Well, I went to the meeting Downtown, I asked some pointy questions, and found out things are worse than I ever could have imagined. It’s Mutiny on the Bounty, our public “servants” are on a neverending holiday.
I was locking up my bicycle when Mayor Sean Morgan and city clerk Debbie Presson came strolling out of the city building. They tried to ignore me but I ran to catch up – my kid’s college had just handed the mayor’s kid’s college their lunch bucket in a football game, and I wanted to rub it in good, since the mayor made such a big deal about his kid being picked up to play on a football scholarship. Mayor Morgan can be a real jackass at times, and I like to get my knuckles into his scalp whenever I get the chance. He who dishes it out, can just take it. All good fun!
But then back to city business – I reminded Ms. Presson that I was still waiting for a response to the e-mail I’d sent her and her staff a month ago, asking why she had referenced a document involving a deal made with CalPERS last March in a recent agenda, but had not provided the document. It said, “attached” in the agenda report, so I had to wonder – why wasn’t it attached? She started to babble about it, very nervous – it was supposed to be attached to the agenda, but golly-gee-whiz, this $140,000/year employee who just got a raise to cover her 12 percent share of her 70 percent pension couldn’t seem to figure out how to use her computer. She was flustered, and I realized my husband was right – she had done something bad (incompetence or insubordination?), and she didn’t answer me via e-mail because she hadn’t wanted to incriminate herself in writing. But she stood there at the door of city hall and told me, essentially, that she was unable (unwilling?) to do her job.
These people just kill me. That document was a release, signed by our full city council, of any damages that come about as a result of CalPERS failure to provide the pensions they had promised.
Hey, did you hear about this?
That is just one story about the corruption and bribery that ran the California Public Retirement System into deficit over the last 10 – 20 years. But we’re not allowed to hold them responsible for our current situation because our council just signed a release. We’re on the hook for 80 – 90 percent of these pensions, which CalPERS said they’d pay with stock market returns. Except they allowed people like Villalobos to act without oversight or accountability, and he and his friends did what bad people always do when they are handed a pile of unwatched money – they spent it on themselves, and left us holding the bag.
But Debbie Presson tells me as though butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth that she just couldn’t figure out how to load that document onto the agenda to which it was supposed to be attached.
And you wonder why I go to these meetings – we hadn’t even got into the building yet, and she handed me that steaming pile.
The meeting was a discussion of why our streets are so shot to pieces and whether developers should have to pay more in fees to fix them. Finance department staffer Scott Dowell explained that every project carries “overhead” – he admitted, that’s pensions – and that currently, “overhead” amounts to 15 percent of the cost of any project. He also announced it would go up every year – next year 16%, in a few years, 18%, and more and more. Yeah, just like our CalPERS payments.
Public works staffers said of 14 projects which had been identified as “funded” in 2009, nine had to be dropped from the list, because there is no longer any funding.
Where you ‘spose that money went? I’ll tell you what – we need to put a mousetrap in the city cookie jar!
Woody had it right when he said, “California is a garden of Eden, yes it’s a paradise to live in or see. But, believe it or not, you won’t find it so hot, if you ain’t got the Do Re Mi!”