Pension reform or double-dip storm in San Diego and San Jose?

June 6, 2012 - By admin

June 6, 2012

By Wayne Lusvardi

A pension reform ballot proposition was passed by the voters in the city of San Diego by a margin of 66.2 percent in favor to 33.8 percent opposed.. A similar pension reform measure in the city of San Jose is leading with 89.8 percent of the vote in favor with 37.7 percent of the vote counted.

But the gnawing question remains: Eill voters end up with the pension reforms they voted for?  Or are these reforms just the proverbial calm before a possible bigger pension storm?

Tentative Results of Pension Reform Measures

City of San Diego City of San Jose
Ballot Proposition Prop. B Prop. B
YES 66.2% 89.9%
NO 33.8% 10.2%
Percent of Vote Counted as of 11:30 PM 6/5/2012 100% 37.7%

Surely, both ballot propositions will be tested in court by public-sector unions.  In San Jose, Democratic Mayor Chuck Reed, who backed pension reform, has vowed to seek a pre-emptive judicial review of his city’s pension reform proposition.

Many public sector unions and labor advocates are convinced their contracted pension and health benefits are guaranteed in the California Constitution.  However, charter cities such as San Diego and San Jose believe they have broad powers to alter pensions that general-law cities do not have.

Pensions Grew Like Cancer During Recession

From 2007 — before the Mortgage Meltdown — to 2012, San Diego’s payments to its pension fund grew 43.7 percent. During that same period, the percentage of city employees dropped by 5.5 percent (see table below).

The percent that pensions payments make up of the total general fund in San Diego grew from 16 percent to 20 percent over the same period. That means that $1 out of every $5 in the city operating budget is going to pensions without pension reform.

In San Jose, pension-fund payments grew by 117 percent over the past five years, while the proportion of city employees dropped 21 percent.  The percentage of the San Jose’s operating budget dedicated to pensions has grown from 16 percent to a whopping 28 percent.  San Jose is nearing $1 out of every $3 of its operating budget going for pensions.

Growing Percent of Pension Obligations in San Diego and San Jose

Year Population Payments to Pension Fund No. City
Employees
General Fund Budget Percent Pensions of General Fund
CITY OF SAN DIEGO
2007 1,287,300 $162.7 Mil 7,517 $1.021 Bil. 16%
2012-13 1,307,402 $233.9 Mil. 7,105 $1.147 Bil. 20%
Percent Change +1.5% 43.7% -5.5% +12.3%
+2.35%/Yr.
+4%
CITY OF SAN JOSE
2007 939,899  $112.5 Mil. 6,843 $716.9 Mil. 16%
2012-13 971,372 $244 Mil. 5,400 $882.3 Mil. 28%
Percent Change +3.3% +117% -21% +23.0%
+4.24%/Yr.
+12%
Compiled by Calwatchdog.com

But San Diego has only cut 412 employees, reflecting 5.5 percent of the total city workforce. Compare that to a reduction of 1,443 employees in San Jose, reflecting a 21 percent cut.

On the other hand, the general-fund budget in San Diego has only grown by half as much (12.3 percent) compared to San Jose’s budget (23.0 percent) over the past five years.

What perhaps is more troubling is that San Jose’s operating budget has been growing 4.24 percent per year on a compound basis over the past 5 years during the economic recession.  San Diego’s operating budget has grown by 2.35 percent per year over the same period.  What if the U.S. economy stalls following the possible collapse of the European Union, bringing another decline in tax revenues?

Many cities have touted cutting the number of employees in their workforces during the past five years. But the paradox is that their total operating budgets kept growing as pensions have gobbled up more of the budget.  If the operating budget of each city had remained unchanged over the past five years, the proportion of their budgets going toward pensions would have jumped to at least 23 percent in San Diego and 34 percent in San Jose.

Let’s consider what would have happened if San Diego and San Jose had cut their 2007 operating budgets by 10 percent during the recession. Pensions would have ballooned to 24 percent for San Diego and 37.8 percent for San Jose of their total operating budgets.  In another five years, pensions would have cancerously consumed more than half of municipal budgets in these cities.

Public Employee Cutbacks Masked Wild Pension Growth

During the past five years, many cities were using cutbacks of employees to mask the out-of-control growth of pensions happening at the same time.  Public employee cutbacks were an illusion of budget cutting, when in reality total general fund budgets were growing to meet mounting pension obligations.

