Gadfly Radio with Martha and CalWatchDog: Tonight, Ben Boychuk, John Seiler, with Special guest, Steve Greenhut on Redevelopment–Ding Dong, The Witch is Dead!

Gadfly Radio Tonight, at 8 PM PT


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Jan 3, 2012:  Tonight live at 8 p.m. PT on Gadfly Radio, Martha Montelongo along with Ben Boychuk of CA City Journal and John Seiler of CalWatchDog.com.  Steven Greenhut, the Editor in Chief at CalWatchDog, joins us to discuss the latest and hottest stories in CA politics, but especially, we want to talk about the how California’s RDAs [were] Hoisted on [Their] Own Petard.

Steve’s most recent book, Plunder, about Public Employee Union Benefits and Pensions are bankrupting the nation, is well known and regarded by serious reformers in the field, across the political spectrum nationwide.

But Greenhut also did a compelling and comprehensive book on RDAs or Redevelopment Associations, called Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain.  Did he ever think he’d see this program be dissolved in California?  How did it happen?  The title of his report says it all in one sentence.  We’ll have a chance to hear him talk about it in detail. 

Every week we cover an important story concerning education and the struggle to transform it into an effective institution. This week we touch on two stories.

One is very subtly described as State Sponsored Thievery Continues in Plain Sight, in an op-ed by Larry Sand, published today at UnionWatch.org.

The other story is regarding Parents across Southern California Demanding CTA apologize for fear mongering and intimidation tactics used against families who want to organize for reform, and demands that the CTA retract denigrating statements dismissing parents’ interests, intentions and good will. Linda Serrato of the Parent Revolution joins us to talk about this story.

We’ll take your calls, questions and comments on the air at 1-818-602-4929 on on FB instant chat or Twitter.

 

I am a stand for liberty, integrity, empowerment, and prosperity for all people; a stand for vibrant and innovative small businesses that create jobs, that in the process of prospering, nurture and support creative and dynamic culture, in the work place, and in our personal lives.



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State Sponsored Thievery Continues in Plain Sight « Union Watch

“Teachers and other public employees use “air time” to pick your pocket. The California State Teachers Retirement System tries calming words. David Crane tells the truth and loses yet another job.” 

Saying that the state teachers’ retirement system is underfunded is the understatement of this or any year and now, CalSTRS is giving us specifics. On December 27th, it said,

“Recent media reports have suggested that to solve the unfunded liability the state will have to increase CalSTRS funding by $3.8 billion a year for 30 years for a total of more than $114 billion. Although this is an accurate statement based on current projections, achieving adequate funding can occur several ways that would be phased in over time. The CalSTRS $56 billion funding shortfall can be managed, but it will require gradual and predictable increases in contributions.”

Read more:
State Sponsored Thievery Continues in Plain Sight « Union Watch

Dow 28,000,000: The Unbelievable Expectations of California’s Pension System Because Calpers failed to disclose pension costs and liabilities 10 years ago, taxpayers will be on the hook for hundreds of billions.

By DAVID CRANE

In 1999 then California Governor Gray Davis signed into law a bill that represented the largest issuance of non-voter-approved debt in the state’s history. The bill SB 400 granted billions of dollars in retroactive pension boosts to state employees, allowing retirements as young as age 50 with lifetime pensions of up to 90% of final year salaries. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System sold the pension boost to the state legislature by promising that “no increase over current employer contributions is needed for these benefit improvements” and that Calpers would “remain fully funded.” They also claimed that enhanced pensions would not cost taxpayers “a dime” because investment bets would cover the expense.

What Calpers failed to disclose, however, was that (1) the state budget was on the hook for shortfalls should actual investment returns fall short of assumed investment returns, (2) those assumed investment returns implicitly projected the Dow Jones would reach roughly 25,000 by 2009 and 28,000,000 by 2099, unrealistic to say the least (3) shortfalls could turn out to be hundreds of billions of dollars, (4) Calpers’s own employees would benefit from the pension increases and (5) members of Calpers’s board had received contributions from the public employee unions who would benefit from the legislation. Had such a flagrant case of non-disclosure occurred in the private sector, even a sleepy SEC and US Attorney would have noticed.

Eleven years later, things haven’t turned out as Calpers promised. While state employees have been big winners from the bet, the state budget has been, and will continue to be, a huge loser. Far from being “fully funded” as promised, Calpers has already required $15 billion more from the state budget than projected in 1999 and $3.5 billion is budgeted for this year, a figure that is more than five times the expense projected by the state legislature in its SB 400 analysis. Pensions are crowding out important programs like higher education, parks and health care, and the state will continue to whack away at those programs because the legislature refuses Governor Schwarzenegger’s request to repeal SB 400 for new employees.

The state’s pension funds are still trying to dupe taxpayers. In response to a recent Stanford University study that concluded California’s pension funds are understating liabilities by $400 billion, California’s pension funds set up “spin” websites and attacked the study as “shoddy” and “faulty.”
Click here to read the full article.

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