Lessons to Be Learned From Vallejo’s Bankruptcy

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Some have openly wondered why the sudden focus on the salaries of public employees in both Davis as well as in the county. In truth, it is a combination of factors that stem from the alarm of what happened in Vallejo to the burning question: can it happen here. Over the course of the summer, we have looked at this question from a variety of different angles. Perhaps most concerning was the seeming lack of concern from two of the victors in last spring’s Davis City Council election about the looming and impending problem of Davis’ fiscal stability.

These candidates argue that Davis has a balanced budget and it has a 15% reserve. At the same time, we see signs that all is not quite as well. The reports about the city’s unmet needs is alarming. Basic repairs are being left undone which means that when they finally are tackled, their costs will likely have gone up. A simple view of the budget picture is that employees salaries have gone up far faster than tax revenues. The amount city has spent on pensions have increased five-fold over the course of just this decade. The city council at every budget workshop has looked toward the creation of new taxes. And finally, the most extreme cost to residents may be a water rate hike that was so explosive the Mayor would not even let a councilmember complete her questioning of a consultant.

With all that as context, we now look at Vallejo briefly as a guideline. Vallejo is not where we are right now, a clear view of that will emerge in a minute. The question is whether Vallejo is where we are going to end up. As we look at this analysis, I think the picture will become very clear as to why we have spent so much time looking at the issue of Davis’ fiscal situation this summer.

The 100K of Vallejo

The Woodland Journal has provided us with these figures from a public records request they made from the city of Vallejo.

As you look at these salaries, remember that Vallejo is not even twice the size of Davis. It has a population of 116,000. The median income of Vallejo is $47,000 whereas Davis’ is $65,000. The median housing price is also considerably less than Davis at $344,000. That is the context behind these numbers that show rather than 61 city employees in Davis making over $100,000 per year, a stunning, 292 city employees in Vallejo making over $100,000 per year.

Of this list, public safety and in Vallejo’s case both police and fire, absolutely dominate the list. Of the 292 city employees making over $100,000 per year, 246 are in public safety–148 police and 98 fire.

As the pie chart shows, over half of the employees are in police and another 35% are in fire.

In addition to overtime, there were also payouts for holiday pay that are not shown on the chart above. It is not clear what holiday pay entails but in some cases it is a huge amount of money. The top wage earner received $232,000 for holiday pay, the second highest wage earner received nearly $200,000 for it.

Lessons to be learned

Some will take from this demonstration some solace that Davis is not in the condition that Vallejo was before filing for bankruptcy. That is 100% correct. However, the concern is that Davis like many cities in California is heading in that direction. The tale of Vallejo is a cautionary one for the rest of California cities to avoid their pitfalls.

Peter Scheer is the executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition. He was a guest on Vanguard Radio back in June.

In May, he wrote a column on how Vallejo’s bankruptcy might have been avoided that appeared in the Huffington Post.

Mr. Scheer writes:

“To the familiar litany of causes–falling sales tax revenue, the home mortgage crisis leading to collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes–there needs to be added one more: Too much government secrecy.”

He continues:

Vallejo is broke, and other cities and counties may be close behind, because their personnel costs–salary and benefits for current employees and retirees–are higher than they can afford. While decisions at the state level are partly to blame, ultimate responsibility for the mismatch of revenue and expenses rests with local elected officials who, meeting in secret, have managed to avoid public discussion of the true cost and fiscal impact of the pay deals that they have approved.

If no one is watching, it’s easy for public officials to give generous pay and benefit increases without having a clue how to pay for them. That’s not so easy to do in a public session, where voters demand to know how much taxes will have to be raised, and how much other expenses cut, in order to make good on the promised increases in compensation. Such resistance is called political accountability, and it obviously depends on public access to the meetings in which elected representatives make their decisions.

Although in theory legislative bodies in California must operate in the “sunshine,” the Brown Act, the state’s open-meetings law, carves out a huge exception for negotiations with public employee unions. The combined effect of this exception, and separate provisions of the labor code, is to close the door, pull down the shades and turn off the lights on virtually all decisions relating to employee compensation and other terms of union contracts (“collective bargaining agreements”).

Negotiating positions are determined in secret, negotiations themselves are conducted in secret, and negotiated contracts are ratified in secret. By the time the public gets to see the compensation provisions of a new union contract, it is already a done deal–indeed, any effort to change the terms likely would be a breach of the contract.

This cozy arrangement is very much in the unions’ interest, since transparency would risk public opposition, and very much in politicians’ interest, since they get to be generous with public funds without having to be responsible for them. Only one party is screwed: the public.

Finally a cautionary tale for public employee unions across California:

“For unions, bankruptcy court is a potentially costly defeat. The judge has the power not only to protect the city from its creditors, but also to void the union contract and, in that way, force city employees to accept a pay package in keeping with the city’s capacity to pay.

The union has none of the leverage with the judge that it had with Vallejo’s elected officials. It can’t lobby the judge or give him campaign contributions, obviously. Having overplayed its hand, the union now finds itself in the uncomfortable position of having to justify, in a public forum, its claims to the city’s limited, and declining, resources.”

I agree with Peter Scheer 100%. There is familiarity in the Vallejo situation to our current situation. We are not where Vallejo is. Hopefully we can learn from these lessons. However, there is zero doubt in my mind that we are heading there. All of the trends are pointing to this.

Finally though this is a story about transparency. People have criticized the Vanguard for perhaps focusing too much attention on the firefighters of Davis. Honestly, I have nothing against the firefighters. On a personal level, I like their union chief. I enjoyed myself last summer when I did a ride-along with the department. I learned a lot and they were extremely accommodating to me. This is not personal. This is about public policy and from that standpoint, the city must step in because if Davis goes bankrupt, the firefighters stand to lose as much as anyone else.

People have also criticized the Vanguard for reporting on government practices when there was no clear problem. What I think they fail to recognize is that we need to know what is going on with our government regardless of whether they are behaving appropriately or misusing public funds. Both are important to report on, to know about, and to follow.

Peter Scheer hits the nail on the head in his column. We need transparency in government and for the public to be aware of what the contract are and what the consequences of these contract will be not only this year but down the line. And we have the same problem here that existed in Vallejo. A particular public employee union has tremendous leverage over the current council because of the work they did on behalf of two councilmembers this last cycle to see that they were reelected. The amount of money put in by that union was far more than any other single interest.

As Mr. Scheer points out, when the bankruptcy court comes in, the union will not have the kind of leverage over the judge that they had over the city and the judge has the power to void contracts. I would hate to see Davis come down to that and we can avoid with fiscal responsibility in the next four years. This is crucial time, because the contracts are coming due and negotiations will begin soon. The public needs to watch this situation very closely to ensure that their interests and not just the interests of the public employees unions are represented in the process.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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180 thoughts on “Lessons to Be Learned From Vallejo’s Bankruptcy”

  1. Anonymous

    In the late 90s, the CIty of Davis went to the “two in, two out” staffing model where four figher fighters go on every trip. THe old model was three. Why not go back to that?

  2. Anonymous

    In the late 90s, the CIty of Davis went to the “two in, two out” staffing model where four figher fighters go on every trip. THe old model was three. Why not go back to that?

  3. Anonymous

    In the late 90s, the CIty of Davis went to the “two in, two out” staffing model where four figher fighters go on every trip. THe old model was three. Why not go back to that?

  4. Anonymous

    In the late 90s, the CIty of Davis went to the “two in, two out” staffing model where four figher fighters go on every trip. THe old model was three. Why not go back to that?

  5. Mike Hart

    keep up the reporting on this! You are focused on a dark and uncomfortable place where a strong dose of daylight is much needed.

    I am of the opinion that rethinking the city’s relationship with public employees is a good idea. “Public servant” is a concept long lost…

  6. Mike Hart

    keep up the reporting on this! You are focused on a dark and uncomfortable place where a strong dose of daylight is much needed.

    I am of the opinion that rethinking the city’s relationship with public employees is a good idea. “Public servant” is a concept long lost…

  7. Mike Hart

    keep up the reporting on this! You are focused on a dark and uncomfortable place where a strong dose of daylight is much needed.

    I am of the opinion that rethinking the city’s relationship with public employees is a good idea. “Public servant” is a concept long lost…

  8. Mike Hart

    keep up the reporting on this! You are focused on a dark and uncomfortable place where a strong dose of daylight is much needed.

    I am of the opinion that rethinking the city’s relationship with public employees is a good idea. “Public servant” is a concept long lost…

  9. Richard

    To the familiar litany of causes–falling sales tax revenue, the home mortgage crisis leading to collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes–there needs to be added one more: Too much government secrecy.”

    Perhaps, the Vanguard could investigate the extent to which these other factors, falling sales tax revenue and collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes as well as one that I would add, reduced levels of funding support from the state, are affecting the situation.

    Otherwise, we are at risk of believing, possibily quite erroneously, that salaries and benefits negotiated by unions are solely responsible for the current fiscal condition of the city.

    So, it might be a good idea to have a series on the reliability of the city’s existing revenue sources, the extent to which they have declined, if at all, and the extent to may decline in the future, so as to give a fuller, more accurate picture of the situation, one more nuanced and informative than comparing the “100 Clubs” of Vallejo and Davis.

    If Davis is facing a future of stagnant to declining revenue, in a stagflation environment, then, a discussion of how to share the burden strikes me as an essential one for the community, instead of assuming that it can somehow be solved through contract negotiations with the city’s public sector workers.

    –Richard Estes

    –Richard Estes

  10. Richard

    To the familiar litany of causes–falling sales tax revenue, the home mortgage crisis leading to collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes–there needs to be added one more: Too much government secrecy.”

    Perhaps, the Vanguard could investigate the extent to which these other factors, falling sales tax revenue and collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes as well as one that I would add, reduced levels of funding support from the state, are affecting the situation.

    Otherwise, we are at risk of believing, possibily quite erroneously, that salaries and benefits negotiated by unions are solely responsible for the current fiscal condition of the city.

    So, it might be a good idea to have a series on the reliability of the city’s existing revenue sources, the extent to which they have declined, if at all, and the extent to may decline in the future, so as to give a fuller, more accurate picture of the situation, one more nuanced and informative than comparing the “100 Clubs” of Vallejo and Davis.

    If Davis is facing a future of stagnant to declining revenue, in a stagflation environment, then, a discussion of how to share the burden strikes me as an essential one for the community, instead of assuming that it can somehow be solved through contract negotiations with the city’s public sector workers.

    –Richard Estes

    –Richard Estes

  11. Richard

    To the familiar litany of causes–falling sales tax revenue, the home mortgage crisis leading to collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes–there needs to be added one more: Too much government secrecy.”

    Perhaps, the Vanguard could investigate the extent to which these other factors, falling sales tax revenue and collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes as well as one that I would add, reduced levels of funding support from the state, are affecting the situation.

    Otherwise, we are at risk of believing, possibily quite erroneously, that salaries and benefits negotiated by unions are solely responsible for the current fiscal condition of the city.

    So, it might be a good idea to have a series on the reliability of the city’s existing revenue sources, the extent to which they have declined, if at all, and the extent to may decline in the future, so as to give a fuller, more accurate picture of the situation, one more nuanced and informative than comparing the “100 Clubs” of Vallejo and Davis.

    If Davis is facing a future of stagnant to declining revenue, in a stagflation environment, then, a discussion of how to share the burden strikes me as an essential one for the community, instead of assuming that it can somehow be solved through contract negotiations with the city’s public sector workers.

    –Richard Estes

    –Richard Estes

  12. Richard

    To the familiar litany of causes–falling sales tax revenue, the home mortgage crisis leading to collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes–there needs to be added one more: Too much government secrecy.”

    Perhaps, the Vanguard could investigate the extent to which these other factors, falling sales tax revenue and collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes as well as one that I would add, reduced levels of funding support from the state, are affecting the situation.

    Otherwise, we are at risk of believing, possibily quite erroneously, that salaries and benefits negotiated by unions are solely responsible for the current fiscal condition of the city.

    So, it might be a good idea to have a series on the reliability of the city’s existing revenue sources, the extent to which they have declined, if at all, and the extent to may decline in the future, so as to give a fuller, more accurate picture of the situation, one more nuanced and informative than comparing the “100 Clubs” of Vallejo and Davis.

    If Davis is facing a future of stagnant to declining revenue, in a stagflation environment, then, a discussion of how to share the burden strikes me as an essential one for the community, instead of assuming that it can somehow be solved through contract negotiations with the city’s public sector workers.

    –Richard Estes

    –Richard Estes

  13. Rich Rifkin

    “The union has none of the leverage with the judge that it had with Vallejo’s elected officials. It can’t lobby the judge or give him campaign contributions, obviously. Having overplayed its hand, the union now finds itself in the uncomfortable position of having to justify, in a public forum, its claims to the city’s limited, and declining, resources.”

    Very good column, David. I never before read the words of Peter Scheer and think he got it exactly right.

    One point that has been made to me by at least a dozen (relatively low paid) city of Davis employees is that this is pretty much a zero-sum game. When the city council is overly generous with one union, such as the firefighters, it’s not just the taxpayers who lose. Jobs must be cut in less powerful departments — for example, we don’t have the money now to repair our broken roads and sidewalks; or janitorial and secretarial staff has their hours reduced; or raises for workers in these other departments cannot be given.

    In Sacramento, where their firefighters’ union has been very successful in demanding higher wages and benefits, they are now having to cut back on FD staffing. The result of that, so far, has been late responses to house fires, because nearby stations were closed when the fires erupted.

    A huge part of the answer would be to hold the labor negotiations in public and to have the city fully account for the expenses it agrees to. In other words, if we agree to give X amount of an increase in wages, benefits, retirement and so on to this group of employees, where will the money come for that expense: from other workers? from higher taxes? from reduced services? or perhaps it is money already in the system?

    Alas, for many years the city has not done this in advance. They have simply agreed to increasing wages and benefits (such as with retiree medical care) and never considered where the money would come from to pay for them.

    ——–

    P.S. My column runs today on the op/ed page of the Davis Enterprise today regarding Prop 10, the Make T. Boone Pickens Even Richer Act of 2008.

