Our friends at CalBuzz, who are almost always right, have a point when they say that the right wing is going to use the lack of comprehensive pension reform against Jerry Brown's tax measure in the fall. That's unless the Legislature does something productive in August, which is always a challenge.
But whenever I hear this kind of analysis, I think about some of the political campaigns I've seen -- the tobacco tax is an excellent example -- and I wonder: Will it really make a difference?Read more »
Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.
So, what are we going to do about those big fat pensions collected by public employees? You know, those retirement benefits that supposedly are threatening to bankrupt state and local governments everywhere.
What to do? That's easy. We can make that problem disappear quickly – just like that! We need only realize that the problem simply does not exist, despite the claims by rabid anti-union forces and the many people who they've duped.
Here's the basic situation: Anti-union forces are attempting to weaken the public employee defined pension plans that provide employees a specific monthly payment on retirement. The plans cover about five million older Americans, providing money that many drawing benefits very much need to escape poverty and stay off government assistance.
Those receiving the benefits, many at rates granted originally in lieu of pay raises, in turn create more than $358 billion in economic output nationwide and create more than 2.5 million jobs. Read more »
Who knew that a bunch of garbage could get a taxpayer watchdog like former supe/state senator/judge Quentin Kopp threatening not to endorse Public Defender Jeff Adachi's pension reform initiative? But that's what happened according to Kopp, who adds that he was “personally insulted’ by a signature gatherer outside the West Portal post office last week, after he struck his name from a petition he had signed in support of Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s pension reform measure. Read more »
For those tracking pension reform, here’s a handy way to follow the money in Wisconsin, which arguably birthed a heated nationwide discussion about public workers’ collective bargaining rights: MapLight.org, a nonpartisan organization that tracks the influence of money in politics, has launched a new website that provides what it calls “transparency tools that show a simple dashboard view of money's role in the Wisconsin State Legislature.” Read more »
This week the Chronicle majorly attacked State Sen. Leland Yee, claiming Yee tried “to distort the words” of billionaire investment banker and UC Regent David Crane on collective bargaining.
The Chron’s attack came on the heels of Yee’s attempt to block Crane’s UC Regents confirmation. And Yee’s attempt to block Crane came in response to an op-ed Crane wrote for the Chron titled “Should public employees have collective bargaining rights?” Read more »
The Chron describes Crane as a Democrat, who was an adviser to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and now lectures on public policy at Stanford University and serves on the UC Board of Regents and the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Read more »
With all eyes on Wisconsin, local labor leaders are suggesting that Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s proposed retirement/health plan reforms are really Tea Party initiatives, even as Adachi threatens to place another Measure B-like initiative on the fall ballot if city leaders can't agree on a fix for the city's fiscal problemsRead more »
Yesterday, I talked to Public Defender Jeff Adachi about the latest efforts to address pension reform in San Francisco. Readers may remember that Adachi roused the ire of the labor unions last year, with the ultimately unsuccessful Proposition B. At the time, most folks felt Adachi’s measure didn’t have a snowball’s chance because it asked public employees to bear the brunt of the city’s ballooning retirement and health plan costs. Yet, they all praised Adachi as a great city leader who has been on the right side of many other battles in this city’s rich political history. Read more »
As pretty much everyone knows by now, Jeff Adachi collected enough signatures to place a charter amendment on the November ballot that would reform the city’s retirement and health benefits plan. His amendment has become such a hot political topic that the Potrero Hill Democractic Club asked the 15 candidates who spoke at the club’s August 2 and 3 District 10 forums what they thought of Adachi’s “smart reform."Read more »