Sunday, August 2, 2009

LA TImes: PENSION Repayment Plan Could Throw L.A.'s Budget Into Disarray (AS WARNED BY ZUMA DOGG...BEFORE THEY LOST THE MONEY!)

When deciding who you are going to vote for in the CD2 election, some people decide based on where the candidate went to Middle School, or because they are from "YOUR PART OF THE DISTRICT." Do you need to grow up in the area to know that you are against a Home Depot in the area the second you drive down Sunland Blvd the first time? Do you need to have lived INSIDE THE DISTRICT since "Flock of Seagulls" to know that you are against the golf course development; or that a project is in violation of EIR???

I admit...that's just NUTTY to me. I wouldn't care if the Councilmember was driving in from San Bernardino County, if they could have been the one to stand up and warn that the LACERS pension money was being ill invested in shady real estate projects and risky Wall Street investments that resulted in a CITY BANKRUPTING $7 BILLION DOLLAR LOSS! (I didn't hear anyone who went to school and grew up in CD2 ever mention this...maybe they didn't teach it growing up.)

Cause at the end of the day, whatever that issue that you had to grow up in the area to know about...JUST GOT CRUSHED BECAUSE NO ONE HAD THEIR EYE ON THE BIGGEST BALL IN CITY HISTORY. AND HERE IS THE RESULT AS DESCRIBED BY LA TIMES. IF THERE IS ONE PERSON IN THE CITY WHO NOT ONLY PREDICTED THIS...BEFORE IT WAS TOO LATE...AND WARNED AND WARNED AND WARNED...I DON'T CARE HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE YOU HAVE AS A CAREER POLITICIAN OR WHAT HIGH SCHOOL YOU WENT TO, OR WHAT STARBUCKS YOU LIVE NEAR...I GO WITH THE GUY WHO PREDICTED THIS IN TIME...WHEN EVERYONE ELSE STOOD SILENT! DO YOU THINK KRAKORIAN, ESSEL, GALATZAN OR THE PERSON YOU WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL WITH CALLED THIS?? If they did, they kept it a secret. I DIDN'T!

Pension repayment plan could throw L.A.'s budget into disarray (full article)

The system's general manager urges 'prudent' repayment in 5 years, not 15. The money would come from employees or the city's general fund.

A high-level Los Angeles pension official has recommended that the city pay off the cost of an employee early retirement package 10 years sooner than previously planned -- a move that threatens to throw the city's budget into disarray.

The system's general manager urges 'prudent' repayment in 5 years, not 15. The money would come from employees or the city's general fund.
By David Zahniser
August 3, 2009
A high-level Los Angeles pension official has recommended that the city pay off the cost of an employee early retirement package 10 years sooner than previously planned -- a move that threatens to throw the city's budget into disarray.

Hoping to slash payroll costs and eliminate a $530-million budget shortfall, the City Council gave tentative approval last month to a deal that provides early retirement to 2,400 workers who belong to the Coalition of L.A. City Unions.

That agreement called for the city's pension fund to be reimbursed over 15 years for the cost of giving retirement benefits ahead of schedule. The money was expected to come largely from higher retirement contributions from the remaining workforce.

But Sally Choi, general manager of the Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System, recommended Friday that her agency's board require repayment within five years. Choi told the board, which is scheduled to vote today, that the faster payment schedule would be "more fiscally prudent," based on a recently completed review of the plan.

The resulting higher payments would hike the cost of the city's retirement package by at least $33.7 million in July 2010, the first year of payment. To cover that higher cost, city officials would be left with two choices: demand a considerably higher contribution from city employees or tap the city's general fund, which is used to pay for police, fire protection and other basic services.

"This is not good news for the unions," Councilman Dennis Zine said. "This is not good news for those who thought they had a deal for early retirement."

The union coalition, which represents 22,000 employees, launched a last-minute lobbying effort against Choi's recommendation Sunday, calling her recommendation "irresponsible" and saying that it would harm the city's ability to deliver services. In a letter to board members, six union leaders said a 15-year payment schedule would be fiscally prudent.

Choi's "recommendation is not only ill-timed and ill-conceived, but threatens to further burden city coffers in these extraordinarily hard economic times," they wrote.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who selects four of the pension board's seven members, [ZUMA DOGG SAYS THE BIGGEST ALL TIME PROBLEM THE CITY HAS EVER FACED AS WE LOOK BACK IN HINDSIGHT/SEE $7 BILLION PENSION LOSS/WETHERLY CAPTIAL/WILLIAM H JACKSON/SEC] plans to ask the board to delay a vote on the payment schedule. Mayoral spokesman Matt Szabo repeated Villaraigosa's support for early retirement, which he hailed last month as a way to cut costs by $500 million within two years.

City officials fear that a five-year repayment plan would cost so much that it would no longer save enough money to bring the city's budget into balance.

Based on the current debate, Councilman Bernard C. Parks said he would have "grave difficulty" in moving ahead with early retirement.

Councilwoman Jan Perry said she was alarmed by the latest developments but did not yet know what the council's next step should be.

"Obviously, putting ourselves in a deeper hole would not be a viable option," she said.

See also: RonKayeLA's "Play Now, Pay Later -- The Road To Ruin" on this same topic.


MONDAY MORNING ALERT/SEPARATE TOPIC: CITIZEN'S ALERT: Your Participation Needed RIGHT NOW To FIght NEW DWP Rate Increase on Electric (VOTING MONDAY!)

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