Is Adachi's pension reform a Tea Party initiative?

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And can Mayor Ed Lee fashion a pension reform measure that is suitable to all sides?
Sarah Phelan

With all eyes on Wisconsin, local labor leaders are suggesting that Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s proposed retirement/health plan reforms are really Tea Party initiatives, even as Adachi threatens to place another Measure B-like initiative on the fall ballot if city leaders can't agree on a fix for the city's fiscal problems

Last fall, Adachi started a war with the local labor movement when he placed Measure B on the November ballot. Measure B proposed increasing employee contributions for retirement benefits, decreasing employer contributions for heath benefits for employees, retirees and their dependents, and changing rules for arbitration proceedings about city collective bargaining agreements,

Measure B ultimately failed, but not after both sides spent a ton of cash. And now labor is refusing to have Adachi sit in on their pension reform talks with Mayor Ed Lee, former SEIU President Andy Stern is describing the fight in Wisconsin as a ’15 state GOP Power grab," and SEIU Local 1021 leader Gabriel Haaland is pointing to Wisconsin as a reason for excluding Adachi from pension reform talks

“Adachi's obviously scapegoating a group that’s part of a national agenda,” Haaland said, noting that in the states where Republicans gained statehouse control in 2010, there’s talk about eliminating collective bargaining, and ending defined benefit plans and paycheck protection.

“The problem is that pension reform has been blowing on the anti-public sector worker winds that are blowing in Wisconsin and other states, whether progressives want to acknowledge it or not,” Haaland continued. "There is a reason that Adachi got so much money last year, and the corporate interests behind him are part of this effort to bash public sector workers.”

Prop. B’s campaign finance records show the campaign raised $1.125 million in 2010, and that the lion’s share came from wealthy individuals.

Billionaire venture capitalist, former Google board member and Obama supporter Michael Moritz gave $245,000. Author Harrier Heyman, Moritz’ wife, donated $172,500. financial analyst Richard Beleson donated $110,000. George Hume of Basic American Foods donated $50,000. Gov. Schwarzenegger’s former economic policy advisor David Crane gave $37,500. Philanthropist Warren Hellman donated $50,000. Republican investor Howard Leach, who co-hosted a Prop. B fundraiser with former Mayor Willie L. Brown, gave $25,000. Investor Joseph Tobin gave $15,750. Maverick Capital partner David Singer gave $15,000. JGE Capital Partners donated  $15,000; Bechtel owner  Stephen Bechtel Jr gave $10,000: Matthew Cohler, a general partner of Benchmark Capital, donated $10,000; the California Chamber of Commerce donated $5,000 and philanthropist Dede Wilsey gave $1,000.

But records also show that Measure B opponents, which included San Francisco Firefighters, SF Police Officers Association, SF First Responders, the California Nurses Association, United Educators, San Francisco Gardeners, San Francisco Teachers, Library Workers, laguna Honda Workers, donated over $1 million in their successful bid to squash Adachi’s reform. And that just about every elected Democrat, including Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, then mayor Gavin Newsom, Sheriff Mike Hennessey, and Board President David Chiu, came out against Adachi’s original plan.
 
Haaland acknowledged that the argument could be made that the progressives’ version of the hotel tax didn’t pass and less attention was paid to the district elections last fall, because labor focused primarily on defeating Adachi’s Measure B.

“But at the end of the day, we did get the real estate transfer tax and we defeated Measure B,” Haaland observed. "So, we need to keep fighting anti-worker pressure. It’s challenging times, but I feel like the connections need to be made.”

Adachi was swift to refute Haaland’s claim that his Measure B pension reform is and was a Tea Party initiative.
“What’s not been reported is the fact that there are all these people supporting pension reform who are progressive Democrats,” Adachi said, pointing to Moritz, Crane and former Board President and Green Party member Matt Gonzalez, who all supported Measure B last fall.

“You are talking about saving basic services and that’s a progressive cause,” Adachi continued. “You might argue that pension reform isn’t a progressive solution. But then you are saying that the needs of one group of workers are subservient to the needs of other workers. And even if you raised every tax in the city, you’d not be able to keep up with pension and healthcare costs."

