Police Unions Bullying City Council Members–This is the Hammer, Jerry’s Pension Reform is the Puppet Show

How serious are the Legislators, to real pension and retirement healthcare reform for public employees? The two houses have passed and sent to the Gov for signing, AB 2451, which extends the number of years a claim may be filed for a work related fatal injury or illness, from 4 years to 9.
Katy Grimes reports on this bill here.
The Calfire Blog has a softer spin on the bill here.

Why don’t the politicians just say no, and stand up to the abuse of the public trust? Well, many of those who do are facing the wrath and fury of the Police Union.

PublicCEO.com today has posted a story today, Council Members Allege Widespread Police Union Bullying, linked to the story reported Tuesday in the Voice of OC.

Members of a handful of Orange County city councils Tuesday told stories of attempts by police unions to bully them into voting for generous labor contracts and said a flood of similar revelations is yet to come.

And,

The common thread, the council members said, was controversial law firm Lackie, Dammeier & McGill, which does labor contract negotiations consulting work for police unions. The law firm had posted on its website a slew of bullying strategies to secure lucrative labor contracts, the Orange County Register reported earlier this month.
Shortly thereafter, the Costa Mesa Police Officers’ Association fired the law firm.

 

Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns–Here’s what’s in store for cities across CA unless we shut off the spigot that feeds the beast

In case you’re lulled or enticed into buying the spin from Jerry Brown or the Legislators who cower when the most powerful and richest of the special interest groups gnash their teeth, here’s a look into our collective future if we don’t turn off their spigot of cash they use to buy, bully, and control our legislators at all levels of government.

Steep budget cuts over the last four years have left Stanton, population 38,000, a shell of a city.

Visitors to Hollenbeck Park will find it fenced off, because the city can no longer afford to water the grass. Children who once played in the sprinkler-like water attraction at Dotson Park will now find it dry. Over at Zuniga Park, volunteers are taking care of maintenance and paying for water.

The city recreation department has been virtually disbanded, with most after-school programs closed. Gone are the days when children nibbled on city-funded snacks at the park. Graffiti is staying up longer because the public works department has been whittled down to three.

At City Hall, staff has been cut to 23 people, who empty their own wastebaskets because the clean-up crew was let go. One employee stays late to vacuum the floors. A part-timer paid through a government program cleans the toilets.

 

The city of Stanton is planning to possibly close three of its parks to save money on its annual budget.

And Stanton can no longer afford membership in the League of California Cities.

In 2010, when council members were running unopposed, the city canceled the election to save $32,261.

“There’s nothing else we can cut,” Marsh said. “It’s scary. If we laid off every single employee left, it still wouldn’t close the gap.”

Marsh said the city is paying for only the things it is legally required to provide…

“…Every city is in trouble to some extent. Some are just starting to confront it, but we’ve been loud and noisy in trying to fix it all along. I don’t know if that was wise, from a PR-standpoint – but we are going to have a balanced budget.”

The city is focusing its budget knife as a last resort on police and fire spending – the biggest drag on the 2012-13 $16.4 million operating budget.

Police and fire amounts to 77 percent of the city’s general fund. By contrast, the city of Vallejo’s public safety spending hit 80 percent when it declared bankruptcy.

From this article, Financial doom may loom for at least one O.C. city
published in the OC Register on July 14th, posted by Tony Saavedra, Register investigative reporter

“The Biggest Reason Why California is Bankrupt” by Conor Friedersdorf explodes with bold, sharp, focus!

The Sacramento Bee unearths a stunning fact about the growth in spending on state workers.

California’s state government had 9.3 percent more employees in 2011 than it did 10 years earlier – closely tracking overall population growth – but its payroll costs had jumped by 42.4 percent, according to a new Census Bureau report.

Needless to say, California residents are not earning 42.4 percent more than they were just prior to 9/11.

