Claremont Insider: Mailbag

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


California's elected officials have been so preoccupied with the current budget crisis that they haven't begun to grapple with the issue of public employee pensions, which pose perhaps the greatest long-term threat to state and local governments' pocketbooks.

Years of overly generous, unrealistic pension benefits will come home to roost one day soon, as one of our readers observed:

DATE: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 8:43 AM
SUBJECT: officially a WTF!?!?!?
TO:Claremont Buzz

"WE want to show the governor we're angry," he said. "The union is fed up, employees are fed up."

The SF Chronicle has a database that lets readers look up the 8,000 city employees who make six-figure salaries. 3 at 50 is bankrupting governments. The state's payroll grew last year, while the budget crisis emerged in pretty stark terms. Bridget Effing Healy has a six-figure pension, and Brian Desatnik and Lisa Prasse make...well, I can't even finish that sentence, 'cause it gives me an instant headache.

And so on. I appreciate the work of a lot of government employees. Cal Fire is a terrific agency, and a Highway Patrol officer saved my life once, at considerable risk to his own. But my GOD -- government employees are fed up? "Stop, uh, paying us higher salaries than comparable employees in the private sector! And quit imposing your generous pensions on us! Don't you see how angry we are?"

Ask them again in two years.