October 17, 2012
My friend and neighbor, Neil Rubenstein, writes in his letter of his concern about city retirees receiving $10,000 monthly pensions, and this, presumably, as a reason to doubt the need for Measure Y, which seeks to raise revenues sufficient to maintain vital safety, maintenance, after school programs and senior services in our city.
With respect to public employees’ pensions it is important to take into consideration the following:
--The assets of the pension funds are the product of investments of employee and agency contributions, not taxes.
--Public employees are often called upon to forego fair raises and offered, instead, enhancements to their pensions.
--Pension payouts are pegged to length of service, the employees’ salary upon retirement and his/her age.
--Public employees perform vital and sometimes very dangerous services, such as preventing or responding to crime, teaching citizens’ children, running their city smoothly, fighting fires, paving roads, replacing sidewalks, inspecting construction sites and restaurants, a long, long list.
Conflation pension costs with the price of gas or of apples at Ralphs is not a compelling argument against Measure Y.
Bruce Lebedoff Anders