We Can't Go On Like This and Keep Telling Ourselves We Are Doing A Good Job!

"Palo Alto's ticking time bomb" -- A Palo Alto Weekly News Story about City Pension Deficits
http://www.paloaltoonline.com/weekly/story.php?story_id=17187
As you read the Palo Alto Weekly Story please ask yourself "Who was on the council prior to 2007 as the Pension and Infrastructure deficits mounted, and what actions did they take to correct it?"

Of course that was a rhetorical question. Some think it is absurd that some of the very same cast of characters that were complicit in creating the deficit now are attempting to "re-brand" themselves as being stewards of a public trust and solvers of the problems that they created.
The implications are clear. We must rebuild a shared community vision that has financial balance as a core objective of all our actions!
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Employee pensions are helping fuel fiscal crisis
by Gennady Sheyner

In 2007, the year Warren Buffett famously described public pensions as a time bomb with a long fuse, Palo Alto officials decided to add a little gunpowder to the city's benefits package.

The economy was booming, real-estate prices were surging and the council decided that the time was ripe to improve the pension benefit for employees represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), about half the city's workforce. The rapidly rising cost of health care was of greater concern to city officials, who sought to switch the SEIU workers to a less generous health care plan. In exchange, the city offered to bump up the union's pension formula from "2 percent at 55" (that is, 2 percent of the employee's highest salary multiplied by the number of years worked before retirement at 55) to "2.7 percent at 55."

But Buffett's aphorism notwithstanding, the fuse on Palo Alto's time bomb wasn't particularly long. In 2008, as the stock market began to plummet and real-estate investments started to tank, city leaders realized that the city's generous pension packages — a lasting legacy of the pre-recession era — could not be sustained. The following year, they launched the period of unraveling that continues to this day and that is set to take center stage in the coming months, as the city tries to formulate a broader strategy for containing out-of-control benefit expenditures.

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