Unions say grand juror unethically helped Adachi measure

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Bob Muscat (at podium) and Stand Up For Working Families at a press conference outside City Hall
Steven T. Jones

San Francisco's police and fire unions are taking a lead role in opposing Public Defender Jeff Adachi's November initiative to make city employees pay more of their pension and health care costs, despite the fact that both unions have recently renegotiated their contracts to exempt their members from paying those increased costs until 2013.

The unions and Bob Muscat from the San Francisco Labor Council recently formed the group Stand Up for Working Families to run the opposition campaign to Adachi's SF Smart Reform, yesterday holding a press conference at City Hall to highlight the allegedly unethical role that a grand juror has played in pushing the Adachi measure.

Civil Grand Jury member Craig Weber led the committee that in June released a report on the city's pension system called “Pension Tsunami: The Billion Dollar Bubble,” warning that employee pension costs to the city would more than double in the next five years and “fundamental adjustments must be made to the City's employee pension program.”

Yet by the time that report came out (following a similar grand jury report from a year earlier), Weber was already working as treasurer for the Adachi's signature-gathering campaign, which City Attorney Dennis Herrera called an inappropriate conflict of interest and which Muscat says that raises questions about data manipulation and access to secret grand jury proceedings.

“I have serious concerns in this particular instance that Mr. Weber's dual roles create a conflict of interest, or at least the appearance of conflict of interest, which would undermine the integrity of any Civil Grand Jury investigation into these issues,” Herrera wrote in a June 14 letter to Presiding Judge James McBride, relating how Weber had sought advice from Herrera's office on the matter in March and that both Weber and the Grand Jury chair refused to heed his advice that Weber recuse himself from working on the report.

“We believe he used his position on the Civil Grand Jury to manipulate the civil grand jury report,” attorney Peter Saltzman, who represents opponents of the measure, said at the press conference.

But Adachi called the charges “just smoke and mirrors,” telling the Guardian that his initiative was based on data from the Controller's Office and that the measure was written and publicly available before the latest grand jury report was released. “We received zero information from the grand jury,” Adachi told us. “We relied on public information that we received from the Controller's Office.”

He has claimed the measure will save the city about $167 million per year by making city employees pay more into their pensions and health care costs for their dependents, although that figure will be lower for the next two years because of exemptions that were written into five police and fire memorandums of understanding that the Board of Supervisors approved last week, agreements negotiated by the Mayor's Office and opposed by Sups. David Campos and Chris Daly (Sup. Ross Mirkarimi also voted against the MOU for Fire Department executives) because of the exemption.

Police union head Gary Delagnes, who was at the press conference, told the Guardian that the special consideration for those two unions – both of which are key supporters of Mayor Gavin Newsom -- was simply a function of negotiating their MOUs later than the other unions. “By the time we and the firefighters were in there, this thing [Adachi's campaign] had really picked up steam,” he told us.

During the press conference, Muscat highlighted how billionaire Michael Moritz, managing partner of Sequoia Capital, put almost a quarter-million-dollars into qualifying the Adachi measure for the ballot and said, “This is a measure not in the interests of anyone in San Francisco and it represents the interests of people outside of San Francisco” who are attacking public employee unions for political reasons.

Comments

Yeah right Adachi. You expect the public to believe that someone working on your campaign just happened to also be on the grand jury? That individual would have no motive to skew the grand jury report to support your campaign would they? The truth comes out and it shows that Adachi is just another phony politician.

Posted by SFLocal on Jul. 23, 2010 @ 6:22 pm

The public is supposed to believe that Adachi just happened to have one of his campaign staff on the grand jury that said there is a "crisis" with the city pension. That staff person would have no motivation to skew the grand jury report to support Adachi's measure would they? To top it off a billionaire and two Arnold supporters just happened to bankroll the signature gathering effort (at $5 a signature) to get Adachi's measure on the ballot. That measure just happens to be is very similar to what Arnold and Meg Whitman are trying to do at a state level? The public is supposed to believe that these are all coincidences? Does Adachi think we are stupid? Let's hope the media gives these facts as much coverage as they have given a billionaire a chance to voice his opinion about what is best for working people in San Francisco.

