Adachi and Ballard's pension reform gloves come off

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Nathan Ballard (left) compared Jeff Adachi (right) to Sarah Palin in context of city's pension reform challenge

Yesterday, I talked to Public Defender Jeff Adachi about the latest efforts to address pension reform in San Francisco. Readers may remember that Adachi roused the ire of the labor unions last year, with the ultimately unsuccessful Proposition B. At the time, most folks felt Adachi’s measure didn’t have a snowball’s chance because it asked public employees to bear the brunt of the city’s ballooning retirement and health plan costs. Yet, they all praised Adachi as a great city leader who has been on the right side of many other battles in this city’s rich political history.
But the pension reform issue hasn’t gone away, and now that Adachi is threatening to introduce another measure this fall, the gloves have apparently come off, as witnessed by a Bay Citizen article that reported that union leaders don’t want Adachi to be part of a pension-reform working group at City Hall
In that Bay Citizen article, Nathan Ballard, who served as communications director for former Mayor Gavin Newsom from 2007 to 2009, said, “Inviting Jeff Adachi to our talks would be like inviting Sarah Palin to speak at the Democratic convention."
The Bay Citizen characterized Ballard as “a Democratic strategist who has been involved in the working group since its inception.” And it noted that Mayor Lee had reached out to Adachi—an effort that it framed as a “complicating move.”
But it didn’t get Adachi’s thoughts on Ballard’s comments. So, I asked Adachi how he felt about being compared to Sarah “Moose in the headlights” Palin.
“It’s ironic that a spokesperson from Burson-Marsteller, which is headed by Republican operatives such as President Bush’s former press secretary (Dana Perino) and represents some of the most reactionary corporate interests, such as USA Blackwater, is accusing me of being a Republican for trying to solving our city’s pension crisis,” Adachi replied, referring to the fact that Burson-Marsteller, a global public relations firm, appointed Ballard as a managing director in March 2010.
“This is a company that is known for representing the worst corporate criminals in modern history,” Adachi continued. “They organized a campaign against civil rights in Argentina, supported a government massacre in Indonesia and tried to justify the killing of over 2,000 people in India’s Bhopal disaster. You have a hired mouthpiece, Nathan Ballard, who's been paid $50,000 out of union member dues deciding who can attend meetings at City Hall. “
Asked for his thoughts on Adachi’s response, Ballard replied, “Burson-Marsteller employs talented operatives from both sides of the aisle. Although I won't speak to the specifics of Jeff Adachi's allegations, Burson is well known as the world's go-to firm for crisis communications, and that tends to involve handling high-stakes disputes for controversial clients. As a criminal defense lawyer, Jeff Adachi should resist the temptation to assign blame to an advocate for accusations made against a client.”

So, buckle your seats, ladies and gentlemen. The pension reform battle is ON. And if the exchange posted above is any indication, it's only going to get uglier

Comments

Balllard takes money from unions and spouts the nonsense they tell him to spout. That's his job- great, who cares...

Mayor Lee was quoted yesterday as saying the City is on pace to be bankrupt in five years with benefit reforms three to four times what Adachi proposed in Prop B - and we still have to read the drivel spouted by Nathan Ballard??

"...most folks felt Adachi’s measure didn’t have a snowball’s chance because it asked public employees to bear the brunt of the city’s ballooning retirement and health plan costs.'

You do realize this statement is wildly inaccurate. Benefit costs are now $1 BILLION a year climbing $150 million A YEAR and Prop B had ONE-TIME minimal savings of $120 million and Prop B "asked public employees to bear the brunt of the balloning costs??" It would be great if someone at the SFBG took the time to study the City's projected benefit costs. Thank You.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

Dear Guest, I've read the projections and I agree that they're disturbing. All the more reason to invite everyone to the table to hammer out a workable solution.

Posted by sarah on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

Thanks for getting Jeff's quote, and his pointing out Ballard's official thug status with Burson-Marsteller, an organization that is basically devoted to being paid well for making the powerful look less evil.