The details:

In 2001, the state had the “full-time equivalent” of 372,678 employees and was paying them $1.7 billion a month. By 2011, the FTE’s, as they are dubbed, had increased to 407,321 and payroll costs to $2.4 million billion.

Over the 10-year span, which included two major recessions separated by a brief period of economic expansion during the housing boom, FTE’s in higher education, the largest single component of the state workforce, increased by 23 percent from 128,665 to 158,229, and prison payrolls, the second largest, jumped by a nearly identical amount — from 48,896 to 60,007.

Click here to read this poignant piece.

In CA is Relief by Reform Dead? Serious problems with no relief from the law makers

Tuesday August 28, 2012, at 10 AM PT, Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at CalWatchDog.com, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome Troy Anderson, to discuss his recent article published on CalWatchDog.com, Stockton leads tsunami of Calif bankruptcies.

As a growing number of cities in California are contemplating or filing bankruptcy, some pension experts say they are disappointed that the cities are choosing to default on their debts and cut public services instead of dealing with the exploding costs of public pensions.

“They won’t touch pensions,” says Joe Nation, a professor of the practice of public policy at Stanford University. “In the case of Vallejo, they literally reduced the number of police officers by about one-half. It’s horrible. They don’t want to even take modest steps to deal with the pension problem.”

Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”
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Related Links:
Stockton leads tsunami of Calif. bankruptcies
By Troy Anderson | CalWatchDog.com | Aug 27, 2012

Fighting public service ‘corruption’
By Steven Greenhut | CalWatchDog.com | Aug. 27, 2012

Bluto’s Ghost: Reform — Dead!
By Joel Fox | Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee | Fox & Hounds Daily | Aug 27th, 2012

Troy Anderson is an award-winning reporter and editorial writer at the Los Angeles Daily News, The Press-Enterprise and other newspapers for 20 years.  He writes for Reuters, Newsmax, CalWatchdog.com and many other media outlets. His stories have also appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury-News. He’s won more than two dozen writing awards, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and was featured as an investigative reporter in The McGraw-Hill book, “Careers For Puzzle-Solvers & Other Methodical Thinkers.”

A magazine he writes for – Rebel – won a 2011 Eddie Award for the best series of articles, the “Rebel With a Cause” feature he writes.  He can be reached at troyanderson.writer@gmail.com.

CNN Reports On CTA’s Donations Killing Child Molesters Bill, Legislators Hide: This is a battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party

Gloria Romero, former CA State Senator and former CA State Senate Majority Leader, speaks out in this stinging investigative report which shows how powerful the special interests are, even at the expense of the safety of our children from sexual predators.
According to Maplight, the four Democrat Senators in the powerful Education Committee who abstained from voting, which is the equivalent of a no vote in this case, included Wilmer Carter of Rialto who according to Maplight has received $7000 from the CTA since 2009 (she sold out for the cheapest price), Mike Eng of Alhambra who has received $18,000 since 2009, Betsy Butler of El Segundo who has received $11,000 from the CTA since 2009, and Das Williams of Santa Barbara, who has received over $30,000 since 2009.

SB 1530, proposed by state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Pacoima, was introduced in response to the sex-abuse scandals at Miramonte Elementary and other campuses in Los Angeles Unified. It would have streamlined the process for terminating teachers in cases involving sex, drugs and violence against children.

The measure was supported by Los Angeles Unified officials, including several board members who testified during the hearing. However, the powerful California Teachers Association, as well as United Teachers Los Angeles, lobbied against it, saying it would have violated due process for teachers.

The vote of the 11-member committee was 5-2, with four abstentions. The measure needed six votes to advance.

DailyNews.com

David Crane Breaks it Down in Layman’s Terms, Public Employee Pension Benefits, General Funds, Special Funds, Non-discretionary, Fiscally-protected and Discretionary

David Crane has a new piece cross posted today at Fox and Hounds Daily and on Advancing a New Society
The title, With Retirement Costs Consuming One-Fifth of Discretionary Spending, California Must Reduce Un-Accrued Pension Benefits makes the point plain and simple. Then Crane breaks it down, for those who don’t understand the distinctions of public finance funds, budgets, and projections.

