Town Square

Pleasanton: Where Teachers and Unionized Workers are Enemy #1

Original post made by Sal on Nov 8, 2012

Forget about drugs, crime, poverty,etc. According to comments on the Pleasanton Weekly TownSquare Forum and from local conservatives, there is no greater threat to the well-being of Pleasanton than teachers and unionized workers. They are the target of more hate, spite, fear and resentment than anyone in this town. It appears people in this community want to take pins and needles to their evil teacher voodoo doll before bed every night.

Isn't it heartwarming to watch residents kick around teachers who are responsible for educating the future of this country. Nevermind that Pleasanton has topnotch schools and consistently improving test scores, because that might get in the way of your unhinged sadism. It would be much better if teachers received slave wages in our race to the bottom. God knows the typical teacher in Pleasanton is a greedy multimillionaire being escorted to school in their stretched limos.

Speaking of multimillionaires, isn't it a shame that butchers at Raley's would fight for their benefits? They must be out of their minds and they should really know their place, which means bowing to the mean-spirited hate of local conservatives. It's really great that wealthy grocery store butchers are the target of your hatred. BUTCHERS!!!!

We also can't forget those super affluent union workers at Castlewood Country Club. How dare they picket and fight for a livable wage! They were scaring my daughter Buffy and daddy's golf short game hasn't been the same since they started protesting. Who cares if some court of law sided with their rights and determined the lockout was in bad faith. Obama must have paid off that judge.

So remember, Pleasanton has a message for all you blue collar union types. We aren't going to tolerate your million dollar salaries!! We Pleasantonians never saw a unionized worker or tax we liked. And one more thing! Don't force us to pay $200 per year for a parcel tax! We have flat screen TVs, bbqs, mud flaps, and Romney t-shirts to purchase!


Posted by jay, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm

This is all in the union's hands. The benefits of the public employee unions are way out of line and were given to them when the pension funds said that you could raise the benefits and it would not cost anybody a dime. Wrong! Now they say that once they have a benefit, it can never be lowered. And by the way, we are going to keep spiking out pensions to take even more advantage of the taxpayers, and don't dare touch our free medical insurance, paid for by the same taxpayers, once they retire.

The animosity is to be expected when one side is taking advantage of the other side. It is unfortunate that it is the workers in the middle as the union leaders objective is to get, and keep, as much as possible. The public does not feel it is fair and there is nothing we seem to be able to do about it. That causes frustration and the comments you are seeing. If the unions admit that some of the benefits they received in the hay-day of the stock market are unreasonable and unsustainable now and it is time to really fix it, I think the relationship between the taxpayers and the union workers will improve.

Posted by June, a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Nov 8, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Sal, I hate unions, and that includes teacher, labor, and public employee unions. But, I voted for OBAMA and Im a Democrat. As all the analysts stated, women contributed to Bammy's win due to social issues such as reproductive rights, marriage equality which is code for gay marriage rights, paid family medical leave, and health care. Oh, and I am a upper-middle class professional, not gay, I am married for 25 years to the same man, and we have grandkids. While I can talk about unions all day long, there are other issues.

Posted by Sal, a resident of Downtown
on Nov 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Sometimes I forget how those evil unions helped create the middle class in this country. The nerve!! But who has time for perspective or knowledge of the history of the labor movements in this county. Having such historical knowledge would make you some elitist commie. Lets live in the now, shape up, and embrace Chinese labor practices! Race to the bottom here we come!!

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Sal, rather than trying to goad people into a battle of words about unions, why not tell us your plan for fixing budget issues, including state, counties, cities, and school districts.

Posted by Richard, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Nov 8, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Sal, Kathleen as usual hits matters right on the button. Rather than referencing the values of blame and hatred that pervade our community, let's reduce all that we've demonized to a problem that needs fixing. Like unionized butchers at Raleys: Eat the contract the owners give you and shut up. Or state: greedy public workers need to take additional pay and pension cuts. Or county: What does the Supervisor do and why pay that person so much money for doing nothing. Or school districts: Let's make our lazy only work half a year teachers more responsive to rightwing criticism by eliminating their union. Or city: Let's un-elect any pol who accepts money from unions; but taking money from real estate developers is a-ok. There are problems out there, and we need to solve them by taking power away from the union workers and teachers.

