Much thanks to my guest bloggers: Sam Hodgson, Mike Aguirre, Serge Dedina, Pat Shea, Scott Peters and Fred Sainz.
I couldn’t have been happier. I thought Aguirre might want to write more than he did, but I understand he’s busy. Shea did well. His posts were long but his conversational style got you through them. And who knew Scott Peters was so funny? That was great.
But, of course, I have to take exception to what Peters wrote.
While I wholeheartedly agreed with his position on reclaimed water, his statements about the pension mess were a bit, well, misleading.
Here were his solutions to the pension crisis:
Ultimately, the answer is just boring. Pay the full bill from the pension system (we are). Get the employees to devote more of their paychecks to the cost of their benefits (we did). Don’t give huge benefit increases (we won’t). And consider whether to issue pension debt, like San Diego County and other governments have, to pay down the deficit. Mayor Sanders will bring us that proposal in the fall.
That’s just not the whole story. Paying the “full bill” from the pension system isn’t even going to cover the interest that is accruing each year on the pension deficit. And Peters makes no mention of how the city is going to pay that bill when it actually is large enough to pay down the retirement system’s shortfall. The Pension Reform Committee recommended two years ago that the city would have to, at a minimum, pay $200 million annually to keep the pension deficit from growing. The city has never come close to putting in that amount. That’s been the fundamental problem from the beginning.
And issuing pension debt doesn’t “pay down the deficit” as he says. Only a politician would posit that incurring debt is a solution to an oppressive deficit.
Like I said though, Peters turned out to be a great blogger and he proved himself to be thoughtful and engaging. I hope we can continue to banter about things like this often.