No solutions offered
EDITOR: Public pensions’ unfunded liabilities are just a shorter-term state version of the longer-term Social Security/Medicare funding crisis. No one at the local, state or federal level in either party has offered solutions that the electorate is willing to get behind so far.
Your Saturday editorial (“Daunting numbers for pension funds”) defines the problem but doesn’t offer reasonable options for a solution, which is where we are at on every front. None of our leaders or grass-roots organizations (AARP among them) has the courage to take on these fights yet. So, for the foreseeable future, we will stew in our unfunded pension cauldron until the younger, paying generation revolts. That is, when their standard of living deteriorates enough and they voice their concern en masse at election time.
How many homes?
EDITOR: The 270 members of the Lytton Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians are entitled to a place called home (“No room for extremes in tribe debate,” Editorial, Sept. 6). My question is, why do they need to build 360 homes for 270 people? I have to assume this includes family groups of parents, children and, often times, grandparents. I have a bad feeling we aren’t being told the whole truth. The rationale that Rohnert Park only wishes it had such a sweet deal may be true, but it doesn’t change present circumstances. I think we have learned a few lessons since then. No. 1 is pay close attention to the fine print.
EDITOR: You did a great disservice by publishing a column critical of professional firefighters at a time when so many of California’s brave firefighters, including our son, are risking their lives to help those threatened by major wildfires (“Too many firefighters,” Sunday).
The column is written by a professor who bases his arguments on a statistical decline in structure and vehicle fires. He writes that “being a firefighter these days doesn’t involve a lot fire fighting.” The real experts, the firefighters striving to protect lives and property threatened by California’s wildfires, know otherwise. Firefighters are first responders to all major natural disasters.
California firefighters are pioneers in the area of urban search and rescue. If you have a loved one trapped in rubble following an earthquake, it’s unlikely you will think we have too many firefighters.
The professor opines that municipalities can replace many of their professional firefighters with volunteers. He points to Pasadena, Texas. However, due its petrochemical industry, Pasadena isn’t a typical small city. Pasadena and other Houston suburbs have volunteers who work in fire protection in the petrochemical industry.
He ends by saying: “As the risk of massive infernos declines, what we really need is to rethink our entire firefighting model.” Front pages concerning the fire storm near Middletown make a lie of this premise.
ROBERT and MYRTLE EDMISTON
EDITOR: Daniel Vermillion is right (“Social Security and taxes,” Letters, Thursday). Social Security has been a Ponzi scheme, and there won’t be benefits as promised for younger workers unless something dramatic is done.
He says “the trust fund will exhaust reserves by 2034.” There are no reserves in the trust fund, just IOUs. The government owes the money to itself. Where does the money come from to pay off these IOUs? The government doesn’t have a job. It doesn’t get a W-2, and it can’t work overtime or two jobs to make ends meet. It gets its money by taking it from people who do these things.