“Even if we could raise parking tickets to $200 a pop, and tax folks who make more than $100,000 a year, that still wouldn’t solve the problem, because the problem is so huge,” Adachi added. “When you look at this crisis, you can’t simply redbait and say, you are a Republican, or Sarah Palin. Matt Gonzales has always spoken for progressive values, but because he supports pension reform, he’s suddenly a member of the Tea Party? At a certain point, it begins to become absurd.”

Haaland countered that he’s  “challenged by the notion that thousands show up in Wisconsin to fight some of the same people behind Measure B, but our discourse has lowered to whether or not Jeff Adachi is a good guy.”

And Adachi expressed doubt that Mayor Ed Lee can come up with a suitable pension reform plan.

“I’ve heard Lee say there has to be a solution involving pension reform and underfunded healthcare benefits that would save $300 million to $400 million in annual savings, and that corresponds with the solution he needs to come up with to close the budget deficit,” Adachi said.

Adachi said that he has met with Lee on his own to discuss pension reform, but the new mayor did not list specifics.
“He didn’t tell me what his plan was,” Adachi said, “The Prop. B supporters have a plan, but Lee did not ask what that was. But he said he sincerely wants to solve that problem, and that his preference would be one ballot initiative that everyone would agree on. And I fully support a solution that is going to truly solve the problem. I’ve always believed it’s important for the public to understand the gravity of the situation. For too long, it’s been the elephant in the room and there hasn’t been enough public information.”

Adachi said he had a beef with the idea of “groups of labor unions holding meetings at City Hall and deciding who can participate.”

"It’s also troubling that there is no information publicly available about what the ideas on the table are, no explanation of how they got there, and no documenting of the extent of the problem,” Adachi continued. “And that’s what got us here in the first place: a lack of transparency, and voters being asked to weigh in without the full information.”

Adachi said he has an upcoming meeting with Lee, the Department of Human Resources and Sup. Sean Elsbernd about pension reform that is separate from the working group that includes labor and philanthropist Warren Hellmann.

And Elsbernd told the Guardian he believes the pension reform process would go smoother if Adachi were at the table.
“I have no problem with Jeff at the table, it makes sense to have him there to avoid two ballot measures,” Elsbernd said.

Elsbernd added that it was too early to cite numbers when it comes to talk of capping pensions.
“It’s a mistake to pick a number right now because you don’t know what it’s worth,” he said, noting that the pension reform working group has sent a bunch of different scenarios to retirement actuaries to crunch the numbers to see how much they would save the city.

“I can see a case being made for asking the highest paid city workers to contribute higher amounts for healthcare benefits,” Elsbernd said. “But I’m not sure that’s equitable on retirement benefits, though I could see a situation where safety pays more, regardless, because they have better pensions.”

Comments

"It was a victory for the people they saw through the money"

"we were outspent and thats why we lost"

"although we won by outspending the other side it was a fair election, thats democracy"

"although we outspent the other side, the other sides lies won out"

"it was financed by the other sides rich people"

"with the help of our rich people, the ones we try not to mention, we won!"

"the people who reflect my views voted a certain way and we won, democracy rules, your lawsuit is annoying"

"the people who don't reflect my views voted a certain way and we lost, democracy sucks, lawsuit"

Posted by matllock on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 6:14 pm

So far, I haven't seen any evidence that the Koch brothers are behind Adachi's measure. However, I find it interesting that Michael Moritz, the primary funder of Prop B, contributed $11,000 to GOP candidate John Kasich's recent campaign for governor of Ohio. Like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Kasitz would like to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights.

Now, Kasich was a founding member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a partnership between corporations and conservative legislators that advocates for limited government, free market and individual liberty. This is the real agenda behind the current campaigns to privatize (destroy) public education, health care and essential services all across this country.

Interestingly, Kasich's campaign was beleaguered by revelations over his attempts to persuade two Ohio state pension funds to invest in Lehman Brothers when he was CEO of the company's Ohio branch in 2002. This was before the collapse of Lehman Bros.

