SLO County pension plan bleeding; is it unbowed?

March 25, 2008

SECOND IN A SERIES

By DANIEL BLACKBURN

County supervisors soon will learn that its hemorrhaging employee pension plan may find partial redemption by buying into in a struggling investment marketplace.

But the plan’s top executive said Tuesday he worries that a declining economy will adversely affect the fund for at least two more years.

Supervisors were informed last November that the Pension Trust Fund is nearly $200 million short of the amount needed to meet future pension payouts. They voted 5-0 to pay for an audit of the fund to determine if management played any part in the growing unfunded liability. They also wanted to know if generous increases they have handed out lately are helping restrict the fund’s general health.

As of today, the county’s pension fund is 78 percent funded. That level would be worrisome if no repair plans were in place.

San Luis Obispo County’s pension woes are reflected throughout the nation. Locally, however, these problems may have been exacerbated by a range of new benefits awarded by county supervisors over the past few years. Additionally, county public employee salaries have grown 5.5 percent annually in a decade.

Several key assumption alterations made by the county pension plan’s Board of Trustees which have impacted the plan’s eventual return on investment, and its cost to taxpayers, were appropriate changes, the audit conducted by the Seattle-based firm of Milliman Inc., will report.

“We have stopped the bleeding at this point,” Tony Petruzzi, executive secretary of the San Luis Obispo County Pension Trust Fund, told UncoveredSLO.com. “Our problem is probably fixable in a couple of years,” although the county’s fund will experience “a continuing decline” during that period.

“There won’t be a ‘gotcha’ in the report,” Petruzzi said. “I know we are having an impact on the county’s budgeting process this year because of the adjustments we are having to make.”

This county’s pension problems are not uncommon. California’s state-run pension plan, CalPERS, is at least $2.6 billion in the red, and critics say the actual figure could be twice that amount. A proposed amendment to the state Constitution to attempt to “modernize” the state’s pension plan failed last month to attract enough signatures to qualify for a ballot position after being heavily opposed by employee unions.

Public pension plans have been cited for a variety of fiscal calamities that have befallen cities, counties and other public entities over the past decade or so. As opportunities for raising revenues through taxes and user fees shrink, budget demands for public pensions and benefits continue to rise. Orange and Contra Costa counties are wrestling with bankruptcy issues; the city of Vallejo recently narrowly averted bankruptcy and now is working with public and safety employee unions to make their pension plan affordable.

Petruzzi said the growth in San Luis Obispo County’s unfunded liability was created by a change in its asset allocations.

“We were more conservatively positioned than many,” said Petruzzi. “We’ve just changed… we’ve become a little more aggressive. We realize we have to get out there and get some return generated. And with the market being where it is now, this is not a bad point of entry. Buy when there is blood in the streets.”

By trying to take advantage of lower investment buy-ins and accelerating returns, Petruzzi said he believes the plan’s return to full funding is imminent.

“The pain will last a couple of years, after that we’ll probably be in a much better position. You should see this pension fund and many others recover substantially,” he said, noting that county employees and leaders “have really stepped up and made adjustments in contributions that were necessary.”

Petruzzi said he hoped decisions being made today will prove correct tomorrow.

“We need to make assumptions that make sense in the world in which we are operating,” he said. “The last couple of years have not been pretty.”

The plan executive said his board has commissioned its own actuarial assumption audit, results of which will be presented at its April 4 meeting.

(Editor’s note: Please see related story on this site, “One big cost that never goes down: public retirement benefits” (Feb. 6, UncoveredSLO.com.)

 

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Stefan

By: Anonymous on 4/3/08 [Delete]

To "Teet". Get a life. Better yet, get a job. Your urban legend examples make up what percentage of workers? Six figure retirements are chicken feed. Get angry at some Enron/Bear Sterns capitalists and the like. They are the ones who have sucked life out of this economy. Straighten out your politics, too. "If you want to live like a Republican, you had better vote Democrat." Harry Truman.


