Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007 | Regarding pension and health costs as a portion on sewer and water rate increases…

It is true that a portion of utility bills go to pay for employee benefits. They also pay for employee uniforms, tools, parking lots, pencils and paperclips.

So what is new in this “news?”

When you buy a latte at Starbucks, part of your $5 goes to pay for the barista’s medical plan (P.S., thank you, Starbucks, for taking care of your employees.) When you pay Cox or Time Warner for your cable bill or SDG&E for your electricity, part of your payment goes for their employee pay and benefits.

As an avid voiceofsandiego.org reader, this is the first time I have noticed your fine e-publication exploit the heat over a controversy to create a news “story” that is nothing new at all.

Finally, as a Public Utilities Advisory Commissioner, I find it ironic that none of this was reported at the time the rate proposals — including the health and pension costs — were presented at our public subcommittee meetings, PUAC hearings, or when the mayor conducted three town hall sessions from San Ysidro to Rancho Bernardo.

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