Culver City Observer -

By Neil Rubenstein
Observer Columnist 

Cities Raise Fees Dramaticallyneil

 

June 28, 2018



It’s been almost six months that your friend and our friend Charles Stewart retired from 30 years of dedicated service to our community first with U.S. Rep. Diane Watson then many years with Holly Mitchell while she was member of the State Senate, and as a member of the Assembly. May I mention just one happening? It was in December 2017 when a car dealer wanted to mess around with our auto license plates. Although California DMV couldn’t find the “Bad guys” paper work Charles stuck with calling the Department of Motor Vehicles until the dealer decided to accept the agreed price as payment in full. Yes, Mr. Stewart is one terrific person. He attended Brown University, Cal State College in Long Beach, UCLA, and the University of Uppsala in Sweden. He completed his post-graduate study in Public Policy and Administration at Harvard university’s John F. Scholl Kennedy’s School of Government. Stewart has a a quick wit and a sense of humor everyone enjoys. Enjoy your retirement, Charles, and write a book.

According to The Downey Patriot, The Innocence Project released a report on March 29 alleging prosecutors across the country are almost never punished when they withhold evidence or commit misconduct that lands innocent people in prison. The Project--a nonprofit legal group that represents people seeking exonerations--examined records in Arizona, California, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania. In each state researchers reviewed court rulings from 2004 through 2008 in which judges found prosecutors had allegedly committed violations such as mischaracterizing evidence or suborning perjury. The researchers discovered 660 findings of misconduct but in 527 cases the judges upheld the convictions. In 133 cases the convictions were thrown out and only one prosecutor was disciplined. I am hopeful that our super-duper State Sen. Holly Mitchell will get a law through the Legislature and signed by Gov. Brown yanking the law license of those doing nasty things to good people.

For those who read my commentary will remember that years ago I wrote about stem-cell treatment being used on patients with spinal cord injuries. It now appears Rancho Los Amigos will partner with USC to participate in a multimillion-dollar clinical study proving such therapy can restore key motor functions.

By the time you read this, Theodorsia and I will have checked out the Picnic in LA. It was written up in the May 2016 issue of Los Angeles Magazine as the newish Culver City spot that packs roasted chicken, salads, dessert, bread and butter, wine, utensils and a blanket in a chick wicker basket. Order 24 hours in advance. 9900 Culver Blvd, Culver City. Don’t put the magazine down until you have read Police Chief Charlie Beck on page 100 and on view through October 30 at the Skirball Cultural Center. Visit (skirball.org/chasingdreams).

Did you read April 25 Time Magazine left by Jay the world’s best mailman? The cover story should be read by everyone; it’s about the $13.9 Trillion US debt and the $42,998.12, every man, women, and child would need to pay it off. We don’t need to vote yes on any California, Los Angeles County or Culver City Bonds, future generations will need to pay back will be a back breaker.

Gas and electric utilities will soon be passing savings from the recent federal tax overhaul. The corporate tax rate has been slashed form 35 percent to 21 percent. Don’t expect to use your refund for a cruise to Alaska, because the dough will be returned over a 20 to 30-year period.

Cities all over this great nation are burning the midnight oil thinking of ways to increase taxes and fees. Scranton Pennsylvania has started charging residents $300 per year to collect trash. That’s up 68 percent from $178, Long Beach, CA charges $250 fee for ambulance rides on top of the existing $1300 to $1900 and Danville, Illinois has enacted a $2 per month “public safety pension fee” to reduce the $100 million in liabilities owed to police and fire department retirees. Wall Street Journal.

A rating guide for pot shops is being considered by health department officials like the one used by restaurants. Los Angeles Daily News.

China’s aggressive actions the Pentagon and Vietnam’s defense ministry have agreed on a plan that will send a U.S. aircraft carrier on a port visit in 2018. This will be the first visit since the end of the Vietnam War. American Legion Magazine.

The voters spoke loud and clear on April 3, 2018 when Sydney Kamlager received 65 percent to assume the 54th District Assemblymember seat vacated by Sebastian Ridley-Thomas due to health concerns. Sydney’s background running the district office for Holly Mitchell will allow Kamlager to hit the floor running.

These figures from the information sent to Sacramento by the Culver City Unified School District and Transparent California are the percent of District-paid employee benefits increases for fiscal year. (FY)

FY 2011-12 to 2012-2013 103.6%

FY 2012-13 to 2013-2014 102.0 %

FY 2013-2014 to 2014-2015 125.3 %

FY 2014-2015 To 2015-2016 119.7%

Total from 2011-2012 to 2015-2016 158.4 %

For those who missed an article, all my commentaries can be found at http://www.culvercityobserver.com; strolling down the page and underneath Opinion look for Rubenstein.

 
 

Reader Comments
(1)

Ronald writes:

Those unfunded pension liabilities are SUPPOSED to continually increase due to the cause of those unfunded liabilities, DEFINED BENEFITS. We’re constantly trying to put band aids over the wound, but the only way to heal the wound is to change Defined Benefits to DEFINED CONTRIBUTIONS, like the rest of the business world. With Defined Contributions ONLY, there would be no need for CALPERS that already pays more than 640,000 retirees their DEFINED BENEFITS.

 
 
 

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