By: Anonymous on 4/3/08 [Delete]

Trough feeding teet sucklers hate the light of day shining on their bloated abuses.


Anyone who DOES NOT know about the classic, pork soaked practice of double dipping CCPOA paper pushers making close to $200,000 per year need only GOOGLE the term to educate themselves.


Even CCPOA employee blogs contain many posters acknowledge this extent of this distgusting abuse and who refuse to defend it.


Unlike the teet suckling trough feeders here!


Let's see you deny or defend it.


By: Anonymous on 4/2/08 [Delete]

To Fire the Teet Feeders


You said:

There is also no shortage of applicants. In fact, in order to be accepted you need a recommendation from someone already in the system, making it a closed system, a private feeding at the public trough enjoyed by a select few.


That is an outright lie and you know it. Now you are just lying to promote your biased opinions. Why don't you just stop? You have not made one rational argument but have just shown prejudice and name calling like a five year old.


By: Anonymous on 4/2/08 [Delete]

Here's a brainiac solution:


Repeal the most egregious of the drug laws, and perhaps a handful of other victimless crimes. Prison population goes down. Payroll goes down. Everyone's happy.


By: Anonymous on 4/2/08 [Delete]

CCPOA jobs have become the poster boy for government pork barrel, political trough feeding and union abuse of power.


It's very common for the average member to earn a wage approaching six figures including overtime for a job that requires only a high school education.


There is also no shortage of applicants. In fact, in order to be accepted you need a recommendation from someone already in the system, making it a closed system, a private feeding at the public trough enjoyed by a select few.


There are many thousands of private sector employees who would knee cap their mothers for a CCPOA job requiring nothing more tha a high school education that pays 400% of their current wage and represents less of a personal risk than construction work and many manufacturing and farming jobs.


Let's see the Teet Feeders here deny and defend their bloated meal tickets at the public expense.


By: Anonymous on 4/2/08 [Delete]

I don't care what CDC guards make as long as it doesn't go over 100k a year with inflation adjustments.


I am not interested in working in those cess pools getting crap and piss thrown at me and being assaulted by those animals. If someone whats to do that for a job, more power to them. Pay them a good salary because non of you whiners would ever step foot in a prison and be a guard, you would be terrified! So thank God someone is doing it. And NO I do not work for CDC or have any family or even any friends that work there.


I am just tired of hearing the whining by people that want other people to do their dirty work for crap wages.


It is real easy to sit in the safety of your house and spout off about how other people are your servants and they need to toe the line or get a boot in their asses. Pretty sad.


Stefan

By: Anonymous on 4/2/08 [Delete]

To Fire the trough feeders


What exactly did your seven friends and family do at CDC? To receive $92,000 a year in retirement they would have to be in the top admin of the prison. The average employee at CDC does not make anything close to that in retirement. Sounds a bit fishy to me.


By: Anonymous on 4/1/08 [Delete]

Don't ever forget…Ever! That you work for us!


Toe the line or get ready for a big boot in your ass!


YOU WORK FOR US!


By: Anonymous on 4/1/08 [Delete]

I have 3 family members and 4 friends working for the CCPOA (state prisons) who retired at age 51 with lifelong medical and yearly salaries of $92,000 per year. The day after they "retired" they reported to work at their exact same desk doing the exact same duties, but as a private "consultant" for their exact old salaries.


$196,000 per year paper-pushers – great work if you can get it. But is it responsible governemnt?


Let's see the trough feeders defend it!


By: Anonymous on 4/1/08 [Delete]

The max retirement benefit for a public safety officer is 90%.


I am okay with the earlier retirement age for public safety. I don't want a 62 year cop coming to my neighborhood to deal with gang bangers. Or a 62 year old fireman coming to try and drag me out of my burning house.


Plus, studies have shown that cops have a much lower life span than a non police person. Therefore, they die much younger than non police and we save money on the retirement.