Posted by sfmike on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

So Sarah,

Your bosses don't think they owe Adachi an apology for allowing Gabriel Haaland to lead them by the nose in smearing his reputation. How about you? Personally. Do you think that Jeff Adachi has ever been anything other than the most stalwart Progressive voice in San Francisco?

Answer. It's easy. Just consider the question and then without asking Gabriel, give your own opinion. You can give your opinion freely, right? I mean, if they screw around with you, you can always go to your union.

Oh wait, you don't have one.

Go Giants!

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

H really let you have it on that one Sarah. And he's 100% correct. When are you going to answer, or are you going to allow Gaby Haaland to write your response for you?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 9:44 pm

There's a reason people put blank lines between them.

The pensions mess will be fixed because it has to be fixed. And it won't be fixed by endlessly raising taxes on the rest of us so City workers can continue to enjoy their six-figure pensions while retiring in their 50's with lifetime health benefits.

Can't pay; won't pay.

Posted by Rick on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

Talk about something you know about.
I work for the city and live here too. I don't make 6 figures can't retire till atleast 62. I already contribute to my pention and pay a portion of my heathcare.
Our union has given back 3 times since this mess has started.
Maybe you should be asking how it is that the pension isn't fully funded, then place blame,

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

Not sure why he still thinks he's Mayor .... that greaseball has moved on.

Posted by Jamie Whitaker on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

Is Nathan Ballard attending these talks, and if so, why? (There is a quote in which Ballard refers to them as "our talks").

I hope he is not attending them. I still do not understand why union reps, politicians, Hellman, and possibly a political consultant (i.e., Ballard) are attending these critical talks and there is no taxpayer representative(s). Taxpayers are the ones who are funding this nonsense. As Melissa Griffin aptly noted, it's like a meeting of foxes regarding how to run the henhouse.

Phelan--good article BTW.

And h. -- why the constant posts about demanding apologies? I personally don't care what Haaland thinks. I do agree with you that Adachi is being a good leader on this issue. I also agree about the go Giants sentiment.

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 16, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

Commish,

Just making the point that the Guardian writers don't have the freedom to write their own opinions anymore than Chron reporters do. Phelan's and excellent scribe but you'll never see her address the Guardian union question. None of them will or Bruce will fire them.

Giants will win 100 this year and that's lots of games. The strongest hitter in their lineup (I didn't say 'best') is Madison Bumgarner. I spent bunch of time in Fresno w/free access to Grizzlies practices and games and 'Bum' drew a crowd for every turn in the batting cage. He regularly hits the ball 450 feet. Same in SF but he doesn't get many turns in the cage. So, I predict Giants pitchers will hit 5 homers between them this year. Which will lead the Majors.

And, I'll take your point and stop calling for the Guardian to apologize for the hose job they did on Jeff. It ain't gonna happen anyway.

On another point, just finishing Steven Jones' book on Burning Man and it's a real hybrid. Guess I'll put it in the history section of my collection. If you want to really know the local art and DJ scene you must own this book.

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 8:34 am

h.-- Understood. While I often don't agree with the sentiments in your posts, I usually find your posts well-stated and/or interesting. I just didn't understand the numerous requests to SFBG for an apology since I couldn't care less what Haaland thinks anyway.

Giants--Brandon Belt thoughts? Media prediction is for a mid-season call-up from the minors, but I'm hoping for something sooner. His stats are solid.

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 10:30 pm

Same here.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

The issue that Adachi raised to me, in addition to being understandably bummed that Ballard was comparing him to Palin, was his exclusion from the pension reform discussion. As he noted, meetings are going on at City Hall during what everyone agrees is the biggest fiscal crisis the city has faced, but are members of the public, or even the media, being involved? Apparently not, unless they have clearance from Ballard and the other gate keepers.

Posted by sarah on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

is invited to this pension reform "working group" and Adachi is not? Lee is the "host" - it's a simple question.

Thanks for the report.

