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Is Measure L unfair to Women and Minorities?

Original post made by Angry Mom, Menlo Park: Stanford Hills, on Sep 28, 2010

I am posting the following message I received. I believe that writer is mis-informed and through the wide distribution of her e-mail, is spreading the mis-information further. Also, I really do not know if there are other "interests" sponsoring this effort, but the misuse of community e-mail list is a breach of trust. Will somebody please comment on these assertions?

==============

Hi-

I am writing because there is a measure on the ballot in Menlo Park that is very important to me. I am sending this to you only because I think you might like to know what I have found out. And it might help you make a decision in line with your values.

Measure L is a "Pension Reform" Measure. We have all heard that Pension and Retirement reforms are coming-I have no objection to this-keeping budgets healthy, planning for the future is smart for governments as well as individuals.

But this Measure has some major flaws as it is written, and is not, as it's proponent claim, Fair or Responsible.

Let me explain:

Measure L disproportionately affects positions held by women and minorities. If you look at the employee chart showing all 232 employee positions, and look at the top 100 highest paid employees in the city-47/100 of them are exempt from Measure L. This is not fair-and if it passes, in addition to not being true comprehensive pension reform-it will institutionalize this unfairness. We can do better than this.

There are many very sensible and compelling arguments why Measure L would not be good for Menlo Park- you will find them in your ballot book-and you can read the impartial analysis. Please know that the County Democrats have also endorsed NO on L.

I do not pretend to be an expert on pension reform or economics. But I do know that it's unfair to impose any kind measure that puts the burden on women and minorities.

I am happy to talk with you about this-I am now pretty familiar with the issue-and if you want I will try my best to answer any question you have for me.

Thanks for listening:)

Comments (7)

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Posted by Outside Looking In
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 28, 2010 at 11:37 pm

The unsustainable cost of pensions and retiree health care benefits is unfair to all taxpayers-- men, women, minorities, etc. The taxpayers bear all the market risks, and tax dollars are treated like monopoly money. That is unfair to everyone!

Whoever wrote this ridiculous letter is obviously using desperate tactics for what she/he sees as a desperate situation-- the passage of Measure L.

Of course the "County Democrats" are opposed to Measure L. It hits in the heart of their biggest supporters-- the public employee unions. While the unions continue to do their job by representing their members, unfortunately, the politicians are not doing theirs by representing all their constituents. The two incumbents who voted to increase pension obligations by about $6 million should not be re-elected.

Also, the Menlo Park City Council is a nonpartisan race, so I certainly hope voters don't buy into the author's rhetoric about voting down the Democratic party line. That would be a mistake that Menlo Park cannot afford, and our children will suffer the consequences.


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Posted by Interesting point
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 29, 2010 at 8:18 am

The writer of this email is correct - Measure L's micromanaging focus only on one aspect of compensation reform and only on certain new employees *does* disproportionately impact women and minorities. True reform would take a look at all aspects of the compensation package and do something about ALL employees.

What the Council did was more comprehensive. And that is what we elect them for. Governing and budgeting by the ballot box has serious limitations as we see with the mess in Sacramento.

Those "union" people that you rail against are just our City workers that do rec programs for our kids and work in the library. They are not some huge disembodied monolithic controlling organization that you want to vilify.

Only the most senior management can even hope to afford a condo in Menlo Park and most can't afford to live here at all which is really serious when it comes to our police living very far away if/wen (God forbid) there is a heavy duty emergency response needed quickly at night. We need to be careful to take actions that help us maintain good quality service, not further erode it. Our Council, not the voters, are in the best position to effect comprehensive reform in a way that best serves our City's interests. In fact they already started by imposing a comprehensive package on the union and were tough during negotations.

No on micromanaging. No on L.


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Posted by Outside Looking In
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 29, 2010 at 11:01 am

The Council did NOT do anything until there was public pressure from more than 1/6 of the voters in Menlo Park signing the petition. This Council majority, two of whom are running for re-election, have never had the political conviction to make tough decisions. The impose was a result of public pressure-- not the Council majority's convictions.