By: Anonymous on 4/1/08 [Delete]

true story…

A SLO city cop on the job for 30 years will retire on 95% of his ending salary plus medical benifits paid.

He retired at 51 years old!

He then started a private company that now has a juicy contract with the city.


It doesn't get any worse than that!


95% of $78,000 for life!


That is outrageous!!!!!!


By: Anonymous on 3/31/08 [Delete]

To Fire the public teet suckers


Please get help.


By: Anonymous on 3/31/08 [Delete]


clock ticking says: "Two reporters producing one story every now and then. The Tribe really has some competition. But I suppose the quality of these articles makes up for their scarcity. It also indicates there is a day job somewhere"


Newsome asks "Have you sent in your check yet?"


By: Anonymous on 3/31/08 [Delete]

Public employee union rules have ensured a "once hired, never fired" reality for which we the tax payer are obligated to foot the bill and, evidently, even expected to be grateful for according to some of the Teet Sucklers posting here.


By: Anonymous on 3/31/08 [Delete]

I cannot believe some of the comments I have read on this blog. Do you people know how lucky we are in this Country? Do you know how corrupt governments are in other countries?


If we get pulled over by a cop here we don't have to pay him to let us go even though we haven't done anything. If a person goes down to get a building permit they don't have to pay a "fee" to half the workers at the building department prior to issue of the permit. If there are pot holes on my street I don't have to go down and pay someone at city hall to get them fixed. I can go on and on of examples of abuse and corruption that people deal with in other countries that we don't.


Do we have problems here? Sure, but we still have the best government in the world with the best workers. I for one am glad I live here and I appreciate our government employees!


I have long thought that government employees get crapped on by the public and reading these posts confirmed it for me. I will do everything possible to steer my children away from public service. I am disgusted!!!!! Grow up people!


By: Anonymous on 3/31/08 [Delete]

To True Story


Public employees having a retirement system in addition to Social Security is not something only public employees have. I used to work in banking and I had a retirement system in addition to Social Security.


Public employees that pay into social security actually receive half the social security benefits that everyone else does. That's right, I pay the full amount into social security, just like employees working for private companies. But when I start to draw Social Security I get half of what my counter parts in private industry receive. So where is the outrage on this blog about that! There will be none! There will continue to be the "public trough feeder" BS comments.


Stefan

By: Anonymous on 3/30/08 [Delete]

Here's the solution. Everyone's retirement should be based upon Social Security payout rates. The system is already in place, and everyone gets the same benefits (based upon their level of contributions)!!!! If government officials/employees are entitled to a better retirement than the social security system that's set up for everyone else……well, someone needs to explain that one to me…….Starting with, who exactly decided that government employees needed a different and better retirement…….(My guess is that it wasn't a tax payer referendum).


But you goverment employees out there, don't worry…..ask the people who pre-paid for the Los Osos Sewer System how far their claims went in that Chapter 9 proceeding……If I had the option I'd retire asap and collect as much as possible before the wheels fall off the cart.


By: Anonymous on 3/30/08 [Delete]

To: The bottom line


Private industry competing for dollars has been tried and it is a disaster. Why don't you google private prisons and see some of the horrific problems. If that is your idea of better results you are really something. Just what I want, Walmart providing public services. If that is your idea of utopia please move somewhere else and do it. I don't want California destroyed because have some paranoia with government employees.


I don't know why it is so difficult for people to understand, there are good public employees and there are bad public employees. Just like every other employer in this country.


By: Anonymous on 3/30/08 [Delete]

Things have gotten quiet since Congaltongate, but its probably just vacation time.


By: Anonymous on 3/30/08 [Delete]

Two reporters producing one story every now and then. The Tribe really has some competition. But I suppose the quality of these articles makes up for their scarcity. It also indicates there is a day job somewhere


By: Anonymous on 3/30/08 [Delete]

Hey UncoveredSLO,


Let's move on to another story please!! This story [posted 3-25] has become the proverbial "Dead Horse".