  14. Rich Rifkin

    “The union has none of the leverage with the judge that it had with Vallejo’s elected officials. It can’t lobby the judge or give him campaign contributions, obviously. Having overplayed its hand, the union now finds itself in the uncomfortable position of having to justify, in a public forum, its claims to the city’s limited, and declining, resources.”

    Very good column, David. I never before read the words of Peter Scheer and think he got it exactly right.

    One point that has been made to me by at least a dozen (relatively low paid) city of Davis employees is that this is pretty much a zero-sum game. When the city council is overly generous with one union, such as the firefighters, it’s not just the taxpayers who lose. Jobs must be cut in less powerful departments — for example, we don’t have the money now to repair our broken roads and sidewalks; or janitorial and secretarial staff has their hours reduced; or raises for workers in these other departments cannot be given.

    In Sacramento, where their firefighters’ union has been very successful in demanding higher wages and benefits, they are now having to cut back on FD staffing. The result of that, so far, has been late responses to house fires, because nearby stations were closed when the fires erupted.

    A huge part of the answer would be to hold the labor negotiations in public and to have the city fully account for the expenses it agrees to. In other words, if we agree to give X amount of an increase in wages, benefits, retirement and so on to this group of employees, where will the money come for that expense: from other workers? from higher taxes? from reduced services? or perhaps it is money already in the system?

    Alas, for many years the city has not done this in advance. They have simply agreed to increasing wages and benefits (such as with retiree medical care) and never considered where the money would come from to pay for them.

    ——–

    P.S. My column runs today on the op/ed page of the Davis Enterprise today regarding Prop 10, the Make T. Boone Pickens Even Richer Act of 2008.

  15. Rich Rifkin

    “The union has none of the leverage with the judge that it had with Vallejo’s elected officials. It can’t lobby the judge or give him campaign contributions, obviously. Having overplayed its hand, the union now finds itself in the uncomfortable position of having to justify, in a public forum, its claims to the city’s limited, and declining, resources.”

    Very good column, David. I never before read the words of Peter Scheer and think he got it exactly right.

    One point that has been made to me by at least a dozen (relatively low paid) city of Davis employees is that this is pretty much a zero-sum game. When the city council is overly generous with one union, such as the firefighters, it’s not just the taxpayers who lose. Jobs must be cut in less powerful departments — for example, we don’t have the money now to repair our broken roads and sidewalks; or janitorial and secretarial staff has their hours reduced; or raises for workers in these other departments cannot be given.

    In Sacramento, where their firefighters’ union has been very successful in demanding higher wages and benefits, they are now having to cut back on FD staffing. The result of that, so far, has been late responses to house fires, because nearby stations were closed when the fires erupted.

    A huge part of the answer would be to hold the labor negotiations in public and to have the city fully account for the expenses it agrees to. In other words, if we agree to give X amount of an increase in wages, benefits, retirement and so on to this group of employees, where will the money come for that expense: from other workers? from higher taxes? from reduced services? or perhaps it is money already in the system?

    Alas, for many years the city has not done this in advance. They have simply agreed to increasing wages and benefits (such as with retiree medical care) and never considered where the money would come from to pay for them.

    ——–

    P.S. My column runs today on the op/ed page of the Davis Enterprise today regarding Prop 10, the Make T. Boone Pickens Even Richer Act of 2008.

  16. Rich Rifkin

    “The union has none of the leverage with the judge that it had with Vallejo’s elected officials. It can’t lobby the judge or give him campaign contributions, obviously. Having overplayed its hand, the union now finds itself in the uncomfortable position of having to justify, in a public forum, its claims to the city’s limited, and declining, resources.”

    Very good column, David. I never before read the words of Peter Scheer and think he got it exactly right.

    One point that has been made to me by at least a dozen (relatively low paid) city of Davis employees is that this is pretty much a zero-sum game. When the city council is overly generous with one union, such as the firefighters, it’s not just the taxpayers who lose. Jobs must be cut in less powerful departments — for example, we don’t have the money now to repair our broken roads and sidewalks; or janitorial and secretarial staff has their hours reduced; or raises for workers in these other departments cannot be given.

    In Sacramento, where their firefighters’ union has been very successful in demanding higher wages and benefits, they are now having to cut back on FD staffing. The result of that, so far, has been late responses to house fires, because nearby stations were closed when the fires erupted.

    A huge part of the answer would be to hold the labor negotiations in public and to have the city fully account for the expenses it agrees to. In other words, if we agree to give X amount of an increase in wages, benefits, retirement and so on to this group of employees, where will the money come for that expense: from other workers? from higher taxes? from reduced services? or perhaps it is money already in the system?

    Alas, for many years the city has not done this in advance. They have simply agreed to increasing wages and benefits (such as with retiree medical care) and never considered where the money would come from to pay for them.

    ——–

    P.S. My column runs today on the op/ed page of the Davis Enterprise today regarding Prop 10, the Make T. Boone Pickens Even Richer Act of 2008.

  17. Rich Rifkin

    “Perhaps, the Vanguard could investigate the extent to which these other factors, falling sales tax revenue and collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes as well as one that I would add, reduced levels of funding support from the state, are affecting the situation.”

    That’s a good question.

    From the 2002-03 fiscal year to fiscal year 2007-08 (a period in which we have had almost no population growth), the general fund revenues increased on a year-over-year compouned basis of 6.55% per year, which was more than double the rate of All-Urban CPI inflation for the SF Bay Area (which is the inflation measure the city of Davis uses).

    This suggests to me that falling revenues for Davis does not explain the current deficits. Further, the city (since the early 1990s) has taken on severe liabilities (most notably with retiree medical and 3 percent @ 50 pensions) which in the future are destined to cripple our ability to function as a city. These liabilities, no matter any reductions in revenues from other sources, are going to be a serious problem.

    02/03 — $28,380,949 general fund revenues.

    07/08 — $38,982,140 general fund revenues.

    The CPI numbers as reported in the City Budget (page 4-7) since 2002:

    2002 – 2.1%
    2003 – 2.2%
    2004 – 0.5%
    2005 – 2.1%
    2006 – 3.2%
    2007 – 3.3%

  18. Rich Rifkin

    “Perhaps, the Vanguard could investigate the extent to which these other factors, falling sales tax revenue and collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes as well as one that I would add, reduced levels of funding support from the state, are affecting the situation.”

    That’s a good question.

    From the 2002-03 fiscal year to fiscal year 2007-08 (a period in which we have had almost no population growth), the general fund revenues increased on a year-over-year compouned basis of 6.55% per year, which was more than double the rate of All-Urban CPI inflation for the SF Bay Area (which is the inflation measure the city of Davis uses).

    This suggests to me that falling revenues for Davis does not explain the current deficits. Further, the city (since the early 1990s) has taken on severe liabilities (most notably with retiree medical and 3 percent @ 50 pensions) which in the future are destined to cripple our ability to function as a city. These liabilities, no matter any reductions in revenues from other sources, are going to be a serious problem.

    02/03 — $28,380,949 general fund revenues.

    07/08 — $38,982,140 general fund revenues.

    The CPI numbers as reported in the City Budget (page 4-7) since 2002:

    2002 – 2.1%
    2003 – 2.2%
    2004 – 0.5%
    2005 – 2.1%
    2006 – 3.2%
    2007 – 3.3%

  19. Rich Rifkin

    “Perhaps, the Vanguard could investigate the extent to which these other factors, falling sales tax revenue and collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes as well as one that I would add, reduced levels of funding support from the state, are affecting the situation.”

    That’s a good question.

    From the 2002-03 fiscal year to fiscal year 2007-08 (a period in which we have had almost no population growth), the general fund revenues increased on a year-over-year compouned basis of 6.55% per year, which was more than double the rate of All-Urban CPI inflation for the SF Bay Area (which is the inflation measure the city of Davis uses).

    This suggests to me that falling revenues for Davis does not explain the current deficits. Further, the city (since the early 1990s) has taken on severe liabilities (most notably with retiree medical and 3 percent @ 50 pensions) which in the future are destined to cripple our ability to function as a city. These liabilities, no matter any reductions in revenues from other sources, are going to be a serious problem.

    02/03 — $28,380,949 general fund revenues.

    07/08 — $38,982,140 general fund revenues.

    The CPI numbers as reported in the City Budget (page 4-7) since 2002:

    2002 – 2.1%
    2003 – 2.2%
    2004 – 0.5%
    2005 – 2.1%
    2006 – 3.2%
    2007 – 3.3%

  20. Rich Rifkin

    “Perhaps, the Vanguard could investigate the extent to which these other factors, falling sales tax revenue and collapsing home prices and lower real estate taxes as well as one that I would add, reduced levels of funding support from the state, are affecting the situation.”

    That’s a good question.

    From the 2002-03 fiscal year to fiscal year 2007-08 (a period in which we have had almost no population growth), the general fund revenues increased on a year-over-year compouned basis of 6.55% per year, which was more than double the rate of All-Urban CPI inflation for the SF Bay Area (which is the inflation measure the city of Davis uses).

    This suggests to me that falling revenues for Davis does not explain the current deficits. Further, the city (since the early 1990s) has taken on severe liabilities (most notably with retiree medical and 3 percent @ 50 pensions) which in the future are destined to cripple our ability to function as a city. These liabilities, no matter any reductions in revenues from other sources, are going to be a serious problem.

    02/03 — $28,380,949 general fund revenues.

    07/08 — $38,982,140 general fund revenues.

    The CPI numbers as reported in the City Budget (page 4-7) since 2002:

    2002 – 2.1%
    2003 – 2.2%
    2004 – 0.5%
    2005 – 2.1%
    2006 – 3.2%
    2007 – 3.3%

  21. Doug Paul Davis

    Recall my previous analysis looked at tax revenue which increased by $6 million this decade but salaries (including benefits and pensions) have increased by almost $22 million.

  22. Doug Paul Davis

    Recall my previous analysis looked at tax revenue which increased by $6 million this decade but salaries (including benefits and pensions) have increased by almost $22 million.

  23. Doug Paul Davis

    Recall my previous analysis looked at tax revenue which increased by $6 million this decade but salaries (including benefits and pensions) have increased by almost $22 million.

  24. Doug Paul Davis

    Recall my previous analysis looked at tax revenue which increased by $6 million this decade but salaries (including benefits and pensions) have increased by almost $22 million.

  25. Doug Paul Davis

    “They actually will lose far more financially than anyone else.”

    In terms of salaries in raw numbers that is true among employees. I think the impact of bankruptcy would impact lot of people in very bad ways, possibly some far worse than just in terms of salaries. That was my thought anyway as I typed the comment this morning.

  26. Doug Paul Davis

    “They actually will lose far more financially than anyone else.”

    In terms of salaries in raw numbers that is true among employees. I think the impact of bankruptcy would impact lot of people in very bad ways, possibly some far worse than just in terms of salaries. That was my thought anyway as I typed the comment this morning.

  27. Doug Paul Davis

    “They actually will lose far more financially than anyone else.”

    In terms of salaries in raw numbers that is true among employees. I think the impact of bankruptcy would impact lot of people in very bad ways, possibly some far worse than just in terms of salaries. That was my thought anyway as I typed the comment this morning.

  28. Doug Paul Davis

    “They actually will lose far more financially than anyone else.”

    In terms of salaries in raw numbers that is true among employees. I think the impact of bankruptcy would impact lot of people in very bad ways, possibly some far worse than just in terms of salaries. That was my thought anyway as I typed the comment this morning.

  29. What Can We Do?

    Excellent article, DPD. Good comment from Richard Estes. I would also like to ask a question. Is there any way we can force salary negotiations of city employees to be made in public? Would this take the passage of an ordinance by the City Council, or must state law be changed? What exactly is needed, bc it seems to be the crux of the problem.

    One thing you did not mention, DPD, is the complicity of the CBO in Davis. “Unmet needs” are listed separately off to the side of the budget, then a wand is waved, and the CBO announces the budget is somehow “balanced”. This is creative bookkeeping at its worst. IMHO, it constitutes fraud on the public. And we all know it was done to protect incumbent City Council members, who don’t want to admit the fiscal mess we are in happened on their watch. What can we do to hold the CBO accountable for improper and possibly illegal bookkeeping? And of course the City Manager is complicit in the whole process – and is not standing by as a distinteresed third party.

  30. What Can We Do?

    Excellent article, DPD. Good comment from Richard Estes. I would also like to ask a question. Is there any way we can force salary negotiations of city employees to be made in public? Would this take the passage of an ordinance by the City Council, or must state law be changed? What exactly is needed, bc it seems to be the crux of the problem.

    One thing you did not mention, DPD, is the complicity of the CBO in Davis. “Unmet needs” are listed separately off to the side of the budget, then a wand is waved, and the CBO announces the budget is somehow “balanced”. This is creative bookkeeping at its worst. IMHO, it constitutes fraud on the public. And we all know it was done to protect incumbent City Council members, who don’t want to admit the fiscal mess we are in happened on their watch. What can we do to hold the CBO accountable for improper and possibly illegal bookkeeping? And of course the City Manager is complicit in the whole process – and is not standing by as a distinteresed third party.

  31. What Can We Do?

    Excellent article, DPD. Good comment from Richard Estes. I would also like to ask a question. Is there any way we can force salary negotiations of city employees to be made in public? Would this take the passage of an ordinance by the City Council, or must state law be changed? What exactly is needed, bc it seems to be the crux of the problem.

    One thing you did not mention, DPD, is the complicity of the CBO in Davis. “Unmet needs” are listed separately off to the side of the budget, then a wand is waved, and the CBO announces the budget is somehow “balanced”. This is creative bookkeeping at its worst. IMHO, it constitutes fraud on the public. And we all know it was done to protect incumbent City Council members, who don’t want to admit the fiscal mess we are in happened on their watch. What can we do to hold the CBO accountable for improper and possibly illegal bookkeeping? And of course the City Manager is complicit in the whole process – and is not standing by as a distinteresed third party.

  32. What Can We Do?

    Excellent article, DPD. Good comment from Richard Estes. I would also like to ask a question. Is there any way we can force salary negotiations of city employees to be made in public? Would this take the passage of an ordinance by the City Council, or must state law be changed? What exactly is needed, bc it seems to be the crux of the problem.