Posted by Anti-PUBLIC unions, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2012 at 1:09 am

To Sal the robot, your union brainwashing has made you unable to grasp the big picture. Your inability to reason hurts your cause. Unions didn't create the middle-class. Some union bosses in the 30s shut down companies, beat people, murdered people, caused mayhem. Others, like trade unions, trained decent but educated people basic skills to provide sustainable living.
The end of WWII created a middle-class, where honorable, happy people were grateful and thrilled to have the OPPORTUNITY to live here freely, start companies, and freely work at in a variety of ways, have babies. . . some had unions. Then several decades later New York, New Jersey, and CA greedy government employees decided flexible & reasonable time off, job security, and reasonable pensions was just not enough. DEMAND more, then DEMAND more, making
hostages out of taxpayers. . . a flawed and unsustainable concept to start. Then the practice of buying candidates, creating & owning puppets to carry out their demands. No surprise suffering taxpayers resent being victims & hostages, and that wrath and hatred is the result. UNreasonable people should expect nothing else. No surprise. PUBLIC unions are unlike, and structured unlike other unions. They are not interchangable, and should not be confused or compared with PRIVATE unions.

Posted by Richard, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Nov 9, 2012 at 5:53 am

Well, Sal, anti-public-union confirms your claims about rightwing ignorance and hate. Not knowing any history, he goes to a rightwing blog and repeats the above slop, twice.

Cal citizens voted overwhelmingly against 32 because they've all been brainwashed, just like you, Sal. So, with Kath Reugsinegger we have the self-absorbed troll who disguises her repetitive hate monologues with assurances she supports teachers and children, she really does. And oh boy does she give to the community. Just ask anybody, but especially - solely - her. And with anti-Union, hate points him to a rightwing bubble site, and he replicates the slop without shame.

Unions bad, teachers bad, govt bad, taxes bad. Citizens vote in Obama? Vote in supermajority for Dems? Support 30? Strike down 32? That's because they are all brainwashed. Such is their way of thinking. And the repetition goes on, and on, and on.

Posted by liberalism is a disease, a resident of Birdland
on Nov 9, 2012 at 8:59 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Sal, you continue to live in the past. As Sam mentioned on another thread on the PW, you need to get with the times.
The union violence at the docks and shipyards is long over...put down your clubs and picket signs and get to work.
Richard, nice dem talking points. Cut and paste much? Don't worry, in this state, you've got a few more years of bleeding the taxpayers dry. With the dem majority, they'll have no one to blame for the states' failures. Next up, choices between austerity measures and more tax increases. What will you do when the well runs dry...move to another host?

Posted by woggut, a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Nov 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm

woggut is a registered user.

Top Notch Schools? Not so much, it only looks good when you compare to all of California. We're actually below average for similar schools, all the elementary schools except Fairlands rank 2, 3 or 4.

Web Link

The community would be much more supportive of additional school funding if it was really driving superior results.

>>God knows the typical teacher in Pleasanton is a greedy multimillionaire being escorted to school in their stretched limos. <<

No, but they are compensated far more than private sector employees. Latest Bureau of Labor Standards shows $57 per hour vs $49 for private sector management and professional (all workers is only $26 per hour). Teachers work about 1400 hours per year (private school teacher work 10% more hour for less pay). Software programmers are at 2200 and BLS only counts time required on site.

The hourly amounts understates the difference because the calstrs underfunding will eventually have to be made up, they are assuming a 7.5% rate of return while it's only been 5.5% over the last decade. Private sector defined benefit plans are virtually gone, something like 10% of fortune 100 companies offer them and pretty much unheard of in smaller companies.

Web Link

California teachers essentially locked in the pre-Y2K bubble compensation level. In the real world salaries dropped by 1/3 in the tech wreck. The 2008 debacle has probably taken us back to the tech wreck valley unless you are a java programmer.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Nov 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Richard, I said we need budget fixes. Did you suggest any?

Posted by john, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2012 at 11:43 pm


That is some pretty twisted logic. Sure Pleasanton schools are only about average if you compare them to other top notch schools. That doesn't mean they aren't top notch.

And to your point about software programmers, I'm a "software programmer", with an MS in computer engineering from Virginia Tech and I think I have an easier job than a k-12 teacher. We need to pay teachers well. They do an important job.

Posted by Anti-PUBLIC unions, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2012 at 12:40 am

It was so nice when the greedy barbarian public unions stayed off PW with their trash talk during the election. They were told to lay off so they wouldn't remind us why we needed to vote no on 30 and cook-kallio. Some of us didn't forget, not for a minute.

