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Community CommentaryOpinion

Don’t disregard pension issues

By Charlie McDermott

Please review the links below to get a handle on the pension liability that you have racked up for our city. Then let the public and your employees know why you are choosing to under fund the employee pensions to such a degree that it will result in a fiscal disaster.The unfunded pension liability and other debts that you have accrued for our city are staggering and yet you completely disregard these issues in public presentations and in planning.

Based on your complete unwillingness to even attempt to calculate these numbers (per an earlier FOI request of mine) I have to assume that you are either ignorant of the gravity of the situation, do not care, or are hoping that your reckless behavior will be bailed out by the Feds or over-taxed taxpayers.

If you understood the issues and cared a least a little about your town you would call CalPERS and have them calculate the EXACT pension liability for the city and then make long term plans to address this crisis. One way to compel CalPERS to give you the real numbers is to let them know that you want to move the employee’s into a different plan.

In order for you to do so they will have to calculate the pension liability using real world metrics and the liability number will be very high.

But why debate the obvious? You and I both know that there is no chance you will ever pay this off with your current approach. Handing out large raises, letting the infrastructure rot, cramming in ultra-high density developments, and building fire stations is not going to get the job done.

It is my hope that the public will catch on to the fact that a real self made crisis is in the works and get very, very active in the next two election cycles in order to replace the entire council (except for Barth). Unless no one else decides to run I cannot see any of you getting re-elected. And Kristen, please do not operate under the assumption that this will all “blow over” by the time you are up for re-election, it will only be worse by then and informed fiscal conservatives will not be pleased with your status quo voting record.

If by chance, the public and the media decide to remain dormant on this issue — “reform” will still come (see Stockton, Calif. for details of how such processes work).

Your current approach will eventually lead to a cash crisis and by then we it will be way too late and we will have to sell our prized assets, fire employees en masse, and then operate with a skeleton crew with most of our tax dollars going to retirees.

There is no way that I am going to stand by and let you all fall back on convenient excuses when these massive liabilities morph into a cash flow crisis. The public will be informed this time around and excuses like “no one saw this crisis coming”, “we did better than El Cajon”, or “damn CalPERS, we had no idea they lost all our money” will not salvage your political reputations.

1. Your current approach to governing and the end result. – your current plan and its consequences.

2. Source documents from CalPERS that you all choose to ignore.

3. Please do your job and have CalPERS provide the market value of assets based liability for all city employees.


Charlie McDermott is an Encinitas resident


End Pensions Now April 21, 2012 at 7:19 am

I am unimpressed by the work ethic that I see when I go to City Hall. How many times has Gus Vina had someone meet with him to praise his employees? I can’t think of any workplace that pays as much and has the benefits that our city employees have for the pitiful amount they do. It is really more like a social setting than a workplace.

The Council Majority keeps giving them raises so that City employees can afford to live here and and nobody else can!

change4Encinitas April 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Real scary!. Thanks Charlie for bringing this problem in the forefront. City officials need to show some leadership and tackle this looming problem soon.
Betting the city’s finance on an irrational exuberant rate of return of 7.75% is like playing Russian roulette. I don’t want to be stuck with the bill or see city services go down because our so-called leaders don’t have the tough leadership to address this problem pronto.

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