Yes, we can break public-employee pensions

First on a series on public pensions.

Sept. 20, 2012

By Mark Cabaniss

The politicians in charge of “doing something” about the ongoing California pension debacle like to play a little game. It goes like this:  They decry the high costs of pensions that have already been granted, pretend to want to do something to rein in future pension obligations, and then turn their hands up and shrug that there is really nothing they can do about current pensions (including, cough cough, their own) — since, after all, pensions are contracts, and therefore they are protected by the Constitution.

But there is a problem with this self-serving assertion:  Even if politicians’ pensions are contracts protected by the Constitution, they are still breakable.  In pretending otherwise, the politicians are lying.  In other words, merely noting that pensions are contracts protected by the Constitution is not the end of analysis, but only the beginning, for all contracts are breakable, and all constitutional rights are subject to limits.

When, not if, state and local governments begin dishonoring the highest public pensions, there will be, obviously, a huge blizzard of litigation.  And when those cases are heard, some of the following basic concepts of contract law may be applicable.  (Note: My purpose here is not to write a treatise on contract law, nor to predict the course and outcome of future litigation.  My purpose is simply to show the lay person that there are several possible theories under contract law under which governments might be able to reduce the highest existing pensions rather than go bankrupt.).

All contracts are breakable, if you have a legally valid reason for breaking them.  For example, if a used-car salesman sells a car to a 10-year-old, the contract can be broken on the basis that the 10-year-old didn’t have the legal capacity (age) to sign a binding contract in the first place.  And all constitutionally protected rights, including contract rights, are nonetheless limited by finite resources. For example, your right to a fair trial does not mean that the government has to hire the entire Harvard Law School faculty to defend you in your shoplifting case. Society can’t afford it.

Regarding public pensions, the best and most obvious legal ground under contract law to get out of onerous pension obligation may be mistake of fact.  The legal rule goes like this: If you make a contract while holding a belief that isn’t true, you can get out of the contract.  For example, you make a deal to buy a Picasso for a million dollars, but it turns out that the painting is not a Picasso.  You can get out of the deal.  (Under the mistake doctrine, both sides have to be making the same mistake.  If only one side is mistaken and the other side knows the truth, you may still be able to get out of the contract under a different theory, such as fraud; more below.)

Pension spiking

Regarding high public pensions, the mistake that was made was simple, fundamental, and huge:  the supersize pensions that began to appear in the 1990s were justified on the grounds that pension funds “would” generate average annual returns of 7.5 to 8 percent or more into the future, forever.  This has turned out to be, ahem, not true.

The infamous SB 400, that then-Gov. Gray Davis signed into law in 1999, and which gave retroactive pension raises to state employees, including already-retired state employees, was sold by the California Public Employee Retirement System to the Legislature with lie after lie after lie — or “mistake” after “mistake” after “mistake,” if you prefer.  The CalPERS “analysis” that was “presented to” (perpetrated on?) the Legislature implicitly assumed that the Dow Jones Industrial Average would be at 25,000 by 2009, and 28,000,000 by 2099.  On the morning of Sept. 20, it is at 13,556.

Proving the existence of and reliance on the mistake(s) ought to be a lark. After all, a great deal of time, money, and work went into creating the rosy projections that were used to bamboozle government into granting the unsustainable pensions.  Were the mistakes made regarding future stock market returns mutual?  Well, the government certainly made a mistake on behalf of the taxpayers.  How about the public employees?  Who knows?  However, as a practical matter it is very hard to see how they would go in to court and say, “We were not mistaken as to future stock market returns.  We knew full well that the projections were a joke and that CalPERS was lying.”

Performance

The second big legal ground to get out of pensions is impossibility of performance.  If events make it impossible for you to perform the contract, then you can get out of it.  For example, you contract to sell your car, but before you deliver, it is destroyed by lightning.  Regarding pensions, the argument would be simply that the state and local governments have gone bankrupt since the pensions were granted.  In that event, the pensions could be modified to match the ability of government to pay them.

The third possibly applicable doctrine is known in contract law as consideration:  for a contract to be legally binding, there has to be something of value promised, on both sides.  For example, if I promise to give you a million dollars, and you promise to take three breaths between the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. next Tuesday, there is no mutuality of consideration, since I am giving something up and you are not.  The contract is voidable.

In the public pension realm, one obvious place where the consideration doctrine would come into play would be SB 400, the 1999 retroactive pension increase.  Since some of the workers who received retroactive pension increases were already retired, they obviously could not promise or give anything at all in exchange for the money, and indeed they did not.  Therefore, at least in regard to these already retired workers, there was a complete absence of consideration.  (A similar argument can be made not on contract law, but on Article 16 Section 6 of the California Constitution, prohibiting the giving away of public funds.)

A fourth possible ground for breaking managements’ pensions is fraud: If CalPERS or any of the other groups pushing big pensions knew that the pensions would not be self-funding and would require massive infusions of taxpayer cash, and they did not divulge that information, then any such pensions obtained on the basis of such fraudulent disinformation would be voidable.  Moreover, widespread and undisclosed self-dealing might qualify as fraud. For example, CalPERS officials, as public employees, themselves benefitted from the huge pension increases granted in 1999, and they did not disclose to the legislature that they would benefit.

Unconscionability

Another contract doctrine which might be used to break onerous pensions is “unconscionability,” which means simply that a contract is so one-sided that it is just unfair to enforce it against the disadvantaged party.  While normally this doctrine is applied to consumer contracts, some of the factors courts look to in weighing claims of unconscionability — such as whether the parties had equal bargaining power, whether the contract makes a one-sided allocation of risk (for example, where the taxpayers have to pick up the tab, all the tab, in the event that the Dow does not hit 25,000 by 2009, ha-ha) — are applicable to public employee pensions, as well.

Finally, one more area of contract law might be used to break the pensions: lack of capacity to contract.  If you are drunk or insane, for example, you cannot sign a contract to buy a house.  In the public pension context, the lack of capacity would be a little more subtle (maybe; hopefully).  For example, if you are under duress, being threatened to get you to sign a contract, that could qualify as a lack of capacity, since you lack free will.

Steven Greenhut and others have written recently about bullying tactics, including the attempt to frame a city councilman for DUI, being used in Costa Mesa to get local officials to see things the public employees’ way.  Testimony about such incidents could nullify the contracts obtained thereby.

