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DeMarcus launches campaign for election to City Council

Original post made on Aug 16, 2012

Transportation consultant Erlene DeMarcus launched her campaign for election to the Pleasanton City Council Wednesday, telling supporters at a campaign breakfast that she will seek common ground among all divergent groups in the city to keep Pleasanton fiscally sound with good schools, recreational facilities and housing that's affordable to teachers, police and firefighters and others.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 16, 2012, 8:02 AM

Comments (23)

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Posted by Pensions not enough?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 16, 2012 at 9:36 am

She says, "housing that's affordable to teachers, police and firefighters". You have got to be kidding. Between the salaries and benefits, our police and firefighters are VERY high paid. So in addition to allowing our police and firefighters to retire at age 50 with over 100% of their salary and free medical insurance for life, Erlene wants to give them subsidized housing? This lady is scary and is obviously a shill of the union, in addition to her already released info that she works for the major developers in the area; including Charter Properties and the Lins who file suit after suit to try to get around the vote of the people.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm

@Pensions not enough?, Yes agree that the statement "housing that's affordable to teachers, police and firefighters" is getting old. Just like the statement "tax to fix potholes". Does anyone realize just how many tax initiatives have been passed just to fix potholes. Probably not because the politicians use the money for other purposes. The potholes never get fixed and so the taxpayers pass another fix the pothole tax.

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Posted by Dangerous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2012 at 12:14 am

Well, she senet you her signal. Believe her. She's for and about the PUBLIC UNIONS, which is WHY she is running. The wrong direction for Pleaanton.. She is and will be the union's candidate, along with union activist, who i alreay in place.
I'm sure the unions are paying and promising her plenty to be in bed with and for them. That isn't going to work. We desperately need to get the public union problem FIXED in this next term.
This intentional setup is bad for Pleasanton.
This is not 1980. 1980 was 30years ago...that's a lifetime of political changes for Erlene.
I want what is best for Pleasanton residents....not union bosss.

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Posted by David
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 17, 2012 at 10:10 am

I have spent 23 years as a police officer. Lost 13 trends shot to death on duty and hard a heart attack on duty.

I'm retiring early at 48 with 66% and no medical coverage. Where do you get your facts about retirement? In order to get 100% an officer would need to work 34 years on the job and be with a non-PERS agency, since pers caps retirement at 90%.

Yes I will admit that Police and Fire make a lot of money, but it wasn't always so. Also, most agencies do not make anywhere near what the top 20 California agencies make. In fact, the average salary nationwide for police and Fire is less than $45,000.

I would love for the truth to be told about our pay and benefits. The average officer retires at age 57 from the job with an average of 23 years of service at 66% of their salary and medical for themselves with the option of buying spouses coverage.

Saying we get 100% at 50 is the same as saying all dot-com employees made millions, when it was just a few at the top.

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Posted by Minimum Wage Taxpayer
a resident of Mohr Park
on Aug 17, 2012 at 10:49 am


Thank you for educating us. Many of us do know the statistics of those 'reports' are skewed by those at the top. Some of us even actually read the full report instead of the 'bites' given by the media. Thank you for your service to our communities.

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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2012 at 11:44 am

David - Are you sure you're being completely factually? Retiring with absolutely no medical coverage? What agency did you work for? You would be the first in CA that I've heard of with this situation.

Also, are you retiring with a work-place disability? Does this mean either 50% or 100% retirement will be tax exempt?

To quote that $45K average is complete BS. What does this include/exclude? What source are you quoting? Come on.

Also, you know that the system is gamed all the time so people actually end up retiring with annual benefit greater than 90% of their salary.

Lastly, assuming you live until the actuarial age of 81/82 (it has been proven by CalPERS that the life expectancy of police/fire is a great or greater than the general population), this means that every $50K of annual retirement income represents a NPV of $1.7 MILLION. So how big is your retirement pot? How many MILLIONS is your retirement package worth?

There is no way you should be allowed to retire at 48 with 66% of your income. This is what is bankkrupting the system and dulling the heroic luster of police and fire personnel.

