Almanac

Viewpoint - April 21, 2010

Letter: Op-ed on public salaries missed the point

Reading Galen Rosenberg's April 7 guest opinion, I couldn't help but notice that Mr. Rosenberg was concentrating on the wrong issue. He seemed to believe that fairness was the central issue in the pension debate. While the comparison of public sector benefits to those received by workers in the private sector may be an issue of discussion in the ongoing debate, the reason "Fair and Responsible Pension Reform" wants to lower the benefits of incoming workers is because the city of Menlo Park simply cannot afford to pay them that much. I am sure that both Mr. Rosenberg and the organization in question could rant for hours, if not days on comparing the respective benefits of public and private sector employees, but the fact remains that we as the city of Menlo Park simply cannot afford to offer these benefits, whether they be exorbitant or not. Therefore, I would like to clarify the debate: The initiative proposed by "Citizens for Fair and Responsible Pension Reform" does not "bash" public workers for getting a better deal, it merely raises the age at which they can retire from 55 to 60 and decreases the percentage of their salary they receive as benefits after retirement. If he does not believe me, I encourage Mr. Rosenberg to pick up a petition and see for himself. The entire initiative is written out on the form, and if he is so inclined, he may sign the form after he takes the time to carefully read over the initiative. I encourage other readers to do the same -- not out of spite for city employees, but as a measure that must be taken to ensure the fiscal survival of the city of Menlo Park.

Paul Gilles, Partridge Avenue, Menlo Park

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