    One thing you did not mention, DPD, is the complicity of the CBO in Davis. “Unmet needs” are listed separately off to the side of the budget, then a wand is waved, and the CBO announces the budget is somehow “balanced”. This is creative bookkeeping at its worst. IMHO, it constitutes fraud on the public. And we all know it was done to protect incumbent City Council members, who don’t want to admit the fiscal mess we are in happened on their watch. What can we do to hold the CBO accountable for improper and possibly illegal bookkeeping? And of course the City Manager is complicit in the whole process – and is not standing by as a distinteresed third party.

  33. Richard

    I would also like to ask a question. Is there any way we can force salary negotiations of city employees to be made in public? Would this take the passage of an ordinance by the City Council, or must state law be changed? What exactly is needed, bc it seems to be the crux of the problem.

    One thing you did not mention, DPD, is the complicity of the CBO in Davis. “Unmet needs” are listed separately off to the side of the budget, then a wand is waved, and the CBO announces the budget is somehow “balanced”. This is creative bookkeeping at its worst.

    This is a terrible consequence of the professionalization of government, one that assumes that recourse to professional expertise, whereby we delegate our power to make decisions in secretive processes, results in the best possible outcomes. I think we’ve had enough experience with that model to know otherwise.

    But why start with negotiations? Perhaps, the city could propose something truly radical, a bottom up citizen review of the provision of city services? Of course, a lot of things are state and federally mandated, but even there, the process would be educational, and possibly even motivate people to take political action, while in the remaining discretionary areas, citizens could provide essential input as to what is really important and what is not.

    Such a process could eliminate the abuses that result from an electoral process and a reliance upon staff that remains obscure, apparently deliberately so, to much of the public.

    –Richard Estes

  34. Richard

    I would also like to ask a question. Is there any way we can force salary negotiations of city employees to be made in public? Would this take the passage of an ordinance by the City Council, or must state law be changed? What exactly is needed, bc it seems to be the crux of the problem.

    One thing you did not mention, DPD, is the complicity of the CBO in Davis. “Unmet needs” are listed separately off to the side of the budget, then a wand is waved, and the CBO announces the budget is somehow “balanced”. This is creative bookkeeping at its worst.

    This is a terrible consequence of the professionalization of government, one that assumes that recourse to professional expertise, whereby we delegate our power to make decisions in secretive processes, results in the best possible outcomes. I think we’ve had enough experience with that model to know otherwise.

    But why start with negotiations? Perhaps, the city could propose something truly radical, a bottom up citizen review of the provision of city services? Of course, a lot of things are state and federally mandated, but even there, the process would be educational, and possibly even motivate people to take political action, while in the remaining discretionary areas, citizens could provide essential input as to what is really important and what is not.

    Such a process could eliminate the abuses that result from an electoral process and a reliance upon staff that remains obscure, apparently deliberately so, to much of the public.

    –Richard Estes

  35. Richard

    I would also like to ask a question. Is there any way we can force salary negotiations of city employees to be made in public? Would this take the passage of an ordinance by the City Council, or must state law be changed? What exactly is needed, bc it seems to be the crux of the problem.

    One thing you did not mention, DPD, is the complicity of the CBO in Davis. “Unmet needs” are listed separately off to the side of the budget, then a wand is waved, and the CBO announces the budget is somehow “balanced”. This is creative bookkeeping at its worst.

    This is a terrible consequence of the professionalization of government, one that assumes that recourse to professional expertise, whereby we delegate our power to make decisions in secretive processes, results in the best possible outcomes. I think we’ve had enough experience with that model to know otherwise.

    But why start with negotiations? Perhaps, the city could propose something truly radical, a bottom up citizen review of the provision of city services? Of course, a lot of things are state and federally mandated, but even there, the process would be educational, and possibly even motivate people to take political action, while in the remaining discretionary areas, citizens could provide essential input as to what is really important and what is not.

    Such a process could eliminate the abuses that result from an electoral process and a reliance upon staff that remains obscure, apparently deliberately so, to much of the public.

    –Richard Estes

  36. Richard

    I would also like to ask a question. Is there any way we can force salary negotiations of city employees to be made in public? Would this take the passage of an ordinance by the City Council, or must state law be changed? What exactly is needed, bc it seems to be the crux of the problem.

    One thing you did not mention, DPD, is the complicity of the CBO in Davis. “Unmet needs” are listed separately off to the side of the budget, then a wand is waved, and the CBO announces the budget is somehow “balanced”. This is creative bookkeeping at its worst.

    This is a terrible consequence of the professionalization of government, one that assumes that recourse to professional expertise, whereby we delegate our power to make decisions in secretive processes, results in the best possible outcomes. I think we’ve had enough experience with that model to know otherwise.

    But why start with negotiations? Perhaps, the city could propose something truly radical, a bottom up citizen review of the provision of city services? Of course, a lot of things are state and federally mandated, but even there, the process would be educational, and possibly even motivate people to take political action, while in the remaining discretionary areas, citizens could provide essential input as to what is really important and what is not.

    Such a process could eliminate the abuses that result from an electoral process and a reliance upon staff that remains obscure, apparently deliberately so, to much of the public.

    –Richard Estes

  37. Richard

    Doug Paul Davis said…

    Recall my previous analysis looked at tax revenue which increased by $6 million this decade but salaries (including benefits and pensions) have increased by almost $22 million.

    9/3/08 11:46 AM

    I guess that this means that the answer to my first post on this subject is NO. Rich Rifkin took an initial bite at the apple in regard to past revenue, but there are a lot of other questions here that could be addressed, the efficiency of tax collection, the extent to which the revenue system provides intended and unintended subsidies, and, then, of course, there’s the obvious question, what are these sources of revenue? To what extent could they be improved by particular economic development policies?

    I recall some limited discussion of these issues on the Vanguard, but very limited, especially in relation to the posting of “Club 100s”. You might find that such an inquiry would reveal some interesting and useful things.

    –Richard Estes

  38. Richard

    Doug Paul Davis said…

    Recall my previous analysis looked at tax revenue which increased by $6 million this decade but salaries (including benefits and pensions) have increased by almost $22 million.

    9/3/08 11:46 AM

    I guess that this means that the answer to my first post on this subject is NO. Rich Rifkin took an initial bite at the apple in regard to past revenue, but there are a lot of other questions here that could be addressed, the efficiency of tax collection, the extent to which the revenue system provides intended and unintended subsidies, and, then, of course, there’s the obvious question, what are these sources of revenue? To what extent could they be improved by particular economic development policies?

    I recall some limited discussion of these issues on the Vanguard, but very limited, especially in relation to the posting of “Club 100s”. You might find that such an inquiry would reveal some interesting and useful things.

    –Richard Estes

  39. Richard

    Doug Paul Davis said…

    Recall my previous analysis looked at tax revenue which increased by $6 million this decade but salaries (including benefits and pensions) have increased by almost $22 million.

    9/3/08 11:46 AM

    I guess that this means that the answer to my first post on this subject is NO. Rich Rifkin took an initial bite at the apple in regard to past revenue, but there are a lot of other questions here that could be addressed, the efficiency of tax collection, the extent to which the revenue system provides intended and unintended subsidies, and, then, of course, there’s the obvious question, what are these sources of revenue? To what extent could they be improved by particular economic development policies?

    I recall some limited discussion of these issues on the Vanguard, but very limited, especially in relation to the posting of “Club 100s”. You might find that such an inquiry would reveal some interesting and useful things.

    –Richard Estes

  40. Richard

    Doug Paul Davis said…

    Recall my previous analysis looked at tax revenue which increased by $6 million this decade but salaries (including benefits and pensions) have increased by almost $22 million.

    9/3/08 11:46 AM

    I guess that this means that the answer to my first post on this subject is NO. Rich Rifkin took an initial bite at the apple in regard to past revenue, but there are a lot of other questions here that could be addressed, the efficiency of tax collection, the extent to which the revenue system provides intended and unintended subsidies, and, then, of course, there’s the obvious question, what are these sources of revenue? To what extent could they be improved by particular economic development policies?

    I recall some limited discussion of these issues on the Vanguard, but very limited, especially in relation to the posting of “Club 100s”. You might find that such an inquiry would reveal some interesting and useful things.

    –Richard Estes

  41. Anonymous

    “A huge part of the answer would be to hold the labor negotiations in public and to have the city fully account for the expenses it agrees to. In other words, if we agree to give X amount of an increase in wages, benefits, retirement and so on to this group of employees, where will the money come for that expense: from other workers? from higher taxes? from reduced services? or perhaps it is money already in the system?”

    I believe that we should pay firefighters, police (and teachers) as much as we possibly can. If we don’t have the money, then we need to figure out where we are going to get it. If the City is making agreements that adversely affect other employee groups who are not represented during the negotiation, then that’s something that needs to be fixed.

  42. Anonymous

    “A huge part of the answer would be to hold the labor negotiations in public and to have the city fully account for the expenses it agrees to. In other words, if we agree to give X amount of an increase in wages, benefits, retirement and so on to this group of employees, where will the money come for that expense: from other workers? from higher taxes? from reduced services? or perhaps it is money already in the system?”

    I believe that we should pay firefighters, police (and teachers) as much as we possibly can. If we don’t have the money, then we need to figure out where we are going to get it. If the City is making agreements that adversely affect other employee groups who are not represented during the negotiation, then that’s something that needs to be fixed.

  43. Anonymous

    “A huge part of the answer would be to hold the labor negotiations in public and to have the city fully account for the expenses it agrees to. In other words, if we agree to give X amount of an increase in wages, benefits, retirement and so on to this group of employees, where will the money come for that expense: from other workers? from higher taxes? from reduced services? or perhaps it is money already in the system?”

    I believe that we should pay firefighters, police (and teachers) as much as we possibly can. If we don’t have the money, then we need to figure out where we are going to get it. If the City is making agreements that adversely affect other employee groups who are not represented during the negotiation, then that’s something that needs to be fixed.

  44. Anonymous

    “A huge part of the answer would be to hold the labor negotiations in public and to have the city fully account for the expenses it agrees to. In other words, if we agree to give X amount of an increase in wages, benefits, retirement and so on to this group of employees, where will the money come for that expense: from other workers? from higher taxes? from reduced services? or perhaps it is money already in the system?”

    I believe that we should pay firefighters, police (and teachers) as much as we possibly can. If we don’t have the money, then we need to figure out where we are going to get it. If the City is making agreements that adversely affect other employee groups who are not represented during the negotiation, then that’s something that needs to be fixed.

  45. Vincente

    “I believe that we should pay firefighters, police (and teachers) as much as we possibly can. If we don’t have the money, then we need to figure out where we are going to get it.”

    We are already paying the police and fire more than we possibly can. The result in Vallejo was bankruptcy for a continuation of that policy.

    Why should the voters be taxed more in order to pay police and fire ridiculously high salaries?

  46. Vincente

    “I believe that we should pay firefighters, police (and teachers) as much as we possibly can. If we don’t have the money, then we need to figure out where we are going to get it.”

    We are already paying the police and fire more than we possibly can. The result in Vallejo was bankruptcy for a continuation of that policy.

    Why should the voters be taxed more in order to pay police and fire ridiculously high salaries?

  47. Vincente

    “I believe that we should pay firefighters, police (and teachers) as much as we possibly can. If we don’t have the money, then we need to figure out where we are going to get it.”

    We are already paying the police and fire more than we possibly can. The result in Vallejo was bankruptcy for a continuation of that policy.

    Why should the voters be taxed more in order to pay police and fire ridiculously high salaries?

  48. Vincente

    “I believe that we should pay firefighters, police (and teachers) as much as we possibly can. If we don’t have the money, then we need to figure out where we are going to get it.”

    We are already paying the police and fire more than we possibly can. The result in Vallejo was bankruptcy for a continuation of that policy.

    Why should the voters be taxed more in order to pay police and fire ridiculously high salaries?

  49. Anonymous

    I don’t believe they are receiving “ridiculously high” salaries. Per the information given, Vallejo was paying much more, twice as much, as we are paying our Davis police and fire employees, so comparing the pay scales is comparing two dissimilar things. What I understand, it is not the salaries, but the retirement benefits that is the problem.

  50. Anonymous

    I don’t believe they are receiving “ridiculously high” salaries. Per the information given, Vallejo was paying much more, twice as much, as we are paying our Davis police and fire employees, so comparing the pay scales is comparing two dissimilar things. What I understand, it is not the salaries, but the retirement benefits that is the problem.

  51. Anonymous

    I don’t believe they are receiving “ridiculously high” salaries. Per the information given, Vallejo was paying much more, twice as much, as we are paying our Davis police and fire employees, so comparing the pay scales is comparing two dissimilar things. What I understand, it is not the salaries, but the retirement benefits that is the problem.

  52. Anonymous

    I don’t believe they are receiving “ridiculously high” salaries. Per the information given, Vallejo was paying much more, twice as much, as we are paying our Davis police and fire employees, so comparing the pay scales is comparing two dissimilar things. What I understand, it is not the salaries, but the retirement benefits that is the problem.

  53. Vincente

    Gotta disagree with you–Vallejo’s irresponsibility does not make us by definition responsible. The other problem being that we are headed toward worse.

  54. Vincente

    Gotta disagree with you–Vallejo’s irresponsibility does not make us by definition responsible. The other problem being that we are headed toward worse.

  55. Vincente

    Gotta disagree with you–Vallejo’s irresponsibility does not make us by definition responsible. The other problem being that we are headed toward worse.

  56. Vincente

    Gotta disagree with you–Vallejo’s irresponsibility does not make us by definition responsible. The other problem being that we are headed toward worse.

  57. Mike Harrington

    Budgets are important, and solutions must be found to pay and benefit issues.

    However, I just want to make a comment as a long time downtown owner of real estate and a professional firm: the Davis Fire Dept does a great job. They rescued a contractor’s employee who was hurt on one of my projects; they rescued the elderly Greek lady on my street who forgot to turn off the gas; they helped Ms. Pena numerous times as she got older and started falling while living alone; they recently went to one of my rental properties because a smoke alarm had gone off and took the time to brief me as to the technical issues concerning the house system; and they saved the Anderson Bank Building from destruction several years ago.

    All of us can disagree with the Fire Dept in the pull and tug of political campaigns and budget wars (and I have, as most of you know), but I just want to emphasize that the firefighters do an excellent job for Davis. Don’t lose sight of that fact.

  58. Mike Harrington

    Budgets are important, and solutions must be found to pay and benefit issues.