Similarly, if you were being bribed to sign a contract, that too would qualify as a lack of capacity, since you would not be acting in your capacity as a fiduciary to the public, but rather in your private capacity as a criminal.  Another way to look at it is that if you are a manager sitting at a table “negotiating” a pension increase that will benefit not just the parties across the table but yourself as well, you may not be acting within the scope of your employment as a public official, but instead acting on your own behalf.  Therefore, you do not have the legal capacity to act to bind the public to pay for your self-dealing little scheme, since you are not at that moment acting as a public official.   Needless to say, were the courts to start taking bribery and self-dealing seriously, they could nullify a lot of contracts.

To sum up: There are a great many helpful doctrines under contract law that could be used to break onerous public pensions.  These legal arguments are strongest against the very top pensions, because they are the most unconscionable, they are the least possible to continue to pay, and they are the most likely to have been the result of self-dealing or bribery.

Therefore, the legal grounds for attacking the biggest pensions, managements’ pensions, coincide nicely with the public policy grounds of wanting to go after only the largest, most abusive pensions, and not the pensions of the retired school teacher or janitor.

Next article in this series: Breaking public employee pensions: The political path.

Mark Cabaniss is an attorney from Kelseyville. He has worked as a prosecutor and public defender.

103 comments

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  1. Queeg
    Queeg 20 September, 2012, 09:01

    It would be nice to see qualified posters instead of the usual bunker loons spewing stale Fox News gloom and doom!

    Reply this comment
  2. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 09:36

    Hell YEAH!

    Reply this comment
  3. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 09:41

    This is actually a very well written and legally sound article.

    I have always said the inducement of SB 400 by CalTURDS with the bogus ROI predictions were outright fraud, and that could be a solid legal basis for declaring the contract either void, or unenforceable.

    Reply this comment
  4. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 20 September, 2012, 09:42

    While the Markster is sort of correct with his Contracts 1 and Contracts 2 horn book, canned brief summary, he is wisely quick to point out that he is NOT PREDICTING any future litigation results.

    Here’s why:

    There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that any California Superior Court or higher judge is going to find under the theories rendered a factual scenario to “break” the k as Markster likes to say. Not even remotely close.

    Whats funny and of course at once also very sad is that folks like the Markster will be more than happy to pocket the several millions of dollars such nonsense litigation will ring up on the meter. Just like the nonsense [John Moorlach] that cost taxpayers in the OC 5 million cool ones a few years back. After the elected DA, 2 independant law firms and 2 lower courts told [Moorlach] …that the theories were, well, ah….goofy.

    I would have never thought that republicans, kings of commerce, would attack the basic vessel of commerce; the contract, like this. Of course the founders saw all of this comming and inserted a contracts clause to head off parties to contracts, like modern tea baggy repubs, from deciding after execution and performance that obligation was just too darn inconvenient. John Adams was the mainstay on that one! Can you imagine commerce in a post tea baggy world where contracts could be decided after the parties had paritaly peerformed?

    I enjoyed reading the above story Markster– you will give the few non lawyer trolls out here a fun momnent of morning adrenalin, but as you know, nothing more…..

    Reply this comment
  5. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 20 September, 2012, 10:14

    Another excellent and informative article from CWD. This is why I frequent this website. You will never see anything like this published in a daily newspaper, including The Orange County Register, which wastes most of it’s readers time with banal human interest sob stories and feature articles on the best wine to accompany an organic arugula and goat cheese salad. I look forward to the rest of the series. Nicely done!

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 20 September, 2012, 10:33

    Are you ever happy?

    Reply this comment
  7. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 20 September, 2012, 11:17

    I edited Edward Steele’s comments a little bit to remove epithets. Then I removed a post responding to those no-longer-posted epithets.

    Keep it civil, folks.

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  8. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 20 September, 2012, 11:21

    I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve been saying for years that even current state government retirees will not get all their promised pension payments. This article by Mark Cabaniss confirms it. If a government entity goes broke and there’s no more money, then that’s the end. California’s pension promises soon will have the same value as Confederate bonds.

    Just wait till next year’s global economic crash hits. Recessions or Depressions hit about every 4-6 years. The last one hit in 2007, five years ago. We’re due. Then state revenues will drop fast even if Prop. 30 passes.

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  9. Queeg
    Queeg 20 September, 2012, 11:34

    Civility include respect for fellow posters’ steerings and pleads!

    Yes! Steerings…litle nudges toward compassionate enlightenment.

    Reply this comment
  10. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 20 September, 2012, 12:15

    John– I am straining to remember the epithet? But I trust ya.

    Calpers is 244 bil strong as of today—- after revisions in the future payouts they’ll go for years and years……. They take in about 10 b a year and pay out about 11 b—- they have lots of gas in the tank.

    Reply this comment
  11. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 20 September, 2012, 12:41

    Ted: CalPERS might be only 40% funded: http://calpensions.com/2012/03/22/calpers-funding-level-how-low-can-it-go/

    But, if CalPERS is as healthy as you say it is, how about getting rid of the requirement that taxpayers must pick up any shortfall?

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  12. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 20 September, 2012, 12:56

    John– Sadly we allowed that for years and you don’t seem all that happy about it???

    Reply this comment
  13. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 20 September, 2012, 12:58

    …and John…it’s so called unfunded liability is only a liability in the sense that it is all due today— it aint. Like your Dad’s fed. gov. pension it will be paid out or due over time. I don’t buy in to the talking points amigo.

    Reply this comment
  14. Ronald Stein
    Ronald Stein 20 September, 2012, 12:59

    Regarding DEFINED BENEFITS: It’s like walking across the street within the guidelines of the crosswalk and getting hit by a truck, you’re RIGHT but DEAD RIGHT.

    Legally, we may be obligated to pay those DEFINED benefits, but their unsustainability is killing the budget and discouraging new job creation as the entrepreneurs’’ taxes and fees are contributing to paying for those defined entitlements that are not available in the private sector.

    “Defined benefit” programs are lucrative to the recipients, but unsustainable as they are funded by investments that do not get defined rates of returns.

    With the economy and jobs in the doldrums, entrepreneurs should be incentivized to get the job market moving, not dis-incentivized to pay more taxes to fund more government and more defined compensation and benefits to retiring government workers.

    The uneven playing field continues to prosper while new job creation suffers. Everyone needs to be on the same playing field with defined CONTRIBUTIONS only, and no guaranteed retirement compensation and benefits entitlements.

    Reply this comment
  15. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 20 September, 2012, 13:08

    Ronald– Are there any other contracts you’d like to wiggle out of because they are inconvenient?

    Sad to see repub’s lead the charge to eliminate the trust of their word.

    Reply this comment
  16. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 13:31

    There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that any California Superior Court or higher judge is going to find under the theories rendered a factual scenario to “break” the k as Markster likes to say. Not even remotely close.