Pension Reform or Double Dip Storm?

It is estimated that about 50 percent of all federal stimulus program monies went to municipal governments for “shovel ready” public works projects since 2009. Without this infusion of funds, the proportion of pension obligations would have quickly overwhelmed most city budgets.

The stimulus program has now expired.  In 2011, there were modest increases in sales, property and income taxes statewide, thought to be a signaling a “recovery.”  But in 2012, state tax revenues have reportedly declined, signaling a possible “double dip” recession.

Despite the passage of pension reforms in San Diego and San Jose, this may not be enough to prevent public pensions from overwhelming city budgets, should the economy continue to sour or the courts overturn pension reforms.  If the courts overturn pension reform, California cities could be looking at another man-made “perfect storm” like the Electricity Crisis of 2000-01.

The Associated Press reported specifics on the reforms in San Jose:

“The ballot measures differ on specifics. San Diego’s imposes a six-year freeze on pay levels used to determine pension benefits unless a two-thirds majority of the City Council votes to override it. It also puts new hires, except for police officers, into 401(k)-style plans.” 

But will such measures be deep enough and fast enough if there is a double dip recession?

Back in March 2011, John Fund accused Gov. Jerry Brown of “shrinking from real pension reforms” when Brown blamed Republicans for the problem. Brown said, “Some Republicans want government to break down. They want to blow it up. They’re radical. They’re not in the mainstream.”

But what happens when even bi-partisan reforms by a Republican mayor in San Diego, with a Democrat-controlled City Council, and a Democrat mayor and council in San Jose aren’t enough to hold back the storm?

The current pension reforms are apparently based on rosy scenarios of gradual economic recovery, coupled with pension contribution cutbacks.  It may take leaders on city councils to enact even more reforms without going to the voters each time for cover.

Such reforms won’t reflect the stinginess of Republicans in San Diego, or “profiles in courage” of local Democratic politicians, but public necessity.  It is not political courage to undo what one co-created in the first place.

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Comments(0)
  1. Beelzebub says:

    Wow. What a hole these bumbling morons have dug for themselves and for their respective cities/citizens. And we aren’t talking Vallejo sized cities here. We are talking MAJOR METROPOLITAN AREAS! Either way SD, SJ or Stockton turn they’re screwed once the EU starts to break apart – AND IT WILL! Not a question of “if?” only “when?”. And LA is right behind them. This could absolutely be catastrophic – like a 9 pointer on the Richter Scale.

    This is a product of at least 2.5 decades of irresponsible urban and state management. The leaders thought that that they were so smart that they could juggle 5 plates at once. Well, not they are juggling about seven plates in mid-air and it’s becoming IMPOSSIBLE to sustain the act. Now it’s only a matter of time before the plates come crashing down.

    Malfeasance, fraud, incompetence and lies. THAT is what precipitated all this. Last night the citizens revolt against the failed system was orderly and took place at the voting booth. I hope to God that it doesn’t eventually pour out onto the streets! The citizens have every right to be livid over the way they have been gamed and swindled by dishonest leaders and union officials!

    Thanks for the numbers and explanations here, Wayne. I learned something and now understand the severity of the problem. We won’t see any such report in the local newpapers. They want to keep it all concealed from the masses since most are in cahoots with the government and big business. That’s why I come here. For the truth.

  2. Ted says:

    Thanks for clearing all that up ocodd beezy——Ted

  3. Beelzebub says:

    You’re welcomed, Teddy.

    Keep reading my stuff and the next time you talk to your old philo professors they will surely note how you’ve progressed in your thought processes. Maybe one will hire you on as an assistant. Skippy would surely be a reference for you. Maybe you could get together and teach a weekend class at the Free University on how to land a gov job with a GED and become a multi-millionaire by age 50! heh. :D

  4. Beelzebub says:

    There’ll be so many slackers in your class it will be standing room only!!! :D Maybe you could rent out the Staples Center. :D

  5. Wayne Lusvardi says:

    For reader’s edification: I dug into the annual General Fund budgets of each city and re-constructed the data in the above chart from primary sources instead of relying on regurgitating official press releases from each city. I could no embed the links for the data because there were too many sources to compile all the data in the chart.