Posted by Ashamed, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Nov 10, 2012 at 8:53 am

We have lived in Pleasanton for 17 years and are soon to be empty nesters. The change of community spirit we have seen through the last decade has been nothing short of breath taking. The vitriol and hate we have seen on both sides of the political divide has increased on this forum to where no one takes it seriously. It is sad to see a community devolve into a cable/talk show war. The concept of agreeing to disagree and be cordial is long gone.

I cannot wait to move out of beautiful, pastoral Pleasanton and let the next generation of parents deal with this hate. I really hope something enables this community to pull together and work for the benefit of all.

Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Nov 10, 2012 at 11:52 am

The increasing polarization in American politics is driven by two things:

1. Growing income inequality. The rich are getting ever richer and the middle class is disappearing. 5% of the people in this country own 95% of the wealth. That gap is causing a lot of ill-will and anger, as it should.

2. The Republican purge of moderates. Where did the moderate Republicans go? They became independents or Democrats. An honest assessment of President Obama is that he is not a liberal Democrat but rather a moderate Republican. Obama only looks liberal to people who think Reagan and Bush Junior were too accommodating to the left.

Pleasanton is a microcosm of America's present and future: there's a lot of very rich people in Pleasanton whose primary goal is getting even richer. These people think that those who have less than them are dumb and lazy, and that demanding higher wages and benefits is just a sign of greed. Of course these people hate and fear unions, because it's only through organizing in a union that workers have any chance at all of having their voices heard.

We need look no further than the nastiness of the illegal lockout and protracted picketing of the Kastlewood Kountry Klub to see America's present and future--unless we work to change things and to narrow the gap between rich and poor (and to save the middle class, which is in danger of extinction).

As for budget solutions: there's no shortage of money in this country when the warmongering Republicans want to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. Nobody cried poormouth then. There's no shortage of money when the federal government bailed out the auto industry and Wall Street. Nobody cried empty pockets then. But if a waiter or meatcutter or teacher wants a living wage--it's the apocalypse! Bury the jewels in the back yard and swallow your gold fillings before the unions get them!

We had a top tax rate of 91% during the Eisenhower years. It's now perfectly legal for men like Mitt Romney to pay a paltry 14% or 15% on their income, and for big corporations like Apple and Mobil and so on to pay little or nothing at all. As the old saying goes, it's what's legal that's a crime.

How about we roll back tax rates and the tax laws to what they were in 1958 and see how that goes? Or was Eisenhower another one of those "diseased liberals", too?

p.s.--If you're looking for an intelligent, rational debate in the Pleasanton Weekly forums, you're obviously *very new* here. Welcome to Pleasanton.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Nov 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Unions, like all other self-interest organizations, are highly beneficial in ensuring that the interests of the group have representation and the membership required to be taken seriously.

When, however, the balance of power shifts toward one side or the other, mutual consideration of needs and the will to compromise are replaced by selfish disregard for any but the group's interests, interests which often and rapidly take on the quality of gluttonous abandon.


Posted by Richard, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2012 at 9:49 pm

The grass always seems greener on the other side of the hill.

Someone new will soon enter your life.

Life is short.

Posted by Marie, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 11, 2012 at 7:46 am

It is apparent that those who wish to abolish unions have never worked in situations where a union is beneficial. In an ideal world, they would not be necessary. But we do not live in an ideal world. Many businesses would require their employees to work in unfavorable situations and if an employee does not comply, they would be fired. Many of those in management are only interested in the bottom line, I.e., the cash in their pocket. So before you bash all unions, talk to a blue collar worker who benefits from the support of their union to keep the management responsible for their actions.

Posted by jay, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2012 at 9:50 am

Daniel, you have it wrong.

The main frustration in Pleasanton, and all over California are the public employee unions, including the teachers union. This is because:

1. Employees in the union do whatever they can to take advantage of spiking, purchasing air time, and other things which are essentially like stealing from the taxpayers.

2. Public employees, except for teachers, received unsustainable increases in their pensions around the year 2000. These pensions were approved because CalPERS lied and said that it would not cost anything. Surprise, they are costing the taxpayers a lot. Even the public employees know this but they feel that since this benefit was given to them, they are "entitled" to it, forever. Not to mention the pension increase was retroactive to when they started their jobs. Right now there are over 9,000 public employees with pensions over $100,000 and over 5,000 teachers and administrators with pensions over $100,000 (plus another 1,600 from the UC System). When public employees can get pensions like this and retire at age 50 and 55, it simply is not fair.

