Video: California treasurer tells legislature to get a clue

posted at 10:40 am on October 24, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

I’m not sure which is most amusing about Bill Lockyer’s rant to the state legislature this week. Is it his assertion that Democrats have to call out other Democrats when they run off the rails? Perhaps his telling them that two-thirds of what they produce is “just junk”? Insisting that more taxes won’t solve their problems, and that they have to start looking for ways to save money instead? Actually, all of that and more is just simple truth. Watch this first and see if you catch my favorite moment in this clip:

I’ll trust that you’ve watched it and point to this passage as the best part of the rant:

It’s impossible for this legislature to reform the pension system, and if we don’t, we bankrupt the state. And I don’t think anybody can do it here, because of who elected you. … You’re just captive of the current environment — I don’t see any way out!

Translation: Democrats are too far into the pockets of the unions to effectively govern California.  That is what created the Golden State debacle, and the marriage to the unions keeps the Democrats from making the budgetary decisions necessary to rescue California from ruin.

However, even if Bill Lockyer can’t see any way out, I see one: stop electing Democrats to the Legislature.  If the state GOP doesn’t have this clip in ads by the end of next week, maybe California needs better GOP leadership, too.


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They’ve got their fingers in their ears.

TinMan13 on October 24, 2009 at 11:37 AM

At the risk of dating myself:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZw7lWd1btQ

Open The Door on October 24, 2009 at 3:41 PM

I’m a lifelong Californian. Here in the rural area where I live, people are very discouraged, we stopped being amazed a while back.

Being an area composed of family farms and ranches, retirees, plus some tourism, we did OK until a nearby city exported a bunch of it’s drug addicts here, on the theory that maybe they would do better away from their pushers. You can imagine how well that worked out.

I can’t leave, my elderly mother wants to die here, so that’s that. There are really lots of great people here in CA, we aren’t all crazy idealists. And it’s such a beautiful state, really a tragedy. Sometimes, out here in the country, we feel the cities are killing us.

jodetoad on October 24, 2009 at 3:56 PM

God bless you Bill Lockyer.

elderberry on October 24, 2009 at 4:17 PM

maybe California needs better GOP leadership, too.

That’s pretty much been the case since Reagan left the state for the White House.

greggriffith on October 24, 2009 at 4:27 PM

yes, CA needs better GOP leadership! They need better SOMETHING! The Dems keep us in such a mess, I don’t understand why the GOP can’t use that as leverage

bruski1212 on October 24, 2009 at 4:33 PM

Commiefornia is as big of a joke as the Federal Government, I know, I live in this rathole state.
Petitions have been presented to Secretary of State, Debra Bowen, to recall the Governor, both senators, the A.G., Jerry Browneye, a large portion of the Legislature and even Bowen herself, but Bowen REFUSES to validate the petition signatures.
Arnie Schwartzenkennedy signed AB962, which bans internet and mail order sales of ammunition which violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. EVERY ban such has this has been overturned as being unconstitutional but Schwartzenhitler and the scumbags in the legislature don’t care, they KNOW this is unconstitutional yet they continue.
When will it FINALLY be time to start fitting these pieces of filth with ROPES for their necks?

nelsonknows on October 24, 2009 at 4:36 PM

maybe California needs better GOP leadership, too.

Maybe the GOP needs to go the way of the Whigs? Most GOP politicians are just DIABLOs, (Democrat In All But Label Only)
You can’t find a handful of Republicans that even follow 50% of the Republican Platform and you DEFINITELY can’t find an actual CONSERVATIVE that the GOP will support.

nelsonknows on October 24, 2009 at 4:41 PM

Socialism is slowly killing this country. It is killing the federal government via Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It is killing many companies such as Chrysler and General Motors through the unions. It is now killing certain States such as California through the unions.

Unions kill governments and business with their socialist practices. The unions need to be exposed to the sunlight in every way, shape and form. Their money dealings and corruption need to be exposed. The businesses who deal with them need to go bankrupt so that they can be allowed out of their contracts with the unions and then go on and make a profit with less of a thuggish labor force. Remember, when companies go bankrupt in this country, they usually don’t close their doors; they usually reform and continue under a much better restructuring format and, sometimes, with new owners. If General Motors had been allowed to go bankrupt, it would be a much better, stronger company today.