    LOL, not only is Teddy a Contracts law professor now, he can also read the future.. I LOVE IT 🙂

    Reply this comment
  17. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 13:34

    I edited Edward Steele’s comments a little bit to remove epithets. Then I removed a post responding to those no-longer-posted epithets.
    Keep it civil, folks.
    – John Seiler

    Teddy is pulling a Calpensions.com’er today!

    Teddy, you be nice and I will talk to Ed to try to get you back on CP, but John is serious about you and the sock puppets 😉

    Reply this comment
  18. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 13:38

    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator says:
    John– I am straining to remember the epithet? But I trust ya.
    Calpers is 244 bil strong as of today—-

    Was $240 Billion strong in 2007, so it has less today than 5 years ago in actual funds, and is short $50 billion in ROI since 2007 and still has a $500 billion unfunded liability……If I could only teach Teddy basic math.

    Reply this comment
  19. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 20 September, 2012, 13:57

    Edward Steele wrote: “…and John…it’s so called unfunded liability is only a liability in the sense that it is all due today— it aint. Like your Dad’s fed. gov. pension it will be paid out or due over time. I don’t buy in to the talking points amigo.”

    Presumably you’re talking about me. The only federal pension my father had was Social Security. As a retired Michigan district judge, he also had a state pension. But when the Democratic Legislature passed pension spiking for judges in the late 1990s, Republican Gov. John Engler vetoed it. That’s why the system remained solvent, and is to this day.

    Engler wasn’t perfect, but he was not owned by the unions — unlike Gov. Gray Davis, who signed California’s pension spiking.

    As to the “talking points”: Again, if CalPERS is so solvent, how about letting taxpayers off the hook if it isn’t?

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  20. Douglas
    Douglas 20 September, 2012, 14:01

    John, I think people may misunderstand what you mean by the taxpayer “picking up the shortfall”.

    For years, the “normal cost” of pensions has been about 15% of salary. Typically, in my bargaining unit (BU12), the worker contributes 5% of salary and the state “matches” that with about 10%. The states portion varies from year to year due to market conditions and other actuarial changes. As most people are now aware, for several years, at the turn of the century, the states contribution was near zero.

    So, if I earn $4,000 per month, I pay $200 and the state pays $400.

    Two things have happened recently, first, due to the market losses, an additional payment of about 5% was added to begin paying off the unfunded liability. So the total payment is about 20% of salary. (“Normal” costs plus unfunded liability costs)

    I guess that 5% is the taxpayer “picking up the shortfall”. Except in the most recent contracts, BU 12 agreed to increase the workers share by 5%, so now the worker is paying 10% and the state 10%. Other bargaining units have increased by contributions by 3%, or more.

    In the same contracts, workers (those who have achieved the top of their respective pay scales) received a 5% increase, or 3% in the case of other bargaining units. Note, the 5% pension contribution was deducted beginning with contract ratification, the raise commenced 18 to 24 months later.

    Other than this five percent, which essentially has gone straight toward pension funding, our contracts have had no general wage increases since 2007.

    Until this last recession, employee pension deductions have remained steady at 5%, and the states portion has varied from 0% at the turn of the century, to about 16% (in the early eighties). You might call it picking up the shortfall, but others consider it spreading the costs over a large time period in order to smooth out market fluctuations.

    Obviously the “Powerful Public Employee Unions” either are not as powerful as thought, or they are reasonable, responsible, professional negotiators who realize the financial constraints of the state budget. Most unions have bargained NO raises, except the one which went directly toward pensions, in the last 5 years. This in addition to 15% loss of income for several years.

    So “picking up the shortfall” means an increase (or decrease) in matching funds, sometimes offset by concessions in pay. In the case of state workers, the 5% increase in pension costs must be about $400,000,000 a year (that’s how much was saved by the employee contribution increases.)$400,000,000 is about .2% of the state budget. Probably not enough to cause bankruptcy.

    In local government budgets, where personnel costs are already 80% of a shrinking budget, it may be a different story.

    Although I disagree with some of his opinions, I recommend Girard Miller for a balanced look at public pensions. Myth #6 deals with the subject in this article.

    One caveat: in searching for that article, I just learned Mr. Miller is now taking a position with Orange County Retirement system, so I don’t know if that effects his credibility.

    Reply this comment
  21. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 20 September, 2012, 14:35

    John– I thought your Dad (by reputation by the way a super highly regarded judge) was a Fed judge because you ref’d to him as a District Court Judge a few months ago– I can see that he was not. And– Of course I agree that spiking ought to be unlawful. I am sure your Dad enjoyed his well earned pension for a time after his retirement. He deserved it. As do all other gov workers who toiled under the promise of compensation.

    As do letting taxpayers off the hook— we did for many years– remember??????????????????

    Reply this comment
  22. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 20 September, 2012, 14:45

    All contracts are breakable, if you have a legally valid reason for breaking them
    ————————————–
    My mortgage company did not inform me the value of my home could decrease, can I stop paying them now!

    Reply this comment
  23. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 20 September, 2012, 15:17

    john seiler says,
    As to the “talking points”: Again, if CalPERS is so solvent, how about letting taxpayers off the hook if it isn’t?
    ==============
    For many years our retirement system was superfunded john. Cities,counties,and the state put nothing into the fund,in fact they received rebates. So the taxpayers were off the hook for a long time and still would be had the politicians not spent our retirement money on pet projects and many infrastructure projects!! If you and the taxpayers would have stood up and let them know to keep all that money in the fund things would be much different today. Just like i wish i would have done more to stand up when all the real estate agents and mortgage brokers were raping californians and making 500k a year for doing nothing,except causing the mess we are in today.

    Reply this comment
  24. NTHEOC
    NTHEOC 20 September, 2012, 15:19

    Hey Mark Cabaniss- Bring it on buddy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply this comment
  25. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 20 September, 2012, 15:38

    CalPERS was at 260 billion in 2007, Rex. But, the global economic collapse took care of that. CalPERS does not have a 500 billion dollar unfunded liability! That is the estimated figure for all of the 87 different public pension plans in CA. CalPERS’ unfunded liability is 90 billion.

    Reply this comment
  26. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 15:57

    Dogie- di dyou not get enough of a smnack down yesterday, now yoiu want MORE!!!!

    Happy to lil buddy, read and learn.

    Douglas says:
    John, I think people may misunderstand what you mean by the taxpayer “picking up the shortfall”.
    For years, the “normal cost” of pensions has been about 15% of salary.

    WRONG, in the case of public safety it is 75%-over 100% of salary using a 7.75% discounted rate, use a T-bill rate and it is easily over 200% of salary.

