Town Square

Post a New Topic

Police contract - undisclosed benefits

Original post made by Howard Jarvis Fan on Sep 12, 2012

Read this SJ Merc article about police contract included two More weeks paid vacation, plus mre $ for uniforms :

Web Link

Also heard that City employee can turn in vacation for cash

Doesn't that let City employees spike their already high pension!

We need council members to elected to protect taxpayers, keep $ to fix roads, and stop these salary, pension, and weeks and weeks of vacation time give-aways.

Comments (69)

Posted by b, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm

The Bart Hughes assault on middle-class jobs continues. He will not stop until these little pee-ons are earning minimum wage and retiring at age 89.

It is easy to cast stones when you're sittin' pretty in your McMansion in the foothills and you last earned a 5-figure income when you were in your 20s.



Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I think this article exemplifies what we are seeing with pension reform on the state level - nothing more than shenanigans with backend payments hidden from public view that literally offset REAL savings.

b, to call these 200K per year employee's middle-class is ludicrous.

How man can you trust the council or city manager when they are claiming savings that amount to nothing but increased costs. These people should be ashamed and taxpayers had better wake-up!


Posted by hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2012 at 7:27 pm

There was an article on Zero Hedge today and I think that a bit less than 200k means you are in the top 5% of income for the country. Hardly middle class.


Posted by b, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm

The police officers who were the subject of this article don't earn 200k. And 100k is hardly an egregious salary in the Bay Area (really pretty middle class by local standards, to tell you the truth). But we wouldn't want facts to get in the way of a good Arnold rant.

How much do you suppose Bart makes? You'll never see Bart or Arnold's salaries posted in the newspaper for the world to gawk at. But Bart's $1,500,000 McMansion was very easy to find on Google. I bet he doesn't have any police officers as neighbors up there in them thar foothills.


Posted by SJ Mercury News article, a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2012 at 7:57 pm

The San Jose Mercury News article is very informative. Read it here: "Pleasanton deal gave officers two weeks more vacation"

""We focused primarily on the significant reform (pension) issues because those were the big dollars," said Nelson Fialho, Pleasanton's city manager. "Those things (uniform and additional time off) were inconsequential and what we see as routine items."

Fialho also said both items were noticed and referred to a one-sentence statement on the last page of a Jan. 31 staff report on the contract deal that read: "Other topics of discussion include scheduled time off, clarification of shift and scheduling matters, , frequency of performance evaluations, etc.""

In a time when "transparency" has become a political "buzz word", the city managers comments flunk the transparency test. Grade: F

""There is no way the average citizen would be able to deduce that it was an increase in vacation," Hughes said. "At the end, it will cost the city, and we had to find out after the fact.""

I couldn't agree more! Transparency, in Pleasanton, appears to be hidden behind a shroud of secrecy, buried in the details of a contract nobody was able to see before the multi-million dollar contract was approved.


Web Link


Posted by cons, a resident of Birdland
on Sep 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm

b,

The difference is that Bart and Arnold EARN the money. "Teachers" and "Police" just sit around and get welfare pretty much the way I see it.


Posted by b, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2012 at 8:27 pm

LOL. You think being CEO of a mysterious corporation headquartered at his house is hard work relative to being a police officer or teacher, or contributes more to society? This guy effectively retired in his 40s and contributes nothing to society. Silicon Valley is full of brilliant people who have done much for the world. This guy sits around attacking hard-working people and begging for more tax breaks. Cue the violins for Bart.


Posted by to:b, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Get over your UNION GOON assault on taxpayers that are trying to call attention to taxpayer dollar abuses. I don't think people even listen to you anymore.

Vote NO on prop 30, the governors increased tax proposal on the real middle class, because the money will be wasted, or allow our politicians to continue to defer the tough decisions that need to made today. Vote YES on prop 32.


Posted by The CM SAYS, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2012 at 9:30 pm

"We focused primarily on the significant reform (pension) issues because those were the big dollars," said Nelson Fialho, Pleasanton's city manager. "Those things (uniform and additional time off) were inconsequential and what we see as routine items."

I guess an additional cost of close to half a million dollars per year is "routine" and "inconsequential"? How many additional dollars are the increased pension & health care costs costing? Maybe another half million dollars? When you add up the inconsequential and routine costs, and then include the increased Pension & Health Care costs plus the increased disability & employee life insuranse costs, and the increased overtime costs that will happen as a function of more paid leave that needs to be backfilled at time and one half, is there really any savings at all?

I think costs will be increasing. What do you think?


