Sally Choi put her job on the line Tuesday even in the face of threats
and intimidation from City Council members who knew very well that
their actions violate both civil and criminal law.
The videos below contain evidence that can be — and hopefully will — be used against them in courts of law.
Bernard Parks, a solitary figure who actually knows what is in the
city’s deficit budget and has tried to do something about it, made that
perfectly clear in his questions and comments to Choi, general manager
of LACERS, the city’s largest pension fund which is underfunded by a
staggering $4 billion — nearly a year’s general fund spending.
cop that he is, Parks warned his fellow Council members they were
treading into the danger zone by trying to pressure Choi and the LACERS
board to violate their fiduciary duty to protect the pension fund’s
assets for the benefit of current and retired city workers. He even
went so far as to warn his colleagues against “lobbying” the board, by
which he meant using the back room coercive techniques that are so much
a part of the City Hall culture.
Already, the poor stepchild of
City Hall unions, the Engineers and Architects Association, has put the
city on notice it will sue to block the disastrous sweetheart deal to
handsomely reward some 2,400 employees with an early retirement package
that will let them go out to pasture in their early 50s with $15,000 in
cash and up to 75 percent of their salaries in pensions and lifetime health care.
Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) requires city employees to
contribute .75 percent more to LACERS, raising their contribution level
to a modest 6.75 percent. But that is far from sufficient to cover the
$250 million cost of the ERIP without sticking taxpayers — already
facing bills for billions of dollars to keep the fund solvent — with
making up the difference.
Because the Engineers union, under
attack from the SEIU and its allies like the mayor, can see that the
ERIP will only make the city’s financial crisis so much worse and
threaten the future of its members, it has threatened to sue to block
It has a good case. The city cannot legally make
workers pay more for their pensions without their consent or at least
giving them equal value for their extra contributions. The ERIP
increase in contributions only benefits those who get to retire with
the sweetheart deal, not those who will pay more for the rest of their
Here’s what the union’s lawyer told the city in a recent letter (eaapension.pdf):
adoption of an ERIP now will have huge and long-lasting economic
effects on the City employees who remain employed after the ERIP has
been implemented, a failure to afford the affected employees and the
residents of the City of Los Angeles an adequate opportunity to review
and analyze the actuarial report is both inconsistent with the City’s
obligation to bargain in good faith and with good governance.
“Should the City embark on such an ill-advised course, EAA will not only seek
appropriate legal redress, but it will also undertake to publicize the City’s failure to afford the
residents and voters of the City a meaningful opportunity to participate in a financial decisionith
such a significant, long-term impact on the City’s fiscal health and
the City’s ability to hire and retain competent employees.”
here we are in the second month of a new fiscal year with roughly the
same giant hole in the city budget that was forecast six months ago and
the only plan our elected leaders have come up with is blowing up.
knew all that was wrong with it from day one. But they didn’t care.
They knew the media wouldn’t pay any attention. They knew they could
keep the public in the dark. They counted on ramrodding it through and
trampling all opposition.
But a funny thing happened on the way
to making the city’s financial position untenable. People like Sally
Choi stood up to them. And Bob Aquino of the Engineers union.
And now you know too what they have done and are trying to do. What are you going to do about it?