You will get absolutely no pitty from this quarter. I spend my time educating people the true facts of the situation so they don't get snowed over by BS from people like you.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Mohr Park
on Aug 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm

This is a sincere question: what does a 'transportation consultant' do? How do they make money? Are they paid by anyone other than a government? Are they a political fixer or do they know something about trains or buses that the rest of us do not?

Something about transportation is corrupt -- the Union Army in 1864 could have laid track to Livermore in a day and it wouldn't have cost a billion a mile or whatever it is. I'd like to hear this candidate explain this lunacy if she really does know something.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm

The line we get from Calpers and Calstars is also a load of horse pucky. They keep publishing that their average payouts are only $26,000 per year. But this is misleading because this figure is based on the payouts to career state employees plus payouts to people who have only worked a fraction of their career with a state agency.

The real average for a career state employee is $60,000 per year. Quite a difference in numbers.

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Posted by David
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Aug 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

First off, I worked for Oakland, then Alameda County. Because I did not stay for 20 years in one continuously, I do not receive medical. Any officer who works 20 plus years at the same agency will receive full personal medical until age 65. They can choose to carry their spouse at additional cost if they desire.

Alameda county's spousal. Coverage costs are as follows: $560 for Kaiser, $785 for Blue cross/shield or $2136 for United health care PPO.

I'm not the only guy to not get coverage. I don't have a 401k or social security, because safety personel in CA aren't allowed to participate. I did however. I tribute 17% of my annual income towards my pension (easy fact to check with ACERA ).

I'm not asking for pitty; just a little research on your part. It's really simple to go online and fact check articles written by the press. They routinely grandstand on pension stuff. Problem is, most people don't look at all the facts because they are lazy.

I'm in full agreement that things need to change. I was happy with 2@50, which never had a problem being funded. What's rediculous is putting all the blame on police fire and teacher pensions, when all told they account for less than 3% of the budget.

Illegal immigrants account for nearly 16%, but nothing is said there. What do you do Really? I have owned two businesses over the past 25 years, with employees and did this while serving many thankless people.

I at least speak from the business owner side and the public service side. Bailing out the Banks cost us 25 times pensions.

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Posted by aNaN0myss
a resident of Dublin
on Aug 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Instead of passing laws about fixing potholes or passing more tax iniatives just stop making comitees just find a group of volunteer workers and trained professionals to fix some local problems. that might be a suggestion for the community it give a chance for the youth and parents to connect, it provide more volunteer options and it would get things done instead of talking about it. Im more than certain theres already somewhere you can go to fix problems such as potholes, if not then just do it instead of complain about it being there. you cant pass a law for everything, otherwise you will waste all your time trying to make things better. Nothings perfect so if anyone see's a hole in the ground then fill it and carry on your day. No sense about talking about it geesh people wonder why there's problems in a modern day society and I must apologize if you take an offense but no one ever wants to fix a pothole you dont wanna fix. And I get the fact most people get together to discuss the problems you guys are trying to fix and that not all of you have time of your day to fix somethings but a job is best done yourself.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm

@Paul - thinking the same thing. Must have been the time that the BART Board was working tirelessly for two years trying to decide whether to call the BART station Pleasanton/Dublin or Dublin/Pleasanton.

DeMarcus should also explain what she means by technical support. Is there like any science or math involved?

Does finding common ground mean she is going to hire a PR firm to turn what citizens don't want (like high density housing) into something better then sliced bread. Much like the MTC did to ram the Express Lane down commuters' throats.

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Posted by aNaNOmyss
a resident of Dublin
on Aug 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm

for that response about Banks your right why give more money to bail the bank thats suppose to bail you out, but the reason people dont have money in the banks is thier constantly using your money to loan, invest and spend on thier mortgages and when your time comes around the bank is going bankrupt. I'm not trying to go against any RELIABLE banks but when your money turns up gone then why the fuck do I have to bail you out. If anyone wants an inciteful book on "why I keep getting screwed over" read "Animal Farm" very basic reading level almost kid status but you might discover what animal you might symbolize.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Thank god for all the "tired" volunteers who work in the trenches so that people like DeMarcus can work "tiredlessly" on boards.