    Basically, cities have not been lying about pensions. They have reported the percentage of pensions and the number of employees reduced. But for the most part they have not reported the rate of growth of pensions as part of their operating budgets. That’s the scary number.

    Online news is already reporting that public employees in San Jose have filed suit against its new pension reforms. But what public employee unions are up against is arithmetic not stingy Republicans or laissez faire libertarians — as shown above. There is no mathematical way for cities to bear the wave of pending pension obligations unless they go out of business. Maybe some cities could keep police and fire but everything else would have to be shut down. As pointed out by some of the above commenters, this is not just bankrupt cities that this is affecting.

    Let’s say public employee unions prevail in court. Then what? Bankruptcy would be the only option I am aware of for each city to void their pension contracts. So this isn’t over until it’s over as Yogi Berra once said.

  6. The Ted Steele Legal System (tm) says:

    Beezy– your posts are way too long— still have not read an entire one.

  7. Beelzebub says:

    “Basically, cities have not been lying about pensions. They have reported the percentage of pensions and the number of employees reduced. But for the most part they have not reported the rate of growth of pensions as part of their operating budgets. That’s the scary number.”

    But, Wayne, for a city to omit reporting such an important number – isn’t that tantamount to being dishonest?

    The first thing out of my stats professor’s mouth on the first day of class was “Figures don’t lie. Liars figure” and he told us that if we remember anything at all from his class or lectures – to remember that. He wrote it on the board and left it there for an entire week and referenced it every single day he started class. And I have never forgotten it decades later.

    “There is no mathematical way for cities to bear the wave of pending pension obligations unless they go out of business”

    BINGO!!! We have a winner!!! The math don’t work, Wayne. I’ve been saying that for 4 years!!! The problem is that the longer they delay addressing it in a honest and forthright manner the worse the outcome becomes. It’s like seeing a spot fire in the forest and failing to put it out. It turns into a wildfire and eventually an inferno!!! I have been warning about this for 4 years. And most people give me that deer in the headlights look.

    I think it’s too late now. It would have been manageable back in 2007. But we’re past the tipping point now. The debt has grown too large. And we’ve wasted our reserves. Backs up against the wall.

    Pain is right around the corner.

  8. Frank says:

    You guys just screwed yourselves. Your crime rate is going to go up. Prospective police and fire recruits will look elsewhere for employment. The officers and fire officials might just work a little slower. Response times will be longer than they are now. Pensions are not the reason cities are broke. They are broke because of all the dumb things politicians have spent money on. Politicians want public employees to work until we are 80 years old and then they won’t have to pay out any money for retired officers and fire officials. Good luck San Jose, you will get what you pay for. You could hire private security and private fire companies for $ 10.00 an hour and then you won’t have any pensions to pay. I will not visit San Jose until you reform your reform mess.

  9. Dyspeptic says:

    Wayne, thanks for your impressively detailed green eyeshades work on this subject. What is happening in Kali. is also happening in Michigan, New York and elsewhere. When the fit hits the shan the powers that be in Mordor on the Potomac will panic again and flood the insolvent states and municipalities with fiat money, more stimulus bailouts and mass seizure of private assets like 401k’s. At some point the Keynesian madness must end and when it does and the dust settles we may not recognize whats left. We are all Greeks now.

  10. CalWatchdog says:

    Frank wrote: “Prospective police and fire recruits will look elsewhere for employment. The officers and fire officials might just work a little slower. Response times will be longer than they are now.”

    Then we’ll fire them all the way Reagan did the air traffic controllers in 1981 and start over again, preferably with private forces. In particular, it’s easy to go to volunteer fire departments. And as to police, when they haven’t been doing the job in Detroit, people have been hiring private security firms.

    Another way to cut crime would be to get rid of bans on conceal-carry weapons, as in Arizona. See John Lott’s “More Guns, Less Crime.”

    – John Seiler

  11. Beelzebub says:

    “When the fit hits the shan the powers that be in Mordor on the Potomac will panic again and flood the insolvent states and municipalities with fiat money, more stimulus bailouts and mass seizure of private assets like 401k’s”

    No. They won’t do that, Dys. I think it would cause a nationwide riot. They are smarter than that. Nobody is going to steal our 401-K’s to finance the trough feeders. That would really be stupid.