    Typically, in my bargaining unit (BU12), the worker contributes 5% of salary and the state “matches” that with about 10%. The states portion varies from year to year due to market conditions and other actuarial changes. As most people are now aware, for several years, at the turn of the century, the states contribution was near zero.
    The majority of gov workers have THEIR portion “picked up” by the gov, so once again this is incorrect, and the amount of off by a counytry mile, 15% is short by abpout 65-90 basis points.

    So, if I earn $4,000 per month, I pay $200 and the state pays $400.
    Two things have happened recently, first, due to the market losses, an additional payment of about 5% was added to begin paying off the unfunded liability.
    Wrong, there has been NO increase to pay off unfunded liabilities, which is about half a billion right now.

    So the total payment is about 20% of salary. (“Normal” costs plus unfunded liability costs)
    Again, it is 50% to over 100% in public safety jobs.

    I guess that 5% is the taxpayer “picking up the shortfall”. Except in the most recent contracts, BU 12 agreed to increase the workers share by 5%, so now the worker is paying 10% and the state 10%. Other bargaining units have increased by contributions by 3%, or more.
    Taxpayers are picking po $500 billion, not a measly few milion you want sheeple to buy into. You and teddy must have taken math together, and both failed.

    In the same contracts, workers (those who have achieved the top of their respective pay scales) received a 5% increase, or 3% in the case of other bargaining units. Note, the 5% pension contribution was deducted beginning with contract ratification, the raise commenced 18 to 24 months later.
    Public safety jobs, on average have risen just under 10% per year for the lats decade.While pensiosn have been increased by 50%, and more when you add in the lower retirement age of 50.

    Other than this five percent, which essentially has gone straight toward pension funding, our contracts have had no general wage increases since 2007.
    Except COLA’s every single year, while private sector pay has declined, below what it was in 2000.

    Obviously the “Powerful Public Employee Unions” either are not as powerful as thought, or they are reasonable, responsible, professional negotiators who realize the financial constraints of the state budget.

    Hhahahahahahhahahah………………OMG, I just peed my pants on that whopper, you missed your calling as a stand up comedian!!! 🙂

    Most unions have bargained NO raises, except the one which went directly toward pensions, in the last 5 years. This in addition to 15% loss of income for several years.
    Again, public safety has seen salary nearly double (97%) in the last decade while their pensions were increased by 50%.

    So “picking up the shortfall” means an increase (or decrease) in matching funds, sometimes offset by concessions in pay. In the case of state workers, the 5% increase in pension costs must be about $400,000,000 a year (that’s how much was saved by the employee contribution increases.)$400,000,000 is about .2% of the state budget. Probably not enough to cause bankruptcy.
    Please take a math class. .2 would be $1.8 BILLION.

    BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 😉

    Reply this comment
  27. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 15:58

    CalPERS does not have a 500 billion dollar unfunded liability!
    I know, it is OVER $500 billion by now………………

    Reply this comment
  28. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 16:00

    NTHEOC says:
    My mortgage company did not inform me the value of my home could decrease, can I stop paying them now!

    That makes no sense whatsoever ntheoc.

    Reply this comment
  29. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 16:02

    Just like i wish i would have done more to stand up when all the real estate agents and mortgage brokers were raping californians and making 500k a year for doing nothing,except causing the mess we are in today.

    M next door neightbor was a “mortgage broker” and she was only 17 y/o, and she made $1.5 million her first year-PART TIMR!!!! $5 million her second year and she was the lowest paid broker at her firm of 500……..true story NTHE OC 😉

    Reply this comment
  30. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 16:10

    John– I thought your Dad (by reputation by the way a super highly regarded judge) was a Fed judge because you ref’d to him as a District Court Judge a few months ago–

    In MI District Court is like Limited Superior/Municipal court in CA, MI Circuit Court is like CA unlimited Supeior Court…. small claims, low dollar civil, traffic and misdemeanors go to District Court and unlimited civil and felonies go to Circuit Court.

    Reply this comment
  31. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 20 September, 2012, 16:15

    Gee Poodle– Thanks— and, of course you’re wrong. In Calif. we still have limited and unlimited jurisdictions in both civil and criminal but we call then Superior since the cosolidation. But, thanks for playing!

    Reply this comment
  32. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 20 September, 2012, 16:15

    LOL– please excuse yet another Poodle melt down! 0 for 10 ™ !

    Reply this comment
  33. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 16:53

    Oh Teddy, you are dumber than a bag of rocks. In CA there is NOW ONLY SUPERIOR COURT, there is no more municipal court, has been that way since 1999, but there are two divisions in Superior Court today, unlimted is the regular superior court for felony and civil cases over $25K, and limited is the old municipla court for misdemenaors and cases under $25K……pretty soon you need to start paying me tuition for the schooling I am providing you with 😉

    Reply this comment
  34. Queeg
    Queeg 20 September, 2012, 19:22

    What a sick sick demeaning post!

    Reply this comment
  35. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 20 September, 2012, 19:32

    Can one actually get a Broker’s License at the age of 17?

    Reply this comment
  36. Queeg
    Queeg 20 September, 2012, 19:50

    Try 4th and Broadway in Los Angeles.

    Reply this comment
  37. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 20 September, 2012, 19:50

    @ Rex: From “CalPERS Responds”, Aug. 23, 2012:

    The Wall Street Journal opinion piece “Another California Brainstorm,” published on August 21 contains a significant error. They state that the unfunded liability for the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) is $290 billion. This is incorrect. The unfunded liability is in fact approximately $90 billion, a significant difference. We are asking for a correction and strongly recommend better fact checking in the future.

    Reply this comment
  38. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 20 September, 2012, 20:09

    Poodle– be careful– I may have to re designate you as 0 for 11 ™ if you keep making mistakes!

    As I told you, since the consolidation there is one Superior Court. But, of course you don’t have the details right. There is limited civil and unlimited civil and limited and unlimited crim. The civil breaks into small claims and lower jd civil and unlimited for the big cases. In criminal the prelims (felonies) are done down in limited with the infractions and misd. cases, the fel jury trials are done upstairs in unlimited.

    Sorry little buddy.lol….but again– thanks for playing! Press hard, four copies, thanks for violating!!!!!!!!!

    NOW hurry and respond!

    Reply this comment
  39. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 20:47

    SeeSaw says:
    @ Rex: From “CalPERS Responds”, Aug. 23, 2012…

    LOL… I stopped reading right there seesaw, CalTURS is NOT a source of factual information.