Posted by George McCannon, a resident of Amador Estates
on Sep 12, 2012 at 9:59 pm

These Pleasanton Police officers hardly make 200k a year. If you were to see a PD member making that they are at the top of the department. That would be like a CEO in a private company. These are not the boots on the street so to speak. Any officer making 120K plus has worked a lot of overtime. This means a lot of time at work earning that money on the streets. This also means savings to the city due to not hiring more bodies with benefits, and retirements, etc. The most efficient way to run a department is with a certain amount of positions open. This saves the taxpayers money.

The extra vacation is not a cost at all. The officers take a day off and another officer is not called in to fill that spot. Their is not extra overtime and/or costs associated.

Turning in vacation for cash saves the city money. If a member accrues vacation at a lower salary and is forced to sell back a certain amount if it is not used is smart thinking. It keep the costs in check so that an employee is not allowed to accumulate a large bank of hours prior to retirement. If this were to happen their could be large payments of vacation payouts prior to retirement.

None of this allows your pension to be spiked. Pensions are based off base salary and special compensation pay for certificates, licenses, etc. Overtime and payouts for vacation are never part of your pension.

You guys need to keep in mind that when a union bargains with the city it is give and take. That is why it is called negotiating. The city gives some (two weeks vacation) so that they can get other more significant items such as a tired retirement system, etc.

The city did a great job here. Those that do not believe that to be are not logical. You cannot make everything happen in one negotiations. It takes time. This didn't happen overnight and it will take some time to change.

BE PRACTICAL.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:06 pm

All I know is that I'd much rather sit around doing nothing as a paid cop or teacher making almost $300,000 a year than have to slave away in the private sector like Mr. Hughes or Mr. Romney, on their hands and knees picking up pennies that their carefree employees casually toss onto the restroom floor. The cops and teachers are now the new rich. Virtually every serious economcs text out there shows that most cops and teachers make more per hour of work than do CEOs. That's a fact. Oh, yeah, and check out any link on google that has to do with union v. corporation contributons to politicians and political parties. The unions, filled to the brim with pork-eating thugs, are now giving politicians approx 17 times more than do the corporations. Go ahead, look it up. I envision sometime in the near future a bunch of cops partying in their newly purchased Ruby Hills mansions while the current residents are forced to sell their property and live in abject poverty because of crushing taxes and union domination in this country.


Posted by George, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm

"The extra vacation is not a cost at all. The officers take a day off and another officer is not called in to fill that spot. Their is not extra overtime and/or costs associated."

Do you really believe that?


Posted by Employer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm

As the employer (taxpayer) I have the right to know every penny I'm paying all my employees. It's hard to believe any of the unions, considering all the excess, greed, fraud, doubling, etc. etc. It shouldn't be a surprise that some of us might be doubters. And considering all the candidates and officials unions own at every level, from Governor to Councils. it's not surprising we want to SEE evidence. The Times/Mercury has all information for all CA unions accessible on their websight, except maybe no Pleaanton...not sure that's been provided. Maybe we should demand..state laws say we have that right.
The slight of hand of Moonbeam on last week's fraud against taxpayers is an insult to all of us, and so diminishes himself, losing all credibility.
The feeble (non) fix doesn't even start for 30 years..HE is LYING to us..It ONLY applies to NEW HIRES....workers who have YET TO BE HIRED !! So when THEY THEN retire we'll notice benefits. But he's doing this trick, hoping we're stupid enough to go ahead and vote on his new tax prop 30, on the PRETENSE that he and the unions have really battled on working out a fix. Both the SF Chron and TIME & Mercury have been very clear that it was all a hoax.. ( only the Independent reprinted the Brown/union lie about the pretense of a fix.


Posted by Shame on you Jerry, a resident of Civic Square
on Sep 13, 2012 at 8:42 am

Mr. Thorne, we expect this type of deception from other members of the council, but for someone who's basing their mayoral platform on pension reform and responsible spending, you fell right in line. Don't try and preach pension reform to us again. We've just seen that you're not really serious about it.


Posted by Bill Carman, a resident of Country Fair
on Sep 13, 2012 at 9:07 am

While I agree that some government benefits and pensions are overly generous, I do not believe they are responsible for our current economic problems. Conservatives have saddled CA with an untenable tax structure and political limitations. Until we repeal Prop 13 and increase revenue to meet our needs, no amount of cuts to public employees will make a difference.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 9:22 am

So you think taxes are too low in CA, one of the highest taxed states in the country? And the 100k plus pensions and age 50 retirement ages are fair and viable when the real middle class are totally struggling and retire in the late 60's?

I don't think you're going to get many people to vote to support those views. Which the governor knows and is therefore attacking schools instead. Thanks.