  12. Beelzebub says:

    “You guys just screwed yourselves”

    No Frank. You screwed yourselves. You little piggies got greedy and now it’s coming back to bite you in the butt. It’s called KARMA. Look it up.

    “The officers and fire officials might just work a little slower. Response times will be longer than they are now”

    That’s fine. If you want to extort the citizens we’ll fire your butts and replace you with more competent employees at half the cost. Smoke some of that, Frank. :D

    “Pensions are not the reason cities are broke. They are broke because of all the dumb things politicians have spent money on”

    Of course pensions are the problem, Frank. California has a $500B pension liability. And that’s just CALPERS. The politicians did spend the money on dumb things like GED cops and fireclowns. The fact that you jokers make as much as medical doctors is one of the most preposterous absurdities on Planet Earth. Don’t get testy with us, Frank. We’ll send all you clown packing! ;)

    “Politicians want public employees to work until we are 80 years old and then they won’t have to pay out any money for retired officers and fire officials”

    Good. Work ’til you croak. Then you’ll understand what it’s like to work in the private sector, pal! :)

    “You could hire private security and private fire companies for $ 10.00 an hour and then you won’t have any pensions to pay”

    If I were in charge of human relations I could find better workers than you clowns at 50% of your current salaries and 401-K’s with a 3% match. No pensions. We just need to dismantle the Police Officer Bill of Right (POBOR) which is a complete bogus turdball.

    Changes are on the way, Frank. If you don’t like it go sell insurance. Stop whining. You should just like another spoiled brat.

  13. Nathaniel M says:

    “If you don’t like it go sell insurance.” An insult to insurance salesmen everywhere as most of ‘em work on a 100% commission basis. You think CA Pub Sec employees would do that? LOL!

  14. SkippingDog says:

    Yeah, John — Volunteer Fire Departments will work just great in places like San Diego and San Jose when one of those tall buildings goes up in flames. They’ll also do a fine job flying the air attack helicopters when wildfires start sweeping the countryside of our state in another month or two.

    Reagan fired the PATCO controllers because they went out on an illegal strike. They knew what they were doing was illegal and did it anyway, so they got what was coming to them.

    Increased response times resulting from poorly selected fire and police candidates will just be the result of bad choices, endorsed by you and the other anti-government nuts on the far right.

    One thing is for sure, if you want to have really bad government services you can gripe some more about, reducing the size and competence of your public safety departments to keep a few more cents in your own pocket is definitely the way to do it.

    Paraphrasing what the great American sage Mencken said so long ago, democracy is the theory that the people should get what they want, and they should get it good and hard.

  15. NTHEOC says:

    First off, I’m surprised you are not aware of this beelzebub.The wisconsin police and firefighter unions supported walker in his election due to the fact many of them are republicans there.And guess who was able to keep their collective bargaining rights,pay,pension,and benefits? That’s right beelz,the police and firefighters were left out of walkers reforms.But that’s politics buddy!!!hah.Oh,And the only reason walker was really able to survive that recall was the 30 plus million dollars from out of state private sector corporate pig donors,compared to the 3 million from the workers!!!just shows the power of corporate money!!

  16. Rex the Wonder Dog! says:

    LOL……I love it when the GED cops and firewhiners claim we won’t find any “qualified” GED clowns at less than $250K per year-I laugh so hard it hurts ;)

  17. NTHEOC says:

    Beelzebub says,
    Maybe you could get together and teach a weekend class at the Free University on how to land a gov job with a GED and become a multi-millionaire by age 50
    =============
    Gov walker only has a GED and no college degree,did he take that class?? I think it was called “”corporate puppet 101″”.

  18. NTHEOC says:

    Rex the Wonder Dog! says:
    LOL……I love it when the GED cops and firewhiners claim we won’t find any “qualified” GED clowns at less than $250K per year-I laugh so hard it hurts
    =======
    Ahh rex, I can always count on you to for a good laugh!!

  19. Beelzebub says:

    The only reason the educational entry standard is a GED for cops and fireclown jobs that pay medical doctor wages is because it give cops and fireclowns the opportunity to get their HS educated kids and relative jobs on the force. Why bother with college when dad or Uncle Joe can land you a job that comps $200k a year??? heh. In the meantime college grads get turned down because the didn’t do well enough on the oral exam. HAH! :D But a HS educated clown maxed it!!! HAH! :D

    Didn’t you mention that your dad is (was) a Captain at a fireclown station, NTHEOC???