Posted by SFLocal on Jul. 23, 2010 @ 6:40 pm

sfsuperiorcourt.org go to the civil gran jury page and then go to the 2008-2009 tab and you can read there another grand jury report on the pension bomb untainted by the Adachi conspiracy.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 23, 2010 @ 11:22 pm

77 thousand SF voters signed the petitions.

City worker benefits cost San Franciscans $1.2 BILLION PER YEAR, which will double in the next 5 years.

HALF of city employees pay NOTHING into their own pension fund.

City employees on average make more than their private sector counterparts.

Moreover, they are able to retire at the age of 55 with 90 percent of their salary whereas private sector employees must wait until they are 67 to start collecting social security benefits.

Given these indisputable FACTS, it is ridiculous that police and fire are raising hell about contributing an additional 2.5% into their pension fund. RIDICULOUS.

Posted by RCCola on Jul. 23, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

The truth is that the San Francisco pension plan is currently 97% funded and that is using actuarial norms that include a steady work force and annual increases.

RCCola, where exactly are you getting the information that City employees make more than their private sector counter parts(and might I ask what the private sector counterpart of a firefighter is)?

The Center for State and Local Government Excellence and National Institute on Retirement Security recently released a report that shows:

* Jobs in the public sector typically require more education than private sector positions. Thus, state and local employees are twice as likely to hold a college degree or higher as compared to private sector employees. Only 23% of private sector employees have completed college as compared to about 48% in the public sector.
* Wages and salaries of state and local employees are lower than those for private sector employees with comparable earnings determinants such as education and work experience. State workers typically earn 11% less and local workers 12% less.
* During the last 15 years, the pay gap has grown - earnings for state and local workers have generally declined relative to comparable private sector employees.
* The pattern of declining relative earnings remains true in most of the large states examined in the study, although there does exist some state level variation.
* Benefits make up a slightly larger share of compensation for the state and local sector. But even after accounting for the value of retirement, healthcare, and other benefits, state and local employees earn less than private sector counterparts. On average, total compensation is 6.8% lower for state employees and 7.4% lower for local employees than for comparable private sector employees.

You can read the whole report here: http://www.nirsonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=395&...

Also the Bureau of Labor Statistics just released a report showing that of all the country’s major metro areas, the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland area of California has the highest average pay. You are clearly underestimating what the private sector pays in San Francisco. Read more here: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/23/for-most-occupations-pay-is...

Posted by SFLocal on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 9:08 am

77 thousand SF voters signed the petitions.

City worker benefits cost San Franciscans $1.2 BILLION PER YEAR, which will double in the next 5 years.

HALF of city employees pay NOTHING into their own pension fund.

City employees on average make more than their private sector counterparts.

Moreover, they are able to retire at the age of 55 with 90 percent of their salary whereas private sector employees must wait until they are 67 to start collecting social security benefits.

Given these indisputable FACTS, it is ridiculous that police and fire are raising hell about contributing an additional 2.5% into their pension fund. RIDICULOUS.

Posted by RCCola on Jul. 23, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

Adachi's own SMART reform website states: "Most employees now pay between 0 and 7.5% of their pay into the pension fund." That is a big difference between what you are saying. The FACT is that of the 27,000 City and County employees 25,000 pay into their pension and under 3000 don't. That is a big difference between what you keep on saying.

Posted by SFLocal on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 9:28 am

77 thousand SF voters signed the petitions.

City worker benefits cost San Franciscans $1.2 BILLION PER YEAR, which will double in the next 5 years.

HALF of city employees pay NOTHING into their own pension fund.

City employees on average make more than their private sector counterparts.

Moreover, they are able to retire at the age of 55 with 90 percent of their salary whereas private sector employees must wait until they are 67 to start collecting social security benefits.

Given these indisputable FACTS, it is ridiculous that police and fire are raising hell about contributing an additional 2.5% into their pension fund. RIDICULOUS.