Cutting edge reporting???


By: Anonymous on 3/30/08 [Delete]

I can sympathize with those who want to see an end to 'feeding at the public trough.'


At my public job here is what is going on:

1 employee who has caused 3 different accidents in government vehicles (pick-up trucks) and caused thousands of dollars worth of damage is still employed though he should have been let go. 3 female "workers" (I use that term loosely) apparently do not prepare their breakfast at home, come to work, and make breakfast there all on government time (breakfast here is defined as waffles, eggs, sausage & bacon, and toast). Thus at least 1 hour of government time is lost in the mornings. Then, (there's more) they take 1-hour lunches even though we are to take 30-min lunches. Then, they endlessly socialize and speak spanish to each other – all on government time. This includes constant calls from friends/family/relatives-both near & distant all the while inputing classified data into databases. All this with the knowledge of the supervisor who runs the dept on the "creative chaos" theory that she will always have a job because everything's in a various stage of collapse.


By: Anonymous on 3/30/08 [Delete]

Now Adam Hill is trying to pull off a Alan Settle


By: Anonymous on 3/30/08 [Delete]

The bottom line is that "We the people" do NOT trust public tax trough feeding employees.


Argue all you want…But we don't and will not trust you until common sense rules and not the tenure/union strong arm approach.


It becomes even worse when a Cal Poly prof can make $90,000+ and still have time to be a full time mayor and council member for decades!


Private industry competing for dollars will provide far better results.


You know this is true and you hate that it's true!


I say let's give it a try.


Stefan

By: Anonymous on 3/29/08 [Delete]

Fire The Public Trough Feeders


I have worked in private industry and worked with bad employees who did not get fired and some who did. I have worked in the public sector with bad employees who did not get fired and some who did.


Holding employees accountable for their actions depends on many factors such as the culture of the workplace, the effectiveness of supervisors/managers, expectations of employees, well written policies/procedures, union protection or lack thereof, etc. Holding employees accountable does not rely on whether the employer is the government or a private company. To deny these facts of the labor force just shows a level of ignorance that is amazing. So continue with childish comments, sarcasm and broad statements that show a complete lack of understanding of human resource management in the workplace, which only shows a prejudicial opinion that does not have a factual basis.


By: Anonymous on 3/29/08 [Delete]

To: Fire The Public Trough Feeders. Give some cred. How do you know what goes on? If you don't think there are performance reviews AND consequences, you haven't been there.


By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

Bad employees in the private sector get fired. Bad employees in the public sector get shuffled around while they feed at the trough until they retire for life on the public teet.


Try again.


By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

SLO Vendor,

Yes there are bad or lazy employees at the County. Guess what? There are bad employees everywhere!


The defense is against the bigoted behavior shown here, and elsewhere, towards government employees.


By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

Stop the bleeding. Government employees should be paid and receive benefits similar to the private sectar.


By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

I'm a SLO county vendor. Every budget year end I get a huge order from them even if they are still fully stocked just so they can spend their budget and show how "poor" they are. Over the years they have ocassionly simply sent me a check to "credit" to their account for future use for the same purpose of MAXIMIZING SPENDING.


Anyone who works for the county will tell you of people who are incompetent yet unfirable due to Union regs, and are just given busy work. If you work for the city or county and you can't spot the stooge – YOU'RE IT.


I know many public employees, most of my friends are, but I've yet to meet one who either denies or defends the huge dysfunctionality of the system. Until now!


Funny stuff!


By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

These folks aren't so much ignorant as envious. They see the future and realize they have backed the wrong horse. Rush and Fox have made millions duping people to vote against their best interests, decry working together for the common good and being a "rugged individualist". Gore wanted to put a lock on Social Security funds. Bush has stolen them. The "ownership society" will prove worthless as house prices, the stock market and the dollar fall simultaneously. I know they don't believe in global warning, but can there be any other reason for all the Bush/Chaney stickers falling off SUV and pick-up bumpers?