A major component of the neoliberal agenda behind these campaigns is the push to drive down wages and benefits for workers (both public and private sector workers) in order to enhance corporate profits.

As CounterPunch journalist Shamus Cooke writes, "The most important policy of neo-liberalism is the one always least discussed. The key component to boosting corporate profit rates is attacking workers wages and benefits. Hardcore neo-liberals are vehemently anti-union, since they view organized labor as a form of 'unnatural regulation' of the labor market."

Posted by Lisa Pelletier on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

Rather than obsess about Wisconsin, Ohio, Kasich, etc. perhaps you should propose a solution to the math problem San Francisco is facing. Money for basic services is being crowded out by public employee benefits.

Moreover, this post is diffuse on many levels. Among other things, the quote from this Shamus Cooke fellow doesn't make sense with respect to public employee unions. "The key component to boosting corporate profit rates is attacking workers wages and benefits" appears directed to his views about private unions since corporations employ private unions members. Public employees' wages and benefits are paid from government coffers that taxpayers fund.

The New York Times ran an article today noting that many of the people in favor of reducing public employee unions are people from private employee union backgrounds.

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

It does not make sense to me logically that Adachi fronts for props that obtain their savings primarily by taking away health care for dependent children, because without "pension reform" the city will not have resources available for children???

Do I have that right?

The Koch Bros. plan apparently hinges on taking away collective bargaining rights, so my guess is anything fielded by Adachi's masters will include some sort of curtailment of collective bargaining.

Can't wait to see it.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

Perhaps you will begin to see the relevance when corporations have succeeded in driving private-sector wages down to levels only seen in the "developing world". Or when you are regaling your grandkids with stories about the good old days before the demise of retirement, decent health care benefits and essential services like free public education. Or when you can't find a job because all those jobs have been exported overseas, permanently.

You think I'm kidding? Here's a quote from a recent editorial in The Atlantic:
“So how do we keep wages high in the U.S.? We don’t…U.S. workers cannot ultimately continue to have higher wages relative to those in other nations [China, India, etc.] who compete in the same industries.”

I do not pretend to know what's going on in Jeff Adachi's head. However, the backers of Prop B have their own agenda, which they've taken no steps to hide. In fact, it's all spelled out in their business journals, think tanks and in the mission of organizations like ALEC. Here's the corporate agenda: privatization of public services, de-regulation, free-trade, low state spending, lowering corporate taxes and reducing the standard of living of ALL working people.

If you care about your kids and the system of free public education If you care about a future where all workers can enjoy a living wage with decent retirement and health care benefits, I suggest you start thinking about their agenda.

The quote itself comes from an essay that Shamus Cooke sent me. (I emailed him after reading an article he wrote.) Cooke has written extensively about the war on public workers, and how it serves to advance the true agenda of corporatists like Michael Moritz.

Here's another quote you might enjoy from Shamus Cooke:

"The corporate establishment has made it clear that a “strong recovery” depends on U.S. workers making “great sacrifices” in the areas of wages, health care, pensions, and more ominously, reductions in so-called “entitlement programs” — Social Security, Medicare, and other social services.
These plans have been discussed at length in corporate think tanks for years, and only recently has the mainstream media begun a coordinated attack to convince American workers of the “necessity” of adopting these policies."

You claim that "money for basic services is being crowded out by public employee benefits." Well, of course, that's what your corporate masters would like you to think. It helps to divert attention from their efforts to bankrupt the public sector.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

US workers are earning uncompetitively high wages and yet you don't see the inevitability of that being arbitraged out by the free market?

How exactly do you justify excess pay and benefits when your productivity doesn't match that?

Posted by Wally on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

(Sorry, that was my post.)

As economist Robert Reich points out, U.S. workers are more competitive than they've ever been. And their wages are only high if you're comparing them to those of workers in the developing world. The truth is, US workers haven't had a real wage increase in 30 years (if you factor in inflation). I guess I'm speaking to a free-market ideologue.

