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Deserving the Pensions

Original post made by hoops, Mohr Park, on Nov 11, 2011

Please tell me how or why these gov't workers deserve these huge pensions.Lets see....they are overpaid while they are working,sit behind a desk,maybe or maybe not do a good job and for some reason are rewarded with pensions that are killing our cities and states.I would love for one of you to tell everyone why you EARNED this.I own a small business and have worked my #$% off for a long time and my pension is what I saved and put in a sep IRA.I have to invest it in this crazy stock market to get any return that will let me retire and be ok and we all know how that has been going since 2008.So why should these public employees be rewarded with all that they get.If it is legal everyone on these sweetheart deals should be cut and all thinking they are going to retire in a few years with one should be given a reality adjustment.We have a crisis and it is time to act like it and step up and do what needs to be done.If someone is on a promised 150k retirement they will survive on a 100k.Promises get broken everyday and these pensions were built on greed and people in power scratching each others back at our expense.For that matter people with assets of say 3- 5 mill or more should be denied social security.It is called social security and they are secure.I know they paid into it and by doing so they contributed to the security of our society......again it is social security not vacation money.

Comments (64)

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Posted by hoops-hater
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 11, 2011 at 11:13 pm

hoops, your ignorance is clearly abundant. I have never seen a better example of painting everyone with the same brush. Many of "these gov't workers" do not sit behind desks, and most do a fine job, but your assumption is that everyone is lazy, worthless, and overpaid. The problem is not with government workers in general. The problem is with total and complete ignorance like yours. People just like you created this problem, because you are too narrow-minded to consider alternatives and find creative solutions to problems. People like you need to blame others for your own short-comings. People like you will always find a scapegoat. People like you are the problem, not the solution.


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Posted by Anti-union
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2011 at 11:46 pm

The problem is the greedy unions ! ! Their too high blackmail numbers are destructive to our society. Unions bosses and most members are without shame...greed rules.


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Posted by Take away pension?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2011 at 8:21 am

A bit off topic here, but not much.

What about Sandusky, the coach from the university in Pennsylvania who abused kids for years? He retired with a generous pension. Will that pension be taken now that his behavior has been made public?

I hope so. Union or not, he does not deserve a pension, he used his position to abuse kids, and that should not only send him to jail for the rest of his life, but he should lose the pension.

Unions should no longer exist. Without unions, so much protection would not be given to workers and they would have to be like the rest of the world: work hard and earn your salary, save for retirement like everyone else and be held accountable for your acitons.


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Posted by Take away pension?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2011 at 8:23 am

Here is the link to an article about Sandusky:


Web Link


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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2011 at 8:49 am

How many of you showed up at the City Council meetings earlier this year regarding this topic? How many of you are letting the Mayor/Council know right now how you feel as they look to finalize the next police and fire contracts?

We deserve the government we get. If you don't get involved and help make your neighbors away of this broken system that is ripping off current/future taxpayers, you can be assured that nothing will change. And Pleasanton will be the poorer for it for decades to come because of this.

Get involved - help make Pleasanton a better place.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 12, 2011 at 9:23 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I don't think the conversation should be about whether one is deserving or not of something. There's legitimate reasons for why there is a public interest in ensuring that all citizens have retirement security. It is unfortunate that public pensions have become a means by which some people enrich themselves at the expense of both the taxpayer and other pension fund members. Yet when we start deciding on who is deserving (if hoops today were to be wrapped up in a sex scandal over his business, should we take away his SEP-IRA?), we lose focus from the goal of retirement security (should our tax money go to food stamps and subsidized housing for hoops after we take away his IRA?).


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Posted by Council lacking
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Right GX. COuncil lacks ommon sense, justice,and fairness on union issues.


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Posted by Council lacking
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I doubt sandusky was as much union protection the gool 'ol boy chain each protecting his axx (excuse pun) and each other thruout the system. Sort of like back when current pope was covering for and relocating all the many criminals in his chain.
When Sandusky left early pension should not have been given...it was part of the mass coverup. Now that everybody's going straight, they should put a little integrity in play and stop his pension. He won't need it in prison.
Just like munis should not pay pension to somebody already receiving another pension....it all part of the snicker, snicker, screw the taxpayer mentality.


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Posted by Beach Bum
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Public-sector workers have guaranteed, defined-benefit pension plans, and many have retiree health plans too. Generally speaking non-union private-sector workers do not. Not only is such a disparity unsustainable, it is politically unconscionable. We private sector voters are increasingly irritated by what is perceived as an attitude of entitlement by those on the public payroll.

According to the Legislative Analyst's Office (a state department staffed by public employees), the average pension benefit for all CalPERS retirees (including those w/ less than 25 years in the system) is around $25,000 a year. That's not even close to the private sector average, but still not the real problem.

It's the public employees who retired in 2008-09 with 25 years or more of service who will receive between $53,000 and $66,000 a year (double the current average). This amount will grow exponentially over the years to come as the percentage of retirees whose benefits were spiked from 2% to 2.7-3% in the late 90's increases.

That's the problem.

It's the tens of thousands of public safety workers entering the retirement pool at 3% @ 50.

That's the problem.

