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Real L.A. News from the Virtual World: Pensions and People Power

The Pension Haves and the Have-Nots

By George Skelton, LA Times

Except for the super-rich, our financial well-being has become
chillingly shaky in the global economy and downright scary during the
great recession.

There’s cheap labor overseas and job-killing technology at home.

Private-sector workers have been taking it on the chin for a decade or
more: Future pensions frozen for current employees and eliminated for
new hires; retirees at the mercy of risky 401(k) plans and Wall Street.
Plus layoffs and elimination of retiree health benefits.

Now it’s the public sector’s turn to suffer, in the eyes of many in
private enterprise. It’s sort of an American civil war between
government and non-government families.


Krekorian Seeks Input on Neighborhood Empowerment

By The City Maven

A survey on how to improve Los Angeles’ policies toward neighborhood
councils was posted online today by Los Angeles City Councilman Paul

The survey focuses mainly on the finances, training and responsibilities of neighborhood councils.

“This survey is another vehicle through which the community can help
shape local empowerment,” said Krekorian, who chairs the Education and
Neighborhoods Committee. “The feedback we get from this survey will form
the foundation of how we will improve local democracy and the
Department of Neighborhood Empowerment.”

The survey is available on the councilman’s blog, which can be found here. It will be up until March 22.

Hidden Fat to Pay for Libraries: 477 Mayor, Council Staffers

By Patrick Range McDonald and Mars Meinicoff, LA Weekly

Today, the mayor’s and City Council’s personal staffs together total 477 — more than President Barack Obama’s White House office staff.

Meanwhile, the city’s Quality and Productivity Commission hasn’t
produced a report in years on how to make City Hall more efficient. But
the commission is busy. Its real job? Producing an annual QP Awards, broadcast on City Hall’s public-access TV channel to give awards to city workers.

The libraries could be made whole via Measure L without public-safety
money, but Villaraigosa and the City Council have never attempted such a
discussion. The council members, who at $178,789 each are the highest
paid in the U.S., earning more than members of Congress, don’t even know
the cost of their staffs.


Controversy Follows Union-backed Candidate Challenging Councilman Parks

By Beth Barrett, LA Weekly

Hogan-Rowles’ public track record is fraught with controversy.

She was quietly forced from her appointment to the DWP Retirement Board
in 2009 by the mayor’s office after the poverty program she runs
solicited and received $12,800 in donations from money managers who were
doing, or seeking to do, business with DWP.

L.A. Weekly learned of the incident from former DWP chief David Freeman
as it conducted interviews about Hogan-Rowles’ five votes in favor of
DWP rate hikes when she sat on the utility’s other board, the DWP Commission.

According to Freeman, who at the time was Villaraigosa’s deputy mayor
for energy and the environment, “She solicited or obtained
contributions from people doing business with the Retirement Board, and
we didn’t like the smell of it.” He adds: “She resigned from the
Retirement Board at the request of the mayor’s office.”

Hogan-Rowles eventually also left her corollary post as a DWP commissioner — having missed 47 of the commission’s 142 meetings.

She left a wake of criticism behind her.


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4 Responses to Real L.A. News from the Virtual World: Pensions and People Power

  1. jeff says:

    Interesting how public employees are looked down upon during good economic times. Who would work for the City? Only a loser would take that pay and do boring work.
    But when the economy turns, the complete opposite viewpoint comes out. The entitled, the priveledged, on and on.
    For decades, civil service pay was well below private industry, and some studies still indicate that, without taking into account furloughs, zero COLA, and lower pay than DWP.
    So which is it? Do you want the work done, if so the pay may well be lower than private industry, but there must be some incentive to stay, like a retirement plan.
    Rather than attack the employees, look at those in office who spend, spend, spend, and waive fees, and fail the ensure contracts are complied with with payments to the City in a timely manner. Enforcing contracts and ensuring revenues come in should be job 1.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Great stuff today. Hogan Rowles is not the only one with issues. Your Bitter Bernie has his own. HE took MTA illegal contributions, gave Magic Johnson a $30 million LAX concession contract cause Magic gave him campaign money when he ran for Supervisor and lost. Parks is no friend to Neighborhood Councils wanting to slash them so funny you guys are supporting him. HE coward out and stayed behind closed doors for the DWP vote and miraclously appeared when it failed in chambers. Parks has given over $2 mil in special event waivers over the years to his USC rich buddies for football games. Parks took money from the RAve Promoter and refuses to give it back with all the bad media on his shadiness. Parks pretended to be against the parking structure sale then again whimped out and VOTED with the other clowns. All incumbents SUCK. Get rid of all of them and throw them out of office for good

  3. Anonymous says:

    We don’t have to wipe out pension benefits, but reforms are needed. There has to be an upper cap on maximum retirement collected, so we don’t get a Bernie Parks or thousands of other employees collecting pensions over $100,000, which cleans out the system. No one should collect more than $100,000, which is more than enough to keep people in comfort. Certainly, social security gets nowhere as close. Instead, we have a ballot measure on pension reform for new police & fire employees, so tepid, as to be worthless.
    The reforms will come eventually, because the current system is unsustainable, and they will be much harsher than what can be negotiated today. Who will step up to the plate? Politicians? Unions? Afraid not.

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