Please stop playing the race and gender cards. You must be a staunch Democrat because you, like the left-wing part of that party, continue to compartmentalize people into "minorities", "women", etc. How about looking at everyone-- not specific groups? Pretty soon, when taxpayers (who are men, women, and "minorities"!) can't afford to live here. Businesses will also leave, like they already have (take a look El Camino and Santa Cruz Ave.. Therefore, there will be no tax base to support public employees and their pensions. Don't kill the goose that's laying the golden eggs.

If you truly want good services, then make them competitive. If that means bringing in a private management firm, such as with Burgess Pool, then so be it.

Re emergency response, you're right, Menlo Park needs to make this a priority. This Council has not done this and completely neglected disaster preparedness. In fact, Menlo Park lags behind East Palo Alto and Atherton when it comes to its disaster plan. Why does a San Bruno situation have to happen to bring attention to this issue? Don't you think the plane crash in East Palo Alto should have prompted some thought in the Council's being prepared for a disaster? EPA is much closer to MP than San Bruno!

The only candidate who has financial expertise and real experience in disaster preparedness-- two issues you seem to care about-- is Peter Ohtaki. And, by the way, he's Japanese. Therefore, based on your rationale of experience and "minority" representation, you should vote for him, and I hope you do.



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Posted by Received the letter
a resident of Atherton: other
on Sep 29, 2010 at 2:47 pm

The author is Barrett Moore. I received the email unsolicited. After speaking with several other parents from Oak Knoll (who also received this unsolicited email) it appears she has abused the email list compiled by the school for room parents. I have never corresponded with her outside this capacity. tsk, tsk, tsk.

She clearly is mistaken about several factors. the most important of which is the current employees are exempt. Right? so the current or future makeup of the city's employee base is unknown at this time. So how would she know who is harmed.

That she states she is not an expert at this (which is obvious) doesn't dismiss the fact that it is reckless to make false statements. But then again that's how politics is played....right????.....lies, lies and more lies as usual.


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Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 29, 2010 at 5:38 pm

Measure L certainly does not discriminate, or harm small animals or make lettuce wilt. That email is just silly.

As for more comprehensive reform, I credit our council with adding increased employee share contributions to the "imposed" contract. Measure L deals with retirement age minimum and benefit calculation maximum, both far from drastic limits - but enough to prevent a recurrence of the disaster that occurred when council raised pension commitments by 35%. I agree that it is COUNCIL'S JOB to take it from there - there is more still to be done. Those who agree that Measure L is only a first step, please speak up with us at the council meeting on November 9!


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Posted by Outside Looking In
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Received the letter: Thanks for letting the community know Ms. Moore possibly abused the Oak Knoll email list. You would think she would know better, since, from what I have heard, her husband (Bruce Ives) is a former board member and President of the Menlo Park City School District. You'd think she'd know better and hold herself to a higher standard because of the leadership role her family has had in the school district. I guess, it's a double standard-- really sad! But, it wouldn't be the first time, especially by those who are using these desperate measures to defeat an initiative that the Menlo Park community clearly wants.

Based on Henry Riggs' statement, while the Council did impose a contract (because of public pressure), the bottom line is that the Council raised pension commitments by 35%. Mr. Riggs is correct that Measure L is the first but necessary step, since, clearly, the Council majority do not represent Menlo Park voters, as shown by the two incumbents' not endorsing Measure L.

In my opinion, the incumbents running for re-election do not care about Menlo Park-- just their own political ambition. Boot them out on Nov. 2!


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Posted by Ask Barrett to show u her new RE tax bill
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Sep 29, 2010 at 8:38 pm

In Barrett's email to OK parents, she states, "and if you want I will try my best to answer any question you have for me"
Whoa Barrett, how is it that you and Bruce can expect homeowners to pay ever increasing school parcel taxes when you haven't paid ANY for the last 10 years since you moved into the MPCSD?
Anyone can check that you've been renters on College for 10 years.
While Bruce as school board prez pontificated on ramming oversized school campus buildings nearly on top of neighbor's single story homes as justified due to "increasing enrollment", when there was a less intrusive way, you still show lack of guilt for your ethical transgressions by emailing OK parents.
Let us guess, Robbie put you up to this, as he opposes Meas. L, and is not a sure thing for re election.


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