It's the percentage of public workers receiving pension benefits topping $100,000 a year is projected to keep growing (78,000+ in just 5 years), in part because of increased benefits adopted in the past 15 years.

That's the problem.

It will be impossible, even if the California economy was strong, to service such future pension obligations.

That's the problem.


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Posted by Council lacking
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Hey Bum, your analysis of the top rung is OK, but the $25,000. average is wrong. I've heard Lockyer say several times it is $36,000. I know because I've yelled on radio and emailed about the
misleading $36.000 figure, which is way too low because it includes the dishwashers in the Capitol ! not all the safety excesses we're talking about.
You know those averages do now apply in pleasanton anyway ...not
even close. Here the gardners, streeet workers, everybody makes more that most heads of households before getting to the obscene retirements, that we pay for them. Nothing even close to that in the real world.


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Posted by hoops
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm

To hoops hater....So my ignorance created the pension problem.REALLY...I never said that all gov't workers are lazy and do a lousy job.I said they are overpaid to begin with and they get their pensions whether or not they do a good job or not.I did say they sit behind a desk and those are the ones I am referring to.As an example, the city mgr in San Ramon who is collecting over 200k.It is wonderful for all of you out there that did nothing more on your job than any ordinary person who works hard for a living,but because you work for the city or county or whatever,you now are paid a pension that you did not earn.I am still waiting for one of you to tell us all why you deserve the pension.Justify it..I.am waiting IN ALL MY BLISSFUL IGNORANCE.Oh, and I am right to blame people who were given huge pensions that cannot be justified for contributing to our economic problems.And mr.hoops hater ,being the intellectual giant that you are,I am sure you can explain why they are YOU deserve and earned these pensions.It is one thing for a cop or firefighter in N.Y,or a soldier who are putting their lives on the line to have a good pension,I am not talking about them.I am talking about WHITE COLLAR WORKERS.


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Posted by HOOPS
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 12, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Stacey,the problem is the system that creates the pensions.Somebody somewhere,sometime got all of this stuff put in to enrich themselves.Just like all of the benefits congress has.We either CORRECT the mistakes or the mistakes will lead us to economic ruin.And as bad as it sounds it really is about if someone deserves it.Not one person on that list of 49 being paid over 100k from just Pleasanton deserves a pension like that.Soon there will be more on that list and it has to stop and be fixed.All the greed over the last 20 or 30 years has come home to roost.How many people just totally gamed the system their last year of work to increase their pensions even more.We have all read about the manipulations.


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Posted by Hoops
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I forgot to ask hoops hater,since I am an ignorant person who blames everyone for my failures, and since I, and people like me, caused the pension problems,what have you done with all YOUR wisdom to solve the problem..I would really like some logical thoughts on how a hard-working middle class small business owner like myself is responsible for sweetheart pension deals in the public sector.You are greating at name calling and talking down to people,so lets see how I caused it.


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Why did you start a small business instead of becoming a city ditch digger? Did you expect your business to provide a better quality of life than digging ditches for a salary and pension? Did your education or other life circumstances better prepare you for running a business than working for a salary?

At some point, you made some choices in your life that had consequences.

I know people in Silicon Valley who have earned millions from generous salaries, bonuses and stock options, but have never taken a true entrepreneurial risk. That's no more fair, but it is life.


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Posted by hoops
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 13, 2011 at 10:38 am

To B...I do not understand your point.If one chooses a career working for the city,and they work for 30 years at a salary much lower than the same job in the private sector,I can see the fairness of a generous pension...up tp a point.I do not below the people working in city jobs are underpaid vs. the private sector.By owning a small business I get back what I earn.I am not asking my next door neighbor and everyone else on my block to pay for 30 years of my retirement.To be really politically incorrect I also see quite a difference between being a firefighter in Pleasanton or San Ramon than in NY or San Francisco.I will leave it at that.


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Posted by hoops
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 13, 2011 at 10:40 am

In my last post I somehow typed below instead of believe.???????


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2011 at 11:15 am

My point is that we each choose a path in life.

Some people choose to start a business, perhaps because they want the freedom of self-employment and potential financial upside. Some people choose the Silicon Valley path of good salaries and stock option lotto. Some people choose the Wall Street path in hopes of earning million dollar bonuses. Some choose government employment for a stable salary and generous pension.

Each path has strengths and weaknesses. The grass is always greener on the other side.

But your "it's not fair" commentary implies to me that you regret the path you chose. So that's why I was curious about why you chose your path. Why are you a small business owner instead of a ditch digging pensioner? If you envy their lifestyle over your own, why didn't you choose their path?


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Posted by member
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 14, 2011 at 8:04 am

Hoops...you also say you are not asking your neighbors to pay for your pension...correct? BUT you are a small business owner who survives off what??? Your neighbors BUYING goods from you??? Good thing you are not asking them to pay your pension...wait...maybe you are by selling them goods at a higher price then you paid so you can turn a profit to invest in your own IRA as well as have spending money.


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Posted by steve
a resident of Parkside
on Nov 14, 2011 at 8:32 am

member, you forgot the most important part of the equation: Customers have a choice whether or not to buy goods and service. You can't say that about the public sector.


