CA Court Rejects Pension Reform

John Seiler:

“No matter whether the country follows the flag or not, the Supreme Court follows the election returns,” is a famous saying by humorist Finley Peter Dunne. He was speaking about the U.S. Supreme Court. But the it applies applies to the California Supreme Court.

And California Supreme Court also follow the battles over pensions, because its own pensions are affected.

So the following, as reported in the Orange County Register, is not surprising:

The County of Orange’s years-long fight to overturn the its generous “3 percent at 50″ pension plan for sheriff’s deputies came to an abrupt halt Wednesday when the California Supreme Court refused to hear its appeal.

The contentious case had stretched into its third year of litigation. A win by the county could have saved as much as $500 million, according to Supervisor John Moorlach, who pushed the lawsuit to a final legal answer.

Losing the fight means the county will now have to pay its own $2 million-plus legal bill and may be on the hook for the deputies’ legal bills as well.

The deputies’ union has pledged to “vigorously” pursue having the county pay their legal costs to fight the suit – meaning the county could be liable for nearly $5 million in costs.

“John Moorlach owes a lot of people apologies, starting with his colleagues on the Board of Supervisors for allowing Mario Mainero to present a legal argument that was flawed from the start (and) that cost the taxpayers $2.5 million,” said Wayne Quint, president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs.

Moorlach also owes the retired deputies who have had the legal challenge hanging over their heads for the past several years, Quint said. “Most importantly he owes an apology to the taxpayers.”

Actually, it’s Quint and the other union bosses who owe taxpayers an apology for gouging them out of an incredible $500 million in undeserved pension costs that allow county workers to retire in Lucullan luxury. The costs well could push Orange County into another bankruptcy should the national economy slam into another recession.

The whole mess occurred a decade ago when the O.C. Board of Supervisors, all Republicans, goosed pensions an unsustainable amount to make happy local government-worker unions and their employees — the taxpayers be damned.

One of the pension spikers was Supervisor Todd Spitzer, later an assemblyman, who now again is running for supervisor. He’s running against another former assemblyman, Chuck DeVore. As I noted last month, DeVore is making the Spitzer pension-spiking vote the central campaign issue.

Despite this obviously biased and venal state Supreme Court decision, the pension issue isn’t going away. These pensions will be cut — as will all other pensions, including those of the “justices” — because there simply isn’t enough money to pay for them.

23 comments

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  1. larry 62
    larry 62 14 April, 2011, 13:03

    Send the Sacramento KIngs to O.C.They will save the county from bankruptcy. lol

    Reply this comment
  2. David from Oceanside
    David from Oceanside 14 April, 2011, 13:36

    I suggest Sacramento vote in a new 401K tax on Californian’s to fund public employee pensions. Public employees should not lose a moments sleep in worry that their pensions will not be fully funded.

    Reply this comment
  3. Semi-Interested Non-Party
    Semi-Interested Non-Party 15 April, 2011, 06:56

    Y’all realize it’s stuff like this that makes the rest of the country think you’re nuts, right?

    Just embrace the fail. You’ve no escape now…

    Reply this comment
  4. Eric
    Eric 15 April, 2011, 07:56

    There’s an easy way around this tyrannical court. Levy a 100% tax on public pensions above a certain amount.

    Money returns to the treasury. Problem solve.

    Reply this comment
  5. ExExZonie
    ExExZonie 15 April, 2011, 08:31

    @Larry ROFL!!!

    What was the lesson from Vallejo? They had to pay anyway, didn’t they? All I can see is CA maneuvering to steal people’s wealth in addition to their income. Didn’t Jerry-rig Brown imply that California had a lot of wealth, enough to more than compensate for the deficit?

    I used to live in the OC. I miss it, but not enough to put a target on my back as a productive taxpayer.

    Reply this comment
  6. Rex ther Wonder Dog!
    Rex ther Wonder Dog! 15 April, 2011, 09:00

    Dave from O-Side-you’re a funny guy!!!

