Monday, September 26, 2011

San Diego Taxpayers vs Leftists and Unions - UPDATE

Lots of local political news in San Diego today, revolving around the struggle to reign in the cost of local government, much of it involving Carl DeMaio. First, DeMaio announced that the "fair and open competition" measure had qualified for the ballot in an article on (Full disclosure: I sometimes cross-post there, also, I signed that petition.) This measure would enjoin the city of San Diego from entering into Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) as a condition to allow bidding on a contract. PLAs generally require agreed upon rules about union participation, prevailing wage rates and other working conditions for each city construction project. See my earlier description.

Later in DeMaio's rostra article, he mentioned that of course, the unions are counterattacking at the state level. "An important note: Union-backed members of the State Legislature have introduced legislation which would overturn local bans on PLAs."

Second, I learned via a tweet from councilmember Lorie Zapf, that the city council had voted to move forward on managed competition. I learned from other sources that the Miramar landfill will go through the process. As Zapf points out, the city employees may win the competition, so I don't know why there is such hubbub from labor and environmentalist groups. OK, I do know, but the taxpayers should win. If this works like the federal government's process, the city department affected may be allowed to present a plan for reorganization that would result in lower costs to the city by shedding excess jobs. If the city employees win the competition with a "most efficient organization" concept, then we still win through reduced costs. From Craig Gustafson in the U-T:
The landfill operation is the latest — and most controversial — service to be placed under managed competition, a process that has generated passionate debate at City Hall since voters approved it in 2006. It allows private firms to compete against city workers to provide certain services, with the goal of reducing costs for taxpayers no matter who wins the competition.
Of course the labor unions and enviros are opposed. Their argument that the city will be liable for the inevitable unsafe practices of the private operator are of course crap. The contracting process can require that the winning bidder carry liability insurance that would survive a bankruptcy.

The debate was apparently not without acrimony, even among those voting in favor. A tweet from Craig Gustafson (which didn't make it into his U-T article) said that Tony Young gave Carl DeMaio a scolding over his handling of the debate. Waiting to see hard news on what that was about.

On the pension reform front, I am concerned that the required signatures won't get gathered prior to the mid-October deadline. No new news, is probably not good news. The last I checked, the initiative was 30,000 signatures short. This morning on the radio, I heard the local firefighters union advertising against the initiative. Their basic argument is that no young person will want to become a firefighter because the pension will be so bad, so we will have all these really old firefighters trying to put out fires, but they'll be too old to lift the hoses. Really? I think in this economy, which looks to continue its present pathetic course for some time, plenty of applications will be received for firefighting positions. Besides 401(k) can be better for employees anyway. (I know the city workers don't get social security, but that's going to become a straight up welfare program anyway.)

Finally, the student journalists (or should I say pseudo-journalists) at the Mesa College newspaper printed these lies about the pension reform measure, as if this were straight reportage:
Yet the changes DeMaio is proposing will completely wipe out pensions for people who are already receiving it and for the city workers who are due a pension once they retire, it will also make them ineligible to collect social security. Instead a forced 401K will replace the pension, which will likely leave them with less than they are currently getting.
Read the measure here, and show me where people who are already receiving a pension will be wiped out. If this is the standard for journalism in our colleges, then the MSM is clearly on a clear path to oblivion. I submitted the following comment to the Mesa Press, which is awaiting moderation:
The statement that the pension reform will wipe out pensions for people already receiving them is flat out incorrect. Nothing in the measure changes existing pensions, read it for yourself:

Further, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution prohibits such changes to contractual pension obligations. "No State shall . . .pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility." This applies to cities as well, as creations of the states. Please perform basic research.
I'll let you know if I get published.


My comment is still awaiting "moderation." You have to wonder about the teaching for journalism these days.

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