Posted by Flowers on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

The way it was explained to me was that the unions had already agreed to give back on pensions and that prop. B was a stealth cut to health care that the city would wind up paying for through "healthy san francisco" anyway.

I was against prop. B because it was false advertising. If health care costs are the issue we should put that on the ballot and not pensions. I'm just sick and tired of being manipulated.

The problem isn't pensions. The problem is health care. And the solution isn't pension reform. The solution is health care reform. Everyone goes after the public employees unions because they are an easy target compared to the AMA, the doctor's union.

The only way to solve America's health care problem is to go after the AMA doctor's union stranglehold on supply and demand of health care and the various fiendish methods the doctor's union has devised to keep their incomes super inflated.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

Your understanding is wrong - I'll pick one item.

"...the unions had already agreed to give back on pensions."

Union backed pension reform was Prop D passed in June of 2010. (This was the result of "everybody at the table.") Let me give you a few facts:

Current General Fund Pension Costs: $472 million a year.

Annual Estimated Increase: $100 million a year.

Amount of Annual Pension Savings Generated By Union Pension Reform: $10 million a year beginning in 2023.

Trust me - no one seems to get it. Very frustrating...

Mayor Ed Lee: "Five years from bankruptcy..."

Posted by Flowers on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

According to the rebuttal arguments section of the "voter information packet" which you can still see online, the union gave back $750 million.

"Proponent’s drastic exaggerations don’t account for major reforms passed in 2008 that will save over a billion dollars.The facts: public employees have taken voluntary pay cuts of $750 million over the last 9 years and helped pass two far-reaching city retirement and health care reforms."

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

Huh? What are you talking about?

Are you aware how much debt most physicians finish medical school with? If you want to start talking about cutting physician's salaries then you need to start offering to pay for their school and compensate them for the the 10+ years they put into becoming physicians.

Your statement makes absolutely no sense.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

One of the mechanisms used by the doctors union to keep their wages artificially high is to restrict the supply of doctors by restricting the supply of medical education. If the US increased the number of medical schools for both doctors and nurses the supply of providers would increase and costs would go down according to the laws of supply and demand, which the AMA doctors union fully understands.

If there were more medical schools, at all levels including community colleges, they would be unable to charge as much and slowly over time health care costs would begin to fall into equilibrium with the rest of the economy.

I

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

Plus, if you ask any health care educator at City College, they'll likely tell you that probably the most immediate way to effectively reduce health care costs is to allow foreign doctors to enter the US to practice medicine here after they take the same exams as US doctors.

The AMA has successfully lobbied for years to stop immigrating physicians from practicing in the US.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

In order to solve the pension problem, we need to address the drivers for rising pension costs.

Those drivers are high salaries and the cost of paying pensions based on those high salaries.

First, cap city pay at $100K except for classroom teachers and doctors and nurses that see patients.

Second, cap pensions at $50K or 110% of median pension. If you can't make it on $50K + $20K social security, then that is not a problem that the taxpayers of San Francisco need to solve.

Do this all retroactively applied to current pensioners. It is not fair to have current city employees paying into a system to transfer resources to current retirees who did not pay in themselves.

The City might need to get state law amended to create a special kind of bankruptcy that would a bankruptcy court to alter contracts on pensions only, not touch anything related to the City's credit rating, where total benefits were capped at that $50K/110% median number.

That's how we solve this problem by bringing progressive values to bear.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

Marc, according to Tom Ammiano who cites the Office of Comptroller in the SFBG the drivers of rising pension costs are health care expenses and not salary expenses.

"Proponents have framed Prop. B as an answer to the city's pension and retirement costs, but in reality, this measure is about health care. San Francisco's Office of the Controller's impartial analysis of Prop. B concludes that 70 percent of the savings from the measure would come from dramatically increasing the cost of dependent health care for working families."

- Tom Ammiano

"Prop B is bad medicine"
SFBG 09/21/10

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 1:51 pm

Guest, Prop B failed because it was about health care, not pensions.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

Now I'm REALLY confused....