    Here, this is FACTUAL;

    SIEPR report shows California’s local pensions underfunded by $200 billion

    The study by public policy lecturer and former state lawmaker Joe Nation follows an earlier report estimating the state’s pension plans running deficits as high as $500 billion.

    http://news.stanford.edu/news/2010/november/nation-pension-report-111810.html

    Reply this comment
  40. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 20:50

    Poodle– be careful– I may have to re designate you as 0 for 11 ™ if you keep making mistakes!
    As I told you, since the consolidation there is one Superior Court.

    As I said earlier Teddy, there is just ONE Superior Court in CA, the Municipal Court merged with Superior in 1999, they/Municipal Court are now referred to as LIMITED Superior Court.

    I know your pea sized brain has trouble with math, and the judicial system too it appears.

    Teddy, one last thing, you owe me $5K in tuition for your civil and criminal law and procedure classes today 🙂

    Reply this comment
  41. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 20 September, 2012, 20:52

    In criminal the prelims (felonies) are done down in limited with the infractions and misd. cases, the fel jury trials are done upstairs in unlimited.

    teddy, you are so DUMB!!!!!
    Prelimss are done in UNLIMITED Superior Court all the time…………………Teddy, go to court on a traffic infraction and get some real trial experience then report back troll miester 😉

    Reply this comment
  42. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 20 September, 2012, 21:16

    You hold it, Rex! I will trust CalPERS before I trust Stanford and its Study, which was done using outdated research methods. Further, CalPERS butters my bread. What do Joe Nation and Stanford do for you?

    Reply this comment
  43. Queeg
    Queeg 20 September, 2012, 22:57

    Shun him

    Reply this comment
  44. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 21 September, 2012, 06:26

    Poodle—you have not got a clue….God Bless ya little buddy.

    Reply this comment
  45. eatingdogfood
    eatingdogfood 21 September, 2012, 06:28

    Blame the Unions and the Democrats; Stupid !!!

    Reply this comment
  46. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 21 September, 2012, 06:30

    Well…that’s it. Sorry. Preliminary hearings are done in limited crim, the old muni. court. Since you doubled down on that I have no choice but to re designate you as….

    0 for 11 ™ Sorry little buddy…….you earned it!

    Oh my– now—– back to shun mode for awhile!

    Reply this comment
  47. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 21 September, 2012, 07:26

    Oh man, still clinging to the lies…sort of like CalTURDS beinbg fully funded!!! WRONG prelims are done by experienced felony trial judges Babty Einstein, do you REALLY want a misdemeanor judge doing a 2 week prelim on a death penalty felony case>>>??????????????/

    Don’t answer, you don’t know the answer and I am tired of hearing your nonsense.

    Reply this comment
  48. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 21 September, 2012, 08:00

    LOL poor poodle—- you have no idea—it’s ok—– carry on little fella!

    Reply this comment
  49. Queeg
    Queeg 21 September, 2012, 08:31

    Shun him now

    Reply this comment
  50. Justin Wonder
    Justin Wonder 21 September, 2012, 09:18

    While the banter with Rex is somewhat entertaining, the author omits very important information is his first one of many diatribes.
    For example, the author alleges fraud, but omits the expeditions in section 1090 of the CalGovCode. There is NO fraud.
    The author suggest mistake of fact implying with have bumbling just fell off the turnip truck representative. When, in fact we have well educated elected representative (many, if not a majority with law degrees, some the PhDs.) their professional staff,and hired outside INDEPENDENT experts. There was NO mistake of fact. Unless the author is implying folks who have earned JD’s and PhD’s are dumb.
    The author attempts to lay blame on CALPERS. But CALPERS has a fiduciary duty to its members and adminsters the pension fund for their benefit. Benefits themselves are negotiated at the bargaining table, codified and enacted by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor. CalPERS does NOT set the formulas how how pension benefits are calculated or benefits paid.

    Over my adult investing years there has been one recurring phrase told to me so many times I’ve lost count…”past performance is not an indicator of future success” yet the author says (in the comments) there were times when the pension fund was super funded, implying the so-called payment holidays taken were acceptable. In hindsight we now know that kind of thinking is and was wrong, and should have never happened. In fact recently passed legislation makes payment holidays illegal.
    On a prospective basis both employer and employee will share equally in the costs of “normal” pension benefits and that’s both good and fair to both sides.

    Reply this comment
  51. Tough Love
    Tough Love 21 September, 2012, 10:19

    Mark, Another perspective on SB400:

    When CalPERS stated that the SB400 increases would not cost anything, those with a modicum of common sense knew how absurd that statement was.

    OF COURSE, the 50% added benefits had a “cost”, it’s just that they were projecting that (with great self-interest) investment returns would cover that cost.

    Well …. with full funding over a worker’s 25-30 year career costing a level annual 30-60% of pay depending on the richness of the formula and Plan provisions (YES, that’s correct), the Taxpayers generally pay 80-90% of that 30-60% total. This being the case, and since (by the very structure of DB Plans) TAXPAYERS are responsible for making up any earnings shortfalls, shouldn’t THEY be the ones to benefit from greater than expected investment gains ?

    In essence, what SB400 did was say that we (calPERS) will project (long into the future) gains sufficient to cover a 50% increase in benefits, and then (even though TAXPAYERS are paying for 80-90% of it), use all of those projected gains FOR THE WORKERS’ benefit (ala the SB400 increase) …. all while assuming that if the high gains don’t pan out, then Taxpayers will be on the hook for the increased benefits anyway.

    Now (not being an attorney), I don’t know if this meets the “legal” definition of “fraud”, but it certainly meets the common-sense definition … and hopefully will be an avenue to significantly reduce the promised pensions by reversing the increment associated with SB400 … and for retirees as well as actives.

    Reply this comment
  52. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 21 September, 2012, 10:26

    TL— That’s not fraud in any jurisdiction in any country on the planet. sorry.

    Reply this comment
  53. Hondo
    Hondo 21 September, 2012, 10:32

    There is no more money left to steal.
    A judge may have to rule that the govt. will have to honor the contract with the employees even if that govt. has to shut down all services to pay the service workers. When a judge sees he has to shut down nearly all services to a city, to honor the union contract, what will he do?
    A city in Pennsylvania already went thru this. The mayor cut everyones pay to minimin wage because he had no more money. The judge told him to honor the contract, but how. The city was broke.
    If you are offered something too good to be true, most likely it is. And the unions were promised idiotic amounts of money based on the lie that the country would go thru the greatest economic expansion in the history of the planet earth times ten.
    Hondo…..

    Reply this comment
  54. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 21 September, 2012, 12:59

    TL— That’s not fraud in any jurisdiction in any country on the planet. sorry.