Stefan

By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

I can't believe how ignorant some people are. Saying all government workers are lazy, uneducated, and foul tempered is the same saying that all mexicans, african-americans, italians, etc are lazy, uneducated and foul tempered. Some are and some aren't. Yes, I do work for the county but I work hard. I always remember that the taxpayer is paying me and I make sure that I am adding value. I have a Bachelor of Science degree from Cal Poly and no one has every told me I'm foul tempered. In the hayday of dot coms, I could have made millions but I chose to make my county better by investing my time there.


If you think you can do a better job, please get a job with you nearest county and make it better.


By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

Newsome


An example of Maximizing Spending being their goal is evident every year in June. If your department has any money left, it spends it all before the end of the fiscal year. There is no provision to give the excess back. Also, next year's budget is based on last year's spending. For example, a "10% across-the-board cut" is 100% based on what you spent last year. Show me the incentive to save money in that instance?


I agree with you. This is a crazy way to budget. Unfortunately this is the system that the politicians force budgets to be handled. We the people need to demand that the policians knock this madness off.


By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

1) Teachers having sex with students at at alarming rate and suffering few if any real punishments


If I remember correctly I believe I just read an article regarding this and the problem was the laws of certain states regarding teachers. Seems to me your problem should be with the politicians, I don't believe that the "trough feeders" make laws.

2) A librarian fired for calling the police on a man looking at child porn in a public library


I can bet top dollar something else was going on here. There is more to this story. Maybe a violation of a policy? By the way this "example" has nothing to do with your rant from earlier that I asked you to provide examples. One of your complaints was that "trough feeders" are not held accountable or fired. Seems a "trough feeder" was terminated for a reason and you are still pissed. Plus your earlier argument is nullified by this example.

3) 78% of every tax dollar collected in California goes to welfare and education. Both are failing badly!


Who's fault is that? The politicians are the ones that decide where the money is allocated. I believe the voters vote in the politicians. The "trough feeders" do not make the laws that give this money to social programs. The people are at fault for allowing this to happen.

4) Liberal judges that release child molesters back onto the streets in the name of "restoritive justice"


First of all, judges are not traditinal government employees. What don't read the the history/organization of our justice system before ranting. Libral judges are either appointed by politicians or are voted in by the people not by "trough feeders". Also judges sentence under laws made by politicians and voted in by people.


I think you need to stop being so angry at "trough feeders", stop blaming them for all of society's ills and start using your brain. These examples you gave are crap, they show that you are just irrational. The majority of what is going on in our society today is either done by the poiticians, who we vote in, or voters pass the laws themselves.


Privitize? That has been tried in numerous areas and it has been a total failure. The goal of a business is to make money. Historically companies do bad things to turn a buck.

For a great example of privitization look at the problem with private prisons.


By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

Dear I-Know-The-Truth,


I agree wholeheartedly that civil servants are often a scapegoat for why things go wrong at the government.


An example of Maximizing Spending being their goal is evident every year in June. If your department has any money left, it spends it all before the end of the fiscal year. There is no provision to give the excess back. Also, next year's budget is based on last year's spending. For example, a "10% across-the-board cut" is 100% based on what you spent last year. Show me the incentive to save money in that instance?


This is undisputable. And it drives me nuts.


Stefan

By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

You want concrete examples? I have millions!

1) Teachers having sex with students at at alarming rate and suffering few if any real punishments

2) A librarian fired for calling the police on a man looking at child porn in apublic library

3) 78% of every tax dollar collected in California goes to welfare and education. Both are failing badly!

4) Liberal judges that release child molesters back onto the streets in the name of "restoritive justice"


If, in a private school, a teacher had sex with a student they'd be fired post haste and thrown in jail…but not in public education.


The examples go on…but what is important here is that tax trough feeders first and foremost responsibility is protect their ranks, instead if serving those that pay their salaries!