"San Francisco Comptroller Projects a General Fund Surplus for Fiscal Year 2011, yet Budget Shortfall for 2010 Will Remain"

By Justin Slaughter on February 15, 2011

The San Francisco Office of Comptroller released its FY 2010-2011 six month budget status report which projects an ending General Fund balance of $89.2 million.

This strength versus the adopted budget is driven predominantly by a modest improvement in the City’s general tax revenues. Property transfer tax is significantly exceeding budgeted levels, driven by voter approval of a rate increase in November 2010 that was not assumed in the budget. Property taxes and business taxes are also projected to exceed budget.

This projected ending balance will be available to address a portion of the p projected shortfall for the coming fiscal year. But a substantial budget shortfall for FY 2011-12 will remain.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

Prop B was always about CIty "retirement benefits" never specifically about pension costs only. The name of the measure was "Employee Benefit Reform." The media's obsession with the word "pension" is a separate issue. No one likes to discuss unfunded health care for whatever reason.

When Prop B was submitted to the Controller as designed- it was scored for savings in the upcoming fiscal year at 50% pension costs savings/50% health care savings at a total savings of $172 miilion. This is what was written on the ballot initiative. AFTER Prop B got on the ballot our crooked Controller's office (in part responsible for this entire mess) moved the goal posts to score what the savings were in 2015- which turns out was just $120 million in savings with 33% pension savings and 66% health savings.

The real question is- why do all SF politicians like Ammiamo believe it is okay to promise retiree health care to thousands of persons when the City has no money to pay for it? Why is the entire City obsessing on "pensions" when unfunded health care is far worse - $4.5 billion unfunded liability versus $1.8 billon for pensions?

Posted by Flowers on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

Why are you all obsessing over a temporary glitch in the glorious march of ever growing capitalism? Are you now trying to tell us that it is not Morning in America? That this is the end of the line for the American middle class?

Are you trying to Blame America First in that This Most Peace Loving of All Nations cannot muster up the audacity to Hope for Change we can Believe in?

Clearly the Chicago School of Economics can handle this temporary financial setback as the economy finds its new level. The glory days of bubble economics are just around the corner, and certainly as the stock market continues to rise, we will see public pension funds recover as well.

What we've got here is proof positive that the right wing conservative supply side economic jargon is total bullshit. All that approach accomplishes is to enrich the already wealthy at the expense of working Americans, all the better if it can do that by playing us off against one another rather than uniting us all against the rule of billionaires.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 8:04 am

Prop B was spun (spinned?) using examples of police officers making $500,000 per year and retiring at 90% salary by age 55.

Imagine how deceived and personally offended I must have felt when I discovered it primarily affected the healthcare benefits for families making under $40,000 a year.

And, I guess, imagine the shock of pr firms like Burson-Marsteller that voters actually paid attention long enough to catch on?

I'm seriously not into Burson-Marsteller, or Sequoia Capital, or Matrix Management trying to sell me on pension reform.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

Last I checked the City had over 200 police officers making over $200,000 a year who yes, will be retiring at 55 at 90%. One man's spin is another's pending bankruptcy. (You might want to see the Chron today- these costs are costing us police officers on the street. One man's spin is another's concern for public safety.)

Yes, Prop B would have required the City's lower paid workers (those with dependents) to pay an additional $220 a month for Kaiser and Blue Cross. Apparently you'd rather see some get laid off.

Burson-Marsteller was on the union side - please pay attention.

If you were offended by Adachi's reforms, you're probably not going to like the reforms on the way that will be "four times" greater according to our new Mayor who says the City is five years from bankrupcty.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 5:34 pm

If Sequoia Capital wants to try again with a ballot measure that transparently targets higher end pensions they may have a better chance at passage.

But I dare them to try another Prop. that tries to slip through a stealth $5600 per year health insurance increase on working families making $30,000.