The bailout of General Motors was simply a bailout of the unions who would have lost the most when General Motors went into bankruptcy court. They killed the goose that laid the golden egg and the government resurrected it for them with American money and debt (our grandchildren’s money).

Now, the unions are killing California. The state needs to be allowed to go bankrupt. Any bailout of the state will simply be yet another bailout of the unions. It will simply pass the buck on the reckoning, add to the debt and reinforce the horrible ideals and practices which created the current problem. The _only_ way that many of the socialist minded people who live in California will learn is if they live through the horrible consequences in which their policies result. Many of them may never learn (there are still people who believe that The Soviet Union was simply mismanaged). However, under the circumstances, those who have the potential to learn, albeit the hard way, should have that opportunity. Socialism doesn’t work. Unions (socialism in the workplace) don’t work. People need to learn that.

There should be no bailouts for anybody in this economy. Period. They made their bed, now they should lay in it.

Theophile on October 24, 2009 at 4:41 PM

California shows latinos and US dont work

PrezHussein on October 24, 2009 at 4:58 PM

A lot of the commenters are missing the point of Ed’s favorite part. Lockyer says:

It’s impossible for this legislature to reform the pension system, and if we don’t, we bankrupt the state. And I don’t think anybody can do it here, because of who elected you. … You’re just captive of the current environment — I don’t see any way out!

He’s saying that CA will be bankrupted unless they reform the pension system, but the pensions are for the public employees unions, and the Democrats can’t or won’t reform it because the unions are who elected them!

Does anyone remember back in 2005 when Arnold was still fiscally conservative, before he decided that getting elected for a 2nd term in 2006 was more important than standing up for what was right, and he had called a special election with 4 or 5 ballot measures that he was supporting? One of those measures would have made the political part of union dues an opt-in system instead of mandatory to belong to the union. And the unions spent literally HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars to defeat those measures. Ironically, they would not have had the money to spend had the measure that was defeated already been in place.

The unions blanketed television with non-stop commercials about big bad Arnold and how he was going to try to limit the voice of heroic firefighters, teachers, and police. I bet there’s a few Californians now, if they heard Lockyer’s rant, that are wishing that hadn’t bought the union’s spiel in 2005.

This is a prime example (along with the fall of Detroit) of the incredible danger that unions pose to our economy.

I wrote a post about California, Arnold, and the 2005 elecion a few months ago that can be found here:
http://tbierly.blogspot.com/2009/05/video-californias-path-to-economic-ruin.html

willamettevalley on October 24, 2009 at 5:30 PM

Sometimes, out here in the country, we feel the cities are killing us.

jodetoad on October 24, 2009 at 3:56 PM

I feel your pain. I’m a long time CA resident, and I would have to agree with you. With one or two notable exceptions, the blue cities of this state are driving us into oblivion.
And there is no good reason for it. Abundant resources, a large skilled workforce. Makes me sick to see it all going down the drain, thanks to lazy, corrupt voters and pols.

JusDreamin on October 24, 2009 at 5:34 PM

Ultimately, California and Michigan will not get turned around until a way is found to neuter or properly counter the unions.

But reform is almost impossible as it is always blocked by the unions. They have a stranglehold on about half the state legislatures around the country.

And the worst part is that they way they get their power is by automatically withholding dues from all union employees, and then spending that money on political causes, even when a good chunk of their employees do not agree with the political causes the unions support, and a very small percentage would actually donate the equivalent amount of money themselves.

It is this system of automatic monthly dues that makes the unions so powerful. Opponents MUST find a way to construct a similar funding mechanism if they are ever to break the stranglehold of the unions.

For example, if you could find 100,000 people in California that would give $20 monthly to a group dedicated to counteract the unions, that would be $2 million per month, or $24 million per year. While that may not be enough to match the spending of unions at 2005 levels, it might actually be enough, if used effectively, to provide enough political counterweight to get some changes pushed through in Sacramento.

willamettevalley on October 24, 2009 at 5:49 PM

mr1216 on October 24, 2009 at 2:20 PM

Interesting question. But the answer should be obvious too. The model is what the other side is doing. They have taken over your state government by organizaing, bribing and threatening the political class. If they can do it with nothing, why can’t you and your neighbors do it at least as well with something? Rise up. Fill the streets. Throw some rocks and police cars. Burn a politician in effigy once in a while. Just be more of a pain in the ass than the liberals are.