Posted by Laid back, a resident of Country Fair
on Sep 13, 2012 at 9:31 am

Just let it happen. Let them keep these huge pension plans. Soon we are out of money and their pensions are worthless because not funded. The real occupy movement should be against government workers and teachers whose pension plans are disgusting and bankrupting the state and city. Let it happen soon it will be over.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:08 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Bill Carman,
Prop. 13 was passed by a majority of voters, not all of whom were conservative. Additionally, it can be argued that an over-reliance on a highly progressive income tax is untenable because it reduces the size of the tax base.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:09 am

Bill Carman said: "While I agree that some government benefits and pensions are overly generous, I do not believe they are responsible for our current economic problems. Conservatives have saddled CA with an untenable tax structure and political limitations. Until we repeal Prop 13 and increase revenue to meet our needs, no amount of cuts to public employees will make a difference."

I agree with a lot of what you said, but I don't believe that repealing Prop 13 is the answer. I think that the basic structure of Prop 13 (property tax based on purchase price and then adjusted up annually with a maximum annual percentage cap) is a simple and fair one and makes a lot of sense. The one significant problem with Prop 13 is that the cap on annual increases is only 2%, which is less than the rate of long-term inflation. That measly 2% cap is responsible for many very long time homeowners paying extremely small tax bills. Prop 13 can easily be remedied by the adjusting that 2% cap to something like 3% or to some inflation-adjusted index. That would ensure that everyone continues to pay their fair share of property taxes regardless of how long ago they bought their house.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:21 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Sam,
Have you really looked at the rate of long-term inflation? Also, keep in mind that a sale price is inflation-indexed. One of the real problems with Prop. 13 is in the handling of ownership changes. The property tax burden has increased on residential properties over commercial properties since its passage due to the gaming of the ownership change rules.


Posted by GX, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:34 am

How about some facts to promote this debate?

Most prudent parties will measure government spending/revenue relative to a baseline of inflation/population growth. With this baseline, keep the following facts in mind:

- Since 1978 (when prop 13 went into effect), total CA government revenue has increased 7.5%/year vs. the baseline of 5.6%/year. This means that current CA spending is 78% greater than it should be.

- Property tax revenue has increased 7.4%/year vs. the baseline of 5.6%/year. So CA property tax revenue today is 72% greater than it should be. Those who say prop 13 is starving the state, simply don't know what they are talking about.

This analysis is based on the governments own data which you all can verify for yourself. It is only through 2010 as I haven't had time to update the analysis. But keep in mind the imbalance would be worse as CA spending has once again increased these past couple of years.

Those who continue the state is being starved by revenue are doing this discussion a huge diservice. The real question is where all this money is going? Why does one of the most progressively taxed states in the country have trouble living within its means? Where is all the money going and why does Brown threaten the continued starving of schools rather than dealing with the obvious spending issues as strongly evidenced by CA's own numbers?

Take the time to get informed by the facts. Then maybe we can push the discussion in a more constructive direction and force our elected leaders to make the tough decisions.


Posted by GX, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:39 am

Sources if you wish to verify my posted numbers:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by GX, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:40 am


Continued:

Web Link

Web Link


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:01 am

Stacey said: "Sam, Have you really looked at the rate of long-term inflation? Also, keep in mind that a sale price is inflation-indexed. One of the real problems with Prop. 13 is in the handling of ownership changes. The property tax burden has increased on residential properties over commercial properties since its passage due to the gaming of the ownership change rules."

Stacey, look at it this way: Someone buys a house and starts paying property tax with the tax in the first year based on some fixed percentage of the purchase price of the house. OK, that's simple enough. Now how about the following years? What rate of annual increase in the property tax is fair to both the government and to the homeowner? To me, the answer is simple. The government should fairly expect an annual increase in the property tax from any individual homeowner at the rate of inflation, which should properly be the government's cost of doing business from year to year. No more and no less. Indexing annual property tax increases to the rate of inflation is fair to both the government and to the homeowner. Neither side has any reason to complain about that.

Now if you were suggesting that the rate of long-term inflation is less than the average rate of long-term real estate appreciation in California, that may be true but that's also irrelevant. The government should only be able to legitimately complain if their property tax revenue is not keeping up with the rate of inflation - and not whether the tax revenue is keeping up with the price of houses or the price of milk or the sardines, etc. etc. . By the way, note that any proper inflation index should include real estate price inflation in its mix.

As for property taxes on commercial properties, I think that's another can of worms. My remarks were just directed at residential properties and residential property taxes. I'm fine with removing commercial properties from Prop 13, especially since there seems to be a bit of "gaming of the system" with many commercial property owners.


Posted by None of the Above, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:06 am

We can solve most of the financial problems of the state and federal government by closing loopholes and making businesses pay their fair share. Not just in California, but nationwide.

Google pays a 2.4 percent tax rate:

Web Link

Oracle (along with Intel and Coca Cola) uses the Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes.