"...Under Prop B, a single mother with one child will pay up to $5,600 more annually for health care, regardless of ability to pay. Most San Franciscans couldn’t afford a $5,600 insurance premium increase. Neither can the vast majority of teachers, custodians, gardeners, librarians, firefighters, nurses, police and other public employees hurt by Prop B."

"...DOESN’T DISTINGUISH BETWEEEN LOW-WAGE AND HIGHLY-PAID WORKERS. Proposition B increases the cost of health care whether an employee makes $30,000 or is the top brass. It even cuts health care
benefits for widows and children of police officers or firefighters killed in the line of duty..."

- 2010 voter information pamphlet on Prop B.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

"But I dare them to try another Prop. that tries to slip through a stealth $5600 per year health insurance increase on working families making $30,000."

You fell for a PT Barnum Ballardism! Congratulations!

B would have raised healthcare costs from $0 to $9 for city employees and from $0 to $230 a month for all their dependents combined.

You are referring to the "Cadillac Plan" that only 1% of city employees actually select.

You fell for a Ballard rouse in the B campaign. Ballard is a political operative who makes a living by telling falsehoods to naive and uninformed voters.

He'll be for hire in the next election, too, if you need to spin any falsehoods.

Posted by Barton on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 8:28 am

I'm quoting Tom Ammiano who cites the Office of the Comptroller...

"Proponents have framed Prop. B as an answer to the city's pension and retirement costs, but in reality, this measure is about health care. San Francisco's Office of the Controller's impartial analysis of Prop. B concludes that 70 percent of the savings from the measure would come from dramatically increasing the cost of dependent health care for working families."

-Tom Ammiano

"Prop B is bad medicine"
SFBG 09/21/10

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 9:04 am

You do realize that you can say anything in those ballot rebuttal/arguments- and they are vetted by no one?

I realize Tom Ammiamo is your hero but the $5,600 increase in health care costs for City employees making under $30,000 was probably the single biggest lie in the campaign. You have already been corrected by another poster. A lot of people were duped into believing that stuff...

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 10:24 am

You do realize that you can say anything in those ballot rebuttal/arguments- and they are vetted by no one?

I realize Tom Ammiamo is your hero but the $5,600 increase in health care costs for City employees making under $30,000 was probably the single biggest lie in the campaign. You have already been corrected by another poster. A lot of people were duped into believing that stuff...

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 10:24 am

I'm not quoting the voter guide. I'm quoting Tom Ammiano in his SFBG article from 09/21/10.

Plus I'm also looking at what happened in Vallejo. First they went bankrupt over "labor costs" and then they cut health care contributions and salaries but left pensions TOTALLY untouched.

---------------------------------------

Bankrupt Vallejo Cuts Retiree Health, Not Pensions

Written by Ed Mendel, Calpensions.com
February 8, 2010
The bankrupt city of Vallejo cut health care payments for retired employees, but an initial recovery plan does not touch pensions.

When the old port city on the far side of San Francisco Bay filed a rare municipal bankruptcy in May 2008, there was speculation about whether bankruptcy would become a way for deficit-ridden cities to shed crushing retirement debts.

In groundbreaking actions in the Vallejo case, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Michael McManus in Sacramento ruled last March that city labor contracts can be overturned in bankruptcy, and then in September dissolved a contract after mediation failed.

A “workout plan” approved by the city council in December, described as an opening position in labor negotiations, cuts nearly all general fund spending, except for employee pensions.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 10:58 am

San Francisco is under no danger of bankruptcy whatsoever if you believe the latest report from the Office of the Comptroller, but if SF were to go through bankruptcy what would likely happen is what happened in Vallejo.

Under the scrutiny of a bankruptcy judge SF would transparently modify its healthcare contributions and reduce salaries and leave pensions totally alone because the pensions themselves are totally solvent.

