Monday, Dec.18, 2006 | I wish I had been there when Judge Jeffrey Barton handed down his “ruling” regarding the legality of the 1996 and 2002 pension benefits packages for city employees, and whether City Attorney Mike Aguirre would be allowed to proceed further in seeking to invalidate the benefits. I’m just wondering if his ruling also came down with “a wink and a nod” to the labor unions and their political cronies who crafted these unlawful benefits?
Cynicism aside, I agree with Pat Shea (“For the Record: Does This Seem Right?”).
If an act is illegal to begin with – “void,” as Shea puts it – no subsequent judicial decision can make that act newly and suddenly legal. And if, as I believe, the 1996 and 2002 pension benefits packages were unlawful to begin with, then Judge Barton would seem to be wrong that any subsequent legal challenges are not “justiciable,” i.e., not able to be challenged in a court of law.
Instead, in my simple little mind, Judge Barton has taken the easy way out, leaving the billion-and-a-half dollars of financial wreckage to be dealt with in the political arena. How utterly disappointing and incredible!
I encourage Aguirre to go forward with an appeal of Judge Barton’s flawed decision. If fundamental illegality can’t be stopped in the courts, where can it be stopped?
As the saying goes, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” The 1996 and 2002 benefits packages were the first wrong. The subsequent legal “settlements” were the second wrong. Is there a judge out there who can now make things “right?”