Web Link

Fixing those things, not to mention closing corporate tax loopholes that came about as a result of Prop 13 (Web Link) would go a LONG way towards solving the deficit mess.


Posted by GX, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:14 am

Why won't you "pro-increase tax revenue" debate the facts rather than continue to search for more sources of revenue?

Please review the government information I provided and either prove I am wrong or defend why government should take an increasing percentage of our GDP to run.

Debate the facts. Don't run from them or ignore them.


Posted by curious, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:39 am

An additional 2 weeks of vacation may not cost the City any additional money but that means there is one less officer on the street as they're taking their vacation so we the residents are paying for the same number of police officers but it fact there will be fewer officers on duty if in fact the additional vacation isn't costing the city any additional money.

I don't have a problem with an increased uniform allowance as we want our officers in uniform and looking professional. I DO have a problem with putting the uniform allowance towards salary so that its part of the number used for their pension. That doesn't seem right.


Posted by woggut, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:41 am

Re- "The police officers who were the subject of this article don't earn 200k. "

On average they do, hence the discussion. Look at the proposed 2012-13 budget posted on the city web site, page 79. Web Link

Average compensation is $198K: 118 headcount, INCLUDING overtime equivalents, total personnel cost $22.8 million. 26 of those headcount are admin and support.


Posted by Honesty please, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:46 am

Stating that this vacation action will not cost the city any extra is disingenous at best. According to the article, there will be 2.5 fewer officers on the street at any given time. Fewer officers for the same or more cost.

There is a price for this action and it was dishonest for city management/elected officials to hide this from the public.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm

woggut said: "On average they do, hence the discussion. Look at the proposed 2012-13 budget posted on the city web site, page 79. "

"Average compensation is $198K: 118 headcount, INCLUDING overtime equivalents, total personnel cost $22.8 million. 26 of those headcount are admin and support."

The compensation is of course not just pay, but also includes benefits in line with what other employers offer (e.g., medical, dental, retirement). I don't have any problem with the numbers you provided. As for administration and support personnel, they're essential, too. Not everyone in the U.S. Air Force is a pilot. Not everyone in the U.S. Army is carrying a rifle or driving a tank. Support personnel (e.g., logistics, intelligence, reconnaissance, etc.) are critical.

I've seen our Pleasanton Police in action on the rare occasions that I've had to call them about a disturbance or accident. They're good, fast, and professional. Yes, we need to keep government costs in line, but as a taxpayer I see nothing out-of-line about the numbers you provided here.


Posted by Please respond, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Sam - if you feel that Pleasanton personnel costs are reasonable, please respond to the following:

Total Pleasanton personnel costs as a percent of the budget have swelled from 65% to 77% crowding out other items (capital projects, maintenance, reserves, etc.). At the same time, this allocation was not enough to cover exploding pension costs so that is why Pleasanton's unfunded liability grew from zero the the huge number that it is today.

Help me understand why personnel costs are reasonable given the undermining of the rest of our budget that it is causing.


Posted by Carman's Neighbor, a resident of Country Fair
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:25 pm

I believe you have lived in your home for about 18 yrs. and have repeatedly reaped the benefits of Prop 13. Your property taxes are based upon the price of that home when purchased; which is most likely under $300,000.00. Most of your neighbors are paying higher property taxes, because many purchased when the market was 1 million or more in the Old Country Fair. A great number are paying over $8,000.00 in property taxes. You are known to be very liberal and an out spoken Obama supporter. Of course you want us to pay higher taxes.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Sam,

The increase under Prop. 13 is already indexed by inflation and capped at 2%. But I like your thinking. It would only be fair if government mandates that everyone's salaries are indexed to annual inflation. Then no one has to worry about inflation outstripping their ability to stay in their home.


Posted by LOL, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:43 pm

This one really made me laugh!

"Conservatives have saddled CA with an untenable tax structure and political limitations. Until we repeal Prop 13 and increase revenue to meet our needs, no amount of cuts to public employees will make a difference."

CA is one of the most progressly taxed states in the union - so lo limitations there.

Democrats AKA Unions have controlled politics in CA for a long time - so no limitations there.

Do you really have this biased view on the state of CA devoid of the actual facts?

Scary


Posted by LOL, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Wow Stacey, I can't believe you stated this:

"But I like your thinking. It would only be fair if government mandates that everyone's salaries are indexed to annual inflation. Then no one has to worry about inflation outstripping their ability to stay in their home."

I think something like this was tried in a country named USSR. I understand it didn't work out too well.

This socialistic thinking devoid of historical facts and who markets actually work really scare me.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 13, 2012 at 12:52 pm

"Please respond" said: "Total Pleasanton personnel costs as a percent of the budget have swelled from 65% to 77% crowding out other items (capital projects, maintenance, reserves, etc.). At the same time, this allocation was not enough to cover exploding pension costs so that is why Pleasanton's unfunded liability grew from zero the the huge number that it is today."

