News

Menlo council sends pension initiative to ballot

 

Menlo Park voters will see a ballot initiative in the November election on pension reform, now that the City Council has voted to send the initiative to the ballot.

The vote was unanimous at the council's meeting Tuesday, May 19. Rather than send the initiative to voters, the council could have chosen to adopt it, without a vote of the people.

But council members said they wanted the public to weigh in on the issue. The initiative would create a "two-tier" system under which new city employees (excluding police officers) would receive lower retirement benefits than current employees.

Any future increases in retirement benefits would require voter approval, and any increases could not retroactively apply to current employees.

Advocates of the initiative say it will help to control the city's long-term costs.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Henry Riggs
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Congratulations Menlo Park volunteers for a job well done!


Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Now the union PR machines will really go into overdrive.


Like this comment
Posted by long time resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 19, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Please note Kelly Fergussen wanted to 'study it further' to stall and hopefully kill it. She has been in the unions pocket her entire tenure on the council and continues to represent their interests against those of the citizens of Menlo Park. Her allies on the council should be thrown out in November.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm

I urge the Menlo Park voters to look very carefully at where the money comes from to fight against this initiative. All too often heavy union campaign expenditures are hidden behind cleverly chosen 'committee' names. Look at the campaign expenditure reports and see who is actually behind each such 'committee'.


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Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Don't let the cowards like long time resident sell that garbage.

Kelly voted for 2@60 and she voted to send the initiative to the ballot and all you see in response from these tea baggers is vitriol and anger toward political rivals.

This is not about the cause, the budget, the city...it is about ideology, insider political groups and cliques.

I can't wait to see what hack these guys toss up to run against the three incumbents.




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Posted by James Madison
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 19, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Municipal pension benefits need fixing, but the electorate should not waste its energy trying to micro-manage them. The more efficient policy is to elect a responsible City Council and then vote not to re-elect the members if they fail to do their job.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 19, 2010 at 4:08 pm

the so-called James Madison states:"The more efficient policy is to elect a responsible City Council and then vote not to re-elect the members if they fail to do their job. "

And what if in the interim they have entered into a long term labor agreement that bind their successors? Then the citizens are truly screwed.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 19, 2010 at 4:12 pm

This council can not make hard decisions, they have always wanted the voters to make the decisions for them. Time to get a new council that can make decisions. The voters alrady have spoken, the initiative has already qualified.


Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 19, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Get your candidates out there so I can yet again prove my point. Please get them out there so the city can have as much time as possible to actually see the contrast. I want to see the debates live and not here in tea bagger forums. Steve, why don't you run?


Like this comment
Posted by a concerned taxpayer
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 19, 2010 at 4:41 pm

The city council should be commended for allowing the voters a say on this matter.


Like this comment
Posted by Tea Baggers?
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on May 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Mr. Truth, we should only hope that we have more tea baggers than non-tea baggers in this community. Majority of the tea baggers believe in limited, fiscally responsible government. Say what you want about what the media tells you, but that's all it is. I have not attended one of their rallies, but I am all for them, and I am a Mexican American. I believe in small government, and that is their main focus, period. This Ferguson lady has NEVER, since I have been watching this crew, NEVER come out and made a tough decision, it is ALWAYS pushed down to the next committee or agenda item at the next meeting. She cannot make a tough decision, because it involves her losing votes, or losing the union. It's so obvious, it's sickening!


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 19, 2010 at 6:31 pm

Truth states:"Get your candidates out there so I can yet again prove my point."

Can we assume that Truth is actually going to do something for his/her community and RUN for public office and be held accountable for his/her statements?

That would be a joy to watch.


Like this comment
Posted by Or Consequences
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 20, 2010 at 7:28 am

Truth Not is obviously a Union Rep. Truth Not believes that the City Council's top priority is to show complete obedience to the Unions. Truth Not you are wrong! The Council's responsibility is to promote the best interests of the residents. The City employees are a means to accomplishing these ends.