The Office of the Comptroller in SF said 70% of the savings from Prop B were from cutting health care for dependents, and I expect the bankruptcy court would concur, just as it did in Vallejo.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 11:17 am

IMHO, the only folks who should be involved in negotiations are those who directly represent the workers, the city and the people of SF -- that is, members of the BoS's, the mayor and labor leaders (or their staff). There's just too much potential for corruption of the process when you allow in downtown corporate interests, paid consultants and ambitious pols who have no direct stake in the matter. I find it very VERY suspect because you are bringing in folks who stand to profit in one way or another, while in no way being answerable to the people.

Now, I don't care for Nathan Ballard. But that doesn't change the fact that Prop B is not and never was never a grassroots effort. Let me remind you that Prop B was NOT funded by ordinary citizens. It was an initiative bought and paid for by billionaires. Here's the list of donors (via The Bay Citizen):

The largest donors are Michael Moritz and his wife, novelist Harriet Heyman, who were early contributors to Adachi’s effort. The couple has contributed $245,000 in total.

Richard Beleson, identified as a financial analyst at Capital Group Cos. on Union Street, is listed as having donated $100,000 in total.

Financier Warren Hellman, donated $50,000 to the effort, making him the third-largest supporter after Moritz and his wife. (Hellman later withdrew his support for Prop. B.)

George Hume, of Basic American Foods, donated $50,000 on July 29. He is a member of the board of directors of the San Francisco Opera.

Howard Leach, a Republican investor has contributed $25,000 to Proposition B. (He co-hosted a Prop. B fundraiser with former Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. on Sept. 16.)

David Crane, a San Francisco Democrat who is also economic policy advisor to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, gave $22,500 on Sept. 28, bringing his total contribution to $32,500.

Richard Riordan of Los Angeles donated $25,000. (It was not immediately possible to learn if this is the former mayor of Los Angeles.)

Stephen Bechtel Jr., listed as owner of Bechtel Corp., gave $10,000 on Sept. 20.

Diane Wilsey, a philanthropist who is also a funder of The Bay Citizen and a member of its board, gave $1,000 on Sept. 29.

Posted by Lisa Pelletier on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

Who cares who funded prop B? They are probably people who are tired of driving around our third world country roads while reading that benefit costs are sucking all the money away from basic services. And the unions spent more opposing it than any of these rich folk in any event.

I agree Ballard shouldn't be part of the process. But having Labor leaders, the Mayor, and the Supervisors as the only ones at the table is a bad idea. Labor is looking out for itself and the Board is the body that was involved in giving away the store in the first place. Do you think it's a good idea having Eric Mar being a negotiator? Good lord.

How about some people who represent the taxpayers.

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 6:27 pm

He was elected by the people of his district, and he's a damned good representative, IMHO.

Posted by Lisa Pelletier on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

I assume you're joking. Please watch Eric Mar in a BofS meeting. Then watch him at a committee hearing. Top it off with watching him get crucified on the Daily Show. (Available via Google.) Repeat. If you think he's a "damn good" representative, we are doomed.

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

Sure - you have to raise money quickly to finance a signature campaign. Did you expect Adachi to solicit donations from poor people? Does the firefighters donating $200,000 mean the campaign against was not a grass roots effort?

People were printing out Prop B signature petitions online and mailing them in to the tune of fifty plus per day during the campaign. Adachi submitted approx 77,000 sigs when 44,000 were required. (Of course, they were hand counted by CIty employees - 49,000 verified.)

The idea that there is not a large part of the San Francisco community that wants employee benefit reform is complete and utter nonsense.

Btw - as you desire, all of past negotiations over benefits have been between labor leaders and the elected officials whose campaigns they fund and thus, Ed Lee tells us we are five years from bankruptcy...

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

He chose not to. btw, I think your contention that Prop B was supported by the people is complete and utter nonsense. The people voted it down! We all support pension reform, but not the way that Jeff chose to go about it.

Posted by Lisa Pelletier on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

Adachi's campaign started 10 weeks after Elsbernd's- such was the reality. If you think you can get 70,000 sigs (44,000 valid) in three months without raising any money - you are naive.