I haven't studied the pension issue so I can't comment about that. All I was saying was that a total average compensation of $198K per person, including benefits, doesn't stand out to me as being unreasonably high. In fact, if you were to find out how much your total compensation package, including benefits, costs your employer I think that you might be surprised to find that it's quite a bit higher than you thought.

As for personnel costs growing as a percentage of the budget, that's no proof that people are being overpaid.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm

"Conservatives have saddled CA with an untenable tax structure and political limitations. Until we repeal Prop 13 and increase revenue to meet our needs, no amount of cuts to public employees will make a difference."

Oh, and a final tidbit of information about Prop 13 and California property taxes. Californians currently pay the 14th highest per-capita property tax in the U.S..


Posted by Please respond, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Sam, you state "As for personnel costs growing as a percentage of the budget, that's no proof that people are being overpaid."

Personnel costs as a percent of total budget has been growing for years, through good and bad times.

I see that I am trying to debate with someone who won't honestly acknowledge the dynamic and result of what is happening in Pleasanton and other cities where the huge give-aways to public employee unions is swamping city budgets.

Call it what you will, but public employees are being compensated at a higher level than can be reasonably supported with current tax base. And I suspect I know your answer to this - "raise taxes". Even better if it is on others and doesn't impact you.

I am hopeful that others reading this blog will see the connections that you refuse to acknowledge.


Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Maybe some of you are not old enough to know why Prop 13 came into being. California did charge property tax based on the value of the home on an annual basis. This was fine as long as the price of the home's value was not more then inflation. But when California land and homes became speculative in nature, the property tax sky rocketed along with the land values and home prices. People living on a fixed income and persons working at blue collar jobs were threatened with losing their homes because their retirement income or wages could not keep up with the pace of rising tax assessments. Prop 13 put sanity back into collection of property tax. The problem is not Prop 13 but the need to control the speculation of real estate.

FYI - California is 2/3rds of a trillion dollars in debt. That is where all the money is going. When you vote for a bond measure realize that you are paying double the price for something. As a voter you have to decide whether this something is really worth that much money. Politicians rely on the fact that in 10 years people forget what they voted on. In twenty years the politicans have spent the money generated by the bond so they ask for another 30 year bond. What a lot of taxpayers fail to realize is that the original bond still has 10 years worth of payments to be made.


Posted by Hmmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm

"All I was saying was that a total average compensation of $198K per person, including benefits, doesn't stand out to me as being unreasonably high."

This statement is so out of touch, and typical too, which is why the public is mad. If you think this is representative of the middle class, you have got to be joking. And don't forget the 15 year disparity in retirement ages.


Posted by liberalism is a disease, a resident of Birdland
on Sep 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

I see b (wonder what that stands for....) has bailed on her personal attacks of Bart Hughes, knowing she couldn't justify the secretive benefits increases slipped in to the police contract.
She has no problem with $200000 compensation for cops, but denegrates other, more successful people who've done more to better themselves. Another prodigy of the messiah and his petty class warfare whining.


Posted by Libertarian, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 1:46 pm

There once was a time when a cop's job was very complex. Walk a beat, be friendly with the neighbors, stern with the kids, occasionally issue a citation, make sure the donut shop was not a gangster front operation, and that's about it!

Now cops need to be college educated. But big deal because, hey, everybody needs that now. As population has increased and technology has expanded, machines tend to do most of the work, and the cop just sits around and collects data from various surveilling techniques perfected in Orwell's 1984 against strong individuals like in the Fountainhead. Lots of college grads can't find jobs. Cops should be happy to have a job. Instead, they try to finagle more money from the people they are sponging from. If everyone was allowed to carry their own firearm, we wouldn't need probably 80% of the police force.


Posted by Concerned, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Boy, I sure hope they didn't pull the same shenanigans on the Fire contract. I can't believe that the city management and the council are working for the unions. That is what this amounts to. We have to be Sherlock Holmes to dig out all this baloney. No wonder the taxpayer doesn't trust anyone. We need to vote down Gov. Moonbeam's tax increase proposal. Not a penny more till they stop stealing from the taxpayers. Any future negotiations should be open to the public, at least the ones that pay taxes.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

"Please respond" said: "Sam, you state "As for personnel costs growing as a percentage of the budget, that's no proof that people are being overpaid."

That's right. Without looking at a detailed cost breakdown, the fact that personnel costs went from 65% to 77% of the total budget could be the result of a number of things which reduced non-personnel costs (e.g., more efficient maintenance, longer-lasting equipment, fewer large capital equipment purchases). Trying to draw any conclusion about whether personnel are overpaid or not from just the simple single-figure statistic that personnel costs went from 65% to 77% is silly. Does not compute. Non sequitur.

