The Morning Report
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A quick roundup of opinion on the landmark deal on health care for city workers:
As Liam Dillon tweeted and then reported, San Diego’s City Council passed a health care deal that is expected to save the city millions by cutting benefits for current employees when they retire.
The U-T’s story on the deal’s passage by Craig Gustafson says Councilwoman Marti Emerald “told everyone in the council chambers or watching on television to remember where they were when the historic deal was approved. She praised her colleagues for taking action on such a contentious issue.”
It’ll be likely remembered as much for the contention it raised as it will be for anything else.
Carl DeMaio was, obviously, not happy, since he voted against it. At SD Rostra in a post titled “$1.8 Billion Retiree Health Care Giveaway,” his primary complaint is that too little is known.
If this was really the good news it’s being sold as, then the public should have been given more than one-page handout before the Council voted to approve it.
He lists five other substantive problems, too, similar to what he told the Union-Tribune:
Taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill. They’re being asked to give up services, delay road repair projects, pay higher taxes and fees for a benefit that 7,500 city employees will receive but the 1.3 million taxpayers do not receive.
Reader Larry Kitts’ basic argument is similar: The city can’t afford to pay higher benefits to public workers than those typical given in the private workforce and that “people in the private sector lose benefits all the time.” To which reader David Cohen responds, “How pathetic, to suggest that this ‘free enterprise’ destruction of the middle class is the model for how we should operate as a public-entity City.” He goes on:
Perhaps the chronic whiners should find themselves a “private” city to live in, free of civic responsibilities.
The demonizing of and mild name-calling directed at Carl DeMaio has been abundant. Steve Mehlman, for example:
Why should we be surprised that “Sink-o” DeMaio opposed this deal? He won’t be happy until all public employees are forced to work for minimum wage with no benefits. And then he’ll say, “Why didn’t you do it sooner?”
• In our earlier story in which the deal was first announced (when it had yet to be approved by the City Council), reader Lee Hazer’s eyes caught a key phrase: unfunded liability.
The current Republican administration and previous Republican administrations just don’t seem to pay for their costs. Exactly like President Bush and the two unfunded wars. But Mr. Bush didn’t even include the wars in the budget. How’s that for Republican math.
We may have a Republican mayoral administration, but the deal was approved by all Democrats on the council and one Republican, Kevin Faulconer.
Volunteer Nico Smedley contributed research to this article.
Items quoted here may be lightly edited for spelling, grammar, or style (such as using proper capitalization, removing extra exclamation marks, or fixing obvious typos). Send comments you’d like to have included here to Grant Barrett, engagement editor for voiceofsandiego.org: firstname.lastname@example.org or (619) 550-5666 or @grantbarrett on Twitter.