Entries by Edward Ring

Friedrichs vs. the CTA Ruling Could Restore Free Speech Rights of Government Workers

In less than one week the U.S. Supreme Court will begin to hear arguments in the case Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, to determine whether unions can force public employees to fund speech through collective bargaining with which they might disagree. The case could result in a landmark decision impacting the First Amendment rights of millions […]

A Pension "Pledge" for State Politicians

Earlier this week, noted pension reformer John Moore published “The Mechanics of Pension Reform,” listing specific principles of pension reform. Moore’s article focuses on state policy; he intends to focus on local pension reform policies in a later article. The list he has produced for state legislators is quite detailed; here’s is a partial summary […]

How the Pension Reactionaries Mislead the Public

re·ac·tion·ar·y, rēˈakSHəˌnerē, adjective 1. (of a person or a set of views) opposing political or social liberalization or reform. –  Source:  Google search “what is a reactionary” When it comes to civic financial health and quality public education, “reactionary” is a word with increasingly bipartisan connotations. But the other qualities connoted by the word all still apply; shrill […]

The Alliance Between Wall Street and Public Unions

“It’s [private equity investments] generating real returns for our members, which is exactly what it’s supposed to do,” said Joe DeAnda, a CalPERS spokesman. “It’s real value that we don’t feel there’s another way to achieve.” –  “Are private equity investments worth the risk?,” Los Angeles Times, November 14, 2015 The alliance between government unions […]

Why Aren't Unions Fighting California's Bullet Train Boondoggle?

Back in 2008, voters in California approved Prop. 1, a statewide initiative to spend, “$9 billion for building a new high-speed railroad between San Francisco and Los Angeles.” Total cost, $9.5 billion. Remember that? Quoting further from the original initiative’s ballot language: “Bond Costs. The costs of these bonds would depend on interest rates in effect […]

How Project Labor Agreements Elevate Costs to Taxpayers

When considering the labor movement in the United States, there is a huge distinction between government unions and private sector unions. Government unions elect their own bosses, they operate within agencies that collect taxes instead of having to make a profit by enticing consumers to buy their products, and they operate the machinery of government […]

Why Pacific Grove Matters to Pension Reformers

UnionWatch has just released the fourth and final installment of “The Fall of Pacific Grove – The Final Chapter,” written by John Moore, who is a retired attorney and resident of Pacific Grove. This four part series constitutes an extended epilogue to a eight part series on Pacific Grove which was published last year on UnionWatch. Links […]

CalPERS "Myths vs. Facts" Propaganda Will Not Change Reality

California’s largest state/local government employee pension system, CalPERS, has posted a page on their website called “Myths vs. Facts.” Included among their many rather debatable “facts” is the following assertion, “Pension costs represent about 3.4 percent of total state spending.” This depends, of course, on what year you’re considering, and what you consider to be […]

When Will Unions Fight to Lower the Cost of Living?

A report issued earlier this year from California’s Office of Legislative Analyst “California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences,” cites the following statistics:  “Today, an average California home costs $440,000, about two–and–a–half times the average national home price ($180,000). Also, California’s average monthly rent is about $1,240, 50 percent higher than the rest of the country ($840 […]

Pension Reform Requires Mutual Empathy, not Enmity

Attending a high school reunion after more than a few decades ought to be a memorable experience for anyone. Hopefully the occasion is filled with warmth and remembrance, rekindled friendships, stories and laughs. But as our lives develop and we build our adult networks based on shared values and common professions, a high school reunion […]

Moral Values That Underlie Opposition to Government Unions

Often missing from entirely legitimate criticism of government unions is an accompanying explanation of the moral values that underlie the criticism. Last month we published a post entitled “Deceptive and Misleading Claims – How Government Unions Fool the Public,” which listed ten myths that government unions use repeatedly in their propaganda campaigns. Missing in that […]

