Beware the California Pension Reform Foxes

Commentary

June 4, 2012

By Wayne Lusvardi

Two big pension reform measures are on Tuesday’s ballots in San Jose and San Diego. For advancing the measures, the cities’ mayors are being lionized: Democrat Chuck Reed in San Jose and Jerry Sanders in San Diego.

Budget expert David Crane called Reed “the most courageous leader in California.”  But are Reed and Sanders’ actions like those of a courageous lion– or a clever fox?

This is the question that 15th Century political thinker Niccolo Machiavelli once tried to answer.  His advice to politicians was that they should try to be perceived as a lion, while at the same time being clever as a fox.  A leader must avoid being despised and should be a master of deception.  And the way to best do this was for a leader to be a sort of half-breed of a lion and a fox.

A No-Lose Proposition 

There is no better way to avoid being despised in California by either pension advocates or reformers than to put the contentious issue of municipal pension reform on the ballot in a low turnout primary election.

If the reform effort fails, those who sought reform will nonetheless still praise — lionize — both mayors for their virtuous effort in attempting to get reform.

At the same time, public employee unions will likewise not scorn a mayor for putting a pension reform measure on a primary ballot where it can be more easily defeated.  Reportedly, in San Jose unions weren’t vigorously fighting the pension-reform measure.  Instead, the unions are gearing up for a court fight where they believe they will prevail. And the history of California is full of court cases that invalidated the will of the voters.

Putting pension reform on the ballot is a no-lose proposition for local politicians.

Low Voter Turnout in Union’s Favor

As Joel Fox points out at his website Foxes and Hounds, voter turnout is likely to be low.  Fox cites California election watcher Tony Quinn who co-edits the California Target Book – which profiles each candidate and proposition in upcoming elections – as forecasting a voter turnout under 30 percent of registered voters statewide.  It almost goes without saying that a low voter turnout favors unions who are opposed to pension reform and the most organized in getting the vote out.  If the two pension reform efforts fail the Democrats and unions will hail this as indicating public opinion has turned against pension reform.

Polls Trending Toward Reform?

Statewide opinion polls have shown consistent support for public pension reform.  But even if the pension reform proposition passes in San Jose, Mayor Reed is going to seek a pre-emptive judicial review.

An opinion poll in May showed the San Diego pension reform measure leading widely in a poll with 52 percent support and 29 percent opposed.  But 19 percent were reportedly undecided.  With this high of an undecided count the poll isn’t considered that reliable.

A CBS Channel 5 poll in San Jose found that the pension reform was leading in San Jose a few days before the election. But that poll was reportedly only of a sample of a little over 400 likely voters —  typically not enough to be considered for a reliable poll result.

Beware Pension Reform Foxes

Are the unions relying on a low profile before the elections hoping to snatch victory from defeat?  Are Democrats hoping to use the election to catapult pension reform into the courts where they hope to get the result they want?  We don’t know.

Machiavelli warned that you should not rely on the promises of leaders. Politicians will present the appearance of being courageous as a clever ploy.  As long as a leader appears to act courageous voters will likely judge their leader on appearance.  Leaders often delegate or appeal the implementation of unpopular policies to the courts or bureaucracies so as to keep their own power over the distribution of favors.

History is full of revolutions and reforms being ripped off by the foxes from the courageous lions.

29 comments

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  1. Bill-San Jose
    Bill-San Jose 4 June, 2012, 10:49

    Chuck Reed is my favorite mayor since McEnery … and he is more transparent than old MC.

    Chuck, I am a right wing radical but you get my vote everytime, all the time.

    It was Pierluigi Oliverio, District 6 councilman in San Jose, who stated that every cent of property tax the city collects is dedicated to pensions and by 2015, it will require every cent of sales tax the city collects as well.

    We wish you the best in your efforts to save the city from certain financial meltdown.

    Reply this comment
  2. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 4 June, 2012, 11:15

    Machiavelli was smart. These political scumbags who game the system aren’t smart at all. Machiavelli said that ‘it’s better to be feared than to be loved’. Those under Machiavelli’s rule knew what to expect. There was no waffling about. These CA political scumbags are only into deception and manipulation. They want to pee on us and convince us that it’s raining outside. That is NOT the way to lead. When one is a leader he engenders RESPECT – even if it is through fear. Don’t compare CA’s leaders with Machiavelli, please. It is a HUGE insult to Machiavelli!!! Select your examples carefully!

    The judges strike down all legal actions against pensions because they belong to the same type of pension system that all the other trough feeders belong to. Do you think they are going to screw themselves??? These aholes in government are all their friends. They are government employees too! Can’t you folks figure that out??? Are you so stupid to think that they are impartial and without prejudice???