  20. Rex the Wonder Dog! says:

    He enrolled at Marquette University in Milwaukee in 1986.[3] He attended college for four years but never graduated,

    I doubt he has 4 years of college credit, no one gets that far and drops out. But he must have had decent grades to get accepted into Marquette University.

    I love to get you riled up with that FF GED edcuation ntheoc!!!!!!!I know that FF’s today do need many classes to be competitive, but that was not the case 20 years ago, amd certainly not the case for cops. I like to lump them together so your blood pressure goes up ;)

  21. Rex the Wonder Dog! says:

    In the meantime college grads get turned down because the didn’t do well enough on the oral exam.

    That is the ONLY reason they have the oral interviews-where 80% of applicants who passed the 10th grade reading are failed- to game the hiring. If the testing were merit based, like it was 30 years ago-the entire make up would be different, the nepotism/cronyism hire would be the exception, not the rule. Today merit hiring is the exception and nepotism/cronyism the rule. Ask LAPD Chief Charlei Beck how that works, since 5 members of his family work at LAPD.

  22. Beelzebub says:

    When I watch the 11 o’clock news and there’s a structure fire somewhere they usually interview the fire captain on the scene. And these are big deparments too! I have no idea how they hire their captains but about half of them have a hard time stringing two complete sentences together when trying to convey an idea. I’ve gone to John Chiang’s website and checked out the salaries and pensions for FD captains. Salaries are no less than $200k and go all the way up to the high $200′s or low $300′s. More than a damn heart surgeon. Preposterous.

  23. NTHEOC says:

    beelzebub says,
    I’ve gone to John Chiang’s website and checked out the salaries and pensions for FD captains. Salaries are no less than $200k and go all the way up to the high $200′s or low $300′s
    =================
    WOW!!! can you let me know what fire dept’s those are? I would like to include them in a salary comparison survey for our next contract negotiations.

  24. Beelzebub says:

    “WOW!!! can you let me know what fire dept’s those are? I would like to include them in a salary comparison survey for our next contract negotiations”

    Go look through the OC cities. It’s public information on Chiang’s site. You can look at it too. I suggest you review Newport Beach FD. When I saw their captain salaries I thought they had a bunch of neurosurgeons and small particle astro-physicists on the force. I almost fell off my chair. Plus, they all drive gov cars w/ free gas to and from work and get to run the toll meters on the toll roads. What a gig! Blue collared workers getting paid like kings and queens.

  25. Ted Steele, Prosecutor says:

    Poor beezy boob—— making it up as he goes along……what til your parents get home and find out you’ve been on the computer again.!!!

  26. SkippingDog says:

    Here’s the Newport Beach salary schedule. A Fire Captain tops out at $36.53 per hour for straight time pay. Tack on another 35% for pension and benefits and your still under $100k per year in total comp.

    http://www.newportbeachca.gov/index.aspx?page=294

  27. SkippingDog says:

    Correction – should be “you’re” in the second line….

  28. queeg says:

    Teddy hit it ….spot on as always!

  29. Beelzebub says:

    Teddy, why didn’t you link the Newport Fire compensations on Chiang’s site??? Skeered it would tell the truth??? heh.

    Of the 28 fire captains @ Newport FD 14 made $180,000 or more. The highest collecting about $240,000.

    These are blue collared workers. No different from supervisors who watch men fill potholes in the street making more than licensed medical doctors with 12-14 of higher education. heh.

    And check out their pension formulas in the last column: All 3%@50. So lets say one with a $200k salary retires @ 55 with 30 years and lives to 80. That’s $4.5M dollars not including COLA and medical subsidies. For a blue collared equivalent of a grease monkey supervisor. heh.

    Checkmate.

    http://lgcr.sco.ca.gov/CompensationDetail.aspx?entity=City&id=11983058600&year=2010&GetCsu=False
    Like we’ve said over and over again…..it’s a scam.