    BTW, we are still in a depression, we have been in one for basically 4 years, since the end of 2007, and it is not going to end anytime soon b/c 25% of all mortgages are still upside down, creating a shadow inventory of epic REO proportions.

    The pension funds will continue to have weak ROI results, less than half their assumed ROI, and the pension haircuts will come, Mr. Math is going to end the fraud.

    Reply this comment
  7. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 15 April, 2011, 10:57

    Just more sour grapes from a libertarian loser. Whatever else may happen to the California economy, the Orange County deputies, Supreme Court Justices, and every other public employee who has been vested in their pension plan will receive the benefits they’ve earned.

    Californians may eventually be required to pay a little more in taxes – a revision of Prop 13 to exclude commercial property is long overdue – but it’s far more likely that the inevitable rising economic tide will produce sufficient income for CalPERS and similar funds to fully pay their obligations without large infusions of additional tax money.

    I know the idea of pension funds defaulting on their obligations is some kind of Ayn Randian wet dream for many of those who share John’s viewpoint, but it’s simply not in the cards.

    Reply this comment
  8. Sta 18 veteran
    Sta 18 veteran 15 April, 2011, 14:40

    Rex the Loser dog is depressed becasue everyone of his perdictions of the County being victorious in the Courts was wrong.

    Reply this comment
  9. DazedAndConfused
    DazedAndConfused 15 April, 2011, 15:02

    “public employee who has been vested in their pension plan will receive the benefits they’ve earned”

    ’cause, God knows, cops are worth $200k+ per year in total compensation. It’s part of being a hero and all.

    Reply this comment
  10. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 15 April, 2011, 15:08

    God forbid, Mr. Seiler, would ever have a catastrophic emergency where you would need the help of those you so despise. I am a former public employee, miscellaneous. Do not threaten me! My pension was legally and properly earned, and you will not be allowed to touch it.

    Reply this comment
  11. Rex ther Wonder Dog!
    Rex ther Wonder Dog! 15 April, 2011, 22:49

    but it’s far more likely that the inevitable rising economic tide will produce sufficient income for CalPERS and similar funds to fully pay their obligations without large infusions of additional tax money
    =============
    We have been in a depression for 4 long years, the longest downturn in our life times, and it is not going to change for at least 2-5 more years because of the housing and lending problems.

    CalTRDS is at a VALID 48% funded level using real GASB measuring standards. NO ONE says that CalTRDS will recover (except public employees), and they won’t. CalSTRS-also at a 48% funded level using GASB standards- is crashing right now.

    Reply this comment
  12. Rex ther Wonder Dog!
    Rex ther Wonder Dog! 15 April, 2011, 22:53

    BTW-public penion funds should have;

    no more than 15% of their portfolio in equities,

    nothing in real estate,

    nothing in hedge funds.

    Reply this comment
  13. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 16 April, 2011, 00:14

    Well, Rex, I understand that this is the longest depression in our lifetimes, and it is true that it is not going to change, anytime soon. That is because we are all prisoners of the Wall Street financial system, and there is no way to get out, because the congressional representatives are all rich, and are surrounded by rich benefactors and lobbyists. Poor and middle class people cannot change this situation, because we don’t have the funding to back us. It sure isn’t a very pretty picture, but its our reality, and we have the freedom to fuss and fume to eternity. I would not exchange living in American for any other place on earth. We just have to trudge along, looking our for our own sustainability as best we can, and refrain from blaming those who did not cause this situation.

    Reply this comment
  14. Rex ther Wonder Dog!
    Rex ther Wonder Dog! 16 April, 2011, 09:22

    Well, Rex, I understand that this is the longest depression in our lifetimes, and it is true that it is not going to change, anytime soon. That is because we are all prisoners of the Wall Street financial system, and there is no way to get out, because the congressional representatives are all rich,
    ====================
    Seesaw, public pension funds should have NEVER had more than a SMALL minority of their funds in the stock market-and nothing in hedge funds or real etsate which is where the HUGE losses that CalTRDS realized came from.15% MAX in the market and the rest in safe & secure T-bills.