Privitize all but few Government services now! Let's see how the other side would do. God knows the mass of idiots in tax supported jobs today have totally failed…why not try something new?


Oh how I would love to see a teacher come under the scrutiny of parents that paid her wages…I pray for that day!


By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

Are there lazy government employees? You bet. Is there waste in government? You bet. Are there government employees that should be fired? You bet. Are there foul tempered government employees? You bet.


Guess what? There are lazy, wasteful, foul tempered employees that should be fired EVERYWHERE! The government does not have the market cornered on this. Are you guys saying you have not dealt with bad employees at private companies or business? Have you not complained about a problem employee somewhere and yet that person is never fired? Have you not had bad experiences with employees at private companies?


In my life I have run into many more bad employees at private companies than I have at the government.


By: Anonymous on 3/28/08 [Delete]

Fire the Trough Feeders:


Please give concrete, verified occurrences of "a public sector employment environment where mere incompetence is not a firing offense, where efficiency and productivity are of no consequence, where maximizing spending instead of minimizing spending is the goal". See, I have worked for several government agencies and I have worked in the private sector. So I actually know what REALLY occurs in the public and private work place. I know you are blowing smoke. Public employees are easy targets for the woes of this state. Public employees are a boogey man that people can use as scapegoats.


By: Anonymous on 3/27/08 [Delete]

These government jobs sound great! I can do whatever I want or nothing at all and never get fired? I can get top dollar and the best benefits? I can get free or almost free pension?


Give me a break!!!! You guys don't know what you are talking about. You are just repeating what you have heard or what you think you know, and don't give the BS of "my brother's friend's neighbor's cousin's sister worked for xyz government agency so I know what is going on". If government jobs were so great why don't you get one? If government jobs are as some of these posts suggest, you would have to be an idiot not to run out and apply and do your best to try and get one.


By: Anonymous on 3/27/08 [Delete]

slomike,


Walk us through your logic and defense of a public sector employment environment where mere incompetence is not a firing offense, where efficiency and productivity are of no consequence, where maximizing spending instead of minimizing spending is the goal, where pension benefits are many times the employee contribution, and where accountabilty is never an issue because all would eventually have to face that music.


What's that I hear? Sounds like someone just turned up the volume.


By: Anonymous on 3/27/08 [Delete]

Where were you free market whiners thirty or forty years ago when Viet Nam vets competed for public jobs? I seem to remember tongues clucking about working at such low class jobs to support a family. For quite a while, up until this latest Republican destruction of the economy, things were great in the private sector. Sounds like some angry grasshoppers are mad at we ants.


Stefan

By: Anonymous on 3/26/08 [Delete]

I really don't care what the rest of you think, but am very interested what mess Dave Congalton would make of this if he had anyting to add


By: Anonymous on 3/26/08 [Delete]

Well well. Lets blame pension trust for the county problems. Seems to me I heard years ago that by the Supervisors approval to allow the deputies and others at the sheriffs department to retire at 3% at 50 years old that would drain the pension trust. You'd have more money going out then coming in. Did the supervisors listen. No. They give the sheriff's department whatever they want. More money is wasted in this county. Its a shame really. Tanks, Suv's, take home vehicles. Maybe the board of supervisors should start listening to its employees now that spending is out of control. Better yet Maybe we should get rid of supervisors like Jerry Lenthal who is in the pockets of the sheriffs department. Lets clean house and start at the top. First to go..The top of Admin. David Edge and Gail Wilcox and all his female cronies under him. See he never has a man under him because the females he puts in charge wont argue or stand up to him. Those that do stand up to Admin get put on the shit list. Its about time the public knows what really goes on inside the county. wish i was a fly on the wall behind closed doors and tired of hard working employees being treated like we are. This county would run much smoother if the top honches worked with the people who keep this all running. Oh yeah…where did the $100,000.00 for the crappy artwork outside of the supervisors chambers come from? General fund? Taxpayer money? Wow that felt good, felt like a good vomit.