But what is going on is that entitlements are increasing at such an alarming rate that retiree pensions will soon surpass employee salary costs. This inversion will crowd out what is left of the budget for operations and maintenance.

And if we are foolhardy enought to re-elect Richard (Can't make a decision) Cline and Heyward (To hell with the residents) Robinson we will continue to see a rapid erosion of City Services. And of course these Council Members will come back to the residents and ask for a parcel tax to pay for these services whose funding was confiscated by the Unions to pay for their avaricious pension and benefits that exceed the private sector by more than 70 percent.

What Menlo park needs to do to sustain the operating budget at a decent level is to lay off city employees and outsource labor to private concerns. This will help offset the rising pension costs.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 20, 2010 at 11:05 am

Or Consequences -

Prepare to be called a tea bagger (oh my!).

If it weren't for ad hominem attacks, Truth wouldn't have anything to say at all.


Like this comment
Posted by Stop it!
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on May 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

According to the Almanac forum rules: You agree not to use any profanity, nor post any information that is hateful, libelous or obscene, or that is threatening, abusive or offensive to any individual, group or class of person.

Editor: “tea-baggers” is an obscene and derogatory term. It comes up in almost every topic! Enforce your rules!!


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Stop it! -
Sorry but tea-bagger has taken on a whole new meaning that has everything to do with conservative politics and nothing to do with sex. Some of us find tea-bagger politics to be wrong-headed and distasteful even. But obscene? Can't quite push it that far.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Calling a Republican or Conservative a tea bagger is just as offensive and disingenuous as calling a Democrat a Communist or Socialist. I prefer to give people the courtesy of their own name and in this case, it's the Tea Party (and, no I'm not a member nor have I ever attended one of their rallies).

As I said on another thread earlier today, ad hominen attacks are the refuge of people who are unable support their argument. It's juvenile. You should be able to state your case respectfully.

That said, I wouldn't want the editors of The Almanac to censor this site for those kind of juvenile tactics. Their use says far more about the writers than their targets.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 20, 2010 at 2:44 pm

POGO -
You wrote "Calling a Republican or Conservative a tea bagger is just as offensive and disingenuous as calling a Democrat a Communist or Socialist."
Is this true?
My wife explained the sexual reference for "tea bagger" but I'd never heard the term used that way before. To me it has no other connotation than to indicate the person is a subscriber to viewpoints of the Tea Party. Certainly it's less clumsy a term than "Tea Partier", which sounds a bit frilly and unserious to my ear.


Like this comment
Posted by Glenn Beck
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm

Only about a third of all democrats are socialists. Another third are extreme liberals and about one third are normal. The normal democrats are also referred to as "Blue Dog Democrats".


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 20, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Glenn Beck - If you have an opinion please state it, but don't masquerade as someone that you are not. Either use your own name or choose an anonymous name of your own clever but honest creation.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 20, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Coming to your neighborhood soon:

By Stan Rosenberg Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--The Sacramento City Unified School District in California could go broke if its teachers union refuses to accept contract concessions, a Sacramento County grand jury report said Wednesday.

"A continued unwillingness to modify some contractual agreements will result in district bankruptcy," according to the five-page report.

In addition to evaluating criminal charges brought by prosecutors, grand juries also review the operations of local government agencies and officials to ensure that activities are valid and services are efficiently and legally provided.

The grand jury's report blames the district's problems on two key issues - a reduction in state funding for education and the district school board not recognizing the cost of health plans for retirees.

The district faces a $30.6 million budget deficit for the coming fiscal year and is attempting to negotiate a solution with the Sacramento City Teachers Association. According to a grand jury report released last week, the district has run up $560 million in unfunded health benefits liabilities for retirees.

District officials weren't immediately available for comment.



-By Stan Rosenberg; Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2226; stan.rosenberg@dowjones.com.