    However, I just want to make a comment as a long time downtown owner of real estate and a professional firm: the Davis Fire Dept does a great job. They rescued a contractor’s employee who was hurt on one of my projects; they rescued the elderly Greek lady on my street who forgot to turn off the gas; they helped Ms. Pena numerous times as she got older and started falling while living alone; they recently went to one of my rental properties because a smoke alarm had gone off and took the time to brief me as to the technical issues concerning the house system; and they saved the Anderson Bank Building from destruction several years ago.

    All of us can disagree with the Fire Dept in the pull and tug of political campaigns and budget wars (and I have, as most of you know), but I just want to emphasize that the firefighters do an excellent job for Davis. Don’t lose sight of that fact.

  59. Mike Harrington

    Budgets are important, and solutions must be found to pay and benefit issues.

    However, I just want to make a comment as a long time downtown owner of real estate and a professional firm: the Davis Fire Dept does a great job. They rescued a contractor’s employee who was hurt on one of my projects; they rescued the elderly Greek lady on my street who forgot to turn off the gas; they helped Ms. Pena numerous times as she got older and started falling while living alone; they recently went to one of my rental properties because a smoke alarm had gone off and took the time to brief me as to the technical issues concerning the house system; and they saved the Anderson Bank Building from destruction several years ago.

    All of us can disagree with the Fire Dept in the pull and tug of political campaigns and budget wars (and I have, as most of you know), but I just want to emphasize that the firefighters do an excellent job for Davis. Don’t lose sight of that fact.

  60. Mike Harrington

    Budgets are important, and solutions must be found to pay and benefit issues.

    However, I just want to make a comment as a long time downtown owner of real estate and a professional firm: the Davis Fire Dept does a great job. They rescued a contractor’s employee who was hurt on one of my projects; they rescued the elderly Greek lady on my street who forgot to turn off the gas; they helped Ms. Pena numerous times as she got older and started falling while living alone; they recently went to one of my rental properties because a smoke alarm had gone off and took the time to brief me as to the technical issues concerning the house system; and they saved the Anderson Bank Building from destruction several years ago.

    All of us can disagree with the Fire Dept in the pull and tug of political campaigns and budget wars (and I have, as most of you know), but I just want to emphasize that the firefighters do an excellent job for Davis. Don’t lose sight of that fact.

  61. Doug Paul Davis

    Mike:

    As you well know any criticism of the firefighters is strictly about budgetary considerations no one criticizes the expertise and ability of the job they perform. It is important not to confuse those two issues.

    People who worry about how safe they will be if the firefighters are paid less than they are now might also want to ponder how safe they are if road repairs and other vital infrastructure is not upgraded and repaired because we have unmet needs.

  62. Doug Paul Davis

    Mike:

    As you well know any criticism of the firefighters is strictly about budgetary considerations no one criticizes the expertise and ability of the job they perform. It is important not to confuse those two issues.

    People who worry about how safe they will be if the firefighters are paid less than they are now might also want to ponder how safe they are if road repairs and other vital infrastructure is not upgraded and repaired because we have unmet needs.

  63. Doug Paul Davis

    Mike:

    As you well know any criticism of the firefighters is strictly about budgetary considerations no one criticizes the expertise and ability of the job they perform. It is important not to confuse those two issues.

    People who worry about how safe they will be if the firefighters are paid less than they are now might also want to ponder how safe they are if road repairs and other vital infrastructure is not upgraded and repaired because we have unmet needs.

  64. Doug Paul Davis

    Mike:

    As you well know any criticism of the firefighters is strictly about budgetary considerations no one criticizes the expertise and ability of the job they perform. It is important not to confuse those two issues.

    People who worry about how safe they will be if the firefighters are paid less than they are now might also want to ponder how safe they are if road repairs and other vital infrastructure is not upgraded and repaired because we have unmet needs.

  65. Anonymous

    Lets all buy flying cars, or put in canals like Venice, no road repair at all, and tons of water for irrigation,no more need for expensive signal lights anymore…

  66. Anonymous

    Lets all buy flying cars, or put in canals like Venice, no road repair at all, and tons of water for irrigation,no more need for expensive signal lights anymore…

  67. Anonymous

    Lets all buy flying cars, or put in canals like Venice, no road repair at all, and tons of water for irrigation,no more need for expensive signal lights anymore…

  68. Anonymous

    Lets all buy flying cars, or put in canals like Venice, no road repair at all, and tons of water for irrigation,no more need for expensive signal lights anymore…

  69. Rich Rifkin

    “Gotta disagree with you–Vallejo’s irresponsibility does not make us by definition responsible. The other problem being that we are headed toward worse.”

    Vallejo is exceptional in a few ways — most notably the very high percentage of its total budget dedicated to police and fire, and the power of those two unions.

    Unfortunately, Davis is not all that exceptional. It has become standard business in most cities across the state to overpay (counting salary, benefits and pension) public executives and sub-executives and to overpay firefighters and to a lesser extent cops.

    “I don’t believe they are receiving “ridiculously high” salaries.”

    This is a subjective question. Including OT, the average firefighter employed by the city of Davis now costs us in wages and benefits approximately $150,000/year. Even more, when that average firefighter retires, we will pay for his complete medical care (no copays, all medicines, all doctors, emergency, surgeries, nursing, full dental, eyecare, etc.) for the rest of his life.

    Since he retires at age 50 (and can work another job with more income), that in many cases will be 40-50 years (though MediCare will assume a part of the cost after he turns age 65).

    It will not be too long before we are paying more money for the pensions (which are funded to PERS and partly paid for by the firefighters) of retired firefighters than we are paying for those actually working for the city. In other words, we will be “employing” two full fire departments: one which is active and the other which is retired.

    Except for those who are not married and die young, most of these employees will be living on pensions for longer than they will have worked for the city of Davis. They are retiring at age 50, after roughly 30 years on the job; and they take home 90% of their last paycheck (plus COLA) every month in pension.

    This same situation applies to the Davis police. However, there are a few differences. One, the DPOA has not bought off our city council. Two, (according to David Greenwald’s research), they receive much less OT; and three, generally their salaries are lower, despite the fact that they are not paid to sleep on the job.

    Even if you still think that these folks deserve all they are getting in wages, benefits, retiree medical and pensions, you might blush at the fact that the city council has given unusually generous retirements to all desk workers for the city. They pay nothing in contributions toward their retirement. They are encouraged to retire at age 55 (which seems very young to me to retire from a desk job). They get free retiree medical, which is very expensive for the taxpayers. And they, too, will take home far more in pensions than the vast majority of working Americans make in salary.

    A department head who retires at age 55 who makes $150,000 a year will have a pension starting at approximately $112,500 per year.

    As we will find in about 8-10 years, these policies are not sustainable and will lead to our bankruptcy, unless we change them soon.

  70. Rich Rifkin

    “Gotta disagree with you–Vallejo’s irresponsibility does not make us by definition responsible. The other problem being that we are headed toward worse.”

    Vallejo is exceptional in a few ways — most notably the very high percentage of its total budget dedicated to police and fire, and the power of those two unions.

    Unfortunately, Davis is not all that exceptional. It has become standard business in most cities across the state to overpay (counting salary, benefits and pension) public executives and sub-executives and to overpay firefighters and to a lesser extent cops.

    “I don’t believe they are receiving “ridiculously high” salaries.”

    This is a subjective question. Including OT, the average firefighter employed by the city of Davis now costs us in wages and benefits approximately $150,000/year. Even more, when that average firefighter retires, we will pay for his complete medical care (no copays, all medicines, all doctors, emergency, surgeries, nursing, full dental, eyecare, etc.) for the rest of his life.

    Since he retires at age 50 (and can work another job with more income), that in many cases will be 40-50 years (though MediCare will assume a part of the cost after he turns age 65).

    It will not be too long before we are paying more money for the pensions (which are funded to PERS and partly paid for by the firefighters) of retired firefighters than we are paying for those actually working for the city. In other words, we will be “employing” two full fire departments: one which is active and the other which is retired.

    Except for those who are not married and die young, most of these employees will be living on pensions for longer than they will have worked for the city of Davis. They are retiring at age 50, after roughly 30 years on the job; and they take home 90% of their last paycheck (plus COLA) every month in pension.

    This same situation applies to the Davis police. However, there are a few differences. One, the DPOA has not bought off our city council. Two, (according to David Greenwald’s research), they receive much less OT; and three, generally their salaries are lower, despite the fact that they are not paid to sleep on the job.

    Even if you still think that these folks deserve all they are getting in wages, benefits, retiree medical and pensions, you might blush at the fact that the city council has given unusually generous retirements to all desk workers for the city. They pay nothing in contributions toward their retirement. They are encouraged to retire at age 55 (which seems very young to me to retire from a desk job). They get free retiree medical, which is very expensive for the taxpayers. And they, too, will take home far more in pensions than the vast majority of working Americans make in salary.

    A department head who retires at age 55 who makes $150,000 a year will have a pension starting at approximately $112,500 per year.

    As we will find in about 8-10 years, these policies are not sustainable and will lead to our bankruptcy, unless we change them soon.

  71. Rich Rifkin

    “Gotta disagree with you–Vallejo’s irresponsibility does not make us by definition responsible. The other problem being that we are headed toward worse.”

    Vallejo is exceptional in a few ways — most notably the very high percentage of its total budget dedicated to police and fire, and the power of those two unions.

    Unfortunately, Davis is not all that exceptional. It has become standard business in most cities across the state to overpay (counting salary, benefits and pension) public executives and sub-executives and to overpay firefighters and to a lesser extent cops.

    “I don’t believe they are receiving “ridiculously high” salaries.”

    This is a subjective question. Including OT, the average firefighter employed by the city of Davis now costs us in wages and benefits approximately $150,000/year. Even more, when that average firefighter retires, we will pay for his complete medical care (no copays, all medicines, all doctors, emergency, surgeries, nursing, full dental, eyecare, etc.) for the rest of his life.

    Since he retires at age 50 (and can work another job with more income), that in many cases will be 40-50 years (though MediCare will assume a part of the cost after he turns age 65).

    It will not be too long before we are paying more money for the pensions (which are funded to PERS and partly paid for by the firefighters) of retired firefighters than we are paying for those actually working for the city. In other words, we will be “employing” two full fire departments: one which is active and the other which is retired.

    Except for those who are not married and die young, most of these employees will be living on pensions for longer than they will have worked for the city of Davis. They are retiring at age 50, after roughly 30 years on the job; and they take home 90% of their last paycheck (plus COLA) every month in pension.

    This same situation applies to the Davis police. However, there are a few differences. One, the DPOA has not bought off our city council. Two, (according to David Greenwald’s research), they receive much less OT; and three, generally their salaries are lower, despite the fact that they are not paid to sleep on the job.

    Even if you still think that these folks deserve all they are getting in wages, benefits, retiree medical and pensions, you might blush at the fact that the city council has given unusually generous retirements to all desk workers for the city. They pay nothing in contributions toward their retirement. They are encouraged to retire at age 55 (which seems very young to me to retire from a desk job). They get free retiree medical, which is very expensive for the taxpayers. And they, too, will take home far more in pensions than the vast majority of working Americans make in salary.

    A department head who retires at age 55 who makes $150,000 a year will have a pension starting at approximately $112,500 per year.

    As we will find in about 8-10 years, these policies are not sustainable and will lead to our bankruptcy, unless we change them soon.

  72. Rich Rifkin

    “Gotta disagree with you–Vallejo’s irresponsibility does not make us by definition responsible. The other problem being that we are headed toward worse.”

    Vallejo is exceptional in a few ways — most notably the very high percentage of its total budget dedicated to police and fire, and the power of those two unions.

    Unfortunately, Davis is not all that exceptional. It has become standard business in most cities across the state to overpay (counting salary, benefits and pension) public executives and sub-executives and to overpay firefighters and to a lesser extent cops.

    “I don’t believe they are receiving “ridiculously high” salaries.”

    This is a subjective question. Including OT, the average firefighter employed by the city of Davis now costs us in wages and benefits approximately $150,000/year. Even more, when that average firefighter retires, we will pay for his complete medical care (no copays, all medicines, all doctors, emergency, surgeries, nursing, full dental, eyecare, etc.) for the rest of his life.

    Since he retires at age 50 (and can work another job with more income), that in many cases will be 40-50 years (though MediCare will assume a part of the cost after he turns age 65).

    It will not be too long before we are paying more money for the pensions (which are funded to PERS and partly paid for by the firefighters) of retired firefighters than we are paying for those actually working for the city. In other words, we will be “employing” two full fire departments: one which is active and the other which is retired.

    Except for those who are not married and die young, most of these employees will be living on pensions for longer than they will have worked for the city of Davis. They are retiring at age 50, after roughly 30 years on the job; and they take home 90% of their last paycheck (plus COLA) every month in pension.

    This same situation applies to the Davis police. However, there are a few differences. One, the DPOA has not bought off our city council. Two, (according to David Greenwald’s research), they receive much less OT; and three, generally their salaries are lower, despite the fact that they are not paid to sleep on the job.

    Even if you still think that these folks deserve all they are getting in wages, benefits, retiree medical and pensions, you might blush at the fact that the city council has given unusually generous retirements to all desk workers for the city. They pay nothing in contributions toward their retirement. They are encouraged to retire at age 55 (which seems very young to me to retire from a desk job). They get free retiree medical, which is very expensive for the taxpayers. And they, too, will take home far more in pensions than the vast majority of working Americans make in salary.

    A department head who retires at age 55 who makes $150,000 a year will have a pension starting at approximately $112,500 per year.

    As we will find in about 8-10 years, these policies are not sustainable and will lead to our bankruptcy, unless we change them soon.