    If they followed those simple rules for safety they woudl have never faced the downside of Wall Street fraud.

    BTW, have you read this-good stuff;

    http://www.vanityfair.com/society/features/2011/05/top-one-percent-201105

    Reply this comment
  15. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 16 April, 2011, 10:58

    CalPERS was a very big victim of the Wall Street real estate fraud. Most people did not realize, and would never suspect, that WS would be selling those derivitives, that they knew were no good, before they sold them. I believe that the mistakes made in the pension planning, were made by managers, due to a too-rosy view of what waited in the future–not due to knowledge that all would soon collapse. (I will have to find time to access the link.)

    Reply this comment
  16. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 16 April, 2011, 16:43

    Read it. It just strengthens my belief that we are all peons, unless we are in the top 1%–all the more reason why we should support each other, and not be divided into separate categories–public sector and private sector.

    Reply this comment
  17. Rex ther Wonder Dog!
    Rex ther Wonder Dog! 17 April, 2011, 09:30

    Seesaw, I think the author would include a large % of gov employees in that group-they may not be in the top 1%, but there are substantial numbers of gov employees in the top 3-5%

    Reply this comment
  18. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 17 April, 2011, 12:39

    Not even close, Rex. In my mind, the top 1% layer includes Meg Whitman, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and the rest of that ilk. Then you go down another layer to the multi-millionaires like all of the CEO’s who haven’t made it to billionaire status yet. Keep going down layer by layer, and you will find government employees, rank and file like me, on the bottom rung of the middle class. The $100,000+ guys don’t even make it to the top rung of that middle class, where you have those who live in the mansions of Bel Air, San Marino, Newport Beach, etc. Then, going on down you have the poor and the very destitute. The attempted manufacture of an economic civil war, between the middle class private and public sectors, is what I aim to see does not continue.

    Reply this comment
  19. Rex ther Wonder Dog!
    Rex ther Wonder Dog! 17 April, 2011, 14:07

    Seesaw, I said they may not be in the top 1%, but MANY gov employees are easily in the top 3%-5%, virtually ALL FF, cops and prison guards are in the top 5%.

    Reply this comment
  20. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 17 April, 2011, 18:51

    Rex, I believe that one must be a multimillionaire, to be in the top 5%. Government employees, even PS, are not mostly multi-millionaires. You cannot add up all the benefits a retiree receives for twenty years and call them a millionaire. Benefits are spent for living expenses along the way. I would like to see a study, clarifying the categories where all citizens fit, on the economic totem pole. To guess, I would place rank and file public sector workers at the top of the bottom third.

    Reply this comment
  21. RexIII
    RexIII 18 April, 2011, 18:47

    You pension parasites keep throwing fuel on the fire and you’ll get burned maybe way worse than if you would have kept you mouths shut. Your pissing off the people that are paying for your pensions. Simple Math will prevail! When the money is gone it’s gone. When the pensions funds that are under funded are not funded anymore! Keep it up, it keeps the light on the subject and brings more public awareness! Thank you for that!

    Reply this comment
  22. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 19 April, 2011, 11:09

    You don’t need to change your handle in order to keep spouting the same old, “I’ve met the enemy, and its me”, rhetoric.

    Reply this comment
  23. Reasonable county employee
    Reasonable county employee 22 May, 2011, 08:28

    If looking at pensions try looking at the sworn personnels final pension. There are some in Orange County that have retired at more than there final salary. Thats where some of the unfunded liabilities are the other is audit the counties contributions from the 90’s when the dot com boom where they were allowed to suspend there contributions but the employees didn’t get that option maybe people should look at the whole picture not just the media scaring them about it. Most Orange County employees don’t put into or will get social security

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