  30. Hondo says:

    The problem you public unions are forgetting is that Clownafornia is bankrupt now. LA is bankrupt now. Stockton is bankrupt now. San Diego and San Jose too. And in every instance the part of the budget that is growing fastest is the public union salaries and pensions.
    I was a former paid and unpaid firefighter in California. The notion of firefighters taking their times to respond to a call is criminal. They would be a disgrace, not to just firefighters everywhere, but to the human race. Unpaid firefighters wouldn’t imagine taking their time to get to a call. Only a paid and greedy firefighter would consider something that un-human.
    Hondo

  31. queeg says:

    Now lets not go hysterical and stop the foaming from thy mouth….go get your shots before you infect us all!!!

  32. NorCal Libertarian says:

    Hey unions……did you get the message? You might want to take a look at what you might NOT HAVE in the future if you don’t get serious about this issue!

  33. Beelzebub says:

    “Now lets not go hysterical and stop the foaming from thy mouth….go get your shots before you infect us all!!!”

    OH MR. SEILER – WHERE ARE YOU??????

    TIME TO START DELETING ‘ABUSIVE POSTS’!!!!

  34. Beelzebub says:

    I notice there was not even one response from Teddy, Skippy, Seesaw or Queeq about the link on the compensation levels for the fireclowns in Newport Beach! HAH!

    I guess I knocked them out of the ring into the cheap seats on that one!!!
    :D

  35. The Ted Steele Legal System (tm) says:

    no need to comment so far. But have a nice day!

  36. SkippingDog says:

    Beelzebub, the chart Chiang created includes things like final pay for retiring employees. That would include one-time payments for things like accrued vacation and comp-time, neither of which are pensionable income.

    Chiang’s chart also reflects paid overtime, another non-pensionable element of total compensation.

  37. CalWatchdog says:

    #14 Skipping Dog: It’s amusing you quoted Mencken, because he was for as little government as possible and would have mocked government-worker unions, which didn’t even exist in his day. On skyscrapers, if you got rid of government firefighters, the skyscrapers’ insurance companies would insist that they hire private firefighters.

    – John Seiler

  38. SeeSaw says:

    Beez, I don’t have to read all that stuff. I was a miscellaneous employee. I know many firefighters, and they are the greatest bunch of guys with a multitude of political ideologies–are they self-centered, when it comes to their benefits–yes they are. Do I love them–yes I do. And, I do recall those stories, which you swallowed and still swallow, about $200K lifeguards in NB. Like Skipper says–those inflated salaries include overtime, which is not pensionable in CalPERS. And, stop it about the Lifeguards–they are hourly, part-time, and do not make $200K. Go on out and swallow more propaganda from the right.

  39. SkippingDog says:

    #37 John: Everyone who has ever read Mencken’s real work knows he was basically an intellectual anarchist who particularly distrusted the “wisdom of the common man” when it was expressed through democratic processes.

    Given that both the San Jose and the San Diego pension propositions were passed by majority votes – which Mencken would surely have referred to as a “whipped up democratic mob” – his disdain would not have been limited to government workers or their unions.

    Interesting concept about insurance company firefighters, John. In essence, you’re proposing that an individual’s level of safety should be contingent upon which insurance company the building owner chooses. If the building owner chooses incorrectly, or selects an insurance company fire department that provides a lower level of safety for building occupants and visitors than another company might provide, does that failure to provide reasonable and adequate fire and life protection create a further liability from which a victim can seek recovery for their losses?

    Fire and life safety is a public good, and even Austrian economists recognize that public goods are not responsive to normal market forces.

    Time to rethink your position.

  40. CalWatchdog says:

    #39 SkippingDog: I wouldn’t characterize Mencken as an “intellectual anarchist.” He admired Nietzsche early on, Darwin always, later Aristotle. On politics, he was a monarchist.

    I would trust insurance companies more than the government. In Detroit, where I was born, today Drudge is featuring a story that bankruptcy is a week away:
    http://www.freep.com/article/20120608/NEWS01/120608025/1001/rss01

    Earlier, police had abandoned large areas of the city, forcing residents to band together to protect themselves:
    http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/02/05/020512-news-detroit-vigilantes-1-5/

    YouTube of private security booming in Detroit:

    And much of the city has been burned down, despite the city-run fire department:
    http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1933241,00.html

    Detroit is California in 10 years.

    – John Seiler

  41. Rex the Wonder Dog! says:

    And, stop it about the Lifeguards–they are hourly, part-time, and do not make $200K.