Posted by RCCola on Jul. 23, 2010 @ 7:55 pm

..."Yeah right Adachi. You expect the public to believe that someone working on your campaign just happened to also be on the grand jury? That individual would have no motive to skew the grand jury report to support your campaign would they? The truth comes out and it shows that Adachi is just another phony politician..."

Complete drivel. Let me guess- another City employee opining from his home in San Rafael, Novato, San Carlos, or maybe Santa Rosa...??

We actually live here. So we care about pension costs of $1 billion dollars in 2015 gutting our streets, ruining our parks and reducing the number of police officers in the street.

Skew the grand jury report?? - you mean the $1 billion pension cost estimate that came from the CIty Controller's office- that skewing?

Boy, its just great news that one of the 16? grand jurors does Adachi's books so now we know the CIty's $800 million deficit just disappears! Yippee! And the Moody's downgrade of the City's long-term debt to "negative"- forget about it- they're gonna upgrade their rating because the unions, in cahoots with Dennis Herrera, just smeared one grand juror. It's just great that the CIty's unions fixed all of our financial problems...!! Thank you!

Posted by Seej on Jul. 23, 2010 @ 7:57 pm

City employees casting blame on the Civil Grand Jury is a subterfuge. The Civil Grand Jury has 19 members, not 1. The data for the Civil Grand Jury report came from the City controller. The only reason to distrust the Civil Grand Jury report is if you distrust the City. The bottom line is the pension system is unsustainable.

There is no cogent argument against the pension reform measure. Funds for City programs are being sucked away by a pension program feeding employees who don't live here, don't retire here, and who receive benefits people in the private sector don't get. If you're a City worker, you retire at age 50 or 55. If you work in the private sector, you can't retire until you're 67. That's not fair or right.

Even Jerry Brown came out today in favor of pension reform. Everyone should support the pension reform measure. Otherwise, we're heading towards bankruptcy.

Posted by The Commish on Jul. 23, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

The "dual" role of this guy Weber should be known. Now it is.

Cue "tsunami," "trainwreck," "unsustainable," "generous," "bottom line is," "grand jury," "crisis," now.

Posted by Guest LD on Jul. 23, 2010 @ 10:35 pm
LD

So what are the facts LD? Please explain how the city is going to pay for the pensions of city workers AND city services we all want given the level of the general fund. You should give the real numbers since you apparently don't believe there is a problem and the grand jury report is wrong.

Posted by Cas on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 2:51 am

"FACTS" -- all caps -- LIKE THIS

Posted by Guest LD on Jul. 23, 2010 @ 10:36 pm

"Stand up for Working Families"??

The median salary of a SF city employee is $92,000, plus f(1) full healthcare benefits, (2) retirement at sometimes at age 55 of 75% of pay for life.

That's not working class, folks.

Pension costs are rising upwards to $300 million a year (FACT!).

This is why, every year, Park & Rec hours are cut, outpatient services are cut, library hours are cut, street-cleaning is cut.

Unless this problem is addressed, services will keep withering forever.

Posted by Barton on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 5:04 am

You are wrong the AVERAGE salary of a SF employee is $92,000 a year. Here's a link to the article that shows that that: http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-04-26/news/20868777_1_city-workers-city-...

You said median and that is a huge difference. Time for a math lesson. An average salary is figured by selecting a group of people, adding up their salaries, then dividing this number by the total number of people in the group.

Average salary = Sum of all salaries/total # of Similar Profiles

Example: 9 city workers make $10,000 a year and 1 city manager makes $500,000. The total salary made is $590,000 divided by the 10 city employees = $59,000 a year average salary. That obviously does not give a good picture of what the vast majority of the 10 city workers actually earn per year because the one large salary skewed the average salary much higher.

Posted by SFLocal on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

The article/link you included doesn't exactly help your position. It includes the following excerpt: "state Employment Development Department data that show city workers on average earn 20 percent more than those in the private sector in San Francisco. In addition, Falk said, city workers 'have significantly better health and pension benefits' that continue to be the biggest cost driver threatening city services. That needs to be reformed, he said."

So people making less money should subsidize the wages of those in the public sector making 20% more as well as their pensions and benefits that private sector workers don't get?