He breaks public funds down into categories, and even provides a chart for those of us who love graphics to help drive a point home.

Pensions and other retirement costs will consume more than 23% of discretionary state spending in fiscal year 2012-13, according to the budget recently passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Governor Jerry Brown – nearly three times the share taken up by retirement costs just ten years ago.

For Californians, rapid growth in retirement costs has meant less money for universities, parks, courts and other services as well as a temporary tax increase in 2009 and another being proposed currently (one of three proposed tax increases on the November ballot – Propositions 30, 38 & 39). In the absence of reform, that share will grow, which means even more taxes and fewer services.

California’s general and special fund spending for 2012-13 is budgeted at $131 billion and effectively fits into three categories: Non-discretionary, Fiscally-protected and Discretionary.

Allow me to explain all three in layman’s terms:  (click here to go to Fox and Hound to read the full article)

What if Fullerton PD Officers who witnessed Kelly Thomas’s killing came forth instead of being silent? As of now, they are not safe to speak out.

The 9th Circuit Should Reverse Ruling in California Police Whistle-blower Case

Dahlia v. Rodriguez Sets Dangerous Precedent, Chills Police Officers’ First Amendment Rights

Aug. 21, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Burbank police officer who blew the whistle on police misconduct is protected by the First Amendment, Public Citizen told the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today. In a petition asking a larger panel of the appellate court to overturn a ruling by three of its judges, Public Citizen argued that if the decision in Dahlia v Rodriguez stands, police officers would not be protected when speaking out about misconduct by fellow officers — and so no officer would speak out.

Beginning in 2007, Angelo Dahlia witnessed fellow Burbank Police Department officers beating, threatening and choking suspects. After he complained within his department, officers threatened Dahlia himself. Shortly after Dahlia disclosed to another law enforcement agency and to his officers association the abuses he witnessed, he was placed on administrative leave and lost pay and a promotional opportunity. In response, Dahlia filed a lawsuit alleging that his First Amendment rights had been violated.

On Aug. 7, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit ruled that Dahlia was not protected by the First Amendment because reporting misconduct is part of his job as a police officer, not an action undertaken in his role as a citizen.

In asking for the case to be heard by an 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit, Public Citizen argues that the scope of a police officer’s job duties and what speech is protected should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Public Citizen also warns that the decision by the three-judge panel, if allowed to stand, will deter police officers from speaking out about misconduct within their ranks.

“Courageous police officers like Dahlia are in many circumstances the public’s best or even only available source of information about police corruption and abuse,” said Scott Michelman, an attorney for Public Citizen. “If the case is not reheard, it will exert a powerful chilling effect on officers who might otherwise report official misconduct and abuse.”

Attorneys at the firm Lackie, Dammeier & McGill of Upland, California, brought the case and are co-counsel on the petition for rehearing.   Click here to visit Citizen.org to learn more about Dahlia v Rodriguez and the Thin Blue Line that muzzles good cops.

Jack Humpreville–Stop the Pension Scams-Yes on Prop 32 & Hubris to the N’th Degree–Forget the Judge’s Ruling–Doors Remain Locked to Parents and their Children’s Education

Tuesday August 21, 2012, at 10 AM PT,  Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at CalWatchDog.com, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal welcome Jack Humpreville, the LA Watchdog for CityWatch and David Phelps, National Communications Director for The Parent Revolution.
Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing. You can be sure Gadfly Radio is from 10 am to 11 am PT, Tuesdays! You can count on that!

Call in number: 1-800-336-2225

Jack Humphreville, LA Watchdog of LA CityWatch, on the central role of Public Employee Pensions in the Tsunami of of fiscal bankruptcies coming to cities throughout the state of California, and why he advocates a Yes on Prop 32.

Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler — www.recycler.com . He can be reached at: lajack@gmail.com.

David Phelps, new National Communications Director for The Parent Revolution on the shocking hubris of the Adelanto School Board which decided to ignore a judge’s order in the Desert Trails (Calif.) Parent Trigger Petition decision handed down 30-days ago by Judge Steve Malone in the San Bernardino Superior Court. We’ll also talk with David about the upcoming Hollywood film, “Won’t Back Down,” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, inspired by real events. “Won’t Back Down” premiering in September, is the dramatic story of a community taking back and fixing its failing school.

Related Links:
CalPERS Thuggery Highlights Pension Scam
By Jack Humphreville | 08.16.2012

Won’t Back Down – In theaters September 28

Trailer for Won’t Back Down

Adelanto School Board Decides To Violate Court Ruling on Desert Trails Parent Trigger Petition

Victorville, Calif. – August 18, 2012 – In the wake of Superior Court Judge Steve Malone’s historic July 18 ruling in favor of the Desert Trails Parent Union (DTPU) Parent Trigger Petition the Adelanto school board on Friday night, August 17, voted to flagrantly violate Judge Malone’s order and to continue its never ending attempts to preserve the status quo at any cost.

Proposition 32: A fraud to end all frauds
Proposition 32, on the November ballot, is nothing but an attack by Republicans and conservatives on unions and their members.

Steven Greenhut: Bankruptcy no panacea for pension mess
OC Register | Aug. 17, 2012 Updated: Aug. 18, 2012 9:20 a.m.

Moody’s Warns of Mass California Municipal Bankruptcies
By Chriss Street | August 18, 2012

CalPERS Thuggery Highlights Pension Scam author, Jack Humphreville joins Gadfly Radio next Tuesday, Aug 21 @ 10AM PT

Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler — www.recycler.com. He can be reached at: lajack@gmail.com

See his piece CalPERS Thuggery Highlights Pension Scam

Bankruptcy is supposed to be bottom, and a new beginning–Unless it’s used to favor and further plunder

LA WATCHDOG – In a stunt that would make South American strongman Hugo Chavez proud, the imperious California Public Employees Retirement System (“CalPERS”) and the bankrupt City of Stockton conspired to give an absolute preference to Stockton’s $147 million pension obligation ($245 million over the next ten years) to CalPERS over Stockton’s remaining creditors who are owed an additional $550 million.

But this sweetheart deal where bondholders and other creditors are treated like dirt will have major ramifications in the markets for California bonds and notes as credit rating agencies will lower their ratings and investors will require greater security and significantly higher rates of returns on these higher risk investments.

Click here to read Jack Humphreville’s latest piece at City Watch, posted Aug 16, 2012 Jack Humphreville

Former CA State Senator Gloria Romero, DFER stands up to Union Bosses, for “Yes on Prop 32″

Senator Romero joins Gadfly Radio Tuesday, Aug 14, at 10 am PT. Romero has always been a champion for civil liberties, throughout her entire career as an elected official. She was a teacher before she went into politics and she has always been popular and respected for her courage and bold leadership on issues that bear a disproportionally heavy impact on poor black and Latino communities.
Tuesday,  Aug 14, Former Senator Gloria Romero,  joins Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at CalWatchDog.com, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.
Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.

Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing. You can be sure Gadfly Radio is from 10 am to 11 am PT, Tuesdays! You can count on that!

Call in number: 1-800-336-2225

Former Senator Romero’s convictions run deep. As a life long Democrat, she continues to champion fundamental civil rights and dignity with courage and bold leadership.  She and the California Chapter of Democrats for Education Reform boldly stand for Proposition 32, against the power of the CA Democratic Party and the union bosses who want to hold on to their dues and power no matter what. 