3. Public employees are receiving free medical insurance when they retire at no cost to them. They have not even had payroll deductions for it. The taxpayers, who are paying for their own health insurance, are now responsible for paying for the health insurance of retired public employees. This was not even a benefit to employees of the Pleasanton School District until after the year 2000.

This is not about the rich wanting to get richer. This is about fairness and the current public employee benefits are not fair to those who pay for them, the taxpayers. If you are advocating for rolling back tax decreases, I assume you would advocate for rolling back pension increases.

Posted by Anti-PUBLIC unions, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Ashamed, I hope you can still find a place that has not yet been destroyed by public unions... that would mean moving OUT of CA.
Ca now has a Dem super-majority, bought, paid for, provided by the public unions, so Ca will shortly be destroyed, beyond saving.
You are right, being a middle-class taxpayer myself, the hate I have for the likes of Sal and Daniel is very, very real.
Silence would go a long way to help their cause, but, both their arrogance and ignorance would prevent the wisdom of silence.

Posted by Anti-PUBLIC unions, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

We had a brief PW reprieve during the election so we wouldn't be constantly reminded of their greedy the really biggie, they were working 24/7 for 6 weeks before the election, for all issues and people they were electing to control our better political team than our public employees, who work against anything for us taxpayers.

Posted by Marie, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 11, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Hey, I am a retired public employee and collecting a calpers pension. No one is giving me free medical or dental benefits. Who do I call to get these? I apparently am missing out on a benefit.

Posted by Truth, a resident of Birdland
on Nov 11, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Marie..thank you for your service

Posted by Morris, a resident of Birdland
on Feb 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Let's add BART workers to the list of things right-wingers in Pleasanton hate. The Tea Party types are resentful and can't stand that a blue-collar worker might make more income than them. The right-winger's delicate ego is hurt. Call the wambulance!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 20, 2014 at 3:38 pm

I support the policy of folks only being allowed to have ONE CHILD. Just like in China at one time. It didn't work in China but it could in a capitalist country!

Why should hard working Americans be responsible for raising and providing a free education to everybody that has more than one child?

The church says it's the right thing to do.

i rest my case...

ps tee hee hee...

Posted by Registered Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2014 at 10:54 am

Let's be clear, it's never been about the teachers, it's always been about the teacher unions, and public employee unions in general, BART included.

The rallying point is the collusion of public employee unions and politicians, each using the other to further their agendas, at the expense of taxpayers and those that need to use the services.

Posted by tom joad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2014 at 11:25 am

Right, Joe. Good thinking. Let's purge the unions, then they won't get in the way of corporations and their own cozy relationships with governments which, of course, further each other's agendas (and which doesn't seem to bother you, not even one bit). Like it or not, Joe, unions are among the very few entities that have been able to effectively counter the growing collusion of govts and corporate power. If you're against unions, public or private, you're likely standing on the other side of the fence, along with the other fascists standing next to you. Being anti-union is being anti-democracy.

Posted by Registered Joe, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 21, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Tom Joad (nice name by the way), let's get real and practical. Every union is after only one thing - its own agenda, its continuing grip on power, and its continued existence. Everything else is secondary, and that includes providing benefit to customers and taxpayers. It's completely inaccurate to paint a picture of unions as a bastion of Democracy by stating that they help to keep corporate + government malfeasance in check - unions' ability to do that simply doesn't exist.

Three prime examples are here in CA - the BART unions, the prison guards' union, and the teachers' unions. All have locks on their respective territories and are so ingrained into the political scenario that it would take a major act of legislation to dislodge them. And, given the collusion between union dollars and legislators' reelection campaigns, that will not happen anytime soon.

Posted by Teacher, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Feb 23, 2014 at 8:19 pm

If teachers and other public employees get so much for so little, then why don't you become one and reap the bountiful rewards?

Posted by U goal, a resident of Happy Valley
on Jul 8, 2014 at 7:47 pm

This post pretty much sums up Pleasanton.

Posted by Curious, a resident of Del Prado
on Jul 8, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Morris, what was your point in bringing up this two year old item? I take it you're the same one who keeps resurrecting these. You might need professional help.

Posted by guilty , a resident of Canyon Oaks
on Jul 8, 2014 at 10:48 pm

I work for a union driving a red truck. We excepted a 10% pay cut at one time because the union told us to. Why? They said we will tell them we need one more person per shift. We end up making more money now with all the overtime. I'm not proud and wish it would end.They do brainwash for sure.