  73. Anonymous

    Hey Rich, lets build fire robots who have rocket powered boots to get them to calls, with super cooling breath to put the fire out, super tools to cut people from cars,PHD minds to handle toxic spills,oh yea and some rich guy like Pickens to build them ,and oh yea , make a profit off the whole gig, because ya know there going to break ,then costly repairs, then you retire that model,and low and behold you have to buy new again..Sounds like a plan to me …

  74. Anonymous

    Hey Rich, lets build fire robots who have rocket powered boots to get them to calls, with super cooling breath to put the fire out, super tools to cut people from cars,PHD minds to handle toxic spills,oh yea and some rich guy like Pickens to build them ,and oh yea , make a profit off the whole gig, because ya know there going to break ,then costly repairs, then you retire that model,and low and behold you have to buy new again..Sounds like a plan to me …

  75. Anonymous

    Hey Rich, lets build fire robots who have rocket powered boots to get them to calls, with super cooling breath to put the fire out, super tools to cut people from cars,PHD minds to handle toxic spills,oh yea and some rich guy like Pickens to build them ,and oh yea , make a profit off the whole gig, because ya know there going to break ,then costly repairs, then you retire that model,and low and behold you have to buy new again..Sounds like a plan to me …

  76. Anonymous

    Hey Rich, lets build fire robots who have rocket powered boots to get them to calls, with super cooling breath to put the fire out, super tools to cut people from cars,PHD minds to handle toxic spills,oh yea and some rich guy like Pickens to build them ,and oh yea , make a profit off the whole gig, because ya know there going to break ,then costly repairs, then you retire that model,and low and behold you have to buy new again..Sounds like a plan to me …

  77. Vanguardian

    Excellent article David! I too support our firefighters and police officers, but we need to think of the lower paid employees too who help run the city and not bankrupt our city to show support.

  78. Vanguardian

    Excellent article David! I too support our firefighters and police officers, but we need to think of the lower paid employees too who help run the city and not bankrupt our city to show support.

  79. Vanguardian

    Excellent article David! I too support our firefighters and police officers, but we need to think of the lower paid employees too who help run the city and not bankrupt our city to show support.

  80. Vanguardian

    Excellent article David! I too support our firefighters and police officers, but we need to think of the lower paid employees too who help run the city and not bankrupt our city to show support.

  81. Rich Rifkin

    Hey Rich, lets build fire robots who have rocket powered boots to get them to calls, with super cooling breath to put the fire out,

    Go for it, Black Bart!

  82. Rich Rifkin

    Hey Rich, lets build fire robots who have rocket powered boots to get them to calls, with super cooling breath to put the fire out,

    Go for it, Black Bart!

  83. Rich Rifkin

    Hey Rich, lets build fire robots who have rocket powered boots to get them to calls, with super cooling breath to put the fire out,

    Go for it, Black Bart!

  84. Rich Rifkin

    Hey Rich, lets build fire robots who have rocket powered boots to get them to calls, with super cooling breath to put the fire out,

    Go for it, Black Bart!

  85. Anonymous

    Has anyone looked up the average life expectancy of a retired firefighter or police officer after retirement?

    How many police officers and firefighters actually retire from this city? I would venture to guess that full career retirements from public safety are less likely than in some other city jobs.

    A little common sense here. Those jobs require certain physical abilities to perform. You don’t have to be perfectly fit, but eye sight, hand-eye coordination, and heart conditions are all things that begin to fade at an older age. While there are exceptions, most people should not do that type of job long after 50-55.

    Seems like Davis pays well, but is in line with most other jurisdictions around the area. Attracting quality people to work here would be a priority I assume.

  86. Anonymous

    Has anyone looked up the average life expectancy of a retired firefighter or police officer after retirement?

    How many police officers and firefighters actually retire from this city? I would venture to guess that full career retirements from public safety are less likely than in some other city jobs.

    A little common sense here. Those jobs require certain physical abilities to perform. You don’t have to be perfectly fit, but eye sight, hand-eye coordination, and heart conditions are all things that begin to fade at an older age. While there are exceptions, most people should not do that type of job long after 50-55.

    Seems like Davis pays well, but is in line with most other jurisdictions around the area. Attracting quality people to work here would be a priority I assume.

  87. Anonymous

    Has anyone looked up the average life expectancy of a retired firefighter or police officer after retirement?

    How many police officers and firefighters actually retire from this city? I would venture to guess that full career retirements from public safety are less likely than in some other city jobs.

    A little common sense here. Those jobs require certain physical abilities to perform. You don’t have to be perfectly fit, but eye sight, hand-eye coordination, and heart conditions are all things that begin to fade at an older age. While there are exceptions, most people should not do that type of job long after 50-55.

    Seems like Davis pays well, but is in line with most other jurisdictions around the area. Attracting quality people to work here would be a priority I assume.

  88. Anonymous

    Has anyone looked up the average life expectancy of a retired firefighter or police officer after retirement?

    How many police officers and firefighters actually retire from this city? I would venture to guess that full career retirements from public safety are less likely than in some other city jobs.

    A little common sense here. Those jobs require certain physical abilities to perform. You don’t have to be perfectly fit, but eye sight, hand-eye coordination, and heart conditions are all things that begin to fade at an older age. While there are exceptions, most people should not do that type of job long after 50-55.

    Seems like Davis pays well, but is in line with most other jurisdictions around the area. Attracting quality people to work here would be a priority I assume.

  89. Jennifer

    Very well done article.

    As a Vallejo resident, I can add one more thing that has added fuel to the fire: very lopsided reporting from the town’s paper, in the Union’s favor.

    The local paper refused to print the salary information you reference, for privacy reasons. One slip by city staff will produce headlines that run for days, yet the union’s blatant self dealing exposed in the Judge’s findings haven’t warranted a peep. The story along side the one on the BK decision was to re-open negotiations with the Union, outside of the BK court.

    As long as Davis has blogs like this and people who actively expose ineptitude, you won’t go down Vallejo’s path. Vallejo’s Union backed elite has had a strangle hold on local information for years, and still does. They’ve successfully demonized outside blogs, and the paper won’t print anything that mentions the web address of a key blog.

    Reforming the Brown Act would be a start, but you’ve got to have transparency in the media before it will do a d*** thing.

  90. Jennifer

    Very well done article.

    As a Vallejo resident, I can add one more thing that has added fuel to the fire: very lopsided reporting from the town’s paper, in the Union’s favor.

    The local paper refused to print the salary information you reference, for privacy reasons. One slip by city staff will produce headlines that run for days, yet the union’s blatant self dealing exposed in the Judge’s findings haven’t warranted a peep. The story along side the one on the BK decision was to re-open negotiations with the Union, outside of the BK court.

    As long as Davis has blogs like this and people who actively expose ineptitude, you won’t go down Vallejo’s path. Vallejo’s Union backed elite has had a strangle hold on local information for years, and still does. They’ve successfully demonized outside blogs, and the paper won’t print anything that mentions the web address of a key blog.

    Reforming the Brown Act would be a start, but you’ve got to have transparency in the media before it will do a d*** thing.

  91. Jennifer

    Very well done article.

    As a Vallejo resident, I can add one more thing that has added fuel to the fire: very lopsided reporting from the town’s paper, in the Union’s favor.

    The local paper refused to print the salary information you reference, for privacy reasons. One slip by city staff will produce headlines that run for days, yet the union’s blatant self dealing exposed in the Judge’s findings haven’t warranted a peep. The story along side the one on the BK decision was to re-open negotiations with the Union, outside of the BK court.

    As long as Davis has blogs like this and people who actively expose ineptitude, you won’t go down Vallejo’s path. Vallejo’s Union backed elite has had a strangle hold on local information for years, and still does. They’ve successfully demonized outside blogs, and the paper won’t print anything that mentions the web address of a key blog.

    Reforming the Brown Act would be a start, but you’ve got to have transparency in the media before it will do a d*** thing.

  92. Jennifer

    Very well done article.

    As a Vallejo resident, I can add one more thing that has added fuel to the fire: very lopsided reporting from the town’s paper, in the Union’s favor.

    The local paper refused to print the salary information you reference, for privacy reasons. One slip by city staff will produce headlines that run for days, yet the union’s blatant self dealing exposed in the Judge’s findings haven’t warranted a peep. The story along side the one on the BK decision was to re-open negotiations with the Union, outside of the BK court.

    As long as Davis has blogs like this and people who actively expose ineptitude, you won’t go down Vallejo’s path. Vallejo’s Union backed elite has had a strangle hold on local information for years, and still does. They’ve successfully demonized outside blogs, and the paper won’t print anything that mentions the web address of a key blog.

    Reforming the Brown Act would be a start, but you’ve got to have transparency in the media before it will do a d*** thing.

  93. Anonymous

    Hey Jennifer,

    From what I hear numerous public safety employees have left Vallejo and others are in the process of leaving. Your violent crime is on the rise. Businesses are moving out one by one.

    Gee..who do you think is going to actually apply to work in a town in BK? The rejects that cannot get a job anywhere else or are running away from problems where they work now? Lets not even get into public safety hiring costs, training costs, and the legal costs of poor decision making.

    First of all Vallejo pay was much higher than what anyone can make in this neck of the woods (it was one of the highest in the state for a while). Second I believe there was a lot more leading up to your BK than just the employee contracts. I would venture to guess Vallejo has been struggling for many years.

    But maybe you are right..if it was not for those public safety contracts, Vallejo would have turned out to be the next Mill Valley of the Bay Area.

  94. Anonymous

    Hey Jennifer,

    From what I hear numerous public safety employees have left Vallejo and others are in the process of leaving. Your violent crime is on the rise. Businesses are moving out one by one.

    Gee..who do you think is going to actually apply to work in a town in BK? The rejects that cannot get a job anywhere else or are running away from problems where they work now? Lets not even get into public safety hiring costs, training costs, and the legal costs of poor decision making.

    First of all Vallejo pay was much higher than what anyone can make in this neck of the woods (it was one of the highest in the state for a while). Second I believe there was a lot more leading up to your BK than just the employee contracts. I would venture to guess Vallejo has been struggling for many years.

    But maybe you are right..if it was not for those public safety contracts, Vallejo would have turned out to be the next Mill Valley of the Bay Area.

  95. Anonymous

    Hey Jennifer,

    From what I hear numerous public safety employees have left Vallejo and others are in the process of leaving. Your violent crime is on the rise. Businesses are moving out one by one.

    Gee..who do you think is going to actually apply to work in a town in BK? The rejects that cannot get a job anywhere else or are running away from problems where they work now? Lets not even get into public safety hiring costs, training costs, and the legal costs of poor decision making.

    First of all Vallejo pay was much higher than what anyone can make in this neck of the woods (it was one of the highest in the state for a while). Second I believe there was a lot more leading up to your BK than just the employee contracts. I would venture to guess Vallejo has been struggling for many years.

    But maybe you are right..if it was not for those public safety contracts, Vallejo would have turned out to be the next Mill Valley of the Bay Area.

  96. Anonymous

    Hey Jennifer,

    From what I hear numerous public safety employees have left Vallejo and others are in the process of leaving. Your violent crime is on the rise. Businesses are moving out one by one.

    Gee..who do you think is going to actually apply to work in a town in BK? The rejects that cannot get a job anywhere else or are running away from problems where they work now? Lets not even get into public safety hiring costs, training costs, and the legal costs of poor decision making.

    First of all Vallejo pay was much higher than what anyone can make in this neck of the woods (it was one of the highest in the state for a while). Second I believe there was a lot more leading up to your BK than just the employee contracts. I would venture to guess Vallejo has been struggling for many years.

    But maybe you are right..if it was not for those public safety contracts, Vallejo would have turned out to be the next Mill Valley of the Bay Area.

  97. Anonymous

    What kind of salary would any of you accept to do that type of job?

    “Martinez cop, woman slain – gunman dead”

    Henry K. Lee, Rachel Gordon,Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writers

    Sunday, September 7, 2008 – SFGATE.COM

  98. Anonymous

    What kind of salary would any of you accept to do that type of job?

    “Martinez cop, woman slain – gunman dead”

    Henry K. Lee, Rachel Gordon,Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writers

    Sunday, September 7, 2008 – SFGATE.COM

  99. Anonymous

    What kind of salary would any of you accept to do that type of job?

    “Martinez cop, woman slain – gunman dead”

    Henry K. Lee, Rachel Gordon,Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writers

    Sunday, September 7, 2008 – SFGATE.COM

  100. Anonymous

    What kind of salary would any of you accept to do that type of job?

    “Martinez cop, woman slain – gunman dead”

    Henry K. Lee, Rachel Gordon,Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writers

    Sunday, September 7, 2008 – SFGATE.COM

  101. Doug Paul Davis

    There is no amount of money that can compensate you for losing your life prematurely. There is thus no salary can be commensurate with that risk. From that standpoint the city’s obligation is to give their employees the pay and benefits necessary to live a reasonably comfortable existence. I would submit that we have gone beyond that point to the point where salaries are threatening to break the budget of city’s and put strain on the taxpayers.

    But of course that’s not the end of story, someone suggested that as a result of the bankruptcy crime in Vallejo has gone up, people are leaving. Police and fire fighters take what is a rational but premeditated risk, but residents do not operate under the same principles.

    In Davis, the budget situation has led to the city moving repair projects into the “unmet needs” category. That means that vital repairs are not being performed by the city. That could put more lives at risk than the risk of paying fire fighters or police slightly less in total compensation. Likewise the results of the bankruptcy in Vallejo has caused crime to rise which puts residents in greater risk.

    Pick your poison I suppose, but I think you can hire quality public safety people for less than what we are currently spending.

    As someone suggested this is not a problem inherent to Davis, in fact it is a state wide problem and it is a problem that is threatening to undermine the entire system that we have created.

  102. Doug Paul Davis

    There is no amount of money that can compensate you for losing your life prematurely. There is thus no salary can be commensurate with that risk. From that standpoint the city’s obligation is to give their employees the pay and benefits necessary to live a reasonably comfortable existence. I would submit that we have gone beyond that point to the point where salaries are threatening to break the budget of city’s and put strain on the taxpayers.

    But of course that’s not the end of story, someone suggested that as a result of the bankruptcy crime in Vallejo has gone up, people are leaving. Police and fire fighters take what is a rational but premeditated risk, but residents do not operate under the same principles.

    In Davis, the budget situation has led to the city moving repair projects into the “unmet needs” category. That means that vital repairs are not being performed by the city. That could put more lives at risk than the risk of paying fire fighters or police slightly less in total compensation. Likewise the results of the bankruptcy in Vallejo has caused crime to rise which puts residents in greater risk.

    Pick your poison I suppose, but I think you can hire quality public safety people for less than what we are currently spending.

    As someone suggested this is not a problem inherent to Davis, in fact it is a state wide problem and it is a problem that is threatening to undermine the entire system that we have created.