MikeA on October 24, 2009 at 6:07 PM

I guess he must be running for Governor again in 2010. Mentioning Nancy Reagan was the tip off. Otherwise his career as a go to Dem is probably over.

patrick neid on October 24, 2009 at 7:48 PM

I’ll post before I read all previous… I’m just hoping nobody beat me to my point…

Is there anybody left in Kalifornia?

May the last of the producers turn the lights out when they leave.

Lollers.

Schadenfreude.

roscopico on October 24, 2009 at 8:40 PM

It doesn’t matter. In Kalifornia, the Republicans might as well be Democrats – there really is no difference. Take Arnold, for instance. Please, take Arnold!

tballard on October 24, 2009 at 8:51 PM

Well, with all the Californians that have moved to Colorado I now know what we have to look forward to and it’s all wrapped up in Gov. Bill Ritter. Guess it’s already here.

boomer on October 24, 2009 at 9:31 PM

Perhaps his telling them that two-thirds of what they produce is “just junk”?

After he is done, he should go to Congress and give ‘em more of the same. Except it’s likely more than two-thirds. I’d be happy if we could get Congress down to no more than 12 bills/year, and each on a given subject (no sticking in lots of pork, unrelated stuff.)

IrishEyes on October 24, 2009 at 10:07 PM

…maybe California needs better GOP leadership, too.

This…

liquidflorian on October 24, 2009 at 11:10 PM

Wow, so much to say here. Before anyone pats Mr. Lockyer on the back, keep in mind that when he was later interviewed about his remarks, he claimed that they were exaggerated “for dramatic effect.” Not that he wasn’t telling the truth about bankruptcy. But he played a good game of CYA afterwards. Yes there’s audio of it – go find it.

However, even if Bill Lockyer can’t see any way out, I see one: stop electing Democrats to the Legislature.

I agree wholeheartedly. I would also add however, that there are at least a few Republican pols here who have the same problem about being in bed with unions. Not just at the Sacramento level, but in many localities as well. Don’t forget that six Republicans were the deciding votes on passing the biggest tax increase in California history. What needs to be done is to stop electing useful idiots with union association.

nelsonknows on October 24, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Where? The only big recall effort I’ve heard of going on lately is against Anthony Adams, an Assemblyman from Glendora. In fact the main people tracking and getting the word out on this were with KFI 640. GOP here will not even acknowledge it. If there are other recall efforts in the works, maybe send a tip to the 640 guys. They’ve had pretty good success shining a big frigging spotlight on things.

As for Governors. Someone once told me that if you really want to be Governor of CA, you should have your head examined. Think about it. Your only powers against a super majority legislature are the power of veto against bills and budgets; and the power of line item veto on budgets. Legislature writes and passes bills, and can overturn vetoes. Those governors we’ve had here lately only care about their image; and promise things they cannot deliver.

The only way to get anything done as a CA governor against the legislature is to mercilessly veto ANYTHING you don’t agree with, regardless of what the legislature and newsies think of you. While the legislature can overturn a veto, the point here is to overwhelm them with overturning vetoes until they finally do what you need them to. At the very least, when election time comes up again, you can honestly say that you vetoed anything which could harm California. Which definitely applies to the “junk” Lockyer refers to. I would go so far as to say at least 90% of anything the Legislature passes is “junk.” So far, we have not had a Governor with the cajones to take said lumps for the common good.

Another problem is the staffers. Who do you think writes all these bills? Not the Legislators themselves. I’d be surprised if the had the time to read half the crap they endorse. No, it’s the 1200+ staffers that inhabit Sac, and surround all the useful idiots with a protective bubble against Reality.

Suihei Deloi on October 24, 2009 at 11:51 PM

Suihei Deloi comes close, but falls just short. The most incredible thing about this video is that these words are actually coming out of Bill Lockyer’s mouth. This guy is a dyed-in-the-wool, hardcore lefty. I’m surprised his tongue doesn’t snap off its roller. I’m incredulous.