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Posted by Pensions not enough?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2012 at 2:09 pm


Your circumstances are completely different than somebody who works for the City of Pleasanton. The retirees of the City of Pleasanton get free medical insurance. You say you contributed 17% of your income to your pension. In Pleasanton they paid 0% of their income to their pension. In Pleasanton they calculate their "last year" salary on their last year salary plus overtime plus some unused sick-time and vacation. Plus since the city ("taxpayers") pay for their pension, their last year salary is increased by the amount we pay for their pensions as that amount is considered a salary benefit.

You also say that pensions are only 3% of the budget. That does not take into consideration the true cost. The agencies are not even paying the fully amortized cost of the pensions now as "it would kill their budgets." Instead they are paying less than the actuarial amount which means they are charging the rest of the cost on our charge card. Plus the amount contributed each year assumes that CALPers gets a 7.5% return on their investment. You know what the return on their investment was last year? It was 0.1%. The pension costs are already killing us and we are not even paying what we should be. We are charging our kids for our costs today. That does not even figure in the cost of the free retiree medical insurance (starting at age 50 for life). Most jurisdictions are woefully under-funding that benefit. And you talk of Teachers Pensions (something that is not really a City issue) but that agency will run out of money of their do not increase the payments into the system since the contribution rate is set by the legislature and is nowhere covering the true cost).

I think your circumstance outside of Pleasanton is a lot different than our city.

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Posted by To David
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

I love how you have the time to run two businesses while full time employed. I'm around your age and can't retire for another 20 years.

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Posted by Really?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm

David - given I received selective answers to my questions, I suspect we are not getting the full story of your situation but insteaded edited elements with the hope of convincing people that things are not that bad or unreasonable. It is just the irresponsible press and uninformed taxpayers that are using exceptional cases to blow things out of proportion, right?

I suspect that if we could get your complete history, the story would be quite different.

I am extremely informed on this issue and am quite confident of my informed perspectives. You will get your oversized MULTI MILLION DOLLAR pension only because 1) future government services will be reduced to compensate and 2) future government employees will make less than you for the equivalent service.

BTW for everyone else, don't fall for this "my job is dangerous so I deserve my MULTI MILLION DOLLAR pension" line. Here is the list of most dangerous jobs straight from the BLS:

Web Link

Fire is not even on the list and police barely make the list.

We are being scammed by Public Unions and the longer this goes on, the poorer we and our kids will be.

Get informed and think twice about voting for anyone with ties to Public Unions ...

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Posted by Shelia
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm

So Erlene, why didn't you tell the the PW that you used to work for James Tong to help push Oak Grove through the council and to the voters? You were on the QQ fliers, a sham designed to confused voters about the citizen's ridgeline protection, Measure PP. Why are you trying to keep these dirty little secrets?

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Posted by Pensions not enough?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Pretty simple, if you do not think that our government employees have enough benefits with their pensions where they can retire at age 50 with equal salary to when they were working, and free medical insurance for retirees, all paid for by you, the taxpayer, you should vote for Erlene. She feels the unions are not compensated enough and they now deserve subsidized housing, also paid for by the taxpayers.

If you want any kind of pension/benefit reform, do not vote for Erlene.

I am so glad that Erlene was at least upfront about what she wants to accomplish as a council member and put that into her press release of why she is running. I commend her for her honesty.