  103. Doug Paul Davis

    There is no amount of money that can compensate you for losing your life prematurely. There is thus no salary can be commensurate with that risk. From that standpoint the city’s obligation is to give their employees the pay and benefits necessary to live a reasonably comfortable existence. I would submit that we have gone beyond that point to the point where salaries are threatening to break the budget of city’s and put strain on the taxpayers.

    But of course that’s not the end of story, someone suggested that as a result of the bankruptcy crime in Vallejo has gone up, people are leaving. Police and fire fighters take what is a rational but premeditated risk, but residents do not operate under the same principles.

    In Davis, the budget situation has led to the city moving repair projects into the “unmet needs” category. That means that vital repairs are not being performed by the city. That could put more lives at risk than the risk of paying fire fighters or police slightly less in total compensation. Likewise the results of the bankruptcy in Vallejo has caused crime to rise which puts residents in greater risk.

    Pick your poison I suppose, but I think you can hire quality public safety people for less than what we are currently spending.

    As someone suggested this is not a problem inherent to Davis, in fact it is a state wide problem and it is a problem that is threatening to undermine the entire system that we have created.

  104. Doug Paul Davis

    There is no amount of money that can compensate you for losing your life prematurely. There is thus no salary can be commensurate with that risk. From that standpoint the city’s obligation is to give their employees the pay and benefits necessary to live a reasonably comfortable existence. I would submit that we have gone beyond that point to the point where salaries are threatening to break the budget of city’s and put strain on the taxpayers.

    But of course that’s not the end of story, someone suggested that as a result of the bankruptcy crime in Vallejo has gone up, people are leaving. Police and fire fighters take what is a rational but premeditated risk, but residents do not operate under the same principles.

    In Davis, the budget situation has led to the city moving repair projects into the “unmet needs” category. That means that vital repairs are not being performed by the city. That could put more lives at risk than the risk of paying fire fighters or police slightly less in total compensation. Likewise the results of the bankruptcy in Vallejo has caused crime to rise which puts residents in greater risk.

    Pick your poison I suppose, but I think you can hire quality public safety people for less than what we are currently spending.

    As someone suggested this is not a problem inherent to Davis, in fact it is a state wide problem and it is a problem that is threatening to undermine the entire system that we have created.

  105. Jennifer

    Anonymous, I don’t accept the pay argument when putting your life at risk is brought up. My husband has been through 2 deployments to Iraq for far, far less than what a Vallejo cop or fire fighter makes.

    Businesses all over the place are failing, not just in Vallejo. Crime is way up in Oakland and elsewhere, not just in Vallejo. Citing violence and failing businesses are largely being used as scare tactics, we really don’t know the impact given the state of the economy right now.

    I think bankruptcy has been a good thing for Vallejo. The city has pushed back against the unions in a prejudicial environment. Reading the judge’s findings taught me a few things about the tactics the union is using. Underhanded is putting it mildly.

    And the local paper, in the Sunday edition (online) does not have a word about the bankruptcy filing. When the City Manager clamped down on internet use by employees, it was front page news for 3 days. In this town, it is bigger news when the city tries to stop the unions from speaking out against the bankruptcy on city time than the bankruptcy itself.

    I blame the paper more than the Unions. The Unions are doing what the Unions do best, but the paper’s unwillingness to report accurately is criminal.

  106. Jennifer

    Anonymous, I don’t accept the pay argument when putting your life at risk is brought up. My husband has been through 2 deployments to Iraq for far, far less than what a Vallejo cop or fire fighter makes.

    Businesses all over the place are failing, not just in Vallejo. Crime is way up in Oakland and elsewhere, not just in Vallejo. Citing violence and failing businesses are largely being used as scare tactics, we really don’t know the impact given the state of the economy right now.

    I think bankruptcy has been a good thing for Vallejo. The city has pushed back against the unions in a prejudicial environment. Reading the judge’s findings taught me a few things about the tactics the union is using. Underhanded is putting it mildly.

    And the local paper, in the Sunday edition (online) does not have a word about the bankruptcy filing. When the City Manager clamped down on internet use by employees, it was front page news for 3 days. In this town, it is bigger news when the city tries to stop the unions from speaking out against the bankruptcy on city time than the bankruptcy itself.

    I blame the paper more than the Unions. The Unions are doing what the Unions do best, but the paper’s unwillingness to report accurately is criminal.

  107. Jennifer

    Anonymous, I don’t accept the pay argument when putting your life at risk is brought up. My husband has been through 2 deployments to Iraq for far, far less than what a Vallejo cop or fire fighter makes.

    Businesses all over the place are failing, not just in Vallejo. Crime is way up in Oakland and elsewhere, not just in Vallejo. Citing violence and failing businesses are largely being used as scare tactics, we really don’t know the impact given the state of the economy right now.

    I think bankruptcy has been a good thing for Vallejo. The city has pushed back against the unions in a prejudicial environment. Reading the judge’s findings taught me a few things about the tactics the union is using. Underhanded is putting it mildly.

    And the local paper, in the Sunday edition (online) does not have a word about the bankruptcy filing. When the City Manager clamped down on internet use by employees, it was front page news for 3 days. In this town, it is bigger news when the city tries to stop the unions from speaking out against the bankruptcy on city time than the bankruptcy itself.

    I blame the paper more than the Unions. The Unions are doing what the Unions do best, but the paper’s unwillingness to report accurately is criminal.

  108. Jennifer

    Anonymous, I don’t accept the pay argument when putting your life at risk is brought up. My husband has been through 2 deployments to Iraq for far, far less than what a Vallejo cop or fire fighter makes.

    Businesses all over the place are failing, not just in Vallejo. Crime is way up in Oakland and elsewhere, not just in Vallejo. Citing violence and failing businesses are largely being used as scare tactics, we really don’t know the impact given the state of the economy right now.

    I think bankruptcy has been a good thing for Vallejo. The city has pushed back against the unions in a prejudicial environment. Reading the judge’s findings taught me a few things about the tactics the union is using. Underhanded is putting it mildly.

    And the local paper, in the Sunday edition (online) does not have a word about the bankruptcy filing. When the City Manager clamped down on internet use by employees, it was front page news for 3 days. In this town, it is bigger news when the city tries to stop the unions from speaking out against the bankruptcy on city time than the bankruptcy itself.

    I blame the paper more than the Unions. The Unions are doing what the Unions do best, but the paper’s unwillingness to report accurately is criminal.

  109. Anonymous

    Who supplies the money to the Cities and then directly to the unions? All of us hardworking taxpayers, that’s who. Then consider the latest; SEIU reps, 3 of em, have stepped down because they are thieves who steal from the taxpayers.

    Support public employee unions? Hell no,they are the problem.

  110. Anonymous

    Who supplies the money to the Cities and then directly to the unions? All of us hardworking taxpayers, that’s who. Then consider the latest; SEIU reps, 3 of em, have stepped down because they are thieves who steal from the taxpayers.

    Support public employee unions? Hell no,they are the problem.

  111. Anonymous

    Who supplies the money to the Cities and then directly to the unions? All of us hardworking taxpayers, that’s who. Then consider the latest; SEIU reps, 3 of em, have stepped down because they are thieves who steal from the taxpayers.

    Support public employee unions? Hell no,they are the problem.

  112. Anonymous

    Who supplies the money to the Cities and then directly to the unions? All of us hardworking taxpayers, that’s who. Then consider the latest; SEIU reps, 3 of em, have stepped down because they are thieves who steal from the taxpayers.

    Support public employee unions? Hell no,they are the problem.

  113. Anonymous

    DpD,

    Not being involved with public safey, I find your comments interesting. A question arises about your statement that,” I think we can hire quality public safety people for less than we are currently spending”.

    How do you do that? How do you keep the thieving unions out of the taxpayers hard earned dollars? I’ll bet you don’t have the answers.

    The top of the list is paid way too much, ie; Rose Conroy and her cronies. When conroy is confronted on this issue she attempts to justify it without acknowledging there is a major problem.

    So, DPD, how do you fix this problem? How do you hire quality taxpayer paid people for less? Everyone that reads this blog would like to know your solution(s) to the problem(s). For once, throw out a solution instead of a controversial remark to see what comes back.
    Thanks

  114. Anonymous

    DpD,

    Not being involved with public safey, I find your comments interesting. A question arises about your statement that,” I think we can hire quality public safety people for less than we are currently spending”.

    How do you do that? How do you keep the thieving unions out of the taxpayers hard earned dollars? I’ll bet you don’t have the answers.

    The top of the list is paid way too much, ie; Rose Conroy and her cronies. When conroy is confronted on this issue she attempts to justify it without acknowledging there is a major problem.

    So, DPD, how do you fix this problem? How do you hire quality taxpayer paid people for less? Everyone that reads this blog would like to know your solution(s) to the problem(s). For once, throw out a solution instead of a controversial remark to see what comes back.
    Thanks

  115. Anonymous

    DpD,

    Not being involved with public safey, I find your comments interesting. A question arises about your statement that,” I think we can hire quality public safety people for less than we are currently spending”.

    How do you do that? How do you keep the thieving unions out of the taxpayers hard earned dollars? I’ll bet you don’t have the answers.

    The top of the list is paid way too much, ie; Rose Conroy and her cronies. When conroy is confronted on this issue she attempts to justify it without acknowledging there is a major problem.

    So, DPD, how do you fix this problem? How do you hire quality taxpayer paid people for less? Everyone that reads this blog would like to know your solution(s) to the problem(s). For once, throw out a solution instead of a controversial remark to see what comes back.
    Thanks

  116. Anonymous

    DpD,

    Not being involved with public safey, I find your comments interesting. A question arises about your statement that,” I think we can hire quality public safety people for less than we are currently spending”.

    How do you do that? How do you keep the thieving unions out of the taxpayers hard earned dollars? I’ll bet you don’t have the answers.

    The top of the list is paid way too much, ie; Rose Conroy and her cronies. When conroy is confronted on this issue she attempts to justify it without acknowledging there is a major problem.

    So, DPD, how do you fix this problem? How do you hire quality taxpayer paid people for less? Everyone that reads this blog would like to know your solution(s) to the problem(s). For once, throw out a solution instead of a controversial remark to see what comes back.
    Thanks

  117. Doug Paul Davis

    I don’t think unions are thieves, there may be some members who have broken laws in various areas, but that doesn’t make unions thieves. They represent the interests of their members.

    What we need however is for the city to represent the interests of the taxpayers in negotiations.

    We’ve discussed the solution to this, it’s not an overnight solution. The laws are such that it is difficult if not impossible to roll back salaries or the 3% at 50 retirement plan.

    What we need to do right now is twofold: first, hold the line on salaries in the next round of labor negotiations and allow inflation to slowly bring the salaries back in line with what is sustainable. Second, we need to look at ways to cutback on overtime wages to public employees. There are a variety of ways being tried across the state.

    There is an interesting article in the San Bernadino paper on the city of Redlands that is trying to cut back on firefighter overtime.

    Those are not solutions that will work overnight, but they will start to help alleviate the larger concerns.

  118. Doug Paul Davis

    I don’t think unions are thieves, there may be some members who have broken laws in various areas, but that doesn’t make unions thieves. They represent the interests of their members.

    What we need however is for the city to represent the interests of the taxpayers in negotiations.

    We’ve discussed the solution to this, it’s not an overnight solution. The laws are such that it is difficult if not impossible to roll back salaries or the 3% at 50 retirement plan.

    What we need to do right now is twofold: first, hold the line on salaries in the next round of labor negotiations and allow inflation to slowly bring the salaries back in line with what is sustainable. Second, we need to look at ways to cutback on overtime wages to public employees. There are a variety of ways being tried across the state.

    There is an interesting article in the San Bernadino paper on the city of Redlands that is trying to cut back on firefighter overtime.

    Those are not solutions that will work overnight, but they will start to help alleviate the larger concerns.

  119. Doug Paul Davis

    I don’t think unions are thieves, there may be some members who have broken laws in various areas, but that doesn’t make unions thieves. They represent the interests of their members.

    What we need however is for the city to represent the interests of the taxpayers in negotiations.

    We’ve discussed the solution to this, it’s not an overnight solution. The laws are such that it is difficult if not impossible to roll back salaries or the 3% at 50 retirement plan.

    What we need to do right now is twofold: first, hold the line on salaries in the next round of labor negotiations and allow inflation to slowly bring the salaries back in line with what is sustainable. Second, we need to look at ways to cutback on overtime wages to public employees. There are a variety of ways being tried across the state.

    There is an interesting article in the San Bernadino paper on the city of Redlands that is trying to cut back on firefighter overtime.

    Those are not solutions that will work overnight, but they will start to help alleviate the larger concerns.

  120. Doug Paul Davis

    I don’t think unions are thieves, there may be some members who have broken laws in various areas, but that doesn’t make unions thieves. They represent the interests of their members.

    What we need however is for the city to represent the interests of the taxpayers in negotiations.

    We’ve discussed the solution to this, it’s not an overnight solution. The laws are such that it is difficult if not impossible to roll back salaries or the 3% at 50 retirement plan.

    What we need to do right now is twofold: first, hold the line on salaries in the next round of labor negotiations and allow inflation to slowly bring the salaries back in line with what is sustainable. Second, we need to look at ways to cutback on overtime wages to public employees. There are a variety of ways being tried across the state.

    There is an interesting article in the San Bernadino paper on the city of Redlands that is trying to cut back on firefighter overtime.

    Those are not solutions that will work overnight, but they will start to help alleviate the larger concerns.

  121. Anonymous

    Jennifer,

    I think there are some major differences between Vallejo and Davis. Davis is a desired location to live but has limited housing.

    Vallejo?? Well that’s one of those “could not really afford a house in any nice part of the bay area” kinda places.

    There are businesses that actually want to come to Davis, but we turn many away to contain growth (and that is OK, if that is what the prople want).

    Vallejo? Just lost a Ford Dealership, Walmart, Linen and Things, and I believe Discovery Kingdom is looking for another home.

    Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship.

    I don’t think its the fault of the unions. I would blame it on years of poor budget management.

  122. Anonymous

    Jennifer,

    I think there are some major differences between Vallejo and Davis. Davis is a desired location to live but has limited housing.

    Vallejo?? Well that’s one of those “could not really afford a house in any nice part of the bay area” kinda places.