I'm perfectly willing to listen to reasonable arguments and you're wrong in thinking I have any sort of bias. You simply haven't made your case, and that's your fault not mine.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm

"All I was saying was that a total average compensation of $198K per person, including benefits, doesn't stand out to me as being unreasonably high."

Hmmm said: "This statement is so out of touch, and typical too, which is why the public is mad. If you think this is representative of the middle class, you have got to be joking. And don't forget the 15 year disparity in retirement ages."

Well, "Hmmm", as of the year 2010 the median family income in Pleasanton was $134K. If the value of employee benefits are added to that I think it's plausible that that total compensation for the median Pleasanton household is approaching $198K.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Bill said: "Maybe some of you are not old enough to know why Prop 13 came into being. California did charge property tax based on the value of the home on an annual basis. This was fine as long as the price of the home's value was not more then inflation. But when California land and homes became speculative in nature, the property tax sky rocketed along with the land values and home prices. People living on a fixed income and persons working at blue collar jobs were threatened with losing their homes because their retirement income or wages could not keep up with the pace of rising tax assessments. Prop 13 put sanity back into collection of property tax. The problem is not Prop 13 but the need to control the speculation of real estate."

I agree with everything you said. Also, the pre-Prop 13 system of taxing people on the UNREALIZED gains in the value of the property makes no sense. If the paper value of a person's house rockets up in some year due to a crazy housing bubble, the person has no way of capturing that increase short of selling their house. We're not going to be able to control speculation in the California real estate market and there will be bubbles and busts ahead, but at least Prop 13 insulates responsible homeowners who just want to live in their houses and pay their fair share of taxes from the wild gyrations of the housing market.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm

That's family income you're quoting Sam. Yes, many of us have two parents who work to earn a lot less than 200k. Oh and we retire in our mid to late 60s without the 6 figure pension too.

The median family income for CA is about 68k, I would say those workers are working class, not the ones on 200k packages. They are the ones seeing the schools for their kids falling apart and safety devastated thanks to reckless public sector agreements.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Where does the money come from when the city files for bankruptcy?
I don't think I would want to live in a city that will need to tax me into poverty while cutting services to zero.

Mike


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 4:02 pm

And can you imagine any private sector company giving out two weeks extra vacation time (how much did they have to start with by the way) and acting like it was nothing. In our family a little over two weeks is what we get in total!

If they are not hiring to replace that time, services are being reduced with no discussion or disclosure to the community.


Posted by Please respond, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Sam - do yourself a favor and contact Pleasanton city management and they will confirm that personnel costs have increased from the 65% range to 77% due to the significant increase of personnel cost in and of themselves.

Unless you want to continue to delude yourself with all the other reasons you can come up with to shield yourself from the true. Even the two majorial candidates acknowledged this point this mornign at the public debate.

I can't believe I've wasted so much time with someone life you on such an obvious point.


Posted by Please respond, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Too many typos - here it is again ...

Sam - do yourself a favor and contact Pleasanton city management and they will confirm that personnel costs have increased from the 65% range to 77% due to the significant increase of personnel costs in and of themselves.

Unless you want to continue to delude yourself with all the other reasons you can come up with to shield yourself from the true. Even the two mayorial candidates acknowledged this point this morning at the public debate.

I can't believe I've wasted so much time with someone like you on such an obvious point.


Posted by None of the Above, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm

@GX:

Are you saying companies like Google should get away with paying so little in taxes? Are you endorsing the use of the Cayman Islands, Panama, etc. as tax shelters for companies (and the mega-rich)?

Here's a chart from November 2011 that shows the US near the bottom of the scale of spending (23.6%) as a percentage of GDP.

Web Link


Posted by GX, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Of course not. One of the major issues of our tax system is the number of loopholes and the ability for many companies and individuals to legally game the system to minimize their taxes to the detriment of everyone else.

But are you trying to pull a fast one here by only quoting Federal expenditures? If you include all government revenue (Federal, State, County, City, etc.) the total number is much larger and is larger than 40%. In fact, our total government expenditures are in the same range of many of the European socialist countries that are in such deep trouble.

You would think that the US of all countries who have learned from the painful lessons of other failed countries that the greater the percentage of GDP for government spend, the lower the growth rate and ultimately the lower the standard of living for all.


Posted by GX, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I just viewed the URL you referenced.

Shame on you for posting such a sham of an information source. If you had taken one minute to review the comments blasting the accuracy of the US number, you wouldn't have embarrassed yourself so much.