By: Anonymous on 3/26/08 [Delete]

First, just so I'm not completely off topic in this thread, Dan's interesting article kind of gets to what seems to be killing a lot of American businesses these days — something called "legacy cost," and the legacy cost for General Motors is staggering.


(See how I did that? I Googled "legacy cost," and then copied the url of the Google results, and pasted it into the link, and made the words "legacy cost" the text for the link. The entire process took less than a minute. Cool, huh?)


Now, I feel better about going back off-topic…


Upon further review… I wrote:


"… where you'll also find Dave's excellent blog (920kvec.blogspot.com) and Ann Calhoun's amazing blog (calhounscannon.blogspot.com)."


And, oh, I wish I'd written:


"… where you'll also find Dave's excellent blog (920kvec.blogspot.com) and Ann Calhoun's amazing blog (calhounscannon.blogspot.com, AND The Rogue Voice's outstanding blog (theroguevoice.blogspot.com).


Wow. How's that for some competition in the local media market? The SLO County Bloggers: Stacey Warde, Dell Franklin, Dave Congalton, Ann Calhoun, Dan Blackburn, Karen Velie, and, of course, moi.


Now that's a staff.


By: Anonymous on 3/26/08 [Delete]

I love hearing the public trough feeders justify their bloated pensions by stating that they contribute a tiny fraction to them from their paychecks, which they could never replicate in the private sector.


It's also humorous seeing them wear as a badge of honor the fact that they must stay employed for 25 years, when in fact getting fired is virtually impossible unless they are convicted of a work-related felony.


By: Anonymous on 3/26/08 [Delete]

Well, I'll be damned. Apparently links work in these comments sections (so how come no one uses them?)


Had I know links work here, instead of writing:


"… where you'll also find Dave's excellent blog (http://920kvec.blogspot.com) and Ann Calhoun's amazing blog (http://calhounscannon.blogspot.com)."


I would have written:


"… where you'll also find Dave's excellent blog (920kvec.blogspot.com) and Ann Calhoun's amazing blog (calhounscannon.blogspot.com).


See the difference? Much better.


Stefan

By: Anonymous on 3/26/08 [Delete]

Excellent web site, Dan and Karen.


I'm going to go a little off-topic here, so I apologize in advance, but…


Tim Berners Lee wrote:


"Just a small functional nit:


"(Editor's note: Please see related story on this site, "One big cost that never goes down: public retirement benefits" (Feb. 6, UncoveredSLO.com.)"


You guys have a tendency to cite other posts without linking to them."


I agree with Tim, there. And, to me, at least, that's not "just a small functional nit."


In my opinion, the ability to link directly to a source is one of the best aspects of blog technology, and that includes links in the comments section.


On my blog, for example, sewerwatch.blogspot.com (and we'll do a little test here… I' going to make a link to my blog, and we'll see if it works in this comments section. Ready? Drum roll, please…. Here we go: sewerwatch.blogspot.com. After I post this, I'll check to see if that worked), I use links all the time — to documents, sources, my previous posts, whatever.


For example, in my last post, I wrote, "Nash-Karner is also listed as an "Endorsement" at brucegibsonforsupervisor.org."


Not only do I have the text "brucegibsonforsupervisor.org" linked to his web site, but I have it linked directly to the "Endorsement" page that contains Nash-Karner's endorsement.


That's huge. It's where blog technology blows print away. If I cite a Coastal Commission document, I go to the CC's web site, find the document (pdf) and link to it. It's so awesome.


In this story's case, Dan wrote, "Supervisors were informed last November… ." He could have taken those words and made them a link directly to the staff report (pdf file) that informed the Supervisors last November. I eat that kind of stuff up, and I think the (mostly) intelligent readers of this site would, too.


Here's a site that has a tutorial on how to create a link:

http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_links.asp


And, finally, before some a-hole did it out of spite, I went ahead and registered uncoveredslo.blogspot.com for you guys.