Like this comment
Posted by truth
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on May 20, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Gimme a break. You guys have been rotting out this community for years with your party politics. Most of you only care about two or three topics so you don't really pay attention to anything of substance outside of unions and what the execs in the city make as a salary.

That is a tea bagger. Embarrassing our country by defacing our president with ludicrous accusations does nothing to further the cause. Doing the same locally does nothing either.

Defacing our council (of course, if you are a tea bagger you try to act like Boyle is uninvolved in all these decisions) when you have not taken time to even get the right information. Cutting and pasting new clips is not enough, sorry Peter.

Hard decisions? Are you kidding me? Kelly is acting for council on that huge development project near 101, right? Biggest project in our city's history I think. What are doing for our city?

You guys try like heck to make it seem like Cline or Robinson have severe issues like tempers or fear of decisions. Ludicrous. I have a long list of direct examples to refute both over and over and over.

It just proves the point I am making. Most of us that did support these guys did so because they have the intellect to make decisions on rational reasons, not freakism ideology and three issue screamers.

They (I do include Boyle here and our past council members) will save our city from you. I will not run for council because I like this council and I voted for this council.

Peter, you can't run because it isn't your town (you would rather we take the burden of providing your city with services so you can stretch your legs in your mansion lots with no traffic) and you prove that with your lack of understanding. POGO, is another out of towner with no concept of what my city is about. The other screamers, they are the threat. They are the angry mini-mob with no respect.

This council has our best interests in mind in my opinion. They do and will make mistakes and I do not agree with them as much as you all think.

Sorry you guys lost the last two elections. I know it is tough.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 20, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Steve -

Tea bagger clearly has a disrespectful and derrogatory connotation. It's use by the Left is intended to raise the ire of Conservatives and it's juvenile.

It's use reveals far more about the author than their intended victims.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 20, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Truth -

How can WE have lost the last two elections when we don't live in your city? I would think you would be happy that people who live in this community would take an interest in their neighborhood. All of us benefit by improving the welfare of our community.

Secondly, who has "embarrass(ed) our country by defacing our president"? Who on this thread has done that? What are you talking about?

Just one word of advice, Truth: Paxil.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Truth - your postings continue to reveal you for who you are - superficial, devoid of your own ideas and intent on personal attacks. Fortunately you continue to use the same totally inappropriate name so regardless of who you actually are or what you do for your community or where you actually live we are all becoming very knowledgeable about you and can simply consider the source.


Like this comment
Posted by Virginia Chang Kiraly, 2008-2009 Foreperson, SMCCGJ
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 20, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Peter Carpenter: thanks for sharing the article re the Sacramento County Grand Jury report w/the posters here.

Here are the links to three Grand Jury reports, including the Sacramento County Civil Grand Jury's report:
one from from Ventura County about unfunded liabilities in Ventura County; one from Sacramento County about unfunded liabilities in that county's school districts; and the report from San Mateo County that Kelly Ferguson attacked in a council meeting last August by trying to politicize the report when, in fact, it is statutorily mandated that AT LEAST 12 members (out of 19) of a civil Grand Jury to vote on a report and move it forward to public distribution. Note that approving a report for public distribution does not happen by a simple majority:

Web Link

Web Link

Web Link

I hope the public will take the time to read these reports. Apparently, this issue of unfunded liabilities is becoming more and more dire across all levels of government in California.


