Steven Greenhut: Brown pension plan going nowhere

From Redding.com:

Despite some encouraging details in Gov. Jerry Brown’s recently announced pension-reform proposal, there’s virtually no chance the state will seriously reform — or even seriously attempt to reform — a system creaking under the weight of up to an estimated $500 billion in unfunded liabilities.

The proposal isn’t bad. It doesn’t go far enough to fix the problem even if implemented in its entirety, but it goes further than most pension reform advocates had expected from a Democratic governor who, to date, has governed as an extension of the public-employee unions that elected him to office.

But the plan probably is dead on arrival in the union-dominated Legislature. One might even argue that Brown is being cynical here — offering reasonably tough reform proposals that he knows will go nowhere. Then he can claim that he has tried to fix the problem but could not surmount the insurmountable.

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Republicans call for greater focus on public pensions

From the Sac Bee:

Four Republican state senators, including Senate Republican leader Bob Dutton, are holding a presser under the dome to highlight what they see as the urgency of reforming California’s public pension systems.

Joining Dutton are Sens. Tom BerryhillTom Harman and Mimi Walters. Their news conference starts at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol’s Room 305.

Gov. Jerry Brown‘s own reform plan got a mixed review from the Legislative Analyst’s Office on Tuesday, as The Bee’s Jon Ortiz reported. The LAO questioned whether Brown’s proposal to split pension costs equally between employers and current employees could be legally mandated.

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Fullerton officer charged in beating death gets big L.A. pension

From the LA Times:

Los Angeles officials are calling for a review of the pension given to one of the two Fullerton police officers charged in the beating death of a homeless man.

Jay Cicinelli, a former Los Angeles Police Department officer who lost an eye when he was shot on the job in 1996 during a routine traffic stop, receives 70% of his salary as a disability pension. City officials approved the large sum because it was unclear at the time whether he could again work in law enforcement.

But Cicinelli soon got a job with the Fullerton Police Department, where he eventually earned $88,544 a year on top of his $39,625 in pension benefits from L.A.

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San Jose faces December decision on pensions

From the SJ Mercury:

The city of San Jose and its employee unions seem headed for a December showdown after months of talks produced no agreement on a pension reform measure that Mayor Chuck Reed wants to put before voters to deflate ballooning retirement costs.

With the Oct. 31 deadline for negotiations on ballot language passed, city and union leaders remain far apart. And it seems unlikely that mediation sessions will deliver an accord by early next month, when the City Council must decide whether to put a measure before voters in a March special election.

Union leaders have shown little interest in negotiating over ballot language that Reed and other council members have proposed. The union officials dismiss the proposals as an illegal violation of their “vested rights” to pensions. Union leaders argue that the proposals would be overturned in court, resulting in no savings and more layoffs.

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