Your distinction of average vs. median is correct, but there are over 9,000 City workers (more than a third of the workforce) making more than $100,000 per year--as the article you link to makes clear. Even if those people made exactly $100,000 (many make much more) that's $900,000,000 in wages alone. Factor in pensions and benefits, and what do you think the number is?

The City has a really big math problem. There isn't enough money to support these wages/pensions/benefits.

Posted by The Commish on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

Commish, you failed to mention one key thing about your quote regarding 20% more pay for city workers. It isn't a substantiated fact in the article but a statement made by San Francisco Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Falk. The whole quote is "He (Steve Falk) pointed to state Employment Development Department data that show city workers on average earn 20 percent more than those in the private sector in San Francisco" but he doesn't give the data and no actual data is given in the article to support his statement. If you have the data I would like to see it.

The Chamber of Commerce is a very conservative organization that doesn't like unions and doesn't like taxes. Of course he is going to bash city workers.

Oh yeah the Chamber is also a supporter of Adachi's measure. . .

Posted by SFLocal on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

It was a quote from a link YOU cited in support of YOUR position. You don't get to pick and choose.

Posted by The Commish on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 10:03 pm

Ha! If I post a link that quotes someone saying there are WMDs in Iraq will that make it true too?

Posted by SF Local on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

So this guy Weber, one man on a grand jury of 19 members, somehow had dicatorial power to tell the other 18 members what to write in this report (which says ONE FOURTH OF THE ENTIRE CITY BUDGET WILL GO TO COVER PENSION COSTS OF RETIRED EMPLOYEES IN FIVE YEARS (think about it. (LD likes caps).

Bob Muscat (nice name; a sweet whine) doesn't think the other 18 members had anything to do with this influential report?

Posted by Barton on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 5:08 am

Sorry, but I've been on a Grand Jury before (not SF).
The jury is given only one side of a story, not both sides. That's something most people don't understand. The purpose is only to establish enough evidence to make a claim: not to prove anything. In a criminal case, that would be an indictment, NOT a conviction. There's a BIG difference.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 12, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

Most of the "Labor and Union "Representatives" in this town are a disgrace. They dishonor the memory and sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands who over the decades have fought, organised, marched and died in the struggle to give voice and power to all working men and women. The historical record of graft, co-option and corruption is the dark side of the labor struggle. It continues today. The concept of Brother/Sisterhood, is an anathema to these present day Hoffa's in Tweed jackets.
The demise of organised labor and the ascendence of corporate control can be directly attributed to these, and previous, special interest stoogies who have colluded with the bosses and speculators, crafting backroom deals that do not serve the best long term interests of society or those who actually work for a living.
We can only hope that despite the reprehensible sell outs by the current crop...
"There will always be a place for us somewhere, somehow, as long as we see to it that working people fight for everything they have, everything they hope to get, for dignity, equality, democracy, to oppose war and to bring the world to a better life"
'Racehorse Harry'. 7/28/01 - 3/30/90. RIP.

Posted by Guest Patrick Monk on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 9:55 am

The grand jury report was flawed they want people to believe, although the report from the year before it says the same, and other independent studies have also said the same.

Progressives knew to scoff at PGE's comical deflections in their mailers but will eat this one up because it comes from union masters. The unions are pulling a pretty good PGE scheme here, deflect the issue knowing that a fair amount of people will believe it, just because it comes from the union... And everyone knows no one from a union has ever lied about anything.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 1:13 pm

Snippets from SF Local:

..."Adachi's own SMART reform website states: "Most employees now pay between 0 and 7.5% of their pay into the pension fund." That is a big difference between what you are saying. The FACT is that of the 27,000 City and County employees 25,000 pay into their pension and under 3000 don't. That is a big difference between what you keep on saying."

Okay- this is wrong. The SEIU local and affiliates (9,883 persons) pay nothing. We know bus drivers pay nothing. That's gets us over 10,000...need I go on?

.."The truth is that the San Francisco pension plan is currently 97% funded and that is using actuarial norms that include a steady work force and annual increases."

