State pension obligations
EDITOR: Gov. Jerry Brown promised in his first term to tackle the state’s pension funding issue, but when push came to shove, he gave up quickly. It was an issue he didn’t want to spend too much political capital on, as making the necessary changes was almost impossible.
Only when there is a recession and layoffs do public employee unions ever give in on this type of issue. So we are to rely on CalPERS to invest properly and meet a yearly goal high enough to cover obligations. Yet we know that often doesn’t happen.
I would hope that current state employees are paying more and more toward their pensions to make up for the bad politics in the 1990s that led to this pension crisis at the state level. With a booming economy and plenty of money coming into the state’s bank accounts, Brown would rather make larger payments for California than change the future pensions (“Pension loan is promising but needs more scrutiny,” Editorial, Saturday).
And, of course, he gets his own pension, which creates a conflict of interest in dealing with state employees.
Getting off the hook
EDITOR: I can’t help but shake my head at two recent articles regarding lawbreakers and their lack of responsibility. First, juvenile offenders’ parents or guardians are no longer responsible for costs associated with incarceration (“Juvenile justice fees dropped,” June 7). Not only are they off the dime for poor parenting, they no longer are fiscally responsible. Guess who picks up that tab?
Then we have the poor folks “burdened by traffic fines” (Saturday). Ahh. Got caught. Then again and can’t pay the fines. I wonder how many are repeat offenders. And the age-old excuse, “just trying to feed my family.” News flash: that’s what we all are trying to do.
It’s pretty obvious when you are in a car pool lane since there are signs posted every half-mile. And, of course, running a red light should be decriminalized as a minor infraction because nobody gets hurt when some fool runs a red. Oh wait. Ask the families that have lost loved ones about that.
I guess we don’t need no stinkin’ rules. Or the responsibility of following any. I’m certainly not perfect, but I own up and pay.
EDITOR: I just read that SMART General Manager Farhad Mansourian has again indefinitely put off the start date of SMART (“Train launch date delayed,” Thursday). Mansourian has no rail transit background, and neither does Debora Fudge, the board president, and it has taken his people more than five years to lay 40 miles of track. One hundred and fifty years ago, the transcontinental railway laid a mile a day.
This little train line that soon will go 40 miles for a cost of about $500 million to serve approximately 3,000 people daily breaks down to a per-person cost of $187,000. The fare will be as high as $11 each way, compared to Los Angeles’ light rail fare of $1.75 for the same distance.
Somehow, Mansourian continues to receive support from the SMART board. I read somewhere that 33 qualified people with hands-on transit experience applied for the general manager job, yet the board only interviewed one other person before hiring Mansourian.