Posted by Lisa Pelletier on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

a raise unless you are increasing productivity per cost more than other nationalities.

Are you?

Evidence?

Posted by Wally on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

It makes perfect sense if you believe, as I do, that as public union wages and benefits go down, so do those in the private sector.

Posted by GuestScuz75 on Jun. 10, 2011 @ 9:45 am

the push against PS unions in all 50 States by the number of stories initiated here in just the last 24 hours.

All over the nation, people are finally pushing back against the excesses of unaffordable PS unions, and the new Governor of Wisconsin, elected on this mandate, is merely one example.

Can you tell which way the wind is blowing?

Posted by Wally on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

Haaland said:

"So the Guardian quotes me on what I have been saying all along: the discourse about whether Jeff Adachi is a progressive is irrelevant, and frankly uninteresting. It's the people behind Prop B, the anti-public sector winds that blew in the sails of Prop B that are the real threat. If they can bash public sector workers here, these folks know they can do it anywhere, and they are."

Bingo! We don't really care about whether Jeff Adachi is progressive enough. That's beside the point. It's the agenda of the corporatists like Moritz, et al, that concerns us. And should concern any activist worth their salt as a progressive. That said, progressives generally refuse corporate backing because it's generally recognized that the corporate agenda runs counter to the interests of ordinary people. You want to save services/ education/ health care; they want to privatize everything. If you are not asking what's in it for these folks (what's the quid pro quo?) you're missing the point.

Posted by Lisa Pelletier on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

real issue here, which isn't the desirability of inflated PS pay and benefits but the affordability and sustainability of it.

Unless either of you have a plan to find the billions of unfunded liabilities that are predicated on the current system, then you should be putting petty politics behind you and trying to determine how the funding will work.

The people seem to be saying across the country that the numbers don't add up. Ideological posturing won't fix it.

Posted by Wally on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

These people don't even understand the cost of the benefits and budget impact.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 8:29 am

You brought up the Koch brothers elsewhere and then here state that progressives refuse to take corporate backing.

You have done a search for George Soros right? He spends on progressive causes nationwide.

I would suggest you search for

Capital Rivals: Koch Brothers vs. George Soros

and go to the link at opensecrets org

I'm not advocating a position for or against Soros or the Koch brothers, just enjoying hilarity of it all. I'm not making any value statement around this, just saying that progressives bring the begging bowl just as much as any other group

"VERDICT: Given the difficultly in tracking donations to nonprofits and charitable organizations, it's almost impossible to quantify whether the Koch brothers or Soros dominate this political realm. That said, both the Kochs and Soros have spent incredible riches in this area with no sign of stopping."

==

Most progressive operations would grind to a halt without money from various business entities. It's litigious efforts would cease without the free time and donations of various law firms and individuals. Many progressive outfits black mail banks and other institutions into giving them money.

Welcome to the corporatist world sister.

Posted by matllock on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

Adachi is not trying to eliminate collective bargaining and is asking for an extremely modest increase to pensions from city workers.

Even the unions in Wisconsin are not quibbling with givebacks - they're legitimately protesting an attempt to smash unions entirely.

And what else would you expect Gaby Haaland to say? He's hardly an unbiased source.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 7:07 pm

Goodness - we have some true believers around here -

Adachi on the defensive?? Lee, Callahan, Elsbernd, Kawa, Rosenfeld have all called Adachi into City Hall tomorrow to meet- apparently the guy knew want he was talking about. Unfortunately, we have a coddled work force- we'll see if it holds...

Did you bother to stop and think that EXACTLY what the Wisconsin employees have agreed to (increase in health contribution, increase in pension contribution, but no further weakening of collective bargaining rights) is EXACTLY what Adachi proposed in Prop B. He is looking more and more like a prophet these days...

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

For the luv of gawd, we now know for a fact per the City's actuary that the City's unfunded health liability is $4.5 billion and the pension liability is $1.8 billion (and that's generous) AND Lee says we are five years from bankruptcy and SHE is still whining about employees contributuing more for their benefits.

