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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 18, 2008 2:17 PM. The previous post in this blog was I was at Was (Not Was). The next post in this blog is Great day for these guys. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Double negative


Comments (20)

Is this race hard to watch for you, pitting a current colleague against a former colleague? Your enthusiasm for your Greg endorsement was rather low.

That particular Macpherson ad (referenced in this Kroger ad) annoyed me quite a bit. It's fair to point out that Kroger is a relative newcomer to Oregon. (Although, given that Oregon is filled with Oregonians by choice rather than by birth, I don't think this is a very strong point.) It's fair to remark that Kroger has no experience in Oregon politics. It's quite unfair, though, to insinuate that Kroger is completely inexperienced at practicing law. I have little appreciation for that sort of spin.

Your enthusiasm for your Greg endorsement was rather low.

I'm voting for Kroger.

I'm glad you're voting for Kroger. I'm optimistic that he will do an outstanding job if elected as AG. Will L & C get approval to replace him while he's on loan to the ODOJ?

I think that being a relative newcomer, and one not party to the political machinations which MacPherson (and his father before him) engaged in to get to this point.

How many "favors" does MacPherson owe to "others" because he had to trade and wait. He's been scratching backs and getting his scratched for all too long to be an effective control against out-of-control local elites. He may well be "bought and paid for" at this point.

I see the claim that Kroger is a relative newcomer to be a positive, particularly for an attorney general.

Sic 'em, Johnny.

Will L & C get approval to replace him while he's on loan to the ODOJ?

I'm not the person to ask. We don't cover my workplace on this blog.

How many "favors" does MacPherson owe to "others"

How about the favor that Kroger will owe SEIU and OEA to the tune of $360,000+.

I am worried about this election being bought. This is not how the process should work. I am disgusted. I don't care that Kroger took the money, because I am sure Macpherson would have taken it if it was on the table. I am however, very disappointed in SEIU and OEA. This state is sorely in need of some serious campaign finance reform.

"I am however, very disappointed in SEIU and OEA." (for supporting Kroger).

I suppose you overlook their support of Obama, either Merkley or Novick. Will you accuse SEIU and OEA of "buying" the election if any of that group wins in November? You can't have it both ways. You can't criticize OEA and SEIU for supporting a candidate with tons of money against another candidate of the same party, while not bothering to note that the same groups are also tossing a fair amount of coin to candidates you support more strongly.

SEIU and OEA both have every right to support any candidate for any reason and to throw as much money as they want towards said candidates. It is hard to imagine exactly HOW SEIU or OEA would get any favors from the AG. It isn't exactly an office that is particularly political.

"This state is sorely in need of some serious campaign finance reform."

Perhaps it could take some lessons from the City of Portland and go to "VOE". That bit of campaign reform has worked really well, hasn't it?

mrfearless,

I don't care who they support. I do care that they can pump in this much money. I am just asking for limits. End of story.

Kroger may have no experience in elected office in Oregon, but he definitely has experience in Oregon politics.

I think that being a relative newcomer, and one not party to the political machinations which MacPherson (and his father before him) engaged in to get to this point.

Oh, yes, let's trash that political "hack" Hector MacPherson who was the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 100, establishing Oregon's statewide land use system.

No wonder his son Greg is following his nepharious footsteps as the principle author of the PERS reform legislation for which the public employee unions are punishing him unmercifully in this race.

Rather than asume all political officeholders are sell-outs, wouldn't it make more sense to look at their records and reward those who have demonstrated actual political courage in office?


Rather than asume all political officeholders are sell-outs, wouldn't it make more sense to look at their records and reward those who have demonstrated actual political courage in office?

Wouldn't that be shamelessly self-serving?

Jack:

"Rather than asume all political officeholders are sell-outs, wouldn't it make more sense to look at their records and reward those who have demonstrated actual political courage in office?"

Explain to me what political courage Macpherson demonstrated with PERS reform? Was it his refusal to take Hardy Myers' advice about the legality of the principal elements of the reform? Was it failing to acknowledge that Hardy was right after the Supreme Court bitch-slapped the legislature for violating contract rights, exactly the issues that Hardy Myers warned Macpherson about.