If money and grassroots networks rule, the odds are against Prop 32, simply because of the amount of money that the unions will contribute to the NO on 32 campaign. A brief summary of the largest donors’ with contributions over $50K as of July 8, 2012 on Ballot-Pedia show the Yes on 32 side outspent by a margin of 6 to 1. This is not the final tally.  The No side will have the deepest, largest pockets and the ratio will persist and broaden up to the finish line.

Despite the main stream media covering for the bosses and their bought and paid for politicians, the average voters are on to them.  Will outspending Yes on 32 ten to one  prevent what happened in Wisconsin?    Have things gotten bad enough here yet for the average to understand why roads and schools and parks and services are falling away?

We’ll cover the stories we didn’t get to last week, with John Seiler and Ben Boychuk. We’ll talk with John Seiler on his piece about The Great Rip-Off. Police Chiefs and other municipal administrators who are earning higher salaries retired, than when they were working. They’re earning six figure incomes, and cities have revolving doors of new hires, and new retirees. It’s like a looting taking place in broad daylight, and no one to stop it, because the people the public would expect to serve and protect us are the ones doing the looting.

Related Links:

StopSpecialInterests.org for “Yes on 32″ Campaign information.
Unions air statewide radio ads against Prop. 32
August 7, 2012 | 4:51 pm

California Proposition 32, the “Paycheck Protection” Initiative (2012) Ballot-Pedia

Behind the Prop 32 Curtain
Steve Smith | Aug 8, 2012 | The California Majority Report

Of course Prop. 32 would slam unions
Aug. 9, 2012 | By John Seiler | CalWatchDog

LA’s Pending Insolvency and Prop 32
By Jack Humphreville | Fox & Hound Daily | Friday Aug 10, 2012
LA Watchdog writer for CityWatch, President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and Publisher of the Recycler
Friday, August 10th, 2012

Good-government groups call Proposition 32 deceptive I read this title as “Good Government” groups call Proposition 32 deceptive.
LA Times | Jul 23, 2012
Representatives of the League of Women Voters of California and Common Cause denounced Proposition 32…

The Damage to Modern Policing by Our War on Drugs

By Sean Dunagan, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Posted on Radley Balko’s site, The Agitator

The war on drugs has claimed innumerable victims. The tens of thousands killed in Mexico, the half a million incarcerated here for nonviolent drug offenses, the taxpayers who have funded it all to the tune of a trillion dollars. But one of the greatest victims of the drug war is law enforcement itself.

I don’t mean the bloated bureaucracy of DEA or the robber barons of the prison-industrial complex. I mean the foundations of civilian law enforcement.

(click here to read more)

Stephen Downing on Redress for Anaheim, Wayne Lusvardi Outs the Big Ruse–Hidden State Funds? Really? John Seiler on Highway Robbery by Cops

Tuesday, August 7, Retired L.A.P.D. Deputy Chief of Police, Stephen Downing, and Wayne Lusvardi join Martha Montelongo, with John Seiler, Managing Editor at CalWatchDog.com, and Ben Boychuk, Associate Editor with City Journal.
Stephen Downing, Retired Deputy Chief of Police, L.A.P.D. joins us to discuss the issues with Anaheim. Points to consider for redress. How to foster peace officers to serve and protect, and to work with the communities they serve, and not occupy them.

Wayne Lusvardi joins us to talk about the big magic show acts hailing from Sacramento. John Laird, an old life long progressive from Santa Cruz, now a CA State Senator from the region of environmentalist rulers, appears in the middle of a big ruse, a trick to deceive and dissemble to the pubic. What’s the real story behind all the supposedly “hidden funds?”

John Seiler on The Great Rip-Off. Police Chiefs and other municipal administrators who are earning higher salaries retired, than when they were working. They’re earning six figure incomes, and cities have revolving doors of new hires, and new retirees. It’s like a looting taking place in broad daylight, and no one to stop it, because the people the public would expect to serve and protect us are the ones doing the looting.
Tune in LIVE at 10:00 a.m. PDT on CRNtalk.com on CRN 1 or on USTREAM TV’s CRNStudioLive!”