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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2011 at 9:24 am

b - yes we all make choices that may or may not work out for us. This is life and most reasonable people don't have an issue with this.

However, to fold the current public employee pension issue into this argument does not make sense to me. Remember, we are in this mess because public employee unions convinced everyone that a huge retroactive increase in pension benefits would not cost the taxpayer any extra. Shame on us all for falling for this line.

However given how stacked at that time the CalPERS board, legislature and governorship were towards public employee unions, I'm not sure what could have been done at that time with AB400. (Just like all the nonsense pro-union stuff that is being passed this year in the dark of the night.)

These huge pensions are a result of a gamed system. If you continue to believe that these pensions are fair and morally right, then how about your union constituents extend the same thing to me?

I signed up for social security, paid into it every year, and have been promised a certain benefit level. If the promises don't work out, how about you guys make up the difference with your big public employee pension checks?

We both were promised something from the government. The only difference is that I actually paid into the system unlike Pleasanton city employees.


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Posted by Council lacking
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2011 at 10:06 am

These excesses piled on our employee pension system is the reason Gov G Davis was RECALLED ! ! What he did to us with his corrupt deals, violated the people of Ca, and should have been recalled with him. People wanted them stopped, they swept Arnold into office, he promised to stop these new union abuses. HE HELD A SPECIAL ELECTION TO END THESE ABUSES LIKE VOTERS SAID THEY WANTED, THEN FIREMEN AND TEACHERS GOT ON TV WITH A CAMPAIGN OF LIES, LIES, AND MORE LIES, AND STUPID, FICKLE VOTERS WEASLED OUT.
Believe me, I despise the gullible voters as much as the greedy, corrupt public unions, and, the political who*** who sold out the people..... and still are.
We need our own taxpayer 'occupy', the unions know that, which is why they hijacked these other occupies, turning them into the next leftist union activist political body. We have nobody 'representing' us, we have to do it ourselves. Brown tried a bit recently,, but got shot down by his own majority, who put him in office.


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Posted by Hoops
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 14, 2011 at 4:06 pm

B....I understand your point about choosing a path.I do not envy their lifestyle,I am questioning the fairness of it.As I already said,public workers are not underpaid during their working years.They did not sacrifice something in return for their pensions,did they?The basic problem is that people are going to have to pay more for services,have cuts,etc down the road to pay for these excessive pensions.B,are these pensions justified in your eyes and why?


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Posted by Hoops
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Member...I fail to see your logic.Two complete opposite ends of the spectrum.Sorry.


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Posted by Professor's Viewpoint
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

In the case of many college professors, it often means sacrificing 8-10+ years of career-based income earnings in order to attain the degree. So, while Mr. Sour-Grapes Hoops was cutting lawns all day long and earning full-time wages by so doing over a ten-year period (and presumably saving for retirement), this professor was living in a run-down efficiency with her nose in her books during the same period, putting off family, working only part-time jobs while devoted to full-time study and paying tuition. (Not to mention the student loans that accumulated over that period.) And now, after having survived a process where less than one in ten makes it all the way to a Ph.D (because it truly is a grind), someone wants to begrudge us a fair salary and pension? The ignorance and gall are staggering. At least for _some_ of that time he spent cutting lawns I wish Hoopster would have read a book or two. Would have made him less gullible to the propaganda of the likes of Fox and Rush.


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Posted by hoops
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Professor..OK your arrogance is stifling.First of all you assume that going to school and studying is more difficult and worthy than someone working 50 hours a week as a contractor.I have a college degree and have worked in a school setting for many years as a coach.My brother is an educator and has a PHD in Education which he earned while teaching full time and without sacrificing 8 years of income.My other brother is also an educator and has a masters.My wife has a masters in mass communications.I do not listen to Rush and Fox but I do watch Hardball everyday and Fareed Zakaira on Sunday.I am surprised a college professor feels the need to belittle and talk down to people she considers to be inferior to herself.I am not a pension expert...surprise...I am saying people who have pensions that pay them close to there full salary and retiring in their 50's is b.s.I am not begrudging anyone a reasonable and fair pension.Please do not cry about how hard you worked taking classes and writing a thesis,try working in a coal mine or fighting in Iraq.College professors actually have a fairly easy life,especially the ones who have their TA's teach there classes or grade their papers.I know that drill.There are of course many different pensions and I am complaining only about the blatantly unfair, and yes, unearned ones.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Hoops, Professor is Mr. Slippers/Jane/Dean . . .


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Posted by Hankies for everyone
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 14, 2011 at 9:15 pm

I see Hoopster's relatives took the challenging route: Ph.D. in Education, Masters in Mass Comm -- now there's a couple of challenges for ya! And Hooopster himself? Nahhhhh.

Point is (and I guess it bears repeating for those unable to grasp it the first time round), those who earn a Ph.D. in a challenging discipline and at a good university, rarely work anything even resembling a full-time job while they are attending to their (often) 10+ years of study. That means, for all intents and purposes, they forfeit/sacrifice 10+ years of earning power while lawn guy works and gains an income for ten years without sacrificing one iota of earning power. Recall, Mr. Sour Puss Hoops asked the question earlier: What do _they_ sacrifice? Well, ignoramus, I've just told you. Again.