TVHall on October 25, 2009 at 1:37 AM

boomer on October 24, 2009 at 9:31 PM

That’s actually something to be concerned about. The idiots that voted for the party that killed their state flee the state because of the horrible policies implemented, then vote the same caliber of idiot into office in their new state, ultimately repeating the cycle. Living in Texas, it’s only a matter of time until the great liberal migration from CA makes it here, but only after destroying one western state at a time. Maybe, just maybe, AZ, CO and NM will see that embracing the liberal ideas only lead to ruin. NV seems to be getting the picture…

change is for suckers on October 25, 2009 at 8:49 AM

Government has lost their priorities as to what’s important and essential to run the state or the country and how they collect money (taxes) is the major root of the problem. They have way too much power with little or no responsibility on how to wield that power. Money wins the game. If I can buy the most arrows to sling at my opponent then I’ll win.

ranzofola on October 25, 2009 at 9:15 AM

Yesterday I attended the Central Valley Tea Party Boot Camp at the Fresno Fairgrounds. 500 attendees! Mark Meckler announced a new initiative petition drive coming in December to make it illegal for state-paid employees’ unions to make political contributions. Sign me up!

rightycalgrad on October 25, 2009 at 9:18 AM

Clearly the California government has a budget problem but no ones willing to give up one inch of the power they’ve attained and so the only answer they can possibly come up with is raise more taxes. And so this poor guy wastes his time and energy to get up before this body of people who nod their heads in agreement but shake their heads at the notion of taking any action.

ranzofola on October 25, 2009 at 9:25 AM

It’s like he’s telling them there’s a fire in the building and everyone agrees their is but no one wants to get out of their seat to escape the fire. “I know the buildings on fire so we’ll just have to hire more firemen.” And they sit and wait for legislation to pass while the building and those inside burn to ashes. You know, that might not be such a bad idea.

ranzofola on October 25, 2009 at 9:35 AM

InTheBellyoftheBeast on October 24, 2009 at 11:00 AM
The real question here is what prompted him to this rant?

He’s the treasurer of California. He’s like the guy on the Titanic who’s in charge of keeping water from leaking into the ship. It’s his job to rant, and rant loudly. Instead of water leaking in, money is leaking out. It’s bad.

Paul-Cincy on October 25, 2009 at 10:33 AM

At least he’s actually talking about the real issue, which is, indeed, the pension plans. It’s not about prop 13.

AnninCA on October 25, 2009 at 10:55 AM

I saw this also this morning and though he describes the problem and issue well. He is also correct in that there is no fix for it because idiots from their districts keep electing other idiots to represent them.

The solution for this is federalism. Reduce government down to it’s smallest constituent parts and then only elevate an issue when it truly is bigger than the neighborhood board or the city council or the county court or whatever. The benefit of federalism being of course that if government is small enough, at some point when things get bad the individual man can band together with his neighbors and make hard decisions and fix things, whereas when the upper levels of government grows it subsumes the lower levels and the idiot politicians lose their accountability to the idiot mob.

The framers were smart enough to realize that universal suffrage eventually leads to mob rule by idiots looking to capitalize on everyone else. No one, California being a prime example as mentioned here, bears the brunt of their own decisions and problems fester while the idiot mob draws its pension and relishes in its own ignorance (“Obama’s stash”).

California today is the future of America tomorrow.

johnmackeygreene on October 25, 2009 at 11:09 AM

I can’t leave, my elderly mother wants to die here, so that’s that. There are really lots of great people here in CA, we aren’t all crazy idealists. And it’s such a beautiful state, really a tragedy. Sometimes, out here in the country, we feel the cities are killing us.

jodetoad on October 24, 2009 at 3:56 PM

I can relate to your situation. Here in the People’s Republic of Maryland, no matter where you live you can’t distance yourself from the State Government. Once my mom passes on, my wife and I are headed out!

Red State State of Mind on October 25, 2009 at 11:29 AM

CA may actually reflect what’s coming in the future. We have a huge class division. We have 30% of the population on some form of welfare program.

That’s a huge poverty level.

Then, we have a huge population of people who think buying a McMansion, sending kids to private school, and driving a Hummer makes them middle-class. They always vote yes for whatever silly proposal is put on a ballot.

AnninCA on October 25, 2009 at 12:45 PM

The labor unions, social redistributionists, and environmentalists have been eroding the state of California for decades. While it can be easy for many to simply say ‘you have a nice point’ and allow just one more program to be enacted by these three groups, the state has reached a tipping point.

For decades in California, ANY candidate that is not beholding to one or more of these groups is attacked with massive negative advertising paid for by these three groups. For Democrats, the attacks start in the primaries. Republicans are typically attacked later.