    GROW UP!!!!

    Reply this comment
  3. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 4 June, 2012, 11:26

    It’s always amusing to see Beelzebub get his knickers in a wad over the fiction of a vast judicial conspiracy. At every judicial level inferior to the Supreme Courts of either the state or the nation, judges are highly trained legal functionaries who apply the law as it exists, much more like a baseball umpire than anything else.

    Once again, Beelzebub, your admiration of Machiavelli’s penchant for respect borne out of fear tells us far more about your own infatuation with powerful, authoritarian practices (and men) than you would ever like to admit.

    Reply this comment
  4. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 4 June, 2012, 12:19

    “At every judicial level inferior to the Supreme Courts of either the state or the nation, judges are highly trained legal functionaries who apply the law as it exists, much more like a baseball umpire than anything else”

    A human can’t be trained to be impartial or fair. Either it’s in you or it isn’t.

    Since judges participate in the same government pension program as all the rest there is every incentive for them to be PARTIAL AND UNFAIR since their ruling could eventually impact their own bottom line.

    All that crap you were taught in grade school about how the court system provides ‘equal protection’ and that ‘justice is blind’ toss out the window. You know that as well as I do.

    Again, GROW UP!!!

    “Once again, Beelzebub, your admiration of Machiavelli’s penchant for respect borne out of fear tells us far more about your own infatuation with powerful, authoritarian practices (and men) than you would ever like to admit”

    I admire Machiavelli because he didn’t try to fool anyone or pull the wool over their eyes. He said “step over this line and you’re f’ed”. Everyone knew where they stood and everyone was treated equally. No game playing. A far cry from the yellow bellied cowards we have running the system today.

    Stick a wad of that in your pipe and suck on it!!! 🙂

    Reply this comment
  5. Ted
    Ted 4 June, 2012, 14:01

    Once again, Beelzebub, your admiration of Machiavelli’s penchant for respect borne out of fear tells us far more about your own infatuation with powerful, authoritarian practices (and men) than you would ever like to admit.

    Well said Skip– there is ALWAYS alot of projection in beezyboobs rants.

    Reply this comment
  6. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 4 June, 2012, 14:11

    Although every institution created by man reflects the inherent flaws of human nature, our courts and legal system have done a remarkable job of defending and expanding our understanding of justice for several hundred years. Your bitter cynicism in the face of that fact is, therefore, all the more remarkable when you look to the very individual who created the discipline of political science and public administration in the court of a minor Italian prince as a desirable role model in current times.

    As interesting as it is, Machiavelli’s work is hardly a desirable template for a constitutional republic, anymore than Plato’s Republic would be desirable as a plan of government in the modern world.

    Reply this comment
  7. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 4 June, 2012, 14:50

    “As interesting as it is, Machiavelli’s work is hardly a desirable template for a constitutional republic, anymore than Plato’s Republic would be desirable as a plan of government in the modern world”

    Were you in the same graduating philo class as Teddy, by chance???? heh. Both of you work with the same thought process. Go back together to the business department and file a complaint.

    We don’t live in a ‘constitutional republic’ any longer. You need to discard all those failed notions that Mrs. Doubtfire taught you back in grade school civics class. You’ve been brainwashed. Today we live under a ‘kleptocracy’. If you don’t know that that is ask one of your college professor colleagues. Let him or her explain it to ya. heh. Since you are establishment oriented I don’t expect you to understand or accept reality tho. You folks live in fantasy and kaleidoscope theories. You don’t have the ability to see things as they are. heh. I bet you grew fond of Mrs. Doubtfire over time too, didn’t ya???? heh. 🙂

    Reply this comment
  8. Ted
    Ted 4 June, 2012, 14:55

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Reply this comment
  9. queeg
    queeg 4 June, 2012, 15:42

    Teddy….not Bezzie’s best work!

    Reply this comment
  10. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 4 June, 2012, 19:06

    queeg is correct, today, Beelzebub. Not your best work by a long shot.

    By the way, unlike yourself, I actually have a real life outside of the fantasy world of kook blogs that you and Donkey continually inhabit. That means I can’t always be here to correct your muddled thinking or incorrect factual assertions, as much as I’m sure that would help you improve your overall ability to apply critical thinking skills to the topics we discuss.

    If we were playing chess, poker, or any other game of skill, I’d already have your money, your chubby wife, and be long gone by the time you cogitated sufficiently to make your next play.

    Reply this comment
  11. queeg
    queeg 4 June, 2012, 19:30

    Must be constipation Bezzie….let it go!