    There are businesses that actually want to come to Davis, but we turn many away to contain growth (and that is OK, if that is what the prople want).

    Vallejo? Just lost a Ford Dealership, Walmart, Linen and Things, and I believe Discovery Kingdom is looking for another home.

    Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship.

    I don’t think its the fault of the unions. I would blame it on years of poor budget management.

  123. Anonymous

    Jennifer,

    I think there are some major differences between Vallejo and Davis. Davis is a desired location to live but has limited housing.

    Vallejo?? Well that’s one of those “could not really afford a house in any nice part of the bay area” kinda places.

    There are businesses that actually want to come to Davis, but we turn many away to contain growth (and that is OK, if that is what the prople want).

    Vallejo? Just lost a Ford Dealership, Walmart, Linen and Things, and I believe Discovery Kingdom is looking for another home.

    Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship.

    I don’t think its the fault of the unions. I would blame it on years of poor budget management.

  124. Anonymous

    Jennifer,

    I think there are some major differences between Vallejo and Davis. Davis is a desired location to live but has limited housing.

    Vallejo?? Well that’s one of those “could not really afford a house in any nice part of the bay area” kinda places.

    There are businesses that actually want to come to Davis, but we turn many away to contain growth (and that is OK, if that is what the prople want).

    Vallejo? Just lost a Ford Dealership, Walmart, Linen and Things, and I believe Discovery Kingdom is looking for another home.

    Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship.

    I don’t think its the fault of the unions. I would blame it on years of poor budget management.

  125. Doug Paul Davis

    I don’t blame it on the unions either, someone in management had to acquiesce to their inflated salaries.

    However, I do have a bone to pick:

    “Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship.”

    While this is symbolic of the fiscal mismanagement by the city, the city’s deficit is somewhere around $17 million. That would have to be one heck of a raise to be even a drop in the bucket.

    On the other hand, salaries just for those who make over $100,000 in Vallejo equaled $44 million last year. That doesn’t even include benefits or pensions. Seems to me that a better managed salary structure would have made a big difference in their problem.

  126. Doug Paul Davis

    I don’t blame it on the unions either, someone in management had to acquiesce to their inflated salaries.

    However, I do have a bone to pick:

    “Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship.”

    While this is symbolic of the fiscal mismanagement by the city, the city’s deficit is somewhere around $17 million. That would have to be one heck of a raise to be even a drop in the bucket.

    On the other hand, salaries just for those who make over $100,000 in Vallejo equaled $44 million last year. That doesn’t even include benefits or pensions. Seems to me that a better managed salary structure would have made a big difference in their problem.

  127. Doug Paul Davis

    I don’t blame it on the unions either, someone in management had to acquiesce to their inflated salaries.

    However, I do have a bone to pick:

    “Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship.”

    While this is symbolic of the fiscal mismanagement by the city, the city’s deficit is somewhere around $17 million. That would have to be one heck of a raise to be even a drop in the bucket.

    On the other hand, salaries just for those who make over $100,000 in Vallejo equaled $44 million last year. That doesn’t even include benefits or pensions. Seems to me that a better managed salary structure would have made a big difference in their problem.

  128. Doug Paul Davis

    I don’t blame it on the unions either, someone in management had to acquiesce to their inflated salaries.

    However, I do have a bone to pick:

    “Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship.”

    While this is symbolic of the fiscal mismanagement by the city, the city’s deficit is somewhere around $17 million. That would have to be one heck of a raise to be even a drop in the bucket.

    On the other hand, salaries just for those who make over $100,000 in Vallejo equaled $44 million last year. That doesn’t even include benefits or pensions. Seems to me that a better managed salary structure would have made a big difference in their problem.

  129. Anonymous

    “While this is symbolic of the fiscal mismanagement by the city, the city’s deficit is somewhere around $17 million. That would have to be one heck of a raise to be even a drop in the bucket.”

    True, but shows very poor leadership.

    “On the other hand, salaries just for those who make over $100,000 in Vallejo equaled $44 million last year. That doesn’t even include benefits or pensions. Seems to me that a better managed salary structure would have made a big difference in their problem.”

    Keep in mind the Vallejo is competing with other jurisdictions in the SF Bay Area in salary levels. I am sure that if you looked at Bay Area salaries you would find many 100K clubs. I could name several epmloyers that pay a 100K salary before overtime.

    There may be many who would love to work in public safety, but not too many actually meet the minimum qualifications (physical, mental, background checks, etc) and become employable. In the end, the pool of of eligible people becomes very limited.

    Why would some municipalities offer cash incentives for simply taking their job?

    No offense (of course you are entitled to your opinion), but I don’t think you are completely in touch with the supply and demand dynamic of the public safety job market.

  130. Anonymous

    “While this is symbolic of the fiscal mismanagement by the city, the city’s deficit is somewhere around $17 million. That would have to be one heck of a raise to be even a drop in the bucket.”

    True, but shows very poor leadership.

    “On the other hand, salaries just for those who make over $100,000 in Vallejo equaled $44 million last year. That doesn’t even include benefits or pensions. Seems to me that a better managed salary structure would have made a big difference in their problem.”

    Keep in mind the Vallejo is competing with other jurisdictions in the SF Bay Area in salary levels. I am sure that if you looked at Bay Area salaries you would find many 100K clubs. I could name several epmloyers that pay a 100K salary before overtime.

    There may be many who would love to work in public safety, but not too many actually meet the minimum qualifications (physical, mental, background checks, etc) and become employable. In the end, the pool of of eligible people becomes very limited.

    Why would some municipalities offer cash incentives for simply taking their job?

    No offense (of course you are entitled to your opinion), but I don’t think you are completely in touch with the supply and demand dynamic of the public safety job market.

  131. Anonymous

    “While this is symbolic of the fiscal mismanagement by the city, the city’s deficit is somewhere around $17 million. That would have to be one heck of a raise to be even a drop in the bucket.”

    True, but shows very poor leadership.

    “On the other hand, salaries just for those who make over $100,000 in Vallejo equaled $44 million last year. That doesn’t even include benefits or pensions. Seems to me that a better managed salary structure would have made a big difference in their problem.”

    Keep in mind the Vallejo is competing with other jurisdictions in the SF Bay Area in salary levels. I am sure that if you looked at Bay Area salaries you would find many 100K clubs. I could name several epmloyers that pay a 100K salary before overtime.

    There may be many who would love to work in public safety, but not too many actually meet the minimum qualifications (physical, mental, background checks, etc) and become employable. In the end, the pool of of eligible people becomes very limited.

    Why would some municipalities offer cash incentives for simply taking their job?

    No offense (of course you are entitled to your opinion), but I don’t think you are completely in touch with the supply and demand dynamic of the public safety job market.

  132. Anonymous

    “While this is symbolic of the fiscal mismanagement by the city, the city’s deficit is somewhere around $17 million. That would have to be one heck of a raise to be even a drop in the bucket.”

    True, but shows very poor leadership.

    “On the other hand, salaries just for those who make over $100,000 in Vallejo equaled $44 million last year. That doesn’t even include benefits or pensions. Seems to me that a better managed salary structure would have made a big difference in their problem.”

    Keep in mind the Vallejo is competing with other jurisdictions in the SF Bay Area in salary levels. I am sure that if you looked at Bay Area salaries you would find many 100K clubs. I could name several epmloyers that pay a 100K salary before overtime.

    There may be many who would love to work in public safety, but not too many actually meet the minimum qualifications (physical, mental, background checks, etc) and become employable. In the end, the pool of of eligible people becomes very limited.

    Why would some municipalities offer cash incentives for simply taking their job?

    No offense (of course you are entitled to your opinion), but I don’t think you are completely in touch with the supply and demand dynamic of the public safety job market.

  133. Jennifer

    “Vallejo? Just lost a Ford Dealership, Wal-Mart, Linen and Things, and I believe Discovery Kingdom is looking for another home.

    Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship. “

    The Ford Dealership and Linen and Things failed due to outside influences – the domestic auto industry isn’t doing to well and Linen and Things is in bankruptcy. Wal-Mart tried to open a new store here but withdrew when the economy faltered and after the city dithered on changing zoning requirements to let a new store open.

    Discovery Kingdom is not looking for a new home, as far as I’m aware. They recently purchased the property from the City of Vallejo, which was one of the contributors to this mess. No more revenue sharing.

    The city manager did not negotiate himself a raise, opting one time cash payout for something or another in his contract. Similar to sick leave and vacation when people retire. He is highly paid, but no much more than the prior city manager. Vallejo has a reputation for firing city managers who bring bad news, it required high compensation to attract anyone to a political meat grinder.

    The competitive compensation argument amounts to a shell game when government contracts are involved. Over the last 20 years or so the government has stopped comparing jobs to the private sector, keeping salary comparisons internal. Everyone wants to attract talent, and raises salary to “above” average to do so. The average is thus driven up, and has nothing to do with the value of the work being performed.

    You cannot have a “job market” if there is no natural way to keep salaries in check – greed and entitlement takes over.

    Go read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” to get an idea of what a market really is. Paying anything less or more than fair market value is looting under the Capitalist Queen’s definition.

  134. Jennifer

    “Vallejo? Just lost a Ford Dealership, Wal-Mart, Linen and Things, and I believe Discovery Kingdom is looking for another home.

    Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship. “

    The Ford Dealership and Linen and Things failed due to outside influences – the domestic auto industry isn’t doing to well and Linen and Things is in bankruptcy. Wal-Mart tried to open a new store here but withdrew when the economy faltered and after the city dithered on changing zoning requirements to let a new store open.

    Discovery Kingdom is not looking for a new home, as far as I’m aware. They recently purchased the property from the City of Vallejo, which was one of the contributors to this mess. No more revenue sharing.

    The city manager did not negotiate himself a raise, opting one time cash payout for something or another in his contract. Similar to sick leave and vacation when people retire. He is highly paid, but no much more than the prior city manager. Vallejo has a reputation for firing city managers who bring bad news, it required high compensation to attract anyone to a political meat grinder.

    The competitive compensation argument amounts to a shell game when government contracts are involved. Over the last 20 years or so the government has stopped comparing jobs to the private sector, keeping salary comparisons internal. Everyone wants to attract talent, and raises salary to “above” average to do so. The average is thus driven up, and has nothing to do with the value of the work being performed.

    You cannot have a “job market” if there is no natural way to keep salaries in check – greed and entitlement takes over.

    Go read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” to get an idea of what a market really is. Paying anything less or more than fair market value is looting under the Capitalist Queen’s definition.

  135. Jennifer

    “Vallejo? Just lost a Ford Dealership, Wal-Mart, Linen and Things, and I believe Discovery Kingdom is looking for another home.

    Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship. “

    The Ford Dealership and Linen and Things failed due to outside influences – the domestic auto industry isn’t doing to well and Linen and Things is in bankruptcy. Wal-Mart tried to open a new store here but withdrew when the economy faltered and after the city dithered on changing zoning requirements to let a new store open.

    Discovery Kingdom is not looking for a new home, as far as I’m aware. They recently purchased the property from the City of Vallejo, which was one of the contributors to this mess. No more revenue sharing.

    The city manager did not negotiate himself a raise, opting one time cash payout for something or another in his contract. Similar to sick leave and vacation when people retire. He is highly paid, but no much more than the prior city manager. Vallejo has a reputation for firing city managers who bring bad news, it required high compensation to attract anyone to a political meat grinder.

    The competitive compensation argument amounts to a shell game when government contracts are involved. Over the last 20 years or so the government has stopped comparing jobs to the private sector, keeping salary comparisons internal. Everyone wants to attract talent, and raises salary to “above” average to do so. The average is thus driven up, and has nothing to do with the value of the work being performed.

    You cannot have a “job market” if there is no natural way to keep salaries in check – greed and entitlement takes over.

    Go read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” to get an idea of what a market really is. Paying anything less or more than fair market value is looting under the Capitalist Queen’s definition.

  136. Jennifer

    “Vallejo? Just lost a Ford Dealership, Wal-Mart, Linen and Things, and I believe Discovery Kingdom is looking for another home.

    Again, I believe Vallejo had a combination of financial issues which led up to the BK. One of which was the City Manager negotiating a 41 percent raise for himself in a time of fiscal hardship. “

    The Ford Dealership and Linen and Things failed due to outside influences – the domestic auto industry isn’t doing to well and Linen and Things is in bankruptcy. Wal-Mart tried to open a new store here but withdrew when the economy faltered and after the city dithered on changing zoning requirements to let a new store open.

    Discovery Kingdom is not looking for a new home, as far as I’m aware. They recently purchased the property from the City of Vallejo, which was one of the contributors to this mess. No more revenue sharing.

    The city manager did not negotiate himself a raise, opting one time cash payout for something or another in his contract. Similar to sick leave and vacation when people retire. He is highly paid, but no much more than the prior city manager. Vallejo has a reputation for firing city managers who bring bad news, it required high compensation to attract anyone to a political meat grinder.

    The competitive compensation argument amounts to a shell game when government contracts are involved. Over the last 20 years or so the government has stopped comparing jobs to the private sector, keeping salary comparisons internal. Everyone wants to attract talent, and raises salary to “above” average to do so. The average is thus driven up, and has nothing to do with the value of the work being performed.

    You cannot have a “job market” if there is no natural way to keep salaries in check – greed and entitlement takes over.

    Go read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” to get an idea of what a market really is. Paying anything less or more than fair market value is looting under the Capitalist Queen’s definition.

  137. Jennifer

    I was going for extremes there, I’ll freely admit it. I’m not even crazy about her work. It extreme to the point of being allegorical, but for better or worse much of the “free market” movement can be traced back to her even if people don’t know what it really means. People are way too flawed to ever live up the free market discipline; we aren’t fully rational being capable of recognizing that we will all be sponges if given the opportunity. Unions setting the wages against other unions while excluding non-union jobs then arguing about the job “market” is ridiculous. They’ve got no clue what a market really is.

    Hubby didn’t go through 2 Iraq deployments at 1/3rd the pay of these guys because his job wasn’t as dangerous or heroic. I woke up terrified every morning of the news reports, sometimes waiting for days for news when they’d black out communications due to a casualty. The only difference between our soldiers and our boys in blue is the union. Cops and firefighters deserve reasonable wages and can quit if they want to – we should not have to pay more from politics and the lack of transparency.

