Posts Tagged ‘the nouveau riche’

What’s left for the Local Riverside Taxpayers after Measure Z is passed by heavily funded Unions!  What is left when the Riverside Council voted for higher Utility Rates for a Utilities that the Riverside Public Residents actually own!  RPU is Riverside Public Utilities!  Why did they do it?  They increased your Utility rates, to pay for their bad decisions and contracts with the Unions.  What they did was to increase the General Fund Transfer from the Utility fund to pay unsustainable pensions.  A sanitation worker in Los Angeles is retiring with $280K per year.  Are public workers the Nouveau Riche?  What gives?  My pension is $980.00 a month with the Vons Corporation as a Managing Pharmacist, What gives?

It’s been two years after Measure Z passed and I believe it is necessary and warranted that we at TMC explain the truth behind Measure Z.  We only need two images to explain this travesty against the honest taxpayers.  If you remember, Measure Z came to the voters in November of 2016 as a proposal to increase our sales tax an additional 1% to 8.75% total

Measure Z was entitled, “The Public Safety and Vital Services Measure,” and was billed as a panacea for our infrastructure and services needs. As it was stated in Ballotpedia, “To prevent cutting police, firefighters, paramedics, 911 emergency response, antigang/drug programs, homelessness reduction and youth after-school/senior/disabled services; to repair local streets/potholes/infrastructure; and to provide other general services, shall a one-cent transaction and use tax (sales tax) be implemented providing $48,000,000 annually through 2036….”  Sixty Percent of Riverside voters favored it as it was heavily promoted by the “Yes on Measure Z” campaign committee, which raised over $100,000 to inundate the general public with mailers, text messages, Facebook ads, etc., on top of the normal City propaganda (meetings, RPU bill inserts, push polls, etc.).  This is what the City of Riverside and the Public Unions did to deceive the public.  First they, the unions,  who invested huge monies toward influencing the public that passing Measure Z was the right thing to do.  Further, they pressed their members to vote for Measure Z….or else.  It’s what they do. 

With the economy strong, Measure Z continues to beat forecasts for revenue taken in by the City and currently approaches $53 million/year. So what ACTUALLY happened to the money? And here’s where the story takes a predictable turn.

At the same time Measure Z was being put on the ballot, now-infamous former City Manager John Russo crafted a deal with the local unions (and non-represented) employees, which was passed by our crooked City Council (with no veto from the Mayor), called the Partnership Compensation Model (PCM). The PCM was structured to grant salary raises of 9-12% ABOVE AND BEYOND NORMAL MERIT RAISES spread over 2 years for all public employees ONLY IF Measure Z should pass.

In return for this lucre, the unions had to promote the heck out of Measure Z (click on image to enlarge below).

Which they did to the tune of the aforementioned $100,000.  And they used the same scare tactics they use every time they need to raise taxes…and many of us keep falling for it: “cutting police, firefighters, paramedics, 911 emergency response, antigang/drug programs, homelessness reduction and youth after-school/senior/disabled services; to repair local streets/potholes/infrastructure.”  This is what that $100K paid for… beautiful propaganda mailers with happy families and smiling fire employees and the threat that if this wasn’t passed you, the taxpayer won’t have service.  Some call it hard line politics, some call it political black mail.  Shouldn’t this be illegal?  You realized that you were lied to.

policeone    policetwo firetwo  

This was a shot of those in charge of the Teachers Union, Fire Union and Police Union all together having a good time after the passing of Measure A back in 2013!

Tim Strack, president of the Riverside City Firefighter in center, raises his fist as the first results of Measure A came in, at the Orangecrest Club in Riverside, at left, Tom Hunt of the school board and writing in the totals is Dave Austin, on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

Now here’s what should make you take your pitchforks and torches down to City Hall at the next Tuesday City Council Meeting: according to City Finance’s own numbers (presented March 13th, 2019 to the Finance Committee), in return for that $100,000, by the end Fiscal Year 2021, those very same employees will make off with over $21,000,000 annually ($16,000,000 from Measure Z itself and the remaining from your recently-raised utility bills) as a result of PCM (Partnership Compensation Model) – see and click on image below to enlarge.

Simplified:

1) Your Mayor and Council (with an assist from former City Manager John Russo) made a deal with the devil unions to trade an annual annuity of over $20 million of your money in return for $100,000. The Net Present Value of that annuity over the next 20 years (the sunset on Measure Z)? NEARLY $300 MILLION.

2) Every one of your elected officials at the time (including Ward One Council member Mike Gardner) contributed monetarily to the “Yes on Z” campaign, as did City “leaders,” non-profit associations like the Riverside Chamber of Commerce and the Raincross Group did as well.