    Actually it is textbook FRAUD in the inducement-go back to GED cop school teddy-get educated, I am tired of schooling you son 😉

    Reply this comment
  55. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 21 September, 2012, 13:02

    JW, thanks for the nonsense post of teh century!

    For example, the author alleges fraud, but omits the expeditions in section 1090 of the CalGovCode. There is NO fraud.
    The author suggest mistake of fact implying with have bumbling just fell off the turnip truck representative. When, in fact we have well educated elected representative (many, if not a majority with law degrees, some the PhDs.) their professional staff,and hired outside INDEPENDENT experts. There was NO mistake of fact. Unless the author is implying folks who have earned JD’s and PhD’s are dumb.
    The author attempts to lay blame on CALPERS. But CALPERS has a fiduciary duty to its members and adminsters the pension fund for their benefit. Benefits themselves are negotiated at the bargaining table, codified and enacted by the legislature and signed into law by the Governor. CalPERS does NOT set the formulas how how pension benefits are calculated or benefits paid

    You’re dumber tan Teddy Just Wondering.

    Reply this comment
  56. john moore
    john moore 21 September, 2012, 15:49

    The problem for cities like Vallejo and Pacific Grove,et al is that even if you eliminated pensions going forward, the cities are mathematically certain to go broke, including the inability to pay pensions. Why? Because unfunded deficits in a pension plan always earn zero. And the deficits grow compounding at 7.50% per annum. Since 2002(adoption of [email protected] with retroactivity), Pacific Grove has earned a 55% to 60% deficit including pension bonds. So only 40% to 45% of the pension fund earns anything. Last year it earned only 1%. Add the effect of loss smoothing and over valuing of assets as allowed by CalPERS and you are on the road to financial hell. Except for unfunded deficits and pension bond costs, Pacific Grove would be financially healthy. As it is, it has laid off about 50% of it’s employees with the worst to come. It is in a state of eternal pension debt.

    Reply this comment
  57. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 21 September, 2012, 17:25

    The problem for cities like Vallejo and Pacific Grove,et al is that even if you eliminated pensions going forward, the cities are mathematically certain to go broke, including the inability to pay pensions

    Earth to John Moore, Vallejo ALREADY went broke paying pensions, getting rid of them gets you going just one way-up from BK.

    Reply this comment
  58. Tough Love
    Tough Love 21 September, 2012, 18:30

    But Rex, Vallejo’s City Council (due to a continued alliance with the Unions, and threats from CalPERS) did NOT reduce their pensions (even for FUTURE service), although retiree healthcare was severely curtailed.

    My guess is that (due to the “pass” on pension reform, they will be back in bankruptcy in the not too distant future.

    The REAL test case is the 2 Bond insurer’s challenge to Stockton’s bankruptcy filing. If the 2 insurers win their argument that pensions (for current workers and retirees) must be reduced, it will be the game-changer California’s Taxpayers have been preying for.

    Reply this comment
  59. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 21 September, 2012, 18:49

    LOL— omg I enjoy skimming the troll’s paradise!

    Reply this comment
  60. Tough Love
    Tough Love 21 September, 2012, 19:45

    Ted, Have you looked in the mirror lately ?

    YOU are the consummate “troll”.

    Reply this comment
  61. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 21 September, 2012, 21:22

    My guess is that (due to the “pass” on pension reform, they will be back in bankruptcy in the not too distant future.

    of course they will, that is why the police union “bargained” for indemnification in BK court if it does happen again.

    Reply this comment
  62. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 21 September, 2012, 21:22

    Ted, Have you looked in the mirror lately ?

    YOU are the consummate “troll”.
    =======
    LOL…Teddy will never recover 😉

    Reply this comment
  63. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 22 September, 2012, 06:50

    TinyLOVE—– Of course I am a troll— this entire blog is 99% trollage little buddy, you just getting that? Oh my! Try to keep up…..It’s a pleasure to post our here with trolls such as yourself!

    Hey, on another note—- re your comment on Calif. tax payers “preying”—–lol freudian slip?

    Reply this comment
  64. Tough Love
    Tough Love 22 September, 2012, 08:51

    Teddy …. and YOU get the prize …. was wondering if anyone would catch the humor.

    It’s about time the Taxpayers started “preying” on those who have “preyed” on them for so long.

    Reply this comment
  65. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 22 September, 2012, 10:53

    CalPERS website, “CalPERS Responds”, September 13,2012:
    “CalPERS Outlines Legal Position in Municipal Bankruptcies”.

    Reply this comment
  66. Tough Love
    Tough Love 22 September, 2012, 11:50

    SeeSaw,

    Asking CalPERS about such issues is like asking a fox to guard the hen-house.

    Reply this comment
  67. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 September, 2012, 14:40

    Seesaw, if you want to use comedy like CalTURDS responds with propaganda, you go to the Laugh Factory wuth your “routine”!

    http://www.laughfactory.com/

    Reply this comment
  68. Douglas
    Douglas 22 September, 2012, 18:36

    TL. There was no 50% added benefit.

    It does not cost a “level annual 30-60% of pay”, whatever that is.

    And

    Taxpayers do not pay 80-90% of the total.

    Where do you get your misinformation?

    Reply this comment
  69. Tough Love
    Tough Love 22 September, 2012, 19:23

    Douglas,

    (1) For some, it was a 50% increase (e.g., from 2% to 3% per year of service).

    (2) Yes, to fully fund the promised pensions (using what financial economists feel are appropriate assumptions) over the working career of the employee (hence NOT leaving a portion for FUTURE generations to pay for) does indeed require a level annual total contribution of 30%-60% of pay.

    (3) Of the 30%-60%, the employees contribute 3%-10% of pay with the balance coming from taxpayers. That’s the 80-90% share that taxpayers pay for. The Unions like to BS that “interest” pays for most of the cost. Well ask any economist … that’s BS, as interest follows principal, and with 80-90% of the total contributions coming from taxpayers, then 80-90% of the interest is being earned on TAXPAYER contributions and would have stayed in the Taxpayers’ pocket in the absence of the need for such high contributions … which are in turn so high BECAUSE the promised benefits are so grossly excessive.

    Reply this comment
  70. Douglas
    Douglas 22 September, 2012, 20:17

    The 2% at 50 formula graduated to 2.7% at 55. So a safety worker who retired at 55 with 33 years service would receive 90% of salary.

    Under the 3% at 50 formula, guess how much a 55 year old safety worker with 33 years service would receive? Correct answer, 90% of salary, a zero percent increase.

    Yes, it is true that a safey worker retiring at 50 would have a 50% increased formula, but those are extremely rare . According to CalPERS, about 1% of retirees retire with a full (90%) pension.