Silicon Valley Moving Toward Alliance With Big Labor

Back in the late 1970’s something happened to the Santa Clara Valley. Increasingly it became referred to as the Silicon Valley, because the emerging silicon based semiconductor industry found its first home in plants nestled along the southern shores of the San Francisco Bay. Boasting what are among the finest universities in the United States – […]

How Government Unions Are Destroying America

Not one presidential candidate, apart from Gov. Walker’s last-ditch rhetoric prior to dropping out, has discussed the problems with unionized government as a major issue. That’s too bad, because these problems are bigger than even most critics acknowledge. When people discuss the need to reform, if not eliminate, public sector unions, the only reason typically […]

California's Pensions Are An Economic Burden, Not Benefit

Last month an article entitled “Pensions as Economic Stimulus” was posted to Fox & Hounds Daily. The author, Charles Beckwith, is a former CalPERS senior financial manager. Beckwith’s article, while thoughtful, invites a response. Because California’s pension systems may stimulate the economy in some ways, but equally significant ways, they are killing the economy. Beckwith’s primary […]

Median Total Compensation for Redwood City Firefighters – At Least $226,365

Back in February 2014 the California Policy Center publicly announced the Transparent California website, developed in partnership with the Nevada Policy Research Institute. An article covering this announcement was posted on the Forbes Magazine website, entitled “Hundreds Of California Government Employees Are Paid Over $400,000 A Year,” which a review of 2013 Transparent California data […]

CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes Recommends 50% Increase to CalSTRS Retirement Income

Author’s Note: The original title of this post was “CalSTRS CEO Jack Ehnes Recommends 50% Increase to CalSTRS Pension Benefits.” That was inaccurate. What Ehne’s specifically recommended per the quote immediately below this note was “income replacement of 80 percent to 90 percent to maintain a similar lifestyle in retirement,” in reference to his assertion that […]

San Jose City Council Capitulates to Police Union Power

“He told the class to take advantage of the academy, and then find jobs elsewhere. The police union tries to get us to leave the department.” –  Anonymous source to NBC Bay Area, television report “Another San Jose Police Recruit Says Union Tried to Get Cadets to ‘Find Jobs Elsewhere’,” Oct. 28, 2014 (excerpt begins […]

California's Official Antipathy to Educational Innovation and Accountability

“With a hearing now scheduled for Aug. 21, LA Unified’s teachers union, UTLA, will have the chance to argue before a neutral party that Alliance College-Ready Public Charter Schools, violated state education law by blocking the union’s efforts to bring Alliance teachers into its membership.” – Mike Szymanski, “UTLA outlines accusations against Alliance for anti-union […]

Tough Education Reform, not More Borrowing and Spending, is What Students Need

Last week the California Policy Center published a major new study that compiled, in exhaustive detail, both the amount that Californians have borrowed to finance public school construction and upgrades, as well as documented the abuses that have diminished the return on these substantial investments. Californians simply don’t realize how much borrowing is going on. […]

The CTA Empire Strikes Back

Emperor Palpatine: There is a great disturbance in the Force. Darth Vader: I have felt it. Emperor Palpatine: We have a new enemy, the young Rebel… Darth Vader: How is that possible? Emperor Palpatine: Search your feelings, Lord Vader. You know it to be true. He could destroy us. The Force is strong with him. – […]

City of Stanton Faces Taxpayer Revolt

Back in November 2014, in a 54% to 46% decision, less than 20% of Stanton’s registered voters approved “Measure GG,” which increased their sales tax rate from 8.0% to 9.0%. Needless to say, this measure will not encourage retail businesses to relocate to Stanton, nor will it encourage residents to shop there. But like local tax […]

San Ramon Fire Protection District Pay and Governance Exemplifies Union Power

In a democracy, the assumption is that civilians exercise the ultimate authority over their government. The citizens elect representatives who will act in the public interest. But what happens when government agencies are disbursed over thousands of jurisdictions, and the people who run these local agencies are virtually unknown? Even citizens who follow politics and vote diligently […]