Why are we not talking about California’s pension problems?

By Cecilia Iglesias
It is no secret that California has its own myriad of economic issues: high taxes, a bloated government, overly powerful unions, and many more. However, one issue that is a product of all of these, but does not get nearly enough attention, is skyrocketing public pensions. For as long as I can remember, unions and...

TAGS: Government, pensions, Public

Firefighters Union Backs Prop 15 Instead of Forestry Reform

By Edward Ring
Thousands of firefighters continue to battle blazes across California. In Orange County, two firefighters are in critical condition after suffering major injuries battling the Silverado Fire. Every year around this time, firefighters risk their lives, and some of them lose their lives, protecting the rest of us from these catastrophic fires. Deep respect for what firefighters do,...

TAGS: California forest fires, forest management, pensions, Prop 15, public sector compensation

How Much Do California’s City Workers Make?

By Edward Ring
With the economic shutdown devastating private sector employment in California, with small family-owned businesses the worst hit, how are California’s public employees doing? A recent report by NPR paints a grim picture, “Cities Have Never Seen A Downturn Like This, And Things Will Only Get Worse.” From the San Francisco Chronicle, “California cities warn of widespread...

TAGS: California public sector pay, pensions, public sector pay

Firefighting in Orange County – Part Two, Building an Independent Fire Dept

By Edward Ring
On July 1 the City of Placentia will begin to operate a fire department independent of the Orange County Fire Authority. The motivation for the Placentia’s City Council to take this step was to provide equal or greater service at a lower cost. In this report, those cost savings will be summarized. The figures were...

TAGS: California public sector pay, Orange County Fire Authority, pensions, placentia, public pensions, Unions

Firefighting in Orange County – Part One, Firefighter Pay and Benefits

By Edward Ring
In June 2019 the City of Placentia, in a 3-1 council vote, decided to leave the Orange County Fire Authority and build their own fire department. The reasons for this decision, and the means to accomplish it, will be explored in greater detail in a follow-up article. But the decision came down to this: a majority...

TAGS: firefighters, orange county, Orange County Fire Authority, pensions, placentia, Unions

Unions Run the City of Santa Ana

By Edward Ring
With rare exceptions, most cities in California are run by public-sector unions. There is the appearance of democracy, with public employees accountable to elected officials, who in turn are accountable to voters, but appearances can be deceiving. Because political campaigns to attract voters require money, and public-sector unions have money. Lots of money. In California...

TAGS: pensions, public sector compensation, public sector unions, Transparent California

Rating California counties on the thoroughness of their COVID-19 data dashboards

By Marc Joffe
Editor’s Note: The following was originally published on Reason. In terms of providing quality information that researchers, hospitals, public health officials, and taxpayers would find the most useful, the best portals are offered by San Diego, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Marin counties. County governments across California are providing an array of public coronavirus data...

TAGS: Chapter 9 bankruptcy, coronavirus, Marc Joffe, Marin County, pensions, San Diego

COVID-19 Worsens Fiscal Distress for Lindsay California

By Marc Joffe
The city of Lindsay, in Tulare County, is California’s fourth highest risk city according to the California state auditor. And that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Its fiscal condition will likely deteriorate further as residents shelter at home, raising the specter of sharp service cuts or even Chapter 9 bankruptcy for the city. The mistakes...

TAGS: CalPERS, Central Valley, Chapter 9 bankruptcy, coronavirus, Marc Joffe, pensions

Black Swans and Super Bubbles

By Edward Ring
Black Swan: an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences.” – Investopedia For decades there have been so-called “permabears” claiming that investment returns in the stock market were unsustainable. When the internet bubble popped in 1999, the permabears felt vindicated. But then, starting around 2003, the...

TAGS: Edward Ring, pensions

Crisis shows why El Cerrito needs to heed State Auditor’s warning

By Marc Joffe
The economic crisis arising from the public health crisis we now face shows why the state auditor was correct in calling out El Cerrito and several other California cities for their perilous financial positions during a decade of economic growth. While El Cerrito may have been able to “get away” with uncontrolled spending during good...

TAGS: Bay Area, CalPERS, Chapter 9 bankruptcy, coronavirus, Marc Joffe, pensions