Dan, you know how to get a hold of me, so, if you ever decide to switch your great operation over to blogspot (and I recommend it… you can even put your ads on the side), just contact me and I'll transfer uncoveredslo.blogspot.com over to you.


Then you guys could keep uncoveredslo.com and just make a quick link on that site to uncoveredslo.blogspot.com (it's free!), where you'll also find Dave's excellent blog (http://920kvec.blogspot.com) and Ann Calhoun's amazing blog (http://calhounscannon.blogspot.com).


Just a thought.


Thanks.


Now back to your regularly scheduled commenting…


By: Anonymous on 3/26/08 [Delete]

Remember, to collect you must pay at least 10% of your salary to the fund for 25-30 years. This is deducted from you pay.


If you whiners in the private sector did the same instead of spending, you also would have a nice retirement.


It is not free.


By: Anonymous on 3/26/08 [Delete]

Sorry slomike, linking Social Security to employee pensions is quite a bit different. First, employees and their employer in the private sector make contributions. What you receive is partially based on what you earned and for how long. While it is true the same could be said for public pensions, the fact that many public pensions are paying 75% of the final salary at an early age like 55 while many social security benefits are deferred to an older age (65-67) and represent, in general, rarely even 25% of the final salary, and that's only if you are married.


So the "government trough" comment is upheld.


By: Anonymous on 3/26/08 [Delete]

I totally agree about government employee pensions. How about the private sector refusing social security, also? You don't want to feed at that government trough do you?


By: Anonymous on 3/25/08 [Delete]

If your needs aren't being met…


DROP some of your needs!


Stefan

By: Anonymous on 3/25/08 [Delete]

Also, I am sort of tired of hearing the rank-and-file government employees characterized as lazy do-nothings. Many of them are hard working, and many of them are efficient, and many of them are real problem solvers and assets to the company. Some of them are all of these things.


My beef is that there are too darned many of them. Maybe we could receive the same services with fewer staff. But really the answer is that we, The Public, need to need less from the government.


By: Anonymous on 3/25/08 [Delete]

I am sure it makes sense in governmentese, but I can't connect the dots. Same way with their new "Smart Growth" deal. The County is going to require builders to jump through expensive Smart Growth hoops with the anticipated effect of creating more "affordable housing." It just is not possible in the real world, but from a government office it looks pretty clear.


By: Anonymous on 3/25/08 [Delete]

Uneducated + lazy + foul tempered = Get a public job where you can never be fired and retire in comfort.


By: Anonymous on 3/25/08 [Delete]

The county should aggressively outsource as many services as possible as fast as possible!


This retirement BS for public employees is bankrupting the state, counties and cities. It's time for a change!


The tax trough is drying up…get your noses out of it and get a real job in the private sector where you have to perform or get fired!


By: Anonymous on 3/25/08 [Delete]

Just a small functional nit:


"(Editor's note: Please see related story on this site, "One big cost that never goes down: public retirement benefits" (Feb. 6, UncoveredSLO.com.)"


You guys have a tendency to cite other posts without linking to them. You see, there's this thing called hypertext and it's all over the internets which, so I'm told, is a series of tubes…


By: Anonymous on 3/25/08 [Delete]

… "county public employee salaries have grown 5.5 percent annually in a decade."


Another way to say that is that county public employee salaries are up more than 50% in the last ten years.


By: Anonymous on 3/25/08 [Delete]

The county needs to follow the lead of the private sector and cease to establish and fund defined benefit pensions. Simply put, we can't afford it. A 403b plan with county contributions limited would make more sense and instill a sense of saving discipline to those that would benefit.


By: Anonymous on 3/25/08 [Delete]

He's delusional if he thinks this or any other public pension will get better – they have all been going more in the red for years, in both up markets and otherwise.


Why? Because the public payroll and pension promises get more and more bloated every year. The number of uneducated, grazing, trough feeders who make many times what they would in the private sector is astounding.