For the record, I am into reading comprehension - I did not write "Prop B was supported by the people" I said "a large part of the community wants employee benefit reform." Winning any political campaign with the resources of the entire labor community marshalled against you is a separate matter.

The City is five years from bankruptcy according to Mayor Ed Lee - you should be proud. You folks have been duping the public for quite some time - with bogus union-supported benefit reforms ballot measures like Prop B 2008 and Prop D 2010- sounds like it'll be a little more difficult going forward...Best of luck.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

I'm not trying to attack you, but your posts are devolving into nonsense. Your are drinking the Kool-Aid and Haaland talking points.

The Bay Citizen--which you like to cite--is reporting that the "pension working group" will need more than 3 times the savings than Adachi's proposal would have obtained. That likely means 3 times the contribution from city workers.

The prop B people obtained tens of thousands of signatures in a couple of months. Thats pretty solid, especially given a multi-million dollar union effort to defeat it.

I hope you aren't a city employee--and I do wish the best for city employees and retirees--because city employees got sold a bill of goods that made no sense. Read the balance sheets, income statements, and investment returns for the city budget and pension fund. The money isn't there. People got promised benefits and pensions that don't work under basic math--much less cogent investment principles. What's going to happen when a 45-year old city worker expecting a $60,000 pension at age 60 finds out the money isn't there to support it?

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 17, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

Why is it that the primary funders of Prop B were billionaires and GOP operatives like Schwarzenegger advisor David Crane? Adachi identifies as a progressive, so why did he choose to pitch his campaign on conservative talk shows with the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Ronn Owens? Why does Jeff Adachi trumpet the same anti-worker rhetoric as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Meg Whitman? (he went so far as to get on stage with Schwarzenegger.) Why did H Brown hint in a recent comment that it doesn't matter if progressives have soured on Adachi because he will still pick up votes on the west side? And why is it that the progressive community was almost entirely allied against Prop B with the exception of Adachi's longtime friend and cohort from the SF Public Defender's Office?

I've never viewed any talking points by Gabriel Haaland or anyone else. I'm quite capable of researching this issue for myself. That's how I found out that Michael Moritiz, the main funder of Prop B, had contributed $11,000 to Ohio governor John Kasich's campaign.

Here's what the NY Times had to say about Kasich in a recent editorial, "Of all the new governors, John Kasich, Republican of Ohio, appears to be planning the most comprehensive assault against unions. He is proposing to take away the right of 14,000 state-financed child care and home care workers to unionize. He also wants to ban strikes by teachers, much the way some states bar strikes by the police and firefighters."

Do you understand what's going down in Wisconsin right now? The nationwide assault on workers is being instigated by the GOP and tea partiers at the behest of their corporate backers in an all-out campaign to break the backs of labor unions. The Europeans have figured it out, and it's just beginning to dawn on American workers, but this has been in the works for a long time. Don't accuse me of naivete or "spouting nonsense" until you've figured this it out for yourself, hombre. It will become more apparent in the days and weeks to come. Keep an eye on Wisconsin, my friend.

Posted by Lisa Pelletier on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

"Although I won't speak to the specifics of Jeff Adachi's allegations, Burson is well known as the world's go-to firm for crisis communications, and that tends to involve handling high-stakes disputes for controversial clients."

In Plain English:

Ballard is a for-hire mouthpiece. If you pay-to-play, he'll support anything you want. He was Newsom's mouth-puppet. And he will be your mouth-puppet, and dance on your pole, too, if you pay him enough.

Adachi is right. Why is the city letting a Consultant Hack decide who sits at the pension-reform dinner table?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 8:13 am

"You have a hired mouthpiece, Nathan Ballard, who's been paid $50,000 out of union member's pockets."

So, union dues were handed over to a greasy Newson hack. Who knew?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 2:12 pm

While the big six figure pensions keep rolling out, there are no funds for schools and basic services. $200 million expense this year, $350 million next year and $500+ million the following year. The liability is $4.3 billion. SF is broke because of this issue. The unions can't expect to take, take take. We have all given. Please help out.

p.s. Please don't attack the private sector. Remember - they are they only ones providing tax revenue. Public salaries just come out of the private sector.