The truth is that City employees are gutting the general fund to pay for their pension costs which is why we need the reform in the first place. Seen the streets around here lately- they're coming apart at the seams. Cheiron, the City's actuary, said City pension funding will decline to 68% in 2014 which is dangerously low. Do you union folks want to attack the CIty's actuary too?

Your posts seem to indicate that 1) you don't think the City has a pension problem and 2) you don't think City employees get paid more in total compensation than private sector workers. (I guess you didn't catch what those four PUC employees were getting paid who were robbing taxpayers or that that Muni mechanic selling transfers- ha.)

I'll give you this - you are a true believer...

Posted by Seej on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

Here is the truth: Retired city employees are paid from the San Francisco Public Employees Retirement system (SFPERS) unless their contract states otherwise (Some get paid from Cal PERS). The City and County does not pay a penny to retirees. All monies paid come from SFPERS, which gets it monies from current employees who contribute and investments that SFPERS makes. Some Union contracts state that the city will pay the employees SFPERS contributions, but most don't. The city negotiated these contributions to avoid paying raises. This is why they are called "negotiations"!!! The amount paid at retirement, and the age at which they can retire is based on contract negotiations. To blame city employees retirement benefits for the current fiscal crisis is just a bait and switch. The benefits paid do NOT effect the budget, only the amount paid INTO SFPERS effects the budget. But, remember that by the City contributing some or all of the amount into SFPERS has saved the City over the long run. But right now, the bashing of Unions and Civil Servants is the blame du jour! Know the truth before you bitch!!

Posted by sfcopper on Jul. 24, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

"A real occurrence; an event. Something having real, demonstrable existence."

Are the following statements or facts?

"So we care about pension costs of $1 billion dollars in 2015 gutting our streets." $1 billion hasn't occurred nor is it demonstrable. Also we are not living in 2015, so no.

"Pension costs are rising upwards to $300 million a year (FACT!)." Again, this is a guess, or at best a forecast, far from a real fact.

"Cheiron, the City's actuary, said City pension funding will decline to 68% in 2014 which is dangerously low." By definition not a fact.

If we are talking about larger budget issues, then it makes no sense to attack workers. You can splice numbers any way you like. There is no reason that a modest gain in stocks (assuming they're the main investment, which is a whole different story), together with modest tax increases on the wealthy and no pension "spiking" couldn't be the solution.

Posted by Guest LD on Jul. 25, 2010 @ 9:53 am

It's all getting picked up by San Francisco's taxpayers. From the Grand Jury report:

"Since 2002, the City has picked up the employee 7.5% contribution from the SEIU Local 1021 and other collective bargaining units, consisting of 9,883 employees. The annual cost to the City has been over $60 million."

You got a nice 6% raise during the Great Recession (nobody else did) in exchange for picking up that contribution.

(These people are workers? They sure aren't working-class. They've go sweet pay deals and retire young.).

Don't ask us to pity them.

(But, then, the Grand Jury (or at least 1 of its 19 members) is a stooge-plant of Jeff Adachi, so maybe these aren't FACTS after all).

(Matt Gonzalez is part of the anti-SEIU cabal, too. FACT)

Posted by Barton on Jul. 25, 2010 @ 12:45 pm

Dear SFCopper,

According to the Grand Jury report, pg. 19:

"In the Cheiron actuarial valuation report, the unfunded pension liability as of July 1, 2009 for Prop H was $276 million...

...The Charter Amendement (Prop H) subsection A8.595.11 (e) stipulates that Safety Workers (meaning you) are required to "meet and confer" for the purpose of implementing a "cost-sharing arangement" if your pension liabilities are underfunded."

So, you police & fire folks read to "meet and confer" about ways you can cover your own pension costs?

As Tim Redmond has pointed out here many times, the police and fire depts. are the most egregious abusers not only of the pension system, but of overtime pay. Who's that retired police capt. making $400,000 a year again? I forgot his name. You people all retire young, and once you get some seniority, you sit around your stations like little clerical workers.