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Posted by HUMbug
a resident of Civic Square
on Aug 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Geez, all these Erlene "Bashers". Must be the Jerry Thorne, Karla Brown, Jerry Pentin, Mark Harris (who is he?), Kaye Ayala puppets. I do not believe Pleasanton is broke, quite the contrary. I believe Nelson is doing just fine in hiding Pleasanton's Money. So many years when Pleasanton did not pay one thin dime into PERS because PERS Investments did so well. There were many years this happened---i;s called "Superfunded". Pleasanton broke or growing broke my foot-all because of employee salaries and benefits. What other city has a 250 seat $10 million dollar Fire House Arts Center (City funded withyour tax dollars)or a $30 million dollar golf course (City funded). Are they paying for themselves--I doubt it. Yeah the walls are tumbling down because the park worker, police, fire or sewer worker are pulling down huge wages. B.S., they are and have always been kept in the "Middle of the Pack" with the cities they do comparisons with. Management is paid well but not the guys and gals who do the "real" work. They have contracts and cannot spike like Nelson or his Dept Heads can. You read the papers about Pension abuse and all of them are Managers--City Managers, Police and Fire Chiefs, City Attorneys. I want council members to fix that. If you guys hate public employees so much then mow your own parks, you deal with the criminals and your Angelic kids who do no wrong, put out fires or better yet do medical calls and shovel your own you know what.

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Posted by GX
a resident of Foothill High School
on Aug 18, 2012 at 9:10 am

GX is a registered user.

I want elected officials who actually lead on behalf of Pleasanton citizens rather than pandering to the special interest of Public Unions. It seems that many people like the poster above have it reversed. They believe the role of cities like Pleasanton are to provide well compensated jobs for government employees. Such is the distorted perspective of the entitled class.

For the city of Pleasanton, personnel costs have increased from the low 60% range to nearly 80% today. And this isn't even enough to cover the true costs of public employee retirement benefits. This is why Pleasanton's unfunded liability (debt our kids will pay off for services they didn't receive) has increased from ZERO to $188 MILLION.

Look around, this is why fewer roads are being surfaced, there are fewer/more expensive police on the street, public infrastructure investments are being postponed, etc., etc.

Public employees don't need to be treated better. They have already been treated too well to the detriment of the city. Be very careful with leaders with too close ties to this special interest group. They are not good for Pleasanton as the numbers show.

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Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Downtown
on Aug 18, 2012 at 10:17 am

David, you are the master of mis-statements. "I don't have a 401k or social security, because safety personel in CA aren't allowed to participate. I did however."
You don't have a 401k because the Internal Revenue Code calls your plan a "457". Under that plan you could contribute the same amount as 401k participants with one big exception -- during your last years of employment you could double that contribution. That made it nearly 50K per year tax deferred. 457 plans can be rolled into IRAs now so saying you had no 401k plan is just your attempt to mislead the public.
Yup, you have no social security. You also paid nothing into it! Our household contribution to SS last year was over 15K because we have wages and self-employment income. There will be means testing for us and because we have saved our own money we will never see a penny of that. So get off that bandwagon right now, you saved way more by getting that extra 7.65% in every paycheck.
You had a job with a deferred comp option, you paid no SS tax, and you were self-employed which also allowed large retirement contributions. Did you manage to actually save any of that?
Don't look to the taxpayers for sympathy. Your pay and benefits far exceeded those of the people who will be paying your 66%. And FYI, how many other people get ANY percent of retirement when they leave at age 48?

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 18, 2012 at 10:52 am

@HUMbug - coaches and referees did in fact mow the lawns on parks for soccer tournaments on several occasions because Parks and Rec couldn't be bothered, even though the soccer clubs paid the city for the use of the parks to include mowing the lawns. Volunteers also pick-up garbage even though this service was to be included in the fees.
@taxpayer - don't forget government workers pay no SDI either.
@NaN0myss - we shouldn't have to volunteer for things like fixing potholes. The money to do this has already been paid. But politicans use the money for other things, like bike paths under i580, buses with no riders, park benches on highways that face gravel pits, express lanes that slow down traffic and prevent carpooling, etc. etc.

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Posted by Dangerous
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm

So, the unions have put Erlene up to defend and protect them. Let us
not forget, our teacher-union activist currently on Council, is running for Mayor. So that DUO will put union guys over the rest of us. And our teacher-union activist will protect the boys regardless. If Jerry Thorne wins Mayor, then Cindy ..stays.. on council anyway !!! So the duo of dames DeMarcus & Cook-Kallio would be quaranteed their votes. Our fireboys are secure with those safe votes on all union issues. Cook-Kallio has already demonstrated her screw conflict of interest principles, she never excuses herself from union votes. Quite disrespectful of all of us.

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