As long as an UNEDUCATED population exists in California that BELIEVES the LIES slammed in their faces DAILY during ANY election cycle, these voters will continue to vote against those evil people that want to ‘destroy the entire school system’, ‘eliminate critically needed social programs for the starving children’, and ‘kill every last thing that mother nature ever created’.

This is what California elections have devolved into. Discussions about how terrible anyone is that does not march in lockstep for the absolute and total control by one or more of these three special interest groups.

And predictably, the carpetbagging Democrat candidate, Lt Gov J Garamendi, that Obama came out here to raise money for last week, is now running attack ads against his almost unknown Republican opponent, David Harmer. Many voters will only ever see the attack ads as Harmer has a tiny budget.

Freddy on October 25, 2009 at 3:03 PM

The cities in CA are left-wing echo chambers. Anything not approved by the leftists gets stomped out so violently that no one in their right mind, except extreme leftist, will speak their mind on anything even remotely political. You might as well lick the third rail as say anything that could be construed as right wing. It’s vile.

Voyager on October 25, 2009 at 3:46 PM

Troy Senik:

How else to explain the delusion that Californians could be taxed like libertarians, but subsidized like socialists? The result, of course, has been a fiscal crisis addressed with slashed spending on public services and increased taxes in the midst of a deep recession — a recipe for yet more discord and trouble. In a grim irony, Californians are now being taxed like socialists and subsidized like libertarians. [...]

Schwarzenegger called for a special election focused on four ballot initiatives that he claimed were necessary to clean up state government…the psychic trauma of being decisively rejected at the ballot box proved overwhelming. Had Schwarzenegger taken a deep breath, he might have noted that his failure had been primarily tactical in nature. However worthy his reform agenda may have been, creating a political atmosphere that united all of California’s powerful special-interest groups — especially the state’s public-sector unions — was a recipe for disaster. But Schwarzenegger made matters worse by hyperventilating in the wake of his embarrassing defeat. The man who had once slammed his opponents as “girlie men” took to the stage of the Beverly Hilton on election night and declared, “The people of California are sick and tired of all the fighting.” It was about as bizarre as political transformations get. Almost exactly two years to the day after his inauguration, the governor of America’s largest state was presiding over the public execution of his own mandate. [...]

There is little in President Obama’s legislative agenda that hasn’t already been tried in California.

Or…

California Reamin’
Posted in Where Do We Go from Here? by Noel
Sep 08 2009

“We have just turned over to a new administration in Sacramento a government virtually the same size it was eight years ago. With the state’s growth rate, this means that government absorbed a workload increase, in some departments as much as 66 percent. We also turned over — for the first time in almost a quarter of a century — a balanced budget and a surplus of $500 million. In these eight years just passed, we returned to the people in rebates, tax reductions and bridge toll reductions $5.7 billion.”–Gov. Ronald Reagan, 1975

Noel on October 25, 2009 at 3:52 PM

I keep hearing that one of these days the “Big One” is going to happen and California is going to be totally destroyed and fall into the ocean…like that’s a bad thing.

There’s a movie coming out next month called 2012 in which that happens. See how many people in the theater cheer when that goes down.

trapeze on October 25, 2009 at 5:11 PM

Maybe the California GOP needs better leadership? MAYBE?? Are you kidding???

I’ve been bloviating for well over 10 years now about public retirement benefits and how eventually those obligations will sink this state. It’s nice to see others finally paying attention as well. (I first soured on Schwarzenegger when he totally blew his chance to bring public pensions under at least a modicum of control.) You simply cannot have people whose elections depend on money and votes from public employees and their unions sitting across the negotiating table from those same unions. It’s just insane. Lockyer is right, but where has he been all these years?

SukieTawdry on October 25, 2009 at 5:15 PM

Schwarzenegger taken a deep breath, he might have noted that his failure had been primarily tactical in nature. However worthy his reform agenda may have been, creating a political atmosphere that united all of California’s powerful special-interest groups — especially the state’s public-sector unions — was a recipe for disaster.

Arnold could have passed any one of his initiatives with ease, the one that had the greatest support and the greatest immediate impact would have been constraining state employees’ unions’ political activity.

Instead of taking on his adversaries in detail, get the unions under control, then redistricting, then budget discipline etc. he rolled the dice on one big action-movie finale, and he got stomped.

At which point he flipped over and essentially turned Democrat. Lots of feel-good climate-fraud legislation.