    Soldiers have a unique relationship – well respected (this time around) and reasonably compensate, but not allowed a political position where they could exploit their hero status. Public outcry when they are sinned against forces change. It’s time did the same for our cops and fire fighters. No one wants to see them hurting, and we shouldn’t let the union exploit that.

  138. Jennifer

    I was going for extremes there, I’ll freely admit it. I’m not even crazy about her work. It extreme to the point of being allegorical, but for better or worse much of the “free market” movement can be traced back to her even if people don’t know what it really means. People are way too flawed to ever live up the free market discipline; we aren’t fully rational being capable of recognizing that we will all be sponges if given the opportunity. Unions setting the wages against other unions while excluding non-union jobs then arguing about the job “market” is ridiculous. They’ve got no clue what a market really is.

    Hubby didn’t go through 2 Iraq deployments at 1/3rd the pay of these guys because his job wasn’t as dangerous or heroic. I woke up terrified every morning of the news reports, sometimes waiting for days for news when they’d black out communications due to a casualty. The only difference between our soldiers and our boys in blue is the union. Cops and firefighters deserve reasonable wages and can quit if they want to – we should not have to pay more from politics and the lack of transparency.

    Soldiers have a unique relationship – well respected (this time around) and reasonably compensate, but not allowed a political position where they could exploit their hero status. Public outcry when they are sinned against forces change. It’s time did the same for our cops and fire fighters. No one wants to see them hurting, and we shouldn’t let the union exploit that.

  139. Jennifer

    I was going for extremes there, I’ll freely admit it. I’m not even crazy about her work. It extreme to the point of being allegorical, but for better or worse much of the “free market” movement can be traced back to her even if people don’t know what it really means. People are way too flawed to ever live up the free market discipline; we aren’t fully rational being capable of recognizing that we will all be sponges if given the opportunity. Unions setting the wages against other unions while excluding non-union jobs then arguing about the job “market” is ridiculous. They’ve got no clue what a market really is.

    Hubby didn’t go through 2 Iraq deployments at 1/3rd the pay of these guys because his job wasn’t as dangerous or heroic. I woke up terrified every morning of the news reports, sometimes waiting for days for news when they’d black out communications due to a casualty. The only difference between our soldiers and our boys in blue is the union. Cops and firefighters deserve reasonable wages and can quit if they want to – we should not have to pay more from politics and the lack of transparency.

    Soldiers have a unique relationship – well respected (this time around) and reasonably compensate, but not allowed a political position where they could exploit their hero status. Public outcry when they are sinned against forces change. It’s time did the same for our cops and fire fighters. No one wants to see them hurting, and we shouldn’t let the union exploit that.

  140. Jennifer

    I was going for extremes there, I’ll freely admit it. I’m not even crazy about her work. It extreme to the point of being allegorical, but for better or worse much of the “free market” movement can be traced back to her even if people don’t know what it really means. People are way too flawed to ever live up the free market discipline; we aren’t fully rational being capable of recognizing that we will all be sponges if given the opportunity. Unions setting the wages against other unions while excluding non-union jobs then arguing about the job “market” is ridiculous. They’ve got no clue what a market really is.

    Hubby didn’t go through 2 Iraq deployments at 1/3rd the pay of these guys because his job wasn’t as dangerous or heroic. I woke up terrified every morning of the news reports, sometimes waiting for days for news when they’d black out communications due to a casualty. The only difference between our soldiers and our boys in blue is the union. Cops and firefighters deserve reasonable wages and can quit if they want to – we should not have to pay more from politics and the lack of transparency.

    Soldiers have a unique relationship – well respected (this time around) and reasonably compensate, but not allowed a political position where they could exploit their hero status. Public outcry when they are sinned against forces change. It’s time did the same for our cops and fire fighters. No one wants to see them hurting, and we shouldn’t let the union exploit that.

  141. Anonymous

    DPD,
    I blame the unions and management, equally. Is there any proof otherwise? Remember, if you can’t “verify it” it’s not a fact. Your statement….

  142. Anonymous

    DPD,
    I blame the unions and management, equally. Is there any proof otherwise? Remember, if you can’t “verify it” it’s not a fact. Your statement….

  143. Anonymous

    DPD,
    I blame the unions and management, equally. Is there any proof otherwise? Remember, if you can’t “verify it” it’s not a fact. Your statement….

  144. Anonymous

    DPD,
    I blame the unions and management, equally. Is there any proof otherwise? Remember, if you can’t “verify it” it’s not a fact. Your statement….

  145. Doug Paul Davis

    I have my opinion… which is that a union’s job is to get the best possible contract for their employees, they have done a good job of that. The problem right now in a lot of locales is that the management is not standing up to them and at times in league with them. That unfortunately serves the membership of the union well but not the taxpayers. I’m supportive of unions, but what happens in places like Vallejo and increasing in Davis is that they are threatening to undermine the system and they could harm themselves in Vallejo by doing too well. That is completely on city management that allowed it to happen under their watch.

  146. Doug Paul Davis

    I have my opinion… which is that a union’s job is to get the best possible contract for their employees, they have done a good job of that. The problem right now in a lot of locales is that the management is not standing up to them and at times in league with them. That unfortunately serves the membership of the union well but not the taxpayers. I’m supportive of unions, but what happens in places like Vallejo and increasing in Davis is that they are threatening to undermine the system and they could harm themselves in Vallejo by doing too well. That is completely on city management that allowed it to happen under their watch.

  147. Doug Paul Davis

    I have my opinion… which is that a union’s job is to get the best possible contract for their employees, they have done a good job of that. The problem right now in a lot of locales is that the management is not standing up to them and at times in league with them. That unfortunately serves the membership of the union well but not the taxpayers. I’m supportive of unions, but what happens in places like Vallejo and increasing in Davis is that they are threatening to undermine the system and they could harm themselves in Vallejo by doing too well. That is completely on city management that allowed it to happen under their watch.

  148. Doug Paul Davis

    I have my opinion… which is that a union’s job is to get the best possible contract for their employees, they have done a good job of that. The problem right now in a lot of locales is that the management is not standing up to them and at times in league with them. That unfortunately serves the membership of the union well but not the taxpayers. I’m supportive of unions, but what happens in places like Vallejo and increasing in Davis is that they are threatening to undermine the system and they could harm themselves in Vallejo by doing too well. That is completely on city management that allowed it to happen under their watch.

  149. Anon

    “I have my opinion… which is that a union’s job is to get the best possible contract for their employees, they have done a good job of that.”

    Well in Vallejo they didn’t do such a good job for their constituency in the end, now did they?

  150. Anon

    “I have my opinion… which is that a union’s job is to get the best possible contract for their employees, they have done a good job of that.”

    Well in Vallejo they didn’t do such a good job for their constituency in the end, now did they?

  151. Anon

    “I have my opinion… which is that a union’s job is to get the best possible contract for their employees, they have done a good job of that.”

    Well in Vallejo they didn’t do such a good job for their constituency in the end, now did they?

  152. Anon

    “I have my opinion… which is that a union’s job is to get the best possible contract for their employees, they have done a good job of that.”

    Well in Vallejo they didn’t do such a good job for their constituency in the end, now did they?

  153. Anonymous

    Greenwald,

    Your comments on 9/8/08 4:56 are perfect. You can spin the fault to management and take it away from the unions. How about some fault for the union organizers and management?

    How about some comment on the 3SEIU management thieves that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in dues for personal gain. Yes, I belong to the SEIU but hopefully not for long.

    You appear to be very prejudiced towards unions even when they screw the taxpayers. Why is that?
    Did the City management of Vallejo succumb to union threats and tactics? They all must have been greedy or stupid, or both, to not see the number projections

    The truth and an unbiased opinion from you would be good to read here.

  154. Anonymous

    Greenwald,

    Your comments on 9/8/08 4:56 are perfect. You can spin the fault to management and take it away from the unions. How about some fault for the union organizers and management?

    How about some comment on the 3SEIU management thieves that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in dues for personal gain. Yes, I belong to the SEIU but hopefully not for long.

    You appear to be very prejudiced towards unions even when they screw the taxpayers. Why is that?
    Did the City management of Vallejo succumb to union threats and tactics? They all must have been greedy or stupid, or both, to not see the number projections

    The truth and an unbiased opinion from you would be good to read here.

  155. Anonymous

    Greenwald,

    Your comments on 9/8/08 4:56 are perfect. You can spin the fault to management and take it away from the unions. How about some fault for the union organizers and management?

    How about some comment on the 3SEIU management thieves that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in dues for personal gain. Yes, I belong to the SEIU but hopefully not for long.

    You appear to be very prejudiced towards unions even when they screw the taxpayers. Why is that?
    Did the City management of Vallejo succumb to union threats and tactics? They all must have been greedy or stupid, or both, to not see the number projections

    The truth and an unbiased opinion from you would be good to read here.

  156. Anonymous

    Greenwald,

    Your comments on 9/8/08 4:56 are perfect. You can spin the fault to management and take it away from the unions. How about some fault for the union organizers and management?

    How about some comment on the 3SEIU management thieves that stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in dues for personal gain. Yes, I belong to the SEIU but hopefully not for long.

    You appear to be very prejudiced towards unions even when they screw the taxpayers. Why is that?
    Did the City management of Vallejo succumb to union threats and tactics? They all must have been greedy or stupid, or both, to not see the number projections

    The truth and an unbiased opinion from you would be good to read here.

  157. Doug Paul Davis

    Anonymous: I suspect the local firefighters union doesn’t share your opinion of my view of unions.

    I’m in general in support of unions, but there are exceptions that have been chronicled on this very blog.

    I do think that there is blame to go around on the public safety salary issue, but the entity whose job it is to say no, isn’t. That’s a problem. I’ve been investigating on this blog why that is, and part of it is the influence of unions.

    To be very honest I don’t think you read these articles very carefully, or you would not make the statements that you do about me.

    I’ve been very supportive of the food service workers and the university employees who I believe to be underpaid and very critical of various public safety workers who I believe are overpaid.

    I don’t see how from that you can conclude I am very prejudiced towards unions even when they screw the taxpayers.

    As far as the three SEIU employees from LA, they will have their trial and go to jail and the members will have their money returned.

    “Did the City management of Vallejo succumb to union threats and tactics? They all must have been greedy or stupid, or both, to not see the number projections”

    Why don’t you ask that question about Davis? Are you criticizing Souza and Saylor for taking thousands from the firefighters and then turning around and continuing to support unsustainable practices? I haven’t seen you very outspoken on this issue. You love to point out my union ties, but I’ve been as critical as anyone in this community on this issue. Where’s your consistency?

  158. Doug Paul Davis

    Anonymous: I suspect the local firefighters union doesn’t share your opinion of my view of unions.

    I’m in general in support of unions, but there are exceptions that have been chronicled on this very blog.

    I do think that there is blame to go around on the public safety salary issue, but the entity whose job it is to say no, isn’t. That’s a problem. I’ve been investigating on this blog why that is, and part of it is the influence of unions.

    To be very honest I don’t think you read these articles very carefully, or you would not make the statements that you do about me.

    I’ve been very supportive of the food service workers and the university employees who I believe to be underpaid and very critical of various public safety workers who I believe are overpaid.

    I don’t see how from that you can conclude I am very prejudiced towards unions even when they screw the taxpayers.

    As far as the three SEIU employees from LA, they will have their trial and go to jail and the members will have their money returned.

    “Did the City management of Vallejo succumb to union threats and tactics? They all must have been greedy or stupid, or both, to not see the number projections”

    Why don’t you ask that question about Davis? Are you criticizing Souza and Saylor for taking thousands from the firefighters and then turning around and continuing to support unsustainable practices? I haven’t seen you very outspoken on this issue. You love to point out my union ties, but I’ve been as critical as anyone in this community on this issue. Where’s your consistency?

  159. Doug Paul Davis

    Anonymous: I suspect the local firefighters union doesn’t share your opinion of my view of unions.

    I’m in general in support of unions, but there are exceptions that have been chronicled on this very blog.

    I do think that there is blame to go around on the public safety salary issue, but the entity whose job it is to say no, isn’t. That’s a problem. I’ve been investigating on this blog why that is, and part of it is the influence of unions.

    To be very honest I don’t think you read these articles very carefully, or you would not make the statements that you do about me.

    I’ve been very supportive of the food service workers and the university employees who I believe to be underpaid and very critical of various public safety workers who I believe are overpaid.

    I don’t see how from that you can conclude I am very prejudiced towards unions even when they screw the taxpayers.

    As far as the three SEIU employees from LA, they will have their trial and go to jail and the members will have their money returned.

    “Did the City management of Vallejo succumb to union threats and tactics? They all must have been greedy or stupid, or both, to not see the number projections”

    Why don’t you ask that question about Davis? Are you criticizing Souza and Saylor for taking thousands from the firefighters and then turning around and continuing to support unsustainable practices? I haven’t seen you very outspoken on this issue. You love to point out my union ties, but I’ve been as critical as anyone in this community on this issue. Where’s your consistency?

  160. Doug Paul Davis

    Anonymous: I suspect the local firefighters union doesn’t share your opinion of my view of unions.

    I’m in general in support of unions, but there are exceptions that have been chronicled on this very blog.

    I do think that there is blame to go around on the public safety salary issue, but the entity whose job it is to say no, isn’t. That’s a problem. I’ve been investigating on this blog why that is, and part of it is the influence of unions.

    To be very honest I don’t think you read these articles very carefully, or you would not make the statements that you do about me.

    I’ve been very supportive of the food service workers and the university employees who I believe to be underpaid and very critical of various public safety workers who I believe are overpaid.

    I don’t see how from that you can conclude I am very prejudiced towards unions even when they screw the taxpayers.

    As far as the three SEIU employees from LA, they will have their trial and go to jail and the members will have their money returned.

    “Did the City management of Vallejo succumb to union threats and tactics? They all must have been greedy or stupid, or both, to not see the number projections”

    Why don’t you ask that question about Davis? Are you criticizing Souza and Saylor for taking thousands from the firefighters and then turning around and continuing to support unsustainable practices? I haven’t seen you very outspoken on this issue. You love to point out my union ties, but I’ve been as critical as anyone in this community on this issue. Where’s your consistency?

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