Fact is, Hoopster knows nothing about Ph.D.'s or what it is to be a college professor. He claims professors 'have a fairly easy life' (compared to what he doesn't say), and then goes on to complain (always complains, always moans, always cries) about public sector workers who collect what he calls "unearned ones [pensions]". He doesn't know what he's talking about, but instead weaves a bunch of nonsense together that rationalizes his urgent need to cry about how life has been so unfair to him and how he wants others (especially those who made smarter life choices than he did) to feel his pain.

Let's see, what's harder? Being a housing contractor (ooooohhhhh!) or being a college professor? Apparently we're all supposed to feel bad for this crybaby chump because he's a poor underemployed contractor who is being outcompeted by undocumented immigrants who work harder than him, for lesser pay, and probably do a better job to boot (as they feel they have no time leftover for bellyaching about everything under the sun).

I've worked in the housing industry, and held jobs that are just this side of working in a coal mine. I respected my 'fellow' workers, especially those who had the courage to unionize against exploitative labor practices by ownership. But a professor's job is at least as hard. It involves far more hours and involves mental labor of a kind that is on a par with physical labor. You might try it some time. Oh, that's right, you wouldn't know how! Just like you wouldn't know how to teach a class of grade schoolers with 34 kids in the class! Just like you wouldn't know how to be a chief of police! Just like you wouldn't know how to be a county supervisor! Of course not. You're just a bunch of incompetent crybaby boobs, moneybags wannabe's, who direct their misplaced discontent toward the public sector while licking moneybags' boots.

Hey Hoops! You lookin' for somebody to criticize? Hold up the mirror to yourself, fella!

Hey Kath. Very thoughtful. Though still unable to tell the difference between noun and verb, they are two of your better posts when compared to your groan-inducing remarks in response to Jane, Dean, and Mr. Slippers. Here's a shovel, babe. Keep digging. I can't stop from laughing.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 14, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Professor--Where is the 'other' now? Here you are, by your own summation about another poster, kicking down. Not so altruistic, but I don't think anyone could possibly be fooled by your postings. Every topic turns to your 'self.' Words like insufferable and gasbag randomly come to mind.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 14, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Jane isn't honest. Lawn guy also sacrifices earning power because he's working instead of getting a college degree. A particular Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtain skit comes to mind.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 14, 2011 at 11:20 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Curtain/Curtin


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Posted by Hankies for everyone
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 15, 2011 at 1:43 am

Hoopster asked what sacrifices public workers have made. I offered some.

kath turns the term 'gasbag' -- one frequently leveled at her -- in a weak effort to once again salvage her own cloying face needs. 'Insufferable' is an apt term for her to use, I suppose, as it must be difficult for her to suffer being bested time and again by more reasoned arguments. The best she seems to muster is to point out that Mr. Slippers isn't a real name and address -- you know, sort of like 95% of the other posters on these threads who also use pseudonyms.

Stace, as per usual, gets entangled in her own confused thoughts. Suffer the little children who graduate from college and decide upon housing contractor as profession to the tune of $150 grand per year. Suffer the little children who earn a $150 grand per year but cry about undocumented immigrants doing the same work at a reduced rate. Suffer the little children who earn $150 grand per year but complain about "do-nothing" public workers who typically work for well less than $100 grand per year. Yes, let's not "kick down" at the poor little children P-town home owners, college educated, and earners of $150 grand per year who themselves can do nothing but kick down at others who make substantially less than they do.

You've hammered home the pathetic idea that Mr. Slippers isn't to be regarded with seriousness because he also uses the name Jane on other posts. As for actually refuting his validity claims? Fuggetaboutit.


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Posted by gotitwrongdummy
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 15, 2011 at 2:56 am

"Suffer the little children who earn $150 grand per year but complain about "do-nothing" public workers who typically work for well less than $100 grand per year."

The average wage of a Pleasanton city EMPLOYEE is more than the median FAMILY income of Pleasanton residents.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 15, 2011 at 7:42 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Aw, look at poor Jane; wants her arguments to be taken seriously and her irrelevant points to be addressed. She'd be taken more seriously if she were more honest, sincere, and civil in her rhetorical style.


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Posted by Hankies
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 15, 2011 at 7:53 am

So, what's the relevance to the $150K-earning Hoopster's indefatigable lament about public workers getting salaries and pensions while not in his estimation 'earning' those salaries and pensions? All together now: None. No relevance whatsoever.

The dummy's above 'stat' means nothing unless one factors in level of education as well as 'comparable' jobs. The stats I've seen have shown that with comparable jobs, skill levels and educations being held equal, and with salaries and pensions factored in, private sector workers make slightly more than do their counterparts in the public sector.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:21 am

Slippery Jane, No, you are not to be taken seriously because you continue to demean everyone, while stating one shall not kick down, only up. Yet you, by your own pronouncements, are the "up"; uber educated, earning at your stated $150K threshold, and always right--just ask you.

Very few, and you win this hands down, have posted on one thread under more than one anonymous name to imply the support of others. How sad is that? So, change your name all you want, it's easy to point you out.