Help me out- so if employees don't contribute more and the City goes bankrupt we can go to this Haaland person and she'll say: "Good, at least we didn't scapegoat anybody."

If she has a problem with Prop B's modest reforms, she's not going to like bankruptcy.

These folks are a joke and shouldn't be taken seriously...

Posted by Flowers on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 9:02 pm

The City has to pay about $400,000,000 to cover pension costs this year.

The unfunded (i.e., there is no money set aside to pay for it) healthcare liability is about $4,400,000,000.

Our Mayor says we are 5-10 years from bankruptcy.

Our city services suck. Many of our roads are worse than roads in Costa Rica. There is less money for health, HIV care, homeless, seniors, parks, indigent defendants, etc.

We have a serious problem.

(But don't worry, people like Lisa Pelletier will run google searches for quotes from Haaland that she likes and which really speak to her.)

This isn't a city that is only supposed to represent public employees. It's supposed to represent everyone.

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 9:54 pm

Adachi is such a tea bagger....

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 10:52 pm

I'd go the name callin route too if I had nothing on the facts...

Posted by Flowers on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 11:06 pm

We've gone over the facts enough to start name calling.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 12:30 am

Progressive Democrat here. I worked for Hillary's campaign in upstate NY; and for Obama in Nevada.

And I supported Prop B and donated a little bit of money to Adachi.

Why?

Because I feel that the Public Sector employees are out of touch with reality.
Just look around you: unemployment is high, salaries are being cut, people are being laid off. And the PS employees keep demanding more and more.

I am all for a livable wage. I support a healthy middle class. But the PS employees are not a "middle class"; they are a "ruling class". They demand more and more sacrifices from the citizens, and refuse to make any.

Why is it that when I can pay for my own retirement, they can't ? Why is it that their contracts are laden with bullshit like spiking (where they cash in sick leave, etc.), which counts toward their pension for the rest of their lives? Why is it that Chiefs of Police suddenly develop some "disability" in the months before retirement? The list of abuses could go on and on.

As a taxpayer, I'm sick of being being taxed left and right. What's the sales tax in SF? Almost 10%. How much is the property tax? Over 1%. That's sheer nonsense!

I'll be supporting Adachi's proposals till they are passed and the abuse stops. But I will **NOT** pay more taxes.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 22, 2011 @ 11:40 pm

Amen. Well said.

Posted by Flowers on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 12:21 am

Keep donating a little money to Adachi because I love it when you all lose money. I hope he spends 100 million this time.

Wisconsin. Ohio. Indiana. I've never seen progressives more energized.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 12:32 am

You realize you guys just got your ass handed to you in the last election, right? How's the Board of Supes look? Sit/Lie? Prop G? You couldn't even get one of your own into the Mayor's Office *with* a majority... lol

Prop B didn't fail because of Progressive energy, or whatever you want to attribute it to. Prop B failed because $117K/year firefighters and $220K/lifetime pension police officers went all out and the Democratic machine (Newsom, Pelosi, etc.) campaigned hard against it. Don't expect that the next time around, pumpkin.

Posted by Sambo on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 11:09 am

I hope the Koch Bros. and their equity firm underlings spend 100 million on the next Prop B.

Crazy Meg kinda lost it and spent a fortune for the Gov. election ha ha. Why not Koch Industries? Happens all the time in Ca.

A common tactic in boxing is to find two fighters who are mismatched, but think they are well matched, goad them on, and just let the stakes run up and up....prolly I'm talking too much now ha ha but Koch Industries is about to get concussed, I'd wager.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

Money for basic services is being crowded out by public employee benefits.

Haaland, a shill for his employer, defends our upper-middle-class public workforce (1/3 make $100,000 a year or more) against the nonprofits.

Posted by Barton on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 7:28 am

Progressives don't like the poor. They like unions.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 8:26 am

Will Jeff Adachi ever wake up and honestly consider that he may be an unwitting tool of the Koch Bros., and that he just publicly embarrassed himself as a rook and an amateur?