If you tune in on CRN, give the player a few minutes to pop up and start streaming. Give yourself enough time so you don’t miss the program.
Sometimes the programing display for CRN 1 is not current, and it may say another program is playing. You can be sure Gadfly Radio is from 10 am to 11 am PT, Tuesdays! You can count on that!

Call in number: 1-800-336-2225

Related Links:
Quiet protest outside Disneyland | police, outside, biggest | The Orange County Register | Aug. 4, 2012 | By Mary Ann Milbourn
Mom to stop marching in weekly Anaheim police protests | The Orange County Register | August 5, 2012 |by Eric Carpenter

Theresa Smith says she appreciates support from peaceful protesters in recent weeks, and she wants to ‘do positive things.’…
…Jaclyn Conroy, of Anaheim Hills, whose nephew Justin Hertl was shot and killed by police in 2003, said she will continue protesting. She marched with other protesters to Disneyland on Sunday.

“It puts a tear in my eye that people from outside the area have come to support us,” she said. “They’ve helped bring a national spotlight and that allows us here locally to talk to people about the problems we’re having with police.”

Anaheim shootings, protests: Anger, politics, power | The Orange County Register | By Doug Irving, Eric Carpenter, Denisse Salazar and Alejandra Molina

In June – a month before the most recent shootings and subsequent protests – three Latino leaders filed suit against the city, demanding changes in city government. Their lawsuit, backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, calls for council members to be elected by districts rather than at-large; a change they believe would break up the Anaheim Hills’ political dominance and encourage more people from more neighborhoods to run for office.

One of the leaders who filed suit, Jose Moreno, 42, a trustee of the Anaheim City School District and president of the group Los Amigos, said the city and its Police Department have work to do to improve relations with Latinos.

“Police don’t do their work in a vacuum,” he said. “For them to rebuild relationships in our communities, we need to feel like part of the political system – like we are sharing in the resources of this city.

“In the same way, kids don’t decide to join gangs in a vacuum. Those city resources aren’t coming to us.”

‘AFRAID TO COME OUT’
Police estimate that 2,500 documented gang members claim turf in Anaheim. They belong to some 35 active gangs – all, police say, are Latino except for one African American gang.

By comparison, the police force arrayed against them is overwhelmingly white. The department has 363 officers; 82 are Hispanic and 249 are white. [ Ethnic make up of the police aside--the City Council can be responsible for police practices, policies and community relations.]

The relationship between Anaheim’s police force and its Latino communities has long been strained.

Mayor takes on Anaheim violence | CalWatchDog | August 6, 2012 | by Steven Greenhut

Unfortunately, in my view, the city’s Police Department has embraced the wrong kind of policing methods — ones that are unkind and tend to undermine people’s freedom. I don’t see police officials there using their brains to handle a situation resulting, in part, from overly aggressive policing tactics and insufficient police accountability and transparency.

Clearly, the cultural changes the mayor is trying to implement in the city bureaucracy need to filter into the police department — a point Tait also makes.

Steven Greenhut: Mayor on right path in Anaheim | Opinion – The Orange County Register | August 3, 2012

In Anaheim, voting by district could alter the power dynamic | Los Angeles Times | August 4, 2012 | Nicole Santa Cruz, Doug Smith and Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times

Anaheim is now under growing pressure to switch to district voting, which usually makes it easier for minority groups to win council seats.

Fund transfers are purging earmarks from state budget | CalWatchDog | August 1, 2012 | by Wayne Lusvardi

Park fund scandal a ruse to grab gas tax funds from off-roaders | CalWatchDog| August 6, 2012 | by Wayne Lusvardi

Stockton police chief rips off $204K pension | CalWatchDog | by John Seiler | August 6, 2012

Police Chief’s $204,000 Pension Shows How Cities Crashed | Bloomberg | By Alison Vekshin, James Nash and Rodney Yap | Jul 31, 2012