Hoops, some history on pensions as provided by The Maddy Institute (Cal State Fresno) that includes several perspectives: Web Link





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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:24 am

Complete hogwash Hankies. Show me a private sector situation where the average person pulling down $150Kyear/ is guaranteed a multi-million dollar pension at the end of their career and healthcare coverage for life.

Also, I find it interesting that government employees try to justifying their high salaries/benefits by tying it back to education level. One deserves to get paid according to the value they create. A PHD who happens to be a janitor at a local fast food restaurant does not deserve to make a couple hundred K a year because they have the degree.

I too find your attitude extremely offensive. You may think we don't have a choice to support such a distorted and slanted system that you benefit from, but we do. I look forward to leaving this state when my kids are out of school. That is the beauty of free choice.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

I don't know, Jane. You tell me what the relevance of your incorrect earning power comparison is with the abuse and gaming of the public pension systems. If you can't make a relevant point within a single paragraph, adding more words won't provide clarity.


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Posted by Hoops
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 15, 2011 at 10:17 am

Well now Professor,Hankies or whoever you are,it is clear that you are a bitter,unhappy human being.Let me explain this one more time,because the point is very SIMPLE.A college professor,a city mgr or any other white collar worker has not earned an early retirement at close to full salary.Because you or someone else chose to earn a PHD and chose to go to school longer...that was YOUR choice.It does not entitle you to ridiculous life long pensions at the expense of the public.It was interesting that you actually put down my brother for earning an "easy" PHD in education but then stated the difficulty of teaching a class of 34 students.When I went to college I had some very good professors and some that had no business teaching.They both were rewarded with the same pensions.There is something called tenure which I am sure you are familiar with.You do not have tenure when you own a small business.You provide goods or service and you succeed or fail on your own merits.There is no free pass after a certain amount of years followed by a full pension and healthcare for life.










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Posted by HOOPS
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 15, 2011 at 10:59 am

My hopefully last post....everyone cheer.As is evident by my posts,I have little technical knowledge of the pension systems nor do I pretend to be more than I am.My simple point again is the pensions and benefits for life at close to full salary,especially starting at a younger age, are not deserved or earned by white collar workers or anyone not putting their life on the line.On top of that we cannot afford to pay them,which is blatantly obvious.I would also like to point out that the argument of going to school longer to earn an advanced degree entitles you to all these riches is flawed.In your arrogance you dismiss the years it takes to master a lot of trades.How many years does it take to become a highly skilled carpenter or electrician?Why is that of less value than the extra years it takes to earn a PHD?You also assume that because you have a PHD that you are creating value for society.How many really do?I know someone that wires your house to proper code or builds your house,fixes your car is improving the quality of your life.Oh and by the way...lets see...Bill Gates,Steve Jobs....where did they earn their PHD"S??I can't seem to find even their undergraduate degrees.Oh well,I guess they created nothing of any value to society.


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Posted by Been There
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 11:44 am

Hoops: Wow! I don't think anyone could have said it better!


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm

HOOPS, the LAO agrees with you.

"The California Legislative Analyst's new report on state pensions is a thorough and sobering look at what's really going on. The report points out that the plans are "Not Just One Pension System…But Many." So generalizations are imperfect. Nevertheless, the LAO found:

* "Generous" pensions:
"We believe that the data shows that defined pension benefits offered to California's state, city, county, and special district employees have been among the most generous in the country in recent years. While there have been some reductions in these benefits recently, some California governments still offer among the most generous defined pension benefits available anywhere in the United States public or private labor market today. In many cases, California public pension benefits for career public employees—coupled with other sources of retirement income—can replace far more than the 65 percent to 75 percent income replacement ratio described earlier."

* $100K club growing:
"In recent years, there has been considerable public attention related to retired California public employees receiving annual pension benefits of $100,000 or more. These individuals are a small, but growing, segment of California's public sector retirees. About 2 percent of CalPERS and CalSTRS retirees currently receive such payments. Payments to these retirees now equal around 7 percent to 9 percent of total pension payments from the two systems.""

Some other quotes:

-"the Governor's plan leaves unaddressed many important pension and retiree health issues, including how to address the huge funding problems facing the state's teachers' retirement fund, the University of California's (UC's) significant pension funding problem, retiree health benefit liabilities, and other issues."

-"But as the state's revenues drop again, reforms will be necessary to keep the pensions from eating up state and local budgets entirely. Tax increases, even if they are enacted, only will deal with part of the problem, and likely will make the problem worse by killing the businesses and jobs that support the whole system."

?The Voters Speak
Fortunately, voters across the state signaled Tuesday that they are ready and eager for pension reform. In Modesto and even San Francisco, voters passed pension-reform ballot measures.

People finally are waking up to how public-sector pensions are "generous," in the LAO's phrase, while the private sector continues to get hammered by the Great Recession. The general public, seeing its incomes drop or even evaporate, and prices at the gas station and grocery store rise, is showing little sympathy for tax increases to fund the "generous" retirements of state and local functionaries."

LAO: CA Govt. Pensions 'Generous'
NOV. 11, 2011
By JOHN SEILER

Web Link


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Pension expert Girard Miller analyzes the governors pension plan vs. two potential pension ballot measures that are being proposed by a group called California Pension Reform. I can't wait to sign the petition.