Or is it something darker going on with Adachi?

""That might be one downside of this thing, it shows that they don't have the intimate relationship people imagined," Murphy said. "It's henchmen passing envelopes back and forth and the billionaire never actually talks to the politician."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/23/scott-walker-prank-caller_n_827...

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

...Will the Koch brothers babbling ever stop...??

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

What do you want to bet curbs on collective bargaining will be included in Adachi's "pension reform" and the issue will be non-negotiable?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

preparation for the 2012 prophecy which will, in turn, shuffle in the New World Order run by Karl Rove and that guy who played Balky on the 1980's sitcom hit "Perfect Strangers".

It's easy to see if you're not a sheeple, duh.

That's why it's important we maintain things like pension spiking ad Heather Fong's $250K annual stipend until she dies - to stop the Koch Brothers plan.

Posted by Sambo on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

A ballot measure against pension spiking and $250,000 annual pensions will sail through.

A ballot measure like the last one, that the office of the comptroller said would derive 70% of its savings by cutting health care for child dependents of the rank and file, will get crushed.

And don't even think about trying to limit collective bargaining.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 7:05 pm

who replaced the Hunts, who replaced the Jewish bankers,

The right will just have to rely on old standby George Soros.

No one has ever done anything without billionaire financing it.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

Matt Gonzalez betrayed progressives and the Green Party. After progressives worked their hearts out for him in the Mayor's race and many poor people gave him $900,000 in donations, he deserted us. We needed him as President of the Board of Supervisors to counteract Newsom's anti-renter and anti-homeless policies. The Green party needed him as it's highest ranking elected official.
Four years later a conference of about 250 progressives begged Matt to run against Newsom but he lied and said he never wanted to run for any office again. A few months later he made a series of phone calls to Ralph Nader asking him to be his Vice-Presidential candidate in 2004.
Matt endorsed the Republican candidate for Congress who ran against Nancy Pelosi and now he's joined the anti-workers movement. Matt Gonzalez is a hypocrite and traitor to the poor and working classes.
I gave him $500 I couldn't afford and worked on his campaign. Before that I'd worked for Tom Amianno and gave him $500 too. Then the Bay Guardian endorsed Angela Alioto and put her face on the cover. Amianno got only 10 percent of the vote, Angela dropped out of the race and it was either Gonzalez or Newsom so progressives had no choice except Matt.
Every time I read about Matt Gonzalez he's doing something regressive like endorsing a Republican or attacking workers.
As for Jeff Adachi I wouldn't vote for him for dogcatcher. I've stopped using the Bay Guardian's endorsements and usually vote the slate of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club. Not because I'm gay but because they have the best progressive endorsements.

Posted by Guest Jerry on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

you should have some opinions of your own?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 6:30 pm

Gonzalez has scored a plum job in the public defender's office. So, that clears up one mystery. But what's the payoff for Jeff?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

has a mind of his own, and doesn't sing from a prepared songsheet.

Don't you hate it when people are self-actualizing?

Posted by Wally on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

@ Commish

Perhaps you will begin to see the relevance when corporations have succeeded in driving private-sector wages down to levels only seen in the "developing world". Or when you are regaling your grandkids with stories about the good old days before the demise of retirement, decent health, a living wage and essential services like free public education. Or when you can't find a job because all those jobs have been exported overseas, permanently.

You think I'm kidding? Here's a quote from a recent editorial in The Atlantic:
“So how do we keep wages high in the U.S.? We don’t…U.S. workers cannot ultimately continue to have higher wages relative to those in other nations [China, India, etc.] who compete in the same industries.”

I don't pretend to know what's going on in Jeff Adachi's head. However, the corporate backers of Prop B have their own agenda, which they've taken no steps to hide. In fact, it's all spelled out in their business journals, think tanks and in the mission of organizations like ALEC. Here's the corporate agenda: privatization of public services, de-regulation, free-trade, low state spending, lowering corporate taxes and reducing the standard of living of ALL working people.

