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Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006 | Letters periodically appear in this space (probably from city employees) gloating that the taxpayer has no choice but to pay for the city employees’ luxurious pensions and health care.

Oh really? While the legal obligation may be real, there are ways to get the city employees to return to the world of reality. Just put their jobs up for competitive bid.

At least 70 percent of city functions and services can be provided by private firms we can find in the Yellow Pages. Open the process to genuine competitive bidding, and either the city employees make major pay and pension concessions, or they lose their jobs to the private sector – the folks who pay the bill for the city’s excesses.

No, it’s not a cure-all. We taxpayers may very well still be on the hook for the gold-plated pensions and health care of all the vested retiring and/or laid off city employees. But it would at least stop the hemorrhaging, and allow our city slowly to return to fiscal soundness.

Sadly, with the union-labeled clowns on our City Council, expect opposition to this common sense idea every step of the way. The unions still have control of City Hall.

Fortunately, this November, city taxpayers get to push competitive bidding along by supporting Prop C. This Charter Amendment will “allow the city to contract out services if determined to be more economical and efficient.”

Great idea, but the City Council has veto power. So unless the voters dump the union-approved candidates, our fiscal meltdown will continue.

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