    Reply this comment
  12. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 4 June, 2012, 19:36

    “If we were playing chess, poker, or any other game of skill, I’d already have your money, your chubby wife, and be long gone by the time you cogitated sufficiently to make your next play”

    I am willing to quadruple down that there’s nothing in life in which you are superior to me in – whether it’s debate, chess, brains, wives, physical prowess, B-ball, running, weightlifting, boxing, markmanship, street fighting, looks or any other endeavor in life you care to mention. heh.

    You posts have proven to me that you are nothing but a blowhard who skated through life with a gov job.

    Oh, and I would quadruple down that my wife is 10x’s in better shape than you are and 50x’s better looking than anything you’ve ever touched in your life – heh. 😀

    Reply this comment
  13. Rex the Wonder dog!
    Rex the Wonder dog! 4 June, 2012, 19:42

    Beelz, you have destroyed these trough feeding dorks, good job buddy 😉

    Reply this comment
  14. queeg
    queeg 4 June, 2012, 20:02

    Easy there…have not eaten since breakfast!!!

    Load the trough…medium rare..

    Reply this comment
  15. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 4 June, 2012, 20:40

    “Beelz, you have destroyed these trough feeding dorks, good job buddy”

    These socialists who work a quarter as hard as private sector workers with basically NO RISK EMPLOYMENT want us to finance their elite lifestyles. F that! They are WORSE than communists, rex. The communists only wanted a class free society. These public socialist leeches want all the taxmoney used to benefit THEIR EGREGIOUS LIFESTYLES AND RETIREMENTS while the private sector peons work their finger to the bone until their 70 or older.

    Time to rock the damn boat – and turn the damn boat over if need be – to put an end to this TWO-CLASS SYSTEM.

    Reply this comment
  16. queeg
    queeg 4 June, 2012, 21:14

    Relax. You will have trouble sleeping…count little socialists jumping over bags of tax money.

    Reply this comment
  17. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 4 June, 2012, 21:57

    “Relax. You will have trouble sleeping…count little socialists jumping over bags of tax money”

    No, I will go to sleep envisioning tax dollars flying out of trough feeders pension accounts into a special account to pay down the debt…..like the computer image of documents flying into the trash when I clean the garbage out of my cache files.

    Trough feeders are being given a standing 8-count. One more haymaker and it’s lights out!!! HAH! 😀

    Reply this comment
  18. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 5 June, 2012, 08:31

    At every judicial level inferior to the Supreme Courts of either the state or the nation, judges are highly trained legal functionaries who apply the law as it exists, much more like a baseball umpire than anything else.

    LOL….this coming from a GED cop who has never litigated a real case in his life….I bet State Farm has that in their pre-paid legal plan propaganda.

    Reply this comment
  19. Ted
    Ted 5 June, 2012, 08:41

    poodle == zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 8th grade insults and no substance……well, ah….yet again.

    Reply this comment
  20. Reality Check
    Reality Check 5 June, 2012, 08:52

    “By the way, unlike yourself, I actually have a real life outside of the fantasy world of kook blogs that you and Donkey continually inhabit.”

    Really Skipping Dog? Because every time I take a look at these “kook blogs” I find your paw prints all over them. You are one of the most relentless, arrogant, and truly misguided trolls I have ever seen.

    Reply this comment
  21. queeg
    queeg 5 June, 2012, 08:55

    Yeah…Teddy….you go guy!

    Reply this comment
  22. queeg
    queeg 5 June, 2012, 08:57

    Reality Check. You go guy!!!!

    Reply this comment
  23. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 5 June, 2012, 09:20

    Always nice to see Rex here doing his sidekick thing with Beelzebub, but I’d think he’d be embarrassed to be such a synchophant. Obviously not.

    So, have you changed handles recently, Reality Check? You’ve just popped up here and seem to have been following my posts, so you must just be lurking and changing names so you can try to fit in.

    I think Beelzebub’s clown posse is full, but I’m sure he’d be happy to make room for you in his “Three Pendejos” group. Let me know when you become a member so I can properly address you here.

    Reply this comment
  24. queeg
    queeg 5 June, 2012, 10:09

    Skippy into who dunn its!

    Everybody stand by….for breaking clues.

    Reply this comment
  25. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 5 June, 2012, 11:09

    Beelzebub is also remembered as the former ranter, “Ocobservor”, on the OCR–not that one cannot change his handle. But, if Beez thinks for one minute he is succeeding at going incognito, he is full of it.

    Reply this comment
  26. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 5 June, 2012, 11:52

    Been drinking this morning, queeg?

    Reply this comment
  27. Ted
    Ted 5 June, 2012, 13:12

    lol beezy only fools himself..heh heh ™

    Reply this comment
  28. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 5 June, 2012, 15:59

    Hi Seesaw, nice to see you again. You have been MIA, but your sidekick ntheoc has been posting.

    Reply this comment

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