The new chief pointed out two months ago that a lot of these clerical jobs could be done more cheaply and efficiently by downtown back-office workers at city hall, leaving space for you to be put back on the street walking beats again. I don't know why Tim Redmond and Mirkarimi didn't pick up on this and support the police chief's plan.

In any case, the pension gravy train ride is now over. We just can't afford it anymore.

Posted by Barton on Jul. 25, 2010 @ 1:04 pm

Supporters of the Adachi initiative live in a fantasy world themselves believing that once we cut the wages and benefits of working people, this measure magically funds our city services like "Healthy San Francisco",police, fire and Hospital services as SFGH and elder care at Laguna Honda, our local parks and activities to school kids in those same parks, jail and court services and of course, public transportation. The measure does not earmark this money for specific services and could be spent anyway the BOS decides. It merely slashes the wages of police, fire-fighters, nurses, doctors, court clerks, medical assistants and health workers by 9 and 10%. In addition, retirees are worried about their health care benefits including dental which are going to rise as well. This is a badly crafted bill that rides on voter anger, and there's plenty of that out there to exploit, by politicians who have investment brokers money to burn buying the majority of those signatures at 5% a pop. When I looked at the pictures of the kick off campaign for this initiative, there were few volunteers but plenty of empty hats and media filling the spaces.
Pension reform for government workers is a popular idea these days, even Jerry Brown has provided a more sensible way to do it by outlining a policy to stop "spiking" which this bill won't. In addition, to raising the retirement age from 55 to 60 which this measure doesn't do either. The Brown initiative, unlike this measure seems a more sensible approach to providing cash to our cash strapped State. This bill merely works by cutting wages directly and is the same old same old as far as I can see in balancing the budget on the workers who will deliver the services with less money and as one worker said recently, having to choose between paying rent and covering her son.

This is going to be a very divisive campaign. Exploiting voter anger at city workers and unions doesn't seem to fit into San Francisco history. This is especially true when our nation is facing a stark choice of angry Tea Party crazies who have no plan to help the economy and create good paying jobs with benefits and adequate retirement for the middle class and Democrats struggling to create jobs with an economy in a recession.

This does not help the services and doesn't help the economy. It sure doesn't help the atmosphere either and looks a lot like Republican Meg Whitman's proposal to our state workers too. She wants to cut pensions too.

Services will not be saved without raising revenue at some point. Services will not be saved by this badly crafted bill. The BOS will still have the power of the purse to decide what to do with the so called savings.

Posted by Guest lucretiamott on Jul. 25, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

"...The measure does not earmark this money for specific services...."

The City has a $800 million structural deficit.

"...It merely slashes the wages of police, fire-fighters, nurses, doctors, court clerks, medical assistants and health workers by 9 and 10%...."

This is not true. For starters, I am sure you understand the words "wages" and "benefits" have different meanings. Even if it were true, why is this so alarming to you, have you read a newspaper lately? Most of San Jose's 11 unions took a direct 10% cut in wage and benefit compensation.

"...In addition, to raising the retirement age from 55 to 60 which this measure doesn't do either..."

It would have been unlawful to do so for current employees. Doing this for new hires wouldn't save the City and money for many years.

"..This bill merely works by cutting wages directly and is the same old same old as far as I can see in balancing the budget on the workers who will deliver the services with less money and as one worker said recently, having to choose between paying rent and covering her son..."

Does not cut wages directly but keep saying that. Have you ever considered the plight of a private sector house cleaner or gardener working in San Francisco? He is getting paid $10,000 to $20,000 less than a City employee and doesn't even dream of a City employee's benefits. So these folks should have their City services cut and pay ever rising fees (parking tickets, parking meters etc.) to subsidize City employee benefits. Makes no sense to me...

"...create good paying jobs with benefits and adequate retirement for the middle class..."

The middle class who live in San Francisco have no guaranteed, subsidized retirement and they shouldn't have to subsidize the guaranteed retirement of City employees most of whom don't live in SF.

"She wants to cut pensions too"

The proposal cuts no one's pension.

"...Services will not be saved without raising revenue at some point...."