    Lifeguarding in OC is totally lucrative; some make over $200k

    According to a city report on lifeguard pay for the calendar year 2010, of the 14 full-time lifeguards, 13 collected more than $120,000 in total compensation; one lifeguard collected $98,160.65. More than half the lifeguards collected more than $150,000 for 2010 with the two highest-paid collecting $211,451 and $203,481 in total compensation respectively. Even excluding benefits like health care and pension, more than half the lifeguards receive a total salary, including overtime pay, exceeding $100,000. And they also receive an annual allowance of $400 for “Sun Protection.” Many work four days a week, 10 hours a day
    http://orangepunch.ocregister.com/2011/05/10/lifeguarding-in-oc-is-totally-lucrative-some-make-over-200k/44783/

  42. SkippingDog says:

    You’d trust a private security company or an insurance company with protecting your safety and constitutional rights more than the government? That’s absurd, John.

    Detroit clearly has its share of major problems, but it’s always been one of the highest crime areas in our country. The decline of the auto industry, and with large manufacturing in general, has hit the area hard. I also understand that the city has lost a significant percentage of its population in the last decade, but that’s hardly surprising. The weather is horrible and there’s no reason to stay there if there are no jobs to be had.

    We have our share of problems in California as well, but your suggestion that California’s future is visible now in Detroit is unrealistic at best. California has never relied on heavy manufacturing as the sole foundation of our economic base. Outside of sporadic events in Oakland and Los Angeles, we haven’t had 70 years of race riots like Detroit. Like it or not, white flight has been a significant contributor to Detroit’s problems.

    While there are certainly valid comparisons that can be made between Detroit and California, the model doesn’t hold up well to any degree of real critical analysis.

  43. The Ted Steele Legal System (tm) says:

    LOL—- I say if the will of the people is to turn policing for instance over to a security company, wholly owned by say Purina, let em have it! Americans get what they deserve. I have absolutely no problem with that at all. I will enjoy republican administrations dealing with it after they have ushered it in!

    Bring it PLEASE !!

  44. CalWatchdog says:

    #42 SkippingDog: The government itself has destroyed our constitutional rights, for example with the USA PATRIOT Act and last December’s NDAA.

    I’d rather take my chances with an insurance company.

    Last Detroit race riot: 1967. Last Los Angeles race riot: 1992.

    – John Seiler

  45. SkippingDog says:

    How did either piece of legislation destroy your constitutional rights? Please give me some specifics, not Freeper paranoia.

  46. SeeSaw says:

    Mr. Watchdog: When you hear reports about another hundred people, including children, being slaughtered by the leader in Syria, doesn’t it make you just a little bit embarrassed that you whine about the things you whine about, when it comes to constitutional rights in our country?

  47. Ted Steele, Prosecutor says:

    That is always a good question— cal watchdog— specifically what rights have YOU lost?????? I would love to respond—– waiting.

  48. CalWatchdog says:

    #46 SeeSaw: CalWatchDog.com, as the name implies, is about California. And “constitutional rights in our country” are not minor matters.

    – John Seiler

  49. SeeSaw says:

    We don’t live in a perfect world, and never will–but we try to get as close to that as we can. I doubt that you will suffer any loss of your own privacy due to the Patriot Act, unless you do something to invite scrutiny from those who are trying to protect us from terrorism. I personally think we should tweak the Second Amendment a little, so that we could save all the lives of those innocents that die on our streets daily.

  50. Ted Steele, Prosecutor says:

    John— What rights have you/we lost?

  51. CalWatchdog says:

    #49 Ted: The USA PATRIOT Act and last December’s NDAA shredded the Bill of Rights. According to the NDAA, the president, on his word alone, can grab any American citizen anywhere, even in his home, and indefinitely detain him, with no access to counsel or anyone else. That’s the essence of tyranny.

    See Glenn Greenwald: http://www.salon.com/2011/12/16/three_myths_about_the_detention_bill/

    – John Seiler

  52. Ted Steele, Prosecutor says:

    OK John– thought you’d say that.

    The NDAA is a tool which if properly used by law enforcement has safeguards and protects us. I think you’d be the same kind of guy to complain if a plane bombing terrorist got on your flight and slipped thru our security because of some civil liberty you’ve bestowed on him.