3) The 2021 Fiscal Year budget forecast shows a $15 million deficit, which means SERVICE CUTS are on the way just 5 years after the passage of Measure Z. You think we’ve got a homeless/pothole/you-name-it problem now? Give it a year!  They’ll be sleeping in your front lawn and RPD will not be able do anything about it, as this occurrence recently in our cherished Wood Streets.

4) The numbers in Simplified #1 above do not reflect how the PCM will make our unfunded pension liability explode, as pensions are calculated off an employee’s highest salary.  I’ll take a swag and guess that number will eventually be in the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS too.

5) The City runs for the benefit of the electeds, a few special interests, and the employees, with just enough thrown back at the general public to provide the illusion that all’s well and things are getting done. Behinds the scenes we have $2 billion in debt, a $535 million unfunded pension liability, and budget deficits as far as the eye can see (at the City alone, not counting the County, the School Districts, etc.).

6) Eventually, all the Measure Z money will go to employees as Simplified #4 kicks in.  You have been screwed royally by those sworn to serve and protect you. The City’s proposed solutions to the problems they’ve created seem to center around selling your assets, cutting your services, and taking more money from you…the road San Bernadino took over 10 years ago. Sooooo, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? I will offer my suggestions at a later date.  The below was a debate on the subject of Measure Z hosted by Ralph Torres of Hey Riverside.  Councilman Paul Davis and Community Tax Activist Jason Hunter were on the hot seat!  He gave a warning to the taxpayer residents as follows:  And don’t say some of us didn’t warn y’all at the time (at 10 minute mark in particular):

Please, please share with your neighbors. It’s time folks woke up. There’s still time to mitigate this impending disaster.

I get a bit peeved, as you should, at the entitlement I see amongst the public sector workers who think there’s any equity between work in the public and private sector by allowing public sector folks to retire at (in some cases) 90% of their highest one-year career salary in their early 50s, especially with the amount of pension spiking that still goes on.  That’s not a comfortable retirement: that’s a scam on the private sector taxpayers, many of whom at looking at $35K/year in Social Security at age 70.

According to the PE, 53,000 former public employees in California were pulling down 6-figures a year in 2016, many of whom NEVER PUT A PENNY OF THEIR OWN MONEY towards their retirements.  If this was seen in the Private Sector this would lead to Bankruptcy.  And no, I don’t feel sorry for one second about demanding that those pensions be modified (particularly the higher end ones), especially since reform of the problem has been postponed by our public employees continually buying our elections (like Measure Z) and politicians. The general public is the boss under our Constitution, so if enough of us say “no more,” guess what?  That’s it … regardless of past promises, just like in the private sector.  Google, “United Airlines bankruptcy,” for reference. And the whole argument that everyone who bitches is just jealous they can’t get a job in the public sector is preposterous on its face (the private sector pays for all ALL general fund employee compensation via taxes) and shows how little people know about how our economic system of capitalism works (while not perfect, I challenge someone to show me a better model that’s actually been implemented in a country this size).

Bottom line, the City of Riverside should consider Bankruptcy as an option, and then renegotiate those Union contracts or give the Unions an ultimatum, decrease salaries and increase the pension obligation or contribution to the fund.  The City of Riverside should only negotiate contracts with Unions that we actually can afford.  The Private Sector does it all the time, they would otherwise see bankruptcy!

The above was a news story that was published on Youtube in 2013 by Fox Business, it talks about the unsustainable pension cost crisis that California is being confronted with.  When they looked further they found public city workers were retiring with high yearly fat payouts.  They had a sanitation worker in Los Angeles retiring with $280K per year, a librarian in San Diego retiring with $234K per year, a retired life guard in New Port Beach retiring with $180K in pension and health care benefits per year and 94 public government workers in the Bankrupt City of Stockton, CA receive over a $100K plus per year in pensions.  Why am I peeved?  I receive a pension of $980 per month in my pension as a pharmacist.  I worked with the private sector as a pharmacy manager with the Vons Corporation.  My background, I have a Doctorate in Clinical Pharmacy from the University of California.  What I’m telling you, and should be obvious, is their are elements within City Governments that do not care, and do not look upon the interest of their taxpaying constituents.

This reminds me of Riverside Public Utilities dispatcher Donald Dahle who received $257,719 in overtime in 2016, boosting his total earnings to $373,235!  A dispatcher folks!  According to Internal Audit Manager for the City of Riverside Cheryl Johannes stated, “In other words, they found no fraud, … Where (Public Utilities staff) were lacking was internal review. They had policies, but if people don’t follow policies, this is what happens.”  Duh, are we talking about City of Riverside Employee who was in charge or who had supervisory role was derelict in their duties or who was clearly incompetent?  This being said cost the taxpayers a heap of money!

Cheryl Joannes

Just wanted to take this time to thank Jason Hunter for allowing TMC to use and share his information he posted on Next Door for this posting: The Truth About Measure Z: The Public Employee Salary and Employment Tax.  Thank-you! Best, Javier Moreno

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