We are fortunate, at least, that we’ve got some quirky laws that keep a lid on the state’s ability to tax. Otherwise we’d be New Jersey, or worse.

A substantial segment of the Dems would love to see a constitutional convention; they see hijacking the process and rewriting the state constitution as their way to completely restructure tax collection in the state, clearing out the protections currently afforded by (the imperfect but necessary) Prop 13 and the 2/3-vote requirement for the legislature to pass a budget (and you can bet they’ll try to get rid of the initiative/referendum/recall mechanism while they’re at it.)

There may be any number of things wrong with the state constitution, but the current contingent of spendthrift Democrats and supine Republicans will only make the situation worse.

JEM on October 25, 2009 at 5:40 PM

One thing to always remember is that “waste” can also be defined as “someone’s job.” Or, as Henry Ford used to put it “all costs have two legs.”

“Making Government more efficient” means hiring fewer Government workers. It means smaller departments, which means it means making existing managers less important (since the standard gauge of worth is “how many people work for you?”, or else “how big is the budget you manage?”), it means less money for teh government employee unions, and less money to the people who donate money to Legislators (since if you’re looking for government contracts, donating to politicians is one of the basic costs of doing business).

It’s why you should never, ever, ever vote for a Democrat, and why big government Republicans are as bad, if not worse: the only thing that’s going to lead to government “efficiency” is having Legislators who, at a personal and philosophical level, believe that big government is bad, and so are willing to work at every possible opportunity to make it smaller.

Greg Q on October 25, 2009 at 5:59 PM

If the state GOP doesn’t have this clip in ads by the end of next week, maybe California needs better GOP leadership, too.

Ya think?

The GOP in California CREATED the current state Democrat majority. The GOP party leaders HATE conservative Republicans. They had the majority in the ’90s and they fought each other so much they got nothing done. They just made asses of themselves on every issue.

California’s Republicans were a decade ahead of the national party just like the Cal Dems have spent a decade working up the template for Pelosi/Reid incompetence and the coming Federal bankruptcy.

If you see California pulling out in the next decade or so take that as a glimmer of hope.

rcl on October 25, 2009 at 6:44 PM

For the past 24 years since I moved to Califonia I have seen this beautiful state being run into bankruptcy. (Same thing for the city of San Diego where I work). When I moved here we had a conservative govenor. All was booming. Now we have the girly-man Arnold who got his nose bloodied once and turned into one a spineless champion of “climate change”. It’s truly pathetic. Would be nice to actually have a state GOP that could actually do something, but they are inarticulate at espousing conservative principles. Even if they were, I’m not sure many of my fellow Californian’s would be listening. California truly is the land of fruits and nuts.

JML46 on October 25, 2009 at 11:08 PM

The CA state legistlation is the string ensemble that was heard as the Titanic was sinking. Oblivious to the reality of the situation, but the music sounded real good….

Idiots. All of them.

jbh45 on October 26, 2009 at 10:22 AM

California shows latinos and US dont work

PrezHussein on October 24, 2009 at 4:58 PM

This is stupid and wrong. Latinos, insofar as they’re willing to come here legally, do their jobs, and pay taxes, are just fine.

Plenty of them do just that.

TheUnrepentantGeek on October 26, 2009 at 11:29 AM

The pensions will never, ever be a political rallying point. The pensions are for police, firemen, highway patrolmen, and teachers, as well as state bureaucrats and administrative workers, and UC/Cal State faculty.

California could pay excellent pensions for peace officers and emergency workers and teachers without even breaking a sweat. What the state doesn’t need is all the bureaucrats, many of them earning over $100K a year sitting around thinking about ways to regulate and fee us to death, and then retiring at pensions near their late-career salaries.

The state has become the employer of first resort for a number of “professions” that have little traction in the private sector, and that produce expensive constraints on the people rather than making anything better for us. It’s in this area that we need to stop spending on “good ideas.” This is where the junk is — not in pensions for the people who perform real services for the citizenry.

I have ZERO interest in cutting pensions for the firemen who keep fires away from my home even when I can see the fires from my driveway, and have my bags packed and my important documents ready to throw in the car for days while those firemen are out there sweating in the most awful conditions for hours at a time to keep the flames from getting to me. Don’t even tell me these guys need their pensions cut, or that the police, highway patrol, or teachers do.