If you care about your kids and the system of free public education... If you care about a future where all workers can enjoy a living wage with decent retirement and health care benefits, I suggest you start thinking about this agenda.

The quote itself comes from an essay that Shamus Cooke sent me. (I emailed him after reading an article he wrote.) Cooke has written extensively about the war on public workers, and how it serves to advance the agenda of corporatists like Michael Moritz.

Here's another quote from Shamus Cooke:

"The corporate establishment has made it clear that a “strong recovery” depends on U.S. workers making “great sacrifices” in the areas of wages, health care, pensions, and more ominously, reductions in so-called “entitlement programs” — Social Security, Medicare, and other social services.
These plans have been discussed at length in corporate think tanks for years, and only recently has the mainstream media begun a coordinated attack to convince American workers of the “necessity” of adopting these policies."

You claim that "money for basic services is being crowded out by public employee benefits." Well, of course, that's what your corporate masters would like you to think. It helps to divert attention from their efforts to bankrupt the public sector.

Posted by Lisa Pelletier on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

Please focus. Now you think this has to do with overseas outsourcing of jobs?

Nothing you write, nor any of the various quotations you somehow think are so intelligent and persuasive (they're not) address the basic math problem. There isn't enough money. Not once in any of your flurry of random quote-laden posts have I seen you acknowledge the math problem.

It's pretty clear you favor public workers' pay and benefits over city services affecting the poor, kids, seniors, city infrastructure, etc. Good for you. But your paranoid rants and quotes about corporate conspiracies are just silly and don't help your cause. Maybe people are just tired of public workers putting their pay and benefits above everything else.

As for what I'll be "regaling my grandkids," I don't want to be regaling them that I lived in a major city that went bankrupt.

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

"There isn't enough money."
Sure there is.
Just take it from the banks. It wasn't theirs in the first place. It belongs to the taxpaying citizens of America.
This is possible if goofballs like you stop attacking your fellow countrymen like a rats in a shrinking box.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

The "take the money from the banks" plan to solve the pension crisis sounds like a winner. Let us know how that goes.

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

Ha ha ha...no one thinks this is about the money anymore.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 10:58 pm

You cited him, I looked him up, the first thing that came up was a crazy conspiracy theory about Egypt.

It reminded me of the ridiculous comments of William Saffire about how Reagan caused the USSR to fall apart.

Your argument from authority should should include a real authority.

Posted by meatlock on Feb. 24, 2011 @ 10:37 am

It's a little silly to be saying that Adachi is part of the Tea Baggers. Those folks are extremists and Adachi has helped us to focus what the Civil Grand Jury suggested we focus on--long term solvency of our pension system.

Today the Oakland Tribune reported that the State Teacher's Pension System will soon file for bankruptcy.

Imagine: all teachers in California will not get their pensions, and what's there will by divvied out by a Court.

That is where San Francisco is heading if the Mayor, Adachi, Elsbernd and Labor don't work together to solve this problem.

My mother taught me how to hang up my coat. That is what we need to do now: act like adults and solve our own pension problem and not default to Mommy and Daddy (a.k.a. the Courts).

Posted by Charley_sf on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

Sarah,

You've left 'Flowers' transphobic rant against Gabriel up for over 24 hours. It's despicable and unacceptable. Take it down or explain why you feel it should remain.

You've reached a new Guardian low.

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 10:00 pm

I didn't know who this woman was other than that her name is Gabriel and I mistakenly put "she" in upper case instead of "still." The post was supposed to be a garden variety rant. If it is inadvertantly offensive, I apolgize for that.

Posted by Flowers on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

Leave it up for everyone to see.

Posted by Corm on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 11:46 pm

I wouldn't know who Haaland was and his history if I didn't know SEIU workers who are forced to join the union and think the leadership is a bunch of a-holes.

Posted by meatlock on Feb. 24, 2011 @ 10:39 am

thanks Flowers,

Let's keep our insults politically correct.

Go Giants! (first Spring Training game tomorrow)

h.

Posted by Guest h. brown on Feb. 23, 2011 @ 11:46 pm