    In the criminal law there are MANY Constitutional exigencies that allow for suspension of otherwise Constitutional protections. I can name 10.

    Here’s one— the police under our Constitution have the authority to kick your door down at 3 am without knocking and noticing as required by many statutes. They can do it when they can articulate exigent circumstances that might create loss of evidence by destruction from the terrorists/crooks. That passed Constitutional muster decades ago– there are many many more examples of this. Abuses occur but on the whole it works in changing times. That’s the beauty of this living document we call a Constitution.

    Name 5 people who have been wronged under the new law?

    They don’t exist.

    The constant drone that Pres. Obama has taken away any rights is a joke to those of us who read the case law and understand the Constitution.

    • CalWatchdog says:

      Ted wrote, “The NDAA is a tool which if properly used by law enforcement has safeguards and protects us.” No it isn’t. It’s the American version of the Enabling Acts, allowing the government to do anything, at any time, to anybody. It’s a complete subversion of the Bill of Rights and the rule of law.

      “Here’s one— the police under our Constitution have the authority to kick your door down at 3 am without knocking and noticing as required by many statutes. They can do it when they can articulate exigent circumstances that might create loss of evidence by destruction from the terrorists/crooks.” Yes, when they have a warrant from a court. My father was a district judge in Michigan, 1960-85, and I remember cops coming to our door for him to sign a warrant at 10 pm for a 2 am raid. The next day, he would arraign the accused persons in his court, and assign them court-appointed attorneys if they needed them. A trial would be conducted within a couple of months before a jury, unless a plea bargain was made.

      The NDAA is different. No warrant is needed. No court date the next day. No arraignment. No defense attorneys.

      “Name 5 people who have been wronged under the new law?” The law is new and the abuses will come later. And by definition, a law allowing the government to “disappear” somebody and not tell anybody about it will be impossible to monitor. Maybe “5 people” — five American citizens — already have been “disappeared.”

      Either this country respects our rights and liberties under the Bill of Rights, or we’ve become like the Third World dictatorships our government now is sending drones to. Come to think of it, the government is going to use drones against us, too.

      – John Seiler

  53. Rex the Wonder Dog! says:

    The USA PATRIOT Act and last December’s NDAA shredded the Bill of Rights

    The Patriot Act should be renamd the Banana Republic Act

  54. Rex the Wonder Dog! says:

    I thought Teddy was in time out……..why is he posting, Monday is when his time out ends.

  55. Ted Steele, Prosecutor says:

    LOL Poodle— I think it was your pal beezy that got the old heave ho out here little buddy !

  56. Ted Steele, Prosecutor says:

    I think he insists on using the racist terms and abusive argument.

  57. Ted Steele says:

    John– Like your Dad’s day the statute still has a “return” provision like a wire tap requiring a report back to the court.

    How do you know ANYONE has been disappeared?

    Imn a nation with a fre press unlike the 3rd world if we hear about abuses I would be right there with you. Here nothing is occurring. Like I said, what rights have you lost under this President? Not sure you’ve made the case of any.

    • CalWatchdog says:

      Ted: You’re right. I haven’t lost any rights under this president. All my rights were lost under previous presidents.

      – John Seiler

  58. Ted Steele says:

    John– reread sections 1021 and 1022

  59. Ted Steele says:

    and one more thing……John– the act applies to the specific terrorists and allied groups that did 9-11. You don’t want those folks dragged into fd court like the USC search warrants that your Dad signed, do you??? I don’t.

  60. CalWatchdog says:

    Ted: A good book on the rise of tyranny in America is: “The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice,” by Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Tyranny-Good-Intentions-Constitution/dp/0307396061/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339432744&sr=8-1

  61. The Ted Steele Legal System (tm) says:

    Thanks for the advice but my reading list is already waaaaaay too long!

    I have lost no significant “rights” at all.

    I hear alot of lip service on this notion but I think we continue to live in the freest of nations and continue to enjoy a staggering amount of substantive and almost comical procedural rights.

  62. Rex the Wonder Dog! says:

    The ONLY DORKS who say our rights have not been chipped away, day by day, year by year, are GED educated cops and dirty prosecutors who routinely violate our constitutionals right- Until they get rousted with bogus arrests amnd charges, then they cry like the little wimps they are.

  63. Ted Steele says:

    Poodle—oh my– you can do better than that, or can you?

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