Posted by GuestSteve Jone on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

@The Commish

Why is it that the primary funders of Prop B were billionaires and GOP operatives like Schwarzenegger advisor David Crane? Adachi identifies as a progressive, so why did he choose to pitch his campaign on conservative talk shows with the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Ronn Owens? Why does Jeff Adachi trumpet the same anti-worker rhetoric as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Meg Whitman? (he went so far as to get on stage with Schwarzenegger.) Why did H Brown hint in a recent comment that it doesn't matter if progressives have soured on Adachi because he will still pick up votes on the west side? And why is it that the progressive community was almost entirely allied against Prop B with the exception of Adachi's longtime friend and cohort from the SF Public Defender's Office?

I've never viewed any talking points by Gabriel Haaland or anyone else. I'm quite capable of researching this issue for myself. That's how I found out that Michael Moritiz, the main funder of Prop B, had contributed $11,000 to Ohio governor John Kasich's campaign.

Here's what the NY Times had to say about Kasich in a recent editorial, "Of all the new governors, John Kasich, Republican of Ohio, appears to be planning the most comprehensive assault against unions. He is proposing to take away the right of 14,000 state-financed child care and home care workers to unionize. He also wants to ban strikes by teachers, much the way some states bar strikes by the police and firefighters."

Do you understand what's going down in Wisconsin right now? The nationwide assault on workers is being instigated by the GOP and tea partiers at the behest of their corporate backers in an all-out campaign to break the backs of labor unions. The Europeans have figured it out, and it's just beginning to dawn on American workers, but this has been in the works for a long time. Don't accuse me of naivete or "spouting nonsense" until you've figured this it out for yourself, hombre. It will become more apparent in the days and weeks to come. Keep an eye on Wisconsin, my friend.

Posted by Lisa Pelletier on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

First, this discussion concerns a San Francisco issue--San Francisco's unfunded pension liability. Your attempt to make it about the union movement in Wisconsin and Ohio is pretty diffuse.

As I've said before, I don't care who bankrolled prop B. My guess is that Adachi thought he needed money to counter huge Labor spending to oppose it and he turned out to be right. Unions outspent proponents of the measure by a large measure. For some reason, you think that if some rich guy contributes to a campaign it's fundamentally bad, but if a union does, it's righteous.

As for David Crane, he's a democrat. He also knows a lot about how pension funds have fleeced the City and California. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870331540457525082218925238...

If I were Adachi, I'd want him on my side, too.

I also don't care about what talk shows Adachi appeared on to get the word out about the measure.

What I do care about is the math problem. Your posts tellingly ignore that the City will pay nearly $500 million for pensions this year, which crowds out basic City services. The number will be higher next year. Mayor Lee says the City could be bankrupt in 5-10 years because of employee benefit costs. What's your solution--fly to Wisconsin and participate in a rally?

Unless I'm missing something, you seem more interested in advocating for continued benefits that are bankrupting this town rather than conceding we have a big math problem.

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

Lisa -

There are some who believe asking City employees to contribute more for their generous pension and health care benefits is logical when the City is five years from bankruptcy (see Ed Lee quote in Bay Citizen) and particularly when the City has set aside insufficient funds to pay for said benefits. Others like yourself see this as an "assault" on workers.

"And why is it that the progressive community was almost entirely allied against Prop B?"

Progressive community = labor unions.

...Wasn't Moritz first political donation to Matt Gonzales' mayoral campaign or is Gonzales another tea partier? You might want to to drill down a little further.

...Wisconsin is trying to balance its budget maybe not in a perfect way but we're learning there isn't a perfect way to balance these budgets.

...Maybe you won't question Adachi's "progressive" credentials after you see who bears the brunt of the looming City budget cuts...Peace.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2011 @ 6:07 pm