Maybe a little bit more intellectual rigor next time?


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Hmmmm said: "That's family income you're quoting Sam. Yes, many of us have two parents who work to earn a lot less than 200k. Oh and we retire in our mid to late 60s without the 6 figure pension too."

"The median family income for CA is about 68k, I would say those workers are working class, not the ones on 200k packages. They are the ones seeing the schools for their kids falling apart and safety devastated thanks to reckless public sector agreements."

Yes, it's household family income that I quoted. And, yes, many Pleasanton households are made up of two wage earners. But many are not. As for your quoting the median family income of $68K, you're going off the rails there. We're talking about public pay and median incomes here in Pleasanton. If you think that giving public employees anything more than the CA median family income of $68K is wasteful, then you don't belong in Pleasanton. Move to Weaverville or Hayfork instead. I'm sure that you'll find police pay there more in line with your expectations.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm

"Please respond" said: "Sam - do yourself a favor and contact Pleasanton city management and they will confirm that personnel costs have increased from the 65% range to 77% due to the significant increase of personnel costs in and of themselves."

And as I've explained to you (for the 2nd time now), your conclusion that city employees are overpaid does not logically follow from this single statistic, even if it is true. Now, if I were to study this issue in detail it's possible that I would agree with you in saying city workers are overpaid. Or, after further study, maybe I would disagree with you. I dunno. All I can say right now is that you've done a poor job of presenting your case.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I never said do not give them more than median CA income. I said stop pretending that people on 200k pay packages are representative of middle of the road income, it is not.
It is way at the top.

I also do not believe they need an extra two weeks of vacation on top of that generous package, which already includes ample time off.

The most concerning issue though is that these benefit increases have just become public and were effectively hidden. And that the people who negotiated this seem to think it's not a big deal. It is.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm

GX has made an excellent case and has facts from reliable sources as back up and has done his/her homework. Why don't you try to do the same? "I dunno" isn't the most compelling come back.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Waaay above b wrote: "And 100k is hardly an egregious salary in the Bay Area (really pretty middle class by local standards, to tell you the truth)"

And then Sam finally said: "And, yes, many Pleasanton households are made up of two wage earners. But many are not. As for your quoting the median family income of $68K, you're going off the rails there. We're talking about public pay and median incomes here in Pleasanton."

- How does one define "middle class"?
- What is the breakdown of households in Pleasanton by the number of wage earners per household?
- What is the median household income in Pleasanton?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm

There are some good definitions / discussions of this on Wikipedia.

The thing for me is that when there is discussion about public sector pay / pensions, there is also always someone like b. complaining that people are trying to destroy the lowly paid "workers" of society.

These days that simply is not true. The workers in question are paid very well, have great benefit packages and do a good job. But they do not need even bigger perks in this market and the vacation time is a huge perk that went undisclosed.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm

While I don't expect any changes in Proposition 13 any time soon, people on both sides of the argument have valid points. Unfortunately, the issue is so polarizing, people almost treat it like religion. Yes, I am old enough to remember people needing to sell their homes in California because they couldn't pay their property taxes if they stayed. Proposition 13 went a long way in putting a stop to that. But to say that prop 13 shouldn't ever be touched, ever be changed in even the slightest way seems a bit ridiculous to me.

For instance, what is so magical about the 2% cap on increases? Why not 1%, or 3%? Does anyone know where the 2% cap came from in the first place?

GX,

You have presented numbers which you believe prove that more tax revenue than should have been expected came in after prop 13 passed. (I have no quarrel with your numbers. I think they are accurate. But you have sprinkled in some opinions along with your numbers, and I don't agree with all the opinions you sprinkled in.) If I take your conclusion as a given, shouldn't we be lower the cap in prop 13? Wouldn't a number like 1.5% or even 1.0% be better? Would you be opposed to that?

Stacey said,

"The increase under Prop. 13 is already indexed by inflation and capped at 2%." It is the cap that is in question here. You asked about the long term trend in consumer price index inflation; Look here.

Web Link

For the last 100 years, that's a lot closer to 3% than 2%.

Another problem with prop 13 is that it has a distorting effect on the real estate market in that it encourages people stay in homes for longer periods to get the tax benefits rather than trading up to larger homes, or downsizing to smaller homes as they age. This artificially slows the velocity of money in housing and has a depressive effect on the economy.

GX, I answered your questions, I look forward to your answer to mine.


Posted by Response to "cons", a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Police just sit around? Then how is it crime is so low in Pleasanton? Have you read the crime blotter which clearly shows the officers proactive activity in this city? Seems like they are doing everything but sitting around.

Although not a Pleasanton officer, a local officer was just killed on 680 simply doing his job. This father and beloved husband is proof that cops earn their salary.

