is content in delaying the recognition of pension costs, at the expense of growing the unfunded liability, in an effort to hide the true cost of pensions from the taxpayers.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:13 pm

D - rather than wait for the next statement that offends you and justifies in your own mind your position, how about offering up some solution options that will address the issue?


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:29 pm

It is really telling that there is not one of you employees that read this blog are offering up any solutions to fix the problem.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 7:50 am

Still waiting for some solution options from employees on how to fix the problem ...


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Posted by reality
a resident of California Reflections
on Feb 23, 2011 at 10:29 am

Hey, anon, pssst. They've moved to more current posts.


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Posted by anon
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2011 at 11:28 am

I guess they ran when they were faced with the truth and a direct question on who to fix the pension problem ...


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Posted by Terry
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm

I have a high regard for our City employees. The fact is that we, Pleasanton, do not have the money to pay salaries, benefits and pensions. With unemployment from 9 to 18%, it might be awhile if ever that we have the revenues. We have to live within our means.

Pleasanton, as a City, might have to lower our standard of living. We can not continue to have BIG government. We are still doing better than the bread lines of the 1930's.


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Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Try approaching the contract in an easing manner, instead of hammering an immediate hit home to familys. Two tier sounds easy but there is more to the long term complications. But this is only my opinion.


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