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Last login: Friday, August 13, 2010
Your guest should base at least some of their opinions in facts. Both Bob Kittle and Kent Davy on numerous questions regarding exact pension figures stated they "did not know for sure" but then went on to give their opinion as fact. This is simply misleading and inflammatory.
Let me give you a bit of history. The reason most employees of cities do not pay "their" portion into the pension system is because approximately 15 years ago (when economic times were better than current) cities offered to pick up portions of the employee contributions in leu of raises. In effect the cities said instead of a 2% raise we will pay 2% of your retirement contribution. This continued for several years until the city was paying the entire portion. The reason the city opted for this is due to accounting practices that allows them to pay slightly less than the full 2 % (because it is a benefit and not a direct raise). The point is employees would have gladly taken the normal cost of living raises at the time, this idea of the city "picking up" the contribution came from the city.
The other problem is mismanagement. During periods of economic growth when investments by pension funds were making large gains cities such as San Diego and National City chose not to fund the pension and allow market growth to fund the system. This theory works great until the market crashes as it did in 07-08. Now you have two problems: one the amount of investments went down, but also the years you could have made the most on your money, the money was not invested.
So the solution to the problem is better leadership. Now the stop gap measure may be an increase in sales tax. I for one you would pay 1% to have well paid, well trained, and committed public employees. This measure could have an expiration, and it that time we can elect new officials and hold them accountable for their decisions. Instead of passing the blame onto our police officers, firefighters, lifeguards, and other public employees. I believe Mexico has an under paid public safety force and how well does it work for them? My point is - you get what you pay for.
Lastly in response to Kent Davy's comment. I do not believe changing the pensions from 2% at 50 to 3% at 50 for public safety employees is quote "giving away free money". These benefits are earned through a career dedicated to serving the community. Public safety is a physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding profession. The reason these employees earn the benefit of retiring at 50 is due to the effects of the job on their bodies. Do you want a 65 year old firefighter dragging you out of your burning home? Read facts about the life expectancy of Firefighters and police officers after retirement. Learn the statistics about the rate of cancer in Firefighters, the rate of back and knee injuries in police officers. Lets not pit the community against the people who spend their lives serving it.
August 13, 2010 at 2:16 p.m.
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