Pension Prop 13
California's pension hawks file a detailed, alternative plan to the governor's that builds on his proposals.

"Last week I discussed the primary features of California Gov. Jerry Brown's thoughtful 12-point plan to reform the state's unsustainable pension mess. The night before my column published, a group called California Pension Reform (or CPR, an artfully chosen name) filed two ballot proposals that called the governor's bid and raised him two. Their plan is to test the waters with two proposals and pick one to begin collecting petition signatures. This is the long-awaited "Pension Prop 13" -- the pension-reform descendent of the legendary grassroots tax-limitation measure that swept through California and several other states three decades ago. It is the most comprehensive pension reform language ever filed in any state in the country, yet less severe than Rhode Island's recent narrower, sharper proposals to actually freeze, modify and cut incumbents' benefits.

In this column, I will explain the key features of these two proposals, how they differ and how they compare with the governor's plan. Then I'll try to analyze what may happen next, as these two announcements are just the opening act of what will be a year of political theatre in the Golden State.

To set the stage, the Democrat-controlled Legislature adopted a law in October that essentially forces all ballot proposals in 2012 onto next November's ballot, where they feel that voter turnout on their side will be stronger with President Obama running for re-election and a higher turnout favoring a vastly larger statewide number of registered Democrats…"


A must read for concerned taxpayers and city council: Web Link


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Posted by Pension Calculator
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 15, 2011 at 3:11 pm

How much would you need to save by age 50, or 55, to provide an annuity that pays $100,000 annually? This public pension calculator allows you to look at different retirement ages and annual pensions while providing the present value lump sum you would need to save for a comparable retirement.

Web Link


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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Very interesting calculator. Does anyone know at what age Deborah Acosta Mckeehan retired? It would be interesting to see how much of a gift future residents of Pleasanton gave her.

If she retired at 65 it was $2.7M, 60 - $3.3M, 55 - $3.7M.

And defenders of this gamed system still try to defend this as fair/just relative to private sector. Right ...

Keep in mind that she has her medical paid for life.

All you folks out there who have been working your butts in Silicon Valley to strike it big ... all you needed to do is get a cushy job with Pleasanton, kick back, and wait for to money to start rolling in.

No risk and high reward. What is there not to love.


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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Also, does anyone know if Fraser retired with a disability pension (I know those police desk jobs can be real tough)?

If so, his package is worth $4M given he retired at such a young age.

I do hope more Pleasanton residents wake up to how badly they are being ripped off by city employees. Fewer roads are being paved, fewer facilities are being built, maintenance is being short-changed, etc. All to ensure we can continue to pay out these high pensions.

And then you have Pleasanton Weekly grossly misrepresenting the degree to which the city is addressing the issue by proclaiming loudly that Pleasanton has paid down an entire $1M of our pension deficit. That is $1M out of a total of $120-180M.


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Posted by hoops
a resident of Mohr Park
on Nov 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Thank you all for bringing the facts and the reality.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 7:00 pm

HOOPS, just want to say I understand the frustration of small business owners. I'm sure you'll agree it's difficult to hear that small business is what drives our economy while the tax code works against small business owners. On top of providing a product or service in the most taxed state in the nation you are also the only group that pays both ends of social security and Medicare. Hard to imagine that one could risk their own capital while spending a tremendous amount of labor of love hours to make a dream come true only to have someone with a guaranteed pension tell you maybe you should have made different choices, or that your life decisions have consequences.

As a business owner I'm certain the concept of 13-15 paid holidays, 120 hours of sick time that can be banked and cashed, and up to six weeks paid vacation is difficult to grasp. For some small business owners furlough days in the public sector are called slow days in the private sector - without the benefit of scheduling when you want to take your slow day off.

Small business owners pay both ends of the 7.65% social security and medicare payments (6.2% toward social security and 1.45% toward medicare), or a total of 15.3% of their income. If you want additional retirement income you take even more of your earnings and fund your SEP-IRA hoping the market goes up - no guaranteed 7.75% rate of return for you. For that the small business owner is entitled to about 28K in social security payments beginning as early as age 65, and medicare.

Pleasanton city employees contribute 1.45% toward medicare (the city pays the other half and the employee contributes nothing toward social security) and some employee groups contribute 2% toward their pension, for a total paycheck deduction of 3.45%. For that great sacrifice many of these employees will receive close to, or above in the case of all public safety employees, six figure pensions, full lifetime medical coverage, and it all begins at the ripe old age of 50 or 55.

I like the pension calculator. Everyone should share it with friends and neighbors: Web Link


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Posted by local
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 8:40 pm

GX, Deborah McKeenan retired at age 55. Also married Jim McKeenan of Signature Properties when she was City Manager. The guy who has not paid his bills at the City for his developments and got out of paying the same school impact fees all other developers had to pay. You can add those millions of dollars to her 'benefits'. Ms. McKeenan was City Manager when the deals occurred with Signature Properties


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Arnold,

Agreed. That's a neat little calculator. I was wondering if it assumes COLA then I saw the fine print: "The assumption used in this calculator are a 2% COLA, along with a 5% discount rate. This is the rate that the Stanford study recommends. After all if the penison [sic] is guarnanteed [sic] than it should be discounted using a risk free rate, although currently the risk free rate is even lower than 5%." As you know, 401(k)s and IRAs don't have a COLA.

