An Early Christmas

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My kids are going crazy searching my house for their Christmas presents.  Remember what that feels like?  Knowing that your present is coming, or already there, and sitting there waiting just kills you.

For political junkies like me, that’s what election season is like.  Because of the State’s political financial disclosure rules, you know that a crazy political mailer is coming a few days before it hits the mailboxes.

Well, thanks to Newport Beach’s Fire and Police UNIONS (they like to be called “associations,” but …), Christmas came early this year as their first bomb regarding their upcoming Contact Negotiations hit my mailbox in the first week of December.

The mailer essentially infers that the Newport Beach City Council is doing everything they can to destroy the quality of life in Newport Beach by “Even Considering” reducing police and fire services, even though City Manager Dave Kiff AND Police Chief Jay Johnson confirmed no reductions in Police or Fire are on the horizon.

The mailer even told Newport Beach’s residents to go to the Dec. 13 City Council meeting to tell the City Council to leave the Police Officers and Fire Fighters alone.

What freaking nerve, huh?

So what is going on here?  And if there are no police or fire cuts being considered, why are the Unions sounding the alarm?

Essentially, to save safety officers from having to contribute an extra 5.5 percent of their salary to their own pensions.

You see, using City Manager Kiff’s example, for a Police Sergeant earning $125,000 a year, the City has to pay an additional $56,250 into the pension system this year, with the Police Sergeant pitching in $4,375.  Kiff will now want that Police Sergeant to shoulder more of that cost, so that he or she will have to pay in $11,250 instead.

And that’s what the Unions call destroying the quality of life in Newport Beach, by making Police Sergeants earning over $200K a year (with benefits and pension contributions) contribute 9 percent of their pay towards their pensions …

Let’s see, what do my clients contribute towards my pension?  Oh wait, my clients don’t have to contribute to my pension …

OK, I wonder how much the Newport Beach Independent contributes towards my fearless editor Roger Bloom’s pension?

Hear that?  That’s Roger laughing and choking at that question.

Better yet, how much does your employer contribute towards your pension?  If you are lucky, and I mean truly lucky, your employer will match your 401k contribution dollar for dollar, but you’re probably not lucky and get way, way less than that.

But these ENTITLED City Servants?  Not only do their want the City to continue paying more towards public safety pension costs than the City spends on libraries, the recreation department, and parks COMBINED, they want to put the City further into debt to do it.

You see, pointing to the $87 million the City has in reserves, but ignoring the $300 million dollars in UNFUNDED PENSION LIABILITY, and $150 million dollars in TAJ MAHAL/CIVIC CENTER DEBT, plus the $60 MILLION it will cost to keep Balboa Island from going underwater, the Unions feels that the City can continue to have Lifeguards retire at 51 years old with a lifetime yearly pension of $108K a year.

Pure and simple, the City cannot afford to keep going down this road.  City Manager Dave Kiff knows it, and I surely hope that the City Council knows it, too.

Which is why the Police and Fire Unions are going to you and asking you to help their 50 year old police officers and firefighters retire with pensions equal to 90 percent of their final year’s salary for the rest of their lives, plus their lifetime medical benefits, too.

And the UNIONS are trying to scare you into doing it by saying that crime will go up and fires will be attended to more slowly if safety personnel are forced to contribute more to their own pensions.

What nerve, huh?

But stay tuned, because this is just the beginning of the UNIONS’ propaganda campaign … and pay attention to who the UNIONS endorse in the upcoming 2012 City Council election as well as the 2014 City Council elections.

This should get very interesting …


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