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.

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