Culver City Observer -

Gigantic City Pensions Bother This Columnist

Observer Columnist


The last time any of us were at Culver City city hall we noticed the number of empty desks. Perhaps a better usage of space would be to consolidate city functions on two floors and the school district on the third level. This thought would free up the current Culver City School District headquarters to be sold, leased or rented. Effective January 1 Southern California Edison has increased its fees. Can it be true the only thing that goes up faster than the SCE charges is a rocket to outer space? Friends have been telling me about a place that makes the best pastrami this side of New York City’s 5th Avenue. The next time we are close to 440 North Fairfax Avenue, I’ll grab a sandwich on rye and let you know. Oh yes, it’s called Ugly Drum Pastrami. Perhaps you enjoy New Orleans style gumbo; if so, then Harold and Belle’s is your cup of tea. The first place we think of to entertain visitors is at 2920 West Jefferson Blvd. in Jefferson Park. Do you mind if I let the cat out of the bag? I just bet you remember a few years back when the Culver City Board of Education put on the ballot a measure to raise school taxes. Some people told me and others things were so dark even the termites wouldn’t eat there. The district floated so much money with these new bonds there was enough to tear down and rebuild every campus. Well, it seems they need more and more and still more. I remember things were so rosy in Sacramento that Governor Brown was sending big money to every school up and down this great state; soon there’ll be another bond issue to pay for pensions.

There was a cancer study where more than 6,200 women with breast cancer found those who ate more soy – a half to one serving per week – were 21 percent less likely to die over the next nine years. Employees working for us at city hall, the senior center and other sites around are nervous about the negotiations regarding a decent contract that is getting started. Our city manager, Mr. Nachbar, and Mr. Muir from Finance, will bargain with the various unions. In my opinion our city has gotten itself in a deep hole by giving gigantic pensions of $140,000 or more per year. I can only speculate that when those two and others such as our city attorney retire, they will be getting over $200,000. Although the city council led by Jeff Cooper and Jim Clarke has been voting to raise taxes for almost a million years, I just bet they (and everyone else) are waiting for the letter from CalPERS with the new amount of money we need to send to Sacramento to cover retirees’ pensions and medical costs. It wouldn’t surprise me if Nachbar and Muir, to keep their benefits, will ask those on the bottom of the totem pole for concessions. When management has the upper hand we all know they use it! I see a soda tax and an eleven percent tax on Netflix coming soon. If Albert Vera, Richard Alexander, Jozelle Smith, Steve Rose, Richard Marcus, Ed Wolkowitz, Paul Jacobs, Steve Courley, David Hauptman or Gary Silbiger were on the council, I just know things would not be this bad. Cousin Neil was at the Culver City Senior Center recently and the rumors were really flying. Perhaps in the future the Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Service, Daniel Hernandez, will retire so he can continue doing what he likes best 100 percent of the time and with a pension check estimated to be over $170,000 per year. This departure will make the position of director open for Armando Abrego, the current manager of the senior center. I’m not recommending anyone – I don’t see anybody capable, in my opinion, to assume the vacated opening for the Senior Center Manager’s position. Gee whiz, I see on page 64 of the Culver City Chamber of Commerce’s “The Guide” that my friend, your friend and everybody’s friend, Serena Wright, was recently promoted to City Clerk. No, I don’t know why Miss Green was passed over; she does a great job.

Theodorsia and I are thinking about going to the Pechanga Casino on May 25. The bus leaves the senior center at 8:30 a.m. Contact the trip office at (310) 253-6708. You must be a member to go and anyone living in the County of Los Angeles can join. Membership cost is only $10. Perhaps you and your partner are planning to escape sometime this summer and travel to Vegas or San Diego or even San Francisco. Why not check out Hyatt’s Visa card, since they provide perks based on how much you spend? However, the big deal here is if you spend $1,000 within three months you can earn two free nights in a standard room at any Hyatt, anywhere, anytime. See Researchers from the University of Missouri have found fidgeting can protect leg arteries and possibly help prevent arterial disease. If you love jazz and the blues like Theodorsia and I do then plan to be at the Brandeis Men’s Group lunch meeting on April 12 at Veteran’s Memorial Complex, 4117 Overland Avenue, Culver City. Meeting will be led by Dr. Mason, Professor – Emeritus of Jazz Studies USC. The meal of lox, cream cheese, bagels, Danish, coffee is $15 – jazz is free. 11:30 a.m., (310) 827-4010. For those who missed an article, all my commentaries can be found at by placing Rubenstein in the website’s search box.


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