But eliminate whole state bureaucracies that are dedicated to preventing California’s water infrastructure from actually collecting and distributing more water? Bureaucracies whose answer to everything is “Make the people pay more to have and use less”? Sign me up! That’s where the hatchet needs to fall.

J.E. Dyer on October 26, 2009 at 1:47 PM

J.E. Dyer on October 26, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Do you actually think it is fair to pay the police pensions of 90 percent? Many of these people can make more money by retiring than by working with these windfall pensions.

A California Highway Patrol Officer with a GED can start at $110,000 a year. Doctors do not make that kind of money to start.

It is impossible to keep paying these outrageous pensions and salaries as they are the reason the state is going bankrupt.It is a pyramid scheme that is going to explode.

The public employee unions are holding the taxpayers hostage to their ever increasing demands for higher pay even when we are in a recession.

The fact is all of the state workers are over paid, they make approximately 40% more than private industry across the board.

ScottyDog on October 26, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Over the past decade the state of CA has hired 48 new employees a day – every day – despite the multi-billion dollar annual deficits…the legislature has enacted retroactive pension increases for the public union members…new social services benefits are declared to be rights every month

In the wings we have Jerry Brown and SF Mayor Gavin Newsome running for governor on the left and Meg Whitman (“I love that guy Van Jones – he’s very impressive”) who never found it worthwhile to vote during her adult life and Steve Poizner on the right.

CA has the union situation as described in detail in other comments plus a large portion of the population that votes but doesn’t pay taxes that determine our election outcomes. I am not very optimistic that Bill Lockyer’s admonishments will be taken seriously any time soon.

in_awe on October 26, 2009 at 4:09 PM

I heard the audio of this on the radio last week. It was priceless. Unfortunately there is truth in the statement that the legislature is so far in the pockets of the unions that they won’t change anything. All they have done is put band-aids on problems that require surgery.

Things should get really interesting next year when the budget in CA gets even worse (lower tax revenues due to unemployment and lackluster stock market gains) and the very union employees see either steep pay cuts/furloughs, or layoffs. California may even have to raid the PERS/STRS retirement systems for cash, which will really tick off the union folks.

Snidely Whiplash on October 26, 2009 at 5:26 PM

ScottyDog on October 26, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Rather than cut pay or benefits for emergency workers and peace officers, I want to cut the number of personnel employed by the state, period. And by that I mean get rid of departments and commissions, administrative personnel and bureaucrats. We don’t need nearly as many administrators as there are in the educational bureaucracy OR the environmental compliance bureaucracy, and there’s a whole bunch of stuff — Lockyer’s “junk” — we don’t need at all.

Here are a couple of links if you’re interested. I did an analysis of what California is spending money on back during the budget battle this spring, and it’s amazing what you find when you investigate. Pensions for state employees performing the traditional, needed public services that we all benefit from aren’t nearly the budget gorilla people think they are. The incredible amount we spend on administering education, commissioning research from the universities, employing people to lecture us on our toilet-flushing and driving habits, and beating the bushes for new entitlement beneficiaries — that’s what we need to be worrying about.

The other link is to this reader response , which goes into remarkable depth on the pathology of welfarism in California. California spent more than twice its pension budget on state welfare programs in the last fiscal year — and this reader had first-hand insight into how that’s going for us.

I have no interest whatever in even looking at what we’re paying the people who actually provide tangible services for us, until we’ve looked into all the absolute BS our tax dollars are going to. It’s mind-boggling.

J.E. Dyer on October 26, 2009 at 5:43 PM

I am well aware of the over spending in California but it is criminal to pay a 90 percent retirement plus COLA to anyone.It is nothing but theft which cannot be sustained unless you intend to put up with a huge increase in taxes when the Police Pension folks start to retire with the baby boomer’s.

Remember, it was Gray Davis that gave them the 90% gift when he tried to bribe the LE unions to vote for him.

It is also abhorrent to pay a first year CHP about twice what a doctor makes starting out at Loma Linda Medical Center. About 48k as of 2009.

They do not provide much needed services unless you consider writing tickets, an average $450.00 a pop, to collect revenue for the state much needed services.They are currently the highest paid traffic cops in the world and so are CA corrections officers for the record.

Another over paid category are the worthless appointees to commissions which average 250k a year each.This one really gets my under wear in a wad.

BTW-Thanks for the links, very illuminating yet depressing info.

ScottyDog on October 26, 2009 at 7:13 PM

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