I also see that the site a few other interesting calculators...


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Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Local, was Deborah Acosta McKeenan also city manager when the retirement age was reduced from 60 to 55, in 1997? Was she also the city manager in 2003 when the pension formula was incresed to 2.7@55, and ALSO made retroactive to the employees first day working for the city? It is extremely troubling to think taxpayers have provided excellent compensation to people entrusted to manage the city services and finances only to later realize we've been taken advantage of.

How much compensation did this woman receive that allowed her to retire with pension and healthcare benefits worth over 220K per year? What year did she retire? Her 200K plus pension doesn't pass the smell test based on her age and years of service. The decisions made during her watch directly lead to the door step of the 180 million in unfunded pension liabilities. If, as you say, she has also assisted her husband in avoiding impact fees...her cost of employment is off the charts.

How much more BS do we need to hear before the council - all of them, gets serious about this issue?


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Posted by Lugnut
a resident of Avila
on Nov 16, 2011 at 11:09 am

Wait till you see the current CM's retirement. He started out making more then Acosta and I believe has grossly under reported his package awhile back. Why doesn't he drive a city vehicle and cut out his Car Allowance? Why doesn't the Council cut his package back and if he walks--so what> He already has applied in San Ramon and got beat out and another place too. The City Attorney also started at a salary higher than the guy that retired and he was from a city half our sisize or so--what a joke! But the real joke occurred in Livermore when they ended up paying a CM who had been ousted in her previous city in Washington over $300,000 who could not even figure out that Livermore was deeply inb the Red which caused a Library closure, a temporary fire station closure and decimation to their Police Department. If you set economic boundaries at the top then you can also do so at the bottom. ou may not have a Cadillac or in these days a Lexus, but Fords are good and getting better. In the end WE are the joke because we have taken our "Eye off the Ball" and let the place run amok. You must be involved civically and politically, otherwise you see what we get. Is "Rome" falling--I think so. Why pay City Council? Cut their pay and perks and watch who serves. Only those who truly want to. They would have to because theor is alot of work to do setting policy and making decisions for cities. A lot of time is used up.


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Posted by GX
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2011 at 11:32 am

Lugnut - You bring up some interesting points. Where would one get the actual compensation/benefit package parameters for City Council/Mayor?

A while back, someone posted the URL where one could get the actual total compensation for city employees. It would be great if that person could repost that URL.


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Posted by local
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm

"Local, was Deborah Acosta McKeenan also city manager when the retirement age was reduced from 60 to 55, in 1997? Was she also the city manager in 2003 when the pension formula was incresed to 2.7@55, and ALSO made retroactive to the employees first day working for the city?"

Yes on all counts.

"How much compensation did this woman receive that allowed her to retire with pension and healthcare benefits worth over 220K per year? What year did she retire?"

She retired in 2004. She must have done some serious pension spiking. I thought her salary was around $180K.

To look at 2010 salaries you can go to Web Link


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Posted by Hankies for everyone, except Verizon and 30 other Fortune 500 Companies
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 16, 2011 at 8:58 pm

It appears this site has been overtaken by the statistics-citing mindless ones. Grrrrrrr. While you're all nipping at the ankles of public workers, consider the following. Doesn't compute? Didn't think so.

"Citizens for Tax Justice has joined with Good Jobs First to follow up the recent report that found 30 Fortune 500 companies had paid a NEGATIVE federal income tax rate over three years, looking at one of those companies in depth. From 2008 to 2010, Verizon paid an effective federal income tax rate of -2.9 percent; that meant that instead of the $11.4 billion the corporation should have paid at the statutory rate of 35 percent, "it got $951 million in rebates, putting its federal tax subsidies at $12.3 billion."

So, lets go easy on the corporatocracy. They're people too. And as far as people go, Verizon is one of the most caring people I've ever met. Better to direct our vigilante gaze at the treacherous teachers and librarians who take away our money.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 16, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Hank, Without citation, one cannot verify what you quote. Do students get to do that? So rather than upset you with a link, I put in a quote:

"Phil Santoro, a Verizon spokesman called the report "union-orchestrated" and says the company isn't avoiding taxes, it is deferring them through government incentive programs designed to boost the economy. The company also says it invested $16.5 billion over the time period in infrastructure expansion."

I do have to wonder how Verizon, GE, and others are able to pull this off. However, no one is talking about treacherous teachers (except Hankie). Public pensions are still a problem. So, pointing at one problem created by government (federal, state, and local) to cover up for another problem created by government isn't really going to solve either problem.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Jane, you've just been too busy calling everyone names to have noticed that others on this site that you frequently attack do agree with you on closing corporate tax loopholes and probably even consider corporate personhood an abomination (bzt, bzt, it computes).


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Posted by Hankies for everyone
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 16, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Ah, here's Kath again. One's never certain whether she's actually this dumb or is simply playing dumb. Being a two-bit administrator for too long perhaps feeds the illusion that one can be either and get away with it.

She asks for sources, but doesn't bother to check out Citizens for Tax Justice or Good Jobs First. No, so intent is she for verification, that she goes to a Verizon public relations spokesman. Good research, Kath.