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 20, 2010 at 5:54 pm

POGO -
Tea bagger doesn't have a disrespectful and derogatory connotation if, like me, one isn't up on pop culture references and doesn't watch John Waters' films. After all, what is more benign than a tea bag?
From what I've been able to learn (Google be praised) the Tea Party folks were the first ones to call themselves tea baggers, pegging themselves, like me, as pop culture illiterates. It wasn't until others more in the know began calling them teabaggers with a bit too much gusto that they caught on and started objecting.
Rachel Maddow did an entertaining piece on the derivation of the term that's fun to watch Web Link
An article in the National Review online suggested that the term may has gone mainstream and has become the acceptable way to refer to the Tea Party folks. It gives these examples:
"On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, E. J. Dionne, the liberal columnist, spoke of “a right-wing candidate supported by the teabaggers.” The host himself, Stephanopoulos, followed suit. On PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, senior correspondent Gwen Ifill used “teabaggers” as well. At the New York Times, Paul Krugman used it in a column. Elsewhere, Roger Ebert used it in a movie review. And so on.
Some politicians — Democrats — have talked about “teabagging” and “teabaggers” too. And that includes the biggest Democratic politicians of them all. Recently, both President Obama and former president Bill Clinton spoke to congressional Democrats behind closed doors. They were giving pep talks on health-care legislation. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse reported Clinton as saying, “The reason the teabaggers are so inflamed is because we are winning.” Rep. Earl Blumenauer reported Obama as saying, “Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care?” "
I'm afraid it's too late to stop - the word simply rolls off the tongue and describes the movement too succinctly to give it up. No sexual connotation intended. Really.


Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 20, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Steve -

And when I call someone a cracker I'm talking about food. Really.

The examples of mainstream use that you have cited - as your justificationn - are from the left (Clinton, Obama, Blumenauer, Stephanopoulous, Dionne, Krugman, Maddow) so that's not exactly news. I'm also sure I could find a Conservative Republican who used the term, too, but that doesn't make it right, either.

People who get caught using slurs and derogatory terms always say they didn't know or that they didn't mean it that way. Remember Jesse Jackson's comment about Hymie-town?

So it's all about intent and now that you know the connotation, you should have the integrity to stop because its unnecessarily devisive. You're better than those that have no other point to make.

But we shouldn't get too far off this thread...


Like this comment
Posted by mani
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 20, 2010 at 11:55 pm

good

good


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 21, 2010 at 7:41 am

Truth? states:"Where is that sudden drop in property taxes you tried to stir up?

You were wrong, Peter. Property taxes are projected to increase, which is saving the city, but is something I told you would happen when you tried to get everyone in a panic."

In 2008 I predicted that "Housing prices and hence property taxes will be depressed for at least another two years".

Well now the FACTS are available for Santa Clara County, and the data for San Mateo County will be available shortly, and the REAL TRUTH is:
"The crash in once high-flying Silicon Valley home prices came into sharper focus Thursday when county officials announced a new record in the number of properties that have dropped in assessed value.

All told, 118,440 houses, condominiums, duplexes and commercial properties will see their assessed values lowered by a total of nearly $21.4 billion. To put that in perspective, just 4,442 properties in 2006 saw assessed values drop, with losses totaling less than $3 billion.

Assessor Larry Stone called the numbers "historically off the charts."

Stone expects total assessed values in the county to fall by 1.5 percent this year compared with last."

There is no reason to believe that the San Mateo County figures will be substantially different and now is the time for local agencies to revise their revenue estimates DOWN from their currently projected 1-3% increase in property taxes to a more realistic zero to minus 1%.


Like this comment
Posted by Or Consequences
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 21, 2010 at 8:33 am

Why is everyone getting upset over Truth Not! She is nothing more than a hysterical socialist who wants to tear down our great country. She will get a shock when the midterm elections resoundingly repudiates Obama's socialism. We can only hope that Heyward Robinson and Richard Cline get the boot as well. People are beginning to catch on to the irrefutable fact that leftist politics is destroying our country and that the only way to reverse this trend is to elect responsible centrists who put country first.

The only decent democrats in this country are the blue dogs. The rest are leeches who are sucking the blood out of our great nation. Its time to turn them out of office so they go work for a living.


Like this comment
Posted by Bug Off Right Wingers
a resident of another community
on May 24, 2010 at 9:13 am

[This post and responses to it removed; be respectful of other posters and stay on topic]


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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