Labor balks at Jerry Brown’s pension plan

From the Sac Bee:

Less than 24 hours after Gov. Jerry Brown briefed labor leaders on the major pension changes he will propose this morning, labor interests that helped elect the Democratic governor suggested he is in for a fight.

“The governor has indicated that labor will not like many of his proposals,” Dave Low, chairman of the union coalition Californians for Retirement Security, said in a prepared statement. “He is right.”

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Jerry Brown: Raise public worker retirement age

From the SF Chronicle:

Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a 12-point proposal on Thursday aimed at shrinking the costs of public employee pension benefits in California, in part by raising the retirement age for most new employees from 55 to 67.

The plan would affect state, city, county and other public workers, including teachers, police and firefighters. Public safety workers would be allowed to retire with full benefits before the age of 67 depending on their ability to perform their jobs.

Brown also called for workers to increase contributions toward their benefits, and wants to institute a “hybrid” pension model that would combine traditional pensions with a 401(k)-style plan. The Democratic governor’s plan would require that all public workers pay as much into their retirement savings as the government does, and is forecast to save from $4 billion to $11 billion in public funds over the next three decades.

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Did US agents offer a Mexican drug suspect immunity?

From The Blaze:

A Mexican drug suspect awaiting trial in Chicago on smuggling charges is now saying he can’t be prosecuted — because he worked as an informant for the U.S. government and was promised immunity.

The report could be just the latest major embarrassment for the Drug Enforcement Agency as congressional leaders continue to probe the Operation Fast and Furious gunwalking scandal.

According to CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson— the same reporter who said a White House official “screamed” and “cussed” at her for her “Fast and Furious” coverage — Vicente Zambada-Niebla said Drug Enforcement Agents gave him and other Sinaloa cartel leaders “carte blanche” to “operate their drug business without interference” as long as they informed on other cartels.

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Occupy Oakland: Jean Quan ‘I don’t know everything’

From SF Chronicle:

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who is being criticized from all sides for a police sweep of the Occupy Oakland encampment, said Wednesday that she was not involved in the planning and did not even know when the action was going to take place.

The decision to raid the camp outside City Hall was made by City Administrator Deanna Santana on Oct. 19 with consultation from interim Police Chief Howard Jordan after campers repeatedly blocked paramedics and police from entering the camp despite reports of violence and injuries.

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State Supreme Court denies 2 redistricting challenges

From the SGV Tribune:

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously rejected two Republican challenges to the state’s new electoral maps, dealing a blow to GOP efforts to halt new district boundaries that could diminish their political clout.

The state’s high court rejected two petitions from Republicans challenging the validity of the state Senate and congressional redistricting maps recently adopted by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission. The Supreme Court also rejected their requests for an emergency stay that would have stopped use of the maps in 2012.

The commission had asked the court to reject the two lawsuits, arguing that opponents had failed to provide facts showing the commission’s work was unreasonable. The court voted 7-0.

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More Government Jobs: County Hiring New Food Stamps Workers

From Voice of San Diego:

County officials said they weren’t available to join us for the conversation, but Supervisor Greg Cox did send over a statement. And he dropped a bit of news.

He said the county’s Health and Human Services Agency was hiring 65 new eligibility workers to process food stamp applications.

That’s big news.

A lack of staff is one major reason that applicants for the program have a hard time getting through to county workers to move their applications along. As I reported this week, the phone line the county launched to make applying easier is now making callers sit on hold for longer periods than ever before, and is dropping more than 80 percent of all calls. Last month, it got 462,000. Only 82,000 of them got through, and among those, the average hold time was more than 39 minutes.

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Jerry Brown wants voters to approve his pension overhaul plan

From the Sac Bee:

Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a 12-point public pension reform plan this morning that would ask voters to increase the age at which future state and local government employees could retire with full benefits and place them in riskier retirement plans than current workers.

Speaking to reporters this morning, Brown said he wants all of his proposals to go before voters on the November 2012 ballot.

“It saves a lot of money,” Brown said. “This program is a very decisive step forward…We’ll have to contend with unfunded liabilities as we move forward.”

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How San Francisco’s political establishment is wrecking pension reform

From City Journal:

To outsiders, liberal San Francisco may seem preoccupied with leftist protesters occupying prime real estate in the Financial District or with debating proper restaurant etiquette for the city’s small but flagrant nudist population, or until recently, with arguing whether male circumcision should be outlawed. But the prospect of bankruptcy focuses the mind, even in a city so obsessed with leftist cause celebres. When San Franciscans head to the polls on November 8 for a municipal election, the big question facing voters will be how to fix the city’s crumbling public-pension program.

The ballot contest centers on competing reform initiatives: Proposition C, the so-called “City Family” measure backed by Democratic Mayor Ed Lee and the city’s public-employee unions, versus Proposition D, advanced by San Francisco’s pension-reforming public defender, Democrat Jeff Adachi. Adachi’s previous pension-reform effort, Proposition B, failed last November. Now Adachi, running for mayor against Lee and nine other candidates, is waging a courageous reform-based campaign. Prop. D requires higher worker contributions than Prop. C and, more significantly, would roll back pension benefits.

Prop. D is clearly the better of the two initiatives, which is why city officials are taking no chances that Adachi’s reforms will prevail over the establishment’s compromise half-measure. Mayor Lee pulled a sneaky behind-the-scenes stunt to ensure that Adachi’s measure would be less effective, even if it wins the most votes. Under a memorandum of understanding Lee negotiated with the police and firefighter unions in July, most of the city’s highest-paid workers would be exempt from the provisions of Prop. D that require higher pension-contribution rates. Despite an exposé by the San Francisco Examiner and ensuing controversy, the city’s board of supervisors unanimously approved the memorandum.

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Get a Job: working is (usually) more admirable than protesting

From City Journal:

Why is a month-long slumber party in a public park more heroic or newsworthy than getting up daily and going to work? “I’ve been here a week and I’m lovin’ every minute of it,” a jagged-toothed, self-described vet leaning against a planter in Zuccotti Park told me on Sunday. One of the biggest decisions that he and his fellow occupiers have to make each day is whether to eat vegan or to scarf down some saturated animal fats in the Dunkin’ Donuts that regularly make the rounds, thanks to the bounteous food donations that pour into the park on an hourly basis. (The most critical decision, of course, is which local establishment to invade for your sanitary needs.)

Henry, a delicate, doe-eyed anthropology and interdisciplinary-studies major from the University of Alabama, came up to New York a week ago with the blessings of his professors, who are undoubtedly celebrating the long-hoped-for revival of 1960s student activism. The chance that his courses are so demanding that his open-ended leave of absence will jeopardize his grades is zero. “It’s obvious that the good guys are fighting the bad guys,” he said. “It’s a question of good v. evil. Bad guys serve themselves, seeking individual gain; they’ve forgotten what it means to be a good guy. You can be rich, but you shouldn’t try to get richer, because you make people poor by getting richer.” Henry was particularly exercised by the fact that a timber company had bought up all the farmland in his area, while three counties there lack hospitals.

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House focuses on gun bill; jobs can wait awhile

From the Sac Bee:

The numbers are all-too-familiar: 14 million Americans are unemployed, and the jobless rate is 9.1 percent, worse in California.

And how did the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee spend the last half of this week? The committee focused on a bill that would eviscerate some of California’s strict gun control laws.

The legislation, HR 822 by Florida Republican Cliff Stearns, would require that all states, California included, honor concealed weapons permits issued by any other state – no matter how lax those standards might be.

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