Oh, and by the way, Honey, we're not in the classroom. In the classroom, students generally want to learn and attend with open minds. I've read enough from you and the other baggers on these posts to know that you're only interested in selective learning, viz., that which supports your pension conspiracy claims. Public pensions being a problem are as much a figment of your teapot imagination as is Santoro's "union-orchestrated" claim.

Your next assignment: Call up Verizon customer service and tell them you've been overcharged. Don't come back here until you are connected with a real person at the other end of the line. Oh, yes, and teachers aren't the problem, no, it's just their outrageous salaries (pensions) and the fact that their salaries are 'union-orchestrated'. Again: Dumb? Or just playing such?


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Posted by Hankies for everyone
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 16, 2011 at 11:38 pm

Dear Stacey,
Yes, I got the news. Let'sclosecorporateloopholes. We won't mention raising corporate tax rate, though. Now, let's get back to the real task at hand: How do we best dismantle these pesky teachers' unions who think teachers have the right to a fair wage AND a fair pension. Stace, I guess I've got to spell it out for you my response to your advocacy of closing corporate loopholes: disingenuous.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 17, 2011 at 7:55 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Jane,

I have little idea why you would want to dismantle teacher's unions. The collective bargaining process is a useful management tool for negotiating a contract that all employees fall under: no one-off employment contracts to manage. It makes it easier for management to adjust a compensation structure across the board. That isn't to say that the current bargaining system is not out of balance and favoring the unions (especially with those 'me-too' clause), only to say that I've never advocated for dismantling teacher's unions. Your narcissistic fantasy bubble about others is getting the better of you again. If you take the time to try to understand others and asked the right questions rather than jump to a conclusion and call them names and misrepresenting their position, you'd have known my opinions about this already.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:17 am

Hank, Not sure how I was ever a two-bit administrator--do tell me. Not a "bagger" either, but I guess that has to be repeated several million times before you register the answer. I suppose I could type it with lots of spaces in between so it would be a read slow enough for you to comprehend.

It's annoying when someone just puts in a quote, isn't it? Without a link, you can't tell where it's from. The point was, provide the link; otherwise, well you could have someone react as you did. I did go out to the report, by the way.

Not a Verizon customer, so no need to run the experiment. Plenty of schools and universities use automated answering systems as well.

Conveniently you skipped that Verizon, GE, others are working under government rules. It's a problem, and like it or not, so are pensions working under the same kind of government. But a lot of us have cited those reports for you already.

There is a school of thought that says to _not_ tax corporations at all. You tax the owners--corporate fat cats, shareholders, pension fund beneficiaries that are shareholders . . . The reality is, if you tax an entity, the end user pays (side argument here is that means those with the lowest incomes suffer disproportionately if they need that cell phone)--so if you raise taxes, as you insist, or even close loopholes, the entity reacts. If the entity doesn't react by raising prices, it has lower earnings and pays lower dividends to the owners as noted at the beginning of this paragraph--yup, including pension funds, which impacts its beneficiaries.

From The Atlantic:
Web Link

Point being--it's complicated.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:31 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Jane,

Also, I can't understand why you'd support the out-of-control government/business complex rather than the people by attempting to criticize my suggestion about closing corporate tax loopholes. If you can't tax income that has been deducted or excluded by a loophole, trying to tax it more is brainless. These loopholes are generally a result of intense lobbying by special interests: both big business and big labor. I think it is perhaps because you benefit directly from such special interest favors and so you remain disingenuous about taxation.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:39 am

Stacey is a registered user.

So Jane, when are you going to cash out your pension and stuff it under your mattress? A Marxist that provides their retirement capital for corporations to turn a profit from is highly disingenuous!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 17, 2011 at 9:45 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Kathleen,

This is a good one from that article: "You can't tax a corporation; you can only tax a person For all the talk about corporate personhood, ultimately, all the income in a corporation ultimate ends up in the hands of some person: shareholders, employees, suppliers."

Jane wouldn't want to see the earnings on her pension fund's corporate shares taxed any more, even if the same tax were paid by the corporation's overcompensated executives.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm

"Agreed. That's a neat little calculator. I was wondering if it assumes COLA then I saw the fine print: "The assumption used in this calculator are a 2% COLA, along with a 5% discount rate. This is the rate that the Stanford study recommends. After all if the penison [sic] is guarnanteed [sic] than it should be discounted using a risk free rate, although currently the risk free rate is even lower than 5%." As you know, 401(k)s and IRAs don't have a COLA."

Stacey,

Thank you for pointing that out. I missed the 5.1% discount rate when I first looked at the site. Thankfully the calculator allows you to change discounts rates which provides a means to calculate several different costs depending on CalPERS performance or, as CalPERS numbers over the past decade indicate, their lack of performance with returns averaging less than 5%. And, again, the less than 5% returns are compounded by the fact that they actually need returns closer to 13% because they are only sixty percent funded, just to stay even.

It still amazes me that the people in a position to enact change continue to sit on their hands. I guess that is partly a response to the unions influence over many levels of our states decision makers/elected officials. The constant delays and deferring of debt upon our children should be a criminal offense.

The pension calculator: Web Link


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