    Your statement, as in others I have read, implies that all, or most formulas increased by 50%. I retired at 63 with 37 years, and the new formula increased my pension by less than 4%, which was more than offset by the lack of any COLAs since 2007.

    Today, my former co-workers are contributing 10% of their salary to pensions and the state (taxpayers) are contributing 10%. This includes 14% ‘normal’ pension cost and about 5% which goes toward the unfunded liability.

    I realize that interest follows principle, but only the principle came out of the taxpayers pocket.

    While working, I also funded a separate personal retirement account with 5% of my salary (no employer match). I trust you do not claim that that account, principle plus earnings, was a cost to the taxpayer because it ‘followed’ my earnings, supplied by taxpayers?

    Reply this comment
  71. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 22 September, 2012, 20:27

    Douglas— fyi– you’re arguing with a dim and broken record—–Ted

    Reply this comment
  72. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 September, 2012, 21:37

    . There was no 50% added benefit.
    You need to re-take 3rd grade math;
    http://www.mathplayground.com/

    It does not cost a “level annual 30-60% of pay”, whatever that is.
    For “publisd safety” is is over 100% of salary to cover pensions costs using true discount rates.

    Taxpayers do not pay 80-90% of the total.
    Taxpayers actually pay more, usually 100% with the employees puck up.

    Reply this comment
  73. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 September, 2012, 21:37

    . There was no 50% added benefit.
    You need to re-take 3rd grade math;
    http://www.mathplayground.com/

    It does not cost a “level annual 30-60% of pay”, whatever that is.
    For “publisd safety” is is over 100% of salary to cover pensions costs using true discount rates.

    Taxpayers do not pay 80-90% of the total.
    Taxpayers actually pay more, usually 100% with the employees puck up.

    Reply this comment
  74. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 22 September, 2012, 21:42

    The 2% at 50 formula graduated to 2.7% at 55. So a safety worker who retired at 55 with 33 years service would receive 90% of salary.
    Actually SB400 raised the multiplier from 2% to 3%, an increase of 50%.

    Under the 3% at 50 formula, guess how much a 55 year old safety worker with 33 years service would receive? Correct answer, 90% of salary, a zero percent increase.
    Under a [email protected] pension no one works until age 55, they retire at age 50, hence the “50” of [email protected]

    Yes, it is true that a safey worker retiring at 50 would have a 50% increased formula, but those are extremely rare . According to CalPERS, about 1% of retirees retire with a full (90%) pension.
    Extrememly rare. yes, life guards, milk insprectors, probation officers and 19 other job classifications get it, I guess in trough feeder land thta is “extremely rare”. Sort of like saying the Ford Tarus and Toyota Crocell are extremely rare cars…………

    Your statement, as in others I have read, implies that all, or most formulas increased by 50
    They ALL increased substantially.
    Go home troughie, you can’t hang here with the Big Boys 🙂

    Reply this comment
  75. Tough Love
    Tough Love 22 September, 2012, 22:09

    Quoting Douglas …”Today, my former co-workers are contributing 10% of their salary to pensions and the state (taxpayers) are contributing 10%. This includes 14% ‘normal’ pension cost and about 5% which goes toward the unfunded liability.”

    If you read my comment carefully, I said the total cost is a level annual 30-60% of pay (depending on the richness of the formula and Plan provisions) to (a) fully fund over the working career on the employee, not a longer period, and (b) using assumptions that financial economists (not CalPERS) believe to be appropriate.

    I stand by that statement. The REASON California is in the financial rat-hole with HUGE underfunded liabilities is because the 10% taxpayers are currently contributing is woefully inadequate to appropriately fund these extraordinarily generous promised pensions. And CLEARLY, the REASON CalPERS low-balls the funding is because they KNOW that calling for full & appropriate funding would require such a huge tax increase or reduction in services that Taxpayers would DEMAND a reduction to pensions of CURRENT workers & retirees …. and we both know that CalPERS has morphed into nothing but an advocate for the workers (and doesn’t give a crap about the Taxpayers).

    You also said …”I realize that interest follows principle, but only the principle came out of the taxpayers pocket.” Nonsense. Ask an economics professor.

    Reply this comment
  76. Tough Love
    Tough Love 22 September, 2012, 22:10

    Ted, at 73 , your dimming a lot quicker than I.

    Reply this comment
  77. Tough Love
    Tough Love 22 September, 2012, 22:10

    And yes Ted, it’s “you’re” not “your”.

    Reply this comment
  78. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 22 September, 2012, 22:52

    That is the CalPERS General Counsel’s words–I did not ask CalPERS for anything. TL and Rex, I doubt either of you have read it–you better if you think the bond insurers are going to win out over the pensioners of Stockton.

    Reply this comment
  79. Tough Love
    Tough Love 22 September, 2012, 23:23

    Seesaw, If the 2 bond insurers lose, the cost of municipal financing in CA will go through the roof … hastening it’s demise.

    And if they win, it will open the floodgates for similar bankruptcy’s in the many other cities and towns in fiscal distress … as they will now be able to fix the 800 lb gorilla … and haircut the unjust, unsustainable pensions for both actives and retirees.

    Reply this comment
  80. Douglas
    Douglas 23 September, 2012, 01:09

    Thanks, Ted.

    I rather enjoy watching the dog make a fool of himself.

    Reply this comment
  81. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 23 September, 2012, 09:04

    I hear ya Doug…….it’s a dull-normal mantra though.

    T Lovey—–73? I was 73 ten years ago kid. LOL—- Eat your vegees—- you might make it yet!

    Reply this comment
  82. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 23 September, 2012, 09:36

    Dougie, I spanked you inbto the stone ages, and you knwo it!

    Teddy, I can paypal you some $$$ if you run short on your current supply of “Depends” 🙂

    Reply this comment
  83. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 23 September, 2012, 09:41

    seesaw, CalTURDS talking points are as laughable as your comments that public pensions are not a scam. Your link to CalTURDS Responds are even funnier, as it is just self-serving BS.

    The federal court is going to rule for the bond insurers, and you can take that to the bank baby.

    The writing is already on the wall. The Article I Judges have ALREADY shut down post employment health-care, which is based on the same exact principles as the pensions are-can you NOT see the writing on the wall-it is like a GIANT billboard aimed at trough feeders, and why the Article I judge did that?????????????????????

    BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :

    Reply this comment
  84. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 23 September, 2012, 09:42

    If Teddy is 73 y/o then I think he is seesaw’s hubby 🙂

    Reply this comment
  85. Tough Love
    Tough Love 23 September, 2012, 11:24

    Ted,

    83 … that explains why you post such nonsense.

