CalWatchdog Morning Read – October 12

  • CalWatchdogLogoEscalating pension debt may rest on CA Supreme Court ruling
  • Is the state free of liability in Secure Choice retirement plan?
  • Gloria Allred goes after Trump tapes
  • New battle over bilingual education
  • Crowdfunding effort to get Trump tapes 

Good morning. Happy Hump Day. While it seems everyone is trying to get footage of Trump speaking candidly in recordings of “The Apprentice,” which we’ll call the “Trump tapes,” we start this morning with some pension news.

A decision by four Marin County public-employee associations to appeal a pension-related case to the California Supreme Court could ultimately determine whether localities have the tools needed to rein in escalating pension debt.

At issue is how far officials can go to reduce some benefits for current employees after a state appeals court has chipped away at a legal “rule” long favored by the state’s unions.

In August, a California appeals court ruled against the Marin County Employees’ Association in its case challenging a 2012 state law reining in pension-spiking abuses – i.e., those various end-of-career enhancements (unused leave, bonuses, etc.) that public employees use to gin up their final salary and their lifetime retirement pay. …

Even though the dollars at issue are relatively minimal, the case has become a major flashpoint. California courts have long abided by something known as the “California Rule.” It’s not a law or even a rule, actually. It refers to a series of court rulings concluding that once a pension benefit is granted to public employees by a legislative body (board of supervisors, city council, state Legislature), it can never be reduced – even going forward. 

CalWatchdog has more. 

In other news:

  • “(Secure Choice) has several provisions protecting the state (and employers, which are required to enroll employees into Secure Choice) against liability. … To protect against losses, the state plans to invest in low-risk securities, like treasury bonds or the federal MyRA program, while another section in the law allows for the state to adopt recommendations that address “risk-sharing and smoothing of market losses and gains.” CalWatchdog has more. 

  • “Feminist attorney Gloria Allred, who has represented an army of women in legal actions against rich and powerful men — Bill Cosby, Tiger Woods, Anthony Weiner and ex-Clippers owner Donald Sterling among them — is demanding the release of footage from Donald Trump’s reality show, ‘The Apprentice,'” reports Politico

  • “When Palo Alto software entrepreneur Ron Unz led a campaign to ban bilingual education 18 years ago, California erupted in an acrimonious debate that drew national attention, with proponents expressing fears about the decline of English and opponents charging racism and predicting an educational Armageddon. But today, in a sign of the Golden State’s dramatically changing demographics and politics, the campaign to roll back the “English-only” Proposition 227 seems low-key and uncontroversial, overshadowed by a bevy of hot-button ballot initiatives and the emotionally charged presidential race,” writes The San Jose Mercury News

  • “Opponents of Donald Trump have launched a crowdfunding effort to raise cash that could cover the legal costs of unveiling more lewd video featuring the GOP presidential candidate,” reports LA Weekly


  • Gone ’til December.

Gov. Brown:

  • No public events announced.

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