Your original post:

The difference is that Bart and Arnold EARN the money. "Teachers" and "Police" just sit around and get welfare pretty much the way I see it.


Posted by GX, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Patriot - I have no informed opinion on tweeking prop 13 but am not against that idea. I presented my analysis to refute the general misconception that prop 13 is the root of all evil and that it is starving the state of revenue. CA has collected more than its fair share of revenue as the numbers prove.

CA continues to have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. IMHO anyone who states otherwise is not informed or is being disingenuous. What is unfortunate is that our investment in our future (education, infrastructure, etc.) is being threaten by grossly inefficient other areas of government.

Elected officials led by Brown state that they have cut all that they can and that the only answer to to raise revenue. This is patently untrue. Their answer is to create an even more progressive tax system without remembering/acknowledging that it has been our very progressive tax system that has helped to create our boom/bust budget cycles.

I'm not saying that the wealthly shouldn't pay a greater percentage of total taxes. But to keep ratcheting up our progressive tax system without addressing the true underlying spending issues will depress all of our futures.

I'm not sure I have answered all your questions but let me know and I'd be happy to respond.


Posted by GX, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I am not a proponent of disparaging our public employees. I do feel that they are compensated at too high a level (salary plus pensions) which is forcing the reduction of services and investment in our city. It is unfortunate that some leverage this topic to make uninformed and unintelligent comments like the one referenced above.

But I do not agree with using the "hero card" that so many police and fire proponents use to justify their unsustainable compensation. When they do this, they actually cheapen the stature of their positions.

I feel for the officer who was recently killed in the line of duty and for his family. I don't wish this on anyone. But the facts must be known and discussed that fire and police aren't the most dangerous jobs out there. Fire doesn't even make the top 10 list of most dangerous jobs and police is only 10. It's jobs like farmers, loggers, fishers, etc. that are much more dangerous jobs. I feel for those workers "killed in the line of duty" as much as I do fire/police.

For whatever reason, we as a society broadcast the deaths of fire/police much more than other professions. What would the world be like if we had processions, etc. for each traveling salesman, logger, fisherman who died in the line of duty? Maybe if we did the same thing for every soldier killed in war, we'd end our conflicts sooner.

It is unfortunate that the hero stature of fire and police has been cheapened by the unreasonable demands their unions continue to place on the communities they serve.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Patriot,

Yes, I recall that it is something closer to 3% the last time I looked. Prop. 13 uses the California Consumer Price Index: Web Link Sam characterizes the 2% as "measly". Yet 3% is not "measly"? I'm not understanding the comparison. I too wonder why the cap is 2%. Have you looked at annual inflation rates in California? One year was something close to 7%.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Oak Hill
on Sep 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Stacey said: "Sam characterizes the 2% as "measly". Yet 3% is not "measly"? I'm not understanding the comparison."

It's called "compounding", Stacey.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Huh?

Sam wrote: "Prop 13 can easily be remedied by the adjusting that 2% cap to something like 3% or to some inflation-adjusted index."

1- Prop. 13 _is_ inflation adjusted using the California CPI.
2- The Prop. 13 inflation adjustment is capped at 2%. I don't know why 2% was picked, but I always suspected that it had to do with the long-term rate. Your suggestion of 3% would be closer to the long-term inflation rate. Why did you suggest 3%?


Posted by Employer, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 10:35 pm

hmmmm said it so well. Today the pay & benefits are excellent. A few workers falsely dramatize how we expect them to get janitor wages. So not true. We ARE saying, enough and stop the insanity. There ARE limits and breeches have happened. Ages scientifically in line with 2012 ave age of death should be a guide. Job security, medical, and retirements are all greater than private sector. Having workers cheating above those generosities must be prevented.
Nobody is trying to destroy anything,except unrealistic excesses...which we shouldn't have to do if common sense and decency had been practiced. It all needs to be more 'TRANSPARENT' and in line with realistic pay and realistic retirement benefits, ages, vacations.....not saved,. Trickery and deceit has brough on the need for closer looks. Sadly, Trust seems to have been violated.....by workers, that cannot continue into the future.


Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2012 at 11:00 pm

GX,

Thanks, you did answer my questions.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

To post your comment, please click here to login

Remember me?
Forgot Password?
or register. This topic is only for those who have signed up to participate by providing their email address and establishing a screen name.

‘Much Ado’ or is it Adios for ObamaCare?
By Tom Cushing | 41 comments | 1,281 views

What about the annual housing cap?
By Tim Hunt | 5 comments | 929 views

DSRSD's Kohnen Scholarship on Hold
By Roz Rogoff | 0 comments | 605 views

Be a sport: Send us your youth sports news, scores and photos
By Gina Channell-Allen | 0 comments | 173 views