    Reply this comment
  86. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 23 September, 2012, 12:35

    So I guess you’re saying t lovey that an older person such as myself is prone to what? That sir is the kind of intolerance that makes few take your reactionary posts seriously.

    Reply this comment
  87. Tough Love
    Tough Love 23 September, 2012, 13:00

    Ted, Prone to dementia maybe ?

    Reply this comment
  88. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 23 September, 2012, 13:56

    Teddy is getting destroyed 🙂

    Reply this comment
  89. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 23 September, 2012, 16:12

    T Lovey— It’s typical that ultra right conservatives like yourself, and, well I guess the folks who run this blog, would make or condone age discriminatory remarks of such low and mean spirit. I guess you feel that your argument needs the help.

    Pathetic.

    And when you folks lose this election in Nov. the illuminati of your party will sit around the naval gazing fire and wonder how they have managed to alienate so many folks.

    You go…..”patriot”!

    Reply this comment
  90. Tough Love
    Tough Love 23 September, 2012, 16:24

    Ted (nurse, doctor, assoc. professor …. chief nut case) .. get it ?

    Reply this comment
  91. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 23 September, 2012, 16:33

    No T Lovey– I have no idea what you’re talking about except that you have made comments about my being 80 and therefore demented. In any civilized circle comments like that are considered pretty ignorant and hate filled. Maybe you come from somewhere else, but it is pathetic.

    Reply this comment
  92. Tough Love
    Tough Love 23 September, 2012, 16:43

    Ted, quoting from your above response to Douglas (referring to me) … “you’re arguing with a dim and broken record”

    If you can’t “take it” don’t “give it”.

    Reply this comment
  93. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 23 September, 2012, 17:22

    I know what you said. And repeat, it’s sleepy. There just isn’t any place in argument for hate pal. “Can’t take it” isn’t an excuse for ignorance. Have you ever noticed the professional writers out here on the blog NEVER engage in that kind of low talk? Ever wondered why? It’s not because they’re not as rightie as you. They just come to the conversation with more dignity and class little buddy.

    Reply this comment
  94. Tough Love
    Tough Love 23 September, 2012, 18:44

    Ted, Lil buddy as you like to say …. My comments on the need and justification for pension reform are accurate and to the point. You, are the other hand are a “taker”, and being 83, likely a taker of way more than you should have received due to our politicians selling out (the Taxpayers) for your Union’s money. Well, I’m trying to limit the future takers, such as yourself.

    Sorry, but your fantasy diversion to hate and insults doesn’t work with me. The focus will remain on MATERIAL pension reform.

    Reply this comment
  95. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 23 September, 2012, 19:10

    T Lovey– You can ignore your hate filled labels towards me about age and dementia now that you’ve been called out. I am not surprised that you want to change the subject. Typical.

    You’re sad.

    Reply this comment
  96. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 23 September, 2012, 21:59

    Seesaw’ hubby?!!!!! Rex, don’t you know that there are thousands of senior citizens in my age category in this state, and they aren’t all pension enviers, like you. I am 76–proud to admit it–and I have no idea what age, “Ted” is.

    Reply this comment
  97. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 23 September, 2012, 23:07

    Ted, Lil buddy as you like to say …. My comments on the need and justification for pension reform are accurate and to the point. You, are the other hand are a “taker”, and being 83, likely a taker of way more than you should have received due to our politicians selling out (the Taxpayers) for your Union’s money. Well, I’m trying to limit the future takers, such as yourself.
    Sorry, but your fantasy diversion to hate and insults doesn’t work with me. The focus will remain on MATERIAL pension reform.

    Teddy is melting down in a major way 🙂 he maybe demented, his comments are like those of a spoiled child who, when he doesn’t get his way, starts to cry and pout…………BTW Teddy- Nov 6 Clown gtes his pension tax creamed, and I will be 18-0, undefeated!

    Reply this comment
  98. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 23 September, 2012, 23:08

    seesaw, you said you were 72 a few days ago-how many ages are you????

    Reply this comment
  99. Ted Steele, Associate Prof.
    Ted Steele, Associate Prof. 24 September, 2012, 06:44

    0 for 10 so far and soon to be 0 for 11 ™

    lol

    love it.

    Reply this comment
  100. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 24 September, 2012, 14:38

    I said I retired at 72. I am one age.

    Reply this comment
  101. Johnnie Ballgame
    Johnnie Ballgame 26 September, 2012, 12:08

    The legal analysis is simple and clear:

    UNDER THE SUPREMACY CLAUSE OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION, FEDERAL LAW PREVAILS OVER ANY CONFLICTING STATE LAW.

    Bankruptcy law is federal law.

    Contract law is state law.

    The California Constitution is state law.

    Regarding pension contracts and bankruptcy, there is a clear conflict between bankruptcy law (federal law that allows contracts to be modified or terminated) and contract law (state law). There is also a clear conflict between bankruptcy law (federal law that allows contracts to be modified or terminated) and the California Constitution (state law).

    ACCORDINGLY, BANKRUPTCY LAW PREVAILS OVER ANY CONFLICTING PROVISION OF CONTRACT LAW AND THE CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION.

    It’s time to fight firefighters with bankruptcy.
    File bankruptcy.
    Modify pension contracts (ten cents on the dollar sounds good) or terminate pension contracts (sounds better).

    Of course, the filthy rich firefighters’ union will use their war chest of money (filled with union dues funded by salaries and pensions funded by taxpayers) to hire an army of super-expensive lawyers to file appeals and lawsuits asserting absurd academic arguments based on state sovereignty, federalism, perversion of commandeering doctrine, blah, blah, blah, which will further burden our insanely overburdened courts and ultimately fail.

    Reply this comment
  102. The DA
    The DA 28 September, 2012, 17:39

    This article reads like a law school examination answer. Yes, Mr. Cabaniss has covered all the bases on how to attack a contract, and should receive an A+ for his efforts. However, one would have to torture logic to believe for one second that any of the arguments presented (and nicely so) would have a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding in the real world.

    Re the bankruptcy analysis by Johnnie Ballgame, I tend to agree. However, wouldn’t the ten cents on the dollar salvation also apply across the board to all state contracts, including the salaries of current state employees? How would this solve the problem?

    Reply this comment
  103. Leonarda Kime
    Leonarda Kime 29 January, 2016, 00:32

    Wow… what a great post! I also can be helpful here 🙂 Merging files is super easy with AltoMerge. Try it on your own here http://goo.gl/Ms4ebj and you’ll make sure how it’s simple.

    Reply this comment

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