How does this proposal preclude revenue from being raised? There will be tax proposals on the ballot too. The proposal only covers about 20% of the $800 million structural deficit, no one is claiming this measure alone solves the City's financial mess...

Pretty good post though...

Seej

Posted by Seej on Jul. 25, 2010 @ 8:18 pm

"Supporters of the Adachi initiative live in a fantasy world themselves believing that once we cut the wages and benefits of working people,"

You are not being asked for wage reductions at all. Your salary will not be affected by this proposition.

As for benefits, you are being asked to pay the same amount (7.5%) into your own pension funds that normal people do when we pay into Social Security.

What's wrong with that? What is so egregious about asking you to cover part of your own retirement costs? Those of us who pay into Social Security do.

Posted by Barton on Jul. 25, 2010 @ 4:20 pm

I don't know what planet you live on but a city janitor or nurse who has to start paying 50% of their dependant health caare costs for their children is going to feel a huge real wage reduction.

Posted by SF Local on Aug. 04, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

When will SF employees accept that us taxpayers don't want to pay for their pensions at all anymore? After this passes, we will get another measure that eliminates benefits. We'll strip them one by one until all employees become independent contractors.

Find a real job, people.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 25, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

Many SF employees are tax payers, home owners and live in San Francisco. The real motive behind this initiative is to destroy the public sector by using independent contractors as the "Guest" so clearly states not to "Save the services" as Adachi claims. I am so happy the "Guest" has illuminated the real reason behind this deceptive measure. It will be an expensive failure but make a lot of people richer at the expense of the Tax payer many of whom work for the city and county of SF or depend on the services themselves which will continue to be cash strapped as our benefits are stripped away. Privitization of public services only make the rich richer, the middle class shrink and the poor poorer. Union busting is clearly outlined in the words "independent contractors" by the Guest who clearly outlines the real purpose of the strategy behind the Adachi measure. It is not about reform. It is not about saving the services. It is about the gradual destruction of the public infrastructure until it is sucked dry by the few at the expense of the many.

Posted by Guest lucretiamott on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 5:44 am

MOST City employees do not live in the City. This is a fact you cannot undue.

Posted by Seej on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 10:43 am

Seej, you sure like to post "FACTS" that have no evidence or backing. That's a statement you'd posted countless times and you have never posted a shred of evidence to go along with it.

Posted by SF Local on Aug. 04, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

Guest at 9:12pm was being sarcastic.

No, we do not want to gut the public sector.

We just want you to pay 7.5% of your salary into a pension fund. Just like normal people do when making their monthly social security payments.

We want you to pay for some of your own pension costs so that the General Fund stops bleeding red.

This is not a draconian proposal.

Posted by Barton on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 6:34 am

I work for the San Francisco Dept. of Public Health. We DO pay 7.5% of our salaries into our pension fund! We also accepted 12 unpaid furlough days per year for two years, plus another .95% pay cut to help retain other workers who were laid off.

I don't know where you are getting your information, unless it is from the same folks who are trying to demonize public employees. If you don't believe these facts, contact SEIU1021 (they are on the Web) in San Francisco and ask them.

And yes, these are real jobs, we work very hard and we serve the public. We have nothing to apologize for. Instead of trying to demonize those of us who chose this career, I suggest people consider unionizing in your places of business to protect your own interests.

I can remember when I entered the workforce about 40 years ago and everyone in the bank where I worked (Wells Fargo) was eligible to receive a pension on retirement. What has happened to the private sector?

Posted by Grace on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

Grace,

Good post. But all City employees who post here don't answer the fundamental question: Employee benefits cost the City's general fund $1.2 billion a year (one in five dollars spent) and this cost is doubling to $2.4 billion over the next five years: Who should pay for this?

Posted by Seej on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 2:59 pm

Your figures are projections based on a snapshot of time during the worst economic downturn in the last 80 years. Things will and have been improving and the pension investments are getting better returns. Those investments are what pay for the majority of retiree pensions. An example of this is that CalPERS, the state pension fund, has rebounded $40 billion since the market low last March.

Posted by SF Local on Aug. 04, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

Seej, I'm not sure where you're getting your facts, but total employee benefits for the upcoming fiscal year are proposed to be $983.8 million, $352.5 million of which was a payment into the retirement system (a number that went up 24 percent from last because the stock and bond markets were down this year, and which will slow once the economy recovers). Source: Mayor's 2010-2011 Proposed Budget. As for the pension obligation, the Controller's Office warns that it will reach almost $1 billion in five years. That's something we should address, but it's not at bad as your numbers indicate. And as for your question, I'd suggest we look to the big downtown corporations that aren't paying any business taxes or transit impact fees to the city. Public employee unions gave back, and might be asked to give more, but you cover up the real problem when you blame workers for the city's fiscal state.

Posted by steven on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 3:34 pm

Steven,

Yes on the $984. Don't think the $984 includes Retiree health to get to $1.2 billion. Retiree heath is presently $4 billion underfunded which is a another huge problem.

The City's pension cost was 5% of payroll in 2009-09 and it will be 30% of payroll by 2014 - this is a huge cost increase for which there is currently no funding mechanism in place. The City's actuary says the City's pension fund will be just 68% funded by 2014- again, another problem.

Both City pension and health benefits are not sustainable in current form. These are major problems- I don't downplay them. Why do you think the Controller issued a statement to BOS etc that the City has a $800 million structural deficit or why did Moody's Investor Service just downgrade the City's long term debt to "negative"...?

I actually blame our elected leaders for not communicating the gravity of what lies ahead...

I don't see anyone blaming our workers for our current fiscal state, yes they are blaming City officials but no serious person is blaming City workers...

My two cents...

Posted by Seej on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 6:07 pm

"Employee benefits cost the City's general fund $1.2 billion a year"

Specific source on that? Other than grand jury report?

"This cost is doubling to $2.4 billion over the next five years."

That all depends and is by no means a sure thing. Also, health care costs in general increase year after year, often times by an unjustifiable percentage, far outpacing wages. This is not the fault of City workers, yet if this measure passes they will be forced to double (25% at present increased to 50% -- correct?) what they pay for dependents. A 100% increase. That's almost unheard of even in the sacrosanct private sector.

Posted by Guest LD on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 3:37 pm

Without backing it up, trust me - ha, let's skip to the elephant in the room. (I actually think the costs will increase more than $1.2 billion over five years because the City Controller (source for CGJ report) estimates future pension costs based on the City's payroll being fixed for six consecutive years which is not realistic.)

Let's say the costs are going up $1 billion- who should pay for this?

Posted by Seej on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

Or better yet, how about $1 trillion?

Posted by Guest LD on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

Who are you and why should we trust you? Also, you're misrepresenting the numbers again: costs are going up TO less than a billion, not BY a billion. As for who should pay, I'd suggest the richest individuals and corporations in San Francisco, not workers making around the city's median income. Why is that notion so hard for you to grasp? Hmm, perhaps it has something to do with why there seem to be so many anti-government blog commenters spouting suspiciously similar talking points whenever this issue comes up.

Posted by steven on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 4:48 pm

okay- we are making some headway:

"The richest individuals and corporations in San Francisco." I am just trying to understand how you folks think the increases in City employee benefit cost should be paid. Be more specific from there and then put that on the ballot.

(Yes, employee benefit costs (pension + heath for current + health for retiree) is increasing BY a Billion- at least- over the next five years.)

Posted by Seej on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

...by the way - "ha" means I was joking...

Posted by Seej on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

Health insurance costs have been rising around 15% a year since 2001.

Self-employed people paying for individual coverage (like me!) are now paying around $400 a month to be insured.

That's the norm. Welcome to the real world, Mr. City Employee.

Posted by Barton on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 4:05 pm

And that's a good thing. Let's talk about why health insurance rises 15% a year. Let's talk about taxing those who can not only afford it but have thus far avoided it. This doesn't have to be the norm.

Barton, if you're so in touch with the "real world," why do you keep pining away for the year 2015 and beyond, so eager to join the Adachi fiscal-doomsday cult?

Posted by Guest LD on Jul. 26, 2010 @ 4:42 pm