The SEIU money is partially to punish Macpherson for his legal stupidity on the PERS issues.

I guess I'm struggling with Macpherson's actual record and trying to figure what exactly he's accomplished as my legislator. Bubkes as far as I can see.

Mr. Fearless, why don't you have someone explain the Supreme Court's decision to you. Hardy's analysis--as set forth in the legal opinion which wasn't issued until AFTER the legislature passed the reform--was not upheld by the court. The Supreme Court in fact upheld the vast majority of the provisions of the PERS reform bill passed by the legislature. Only a small, largely insubstantial portion of it was actually struck down.

If the legislature had followed Hardy's lead on this instead of MacPherson's, it would have cost Oregon taxpayers millions of dollars. As it is, the reform bill put PERS on a sound footing so that it is today one of the most secure public pension systems in the country.

"a small, insubstantial portion was overturned".

Let's see:

1) the court overturned the Legislature's desire to redefine the "guarantee". PERS was required to restore about $600,000,000 to PERS member accounts for 2003 and 2004. Hardly minor, and Hardy warned against this as did Legislative Counsel, Greg Chaimov.

2) the court overturned the COLA freeze on 2000 - 2004 retirees. That decision, if actually implemented by PERS (another story, not a product of the Legislature), it will cost PERS a total of $800,000,000. It is only a matter of time before PERS has to deal with this.

The major reason why PERS is solvent today is because the stock market started roaring back in late 2003 and continued until just a few months ago.

The reforms that were enacted and not overturned by the SC have accounted for less than a third of PERS' current surplus. Without the reforms, PERS would still have a $1 billion surplus and wouldn't still be facing down 6 lawsuits and at least 3 more in various stages of preparation.

Both the Governor and Macpherson could have put together a package that the unions would have agreed to without any of the litigation and would have saved at least what the remnants of the legislation secured. Capping the guarantee at 8% as both the floor and ceiling for Tier 1 members would have been accepted without any basis for litigation. PERS-lite (Tier 3) is not the basis for any litigation, but accounts for little of the current savings. Clarifying the reserving process would have prevented the circumstances that permitted 1999 to happen. Yet, ironically, this is one of the few areas where the legislation did relatively little.

Both Hardy and Chaimov cautioned Macpherson, the Governor, Tim Knopp, and the Governor's economic adviser of the risks associated with the two big items that the SC overturned. Sure, if they has listened to Hardy and Greg, it would have cost the state millions. But in the end, the state is still out those same millions plus all the legal fees associated.

So tell me again what Greg did that was so brilliant, what he did to "save" PERS that wasn't done by the stock market. Tell me again about his courage, but also comment on his naivete.

Jenni,

You're right. That's what I meant to say.

For whatever it's worth, I voted for Kroger because I think, although new to elected office, he will be a more effective and tenacious AG.

Mr. Jack Roberts, you might want to know what you have encountered, flushed out from swampy creepy places, is a vapid chunk of LIARS Larson boilerplate sulking points, and not unlikely the large full-of-himself LIARS figure right-so-wacko behind it, in the 'Fearless' voice.

Judging by the glib glossing over of facts and the narrow-minded point, and style, of attack. Reads like something out of 'Brainstumped' propagandazine, tilting uncured and incurably at windmills in a mind that fancies substantive matter where there is only spinning air. It is the cadence, it is the tone deafness, it is the LIARS.

If not so (as considered), the real 'Fearless' is provided to disabuse the allegation.
If so, the joke is 'Fearless' rightly fears identifying self, and deserves, Jack, neither your respect nor decency in address.

The main interest, noteworthy, is 'Fearless' support for Kroger -- an endorsement not to be given in open air as LIARS is the black-plague kiss of political death.

LIARS for Kroger surely confirms any suspicions he's a rightwing wackos kinda 'Democrat,' if such a thing indeed is in the Democratic Party.

Uh Tensky:

Are you off your meds again. Your last post reads like someone who either had too much to drink, too much, or too little medicine. I have to confess that I don't understand a word that you write.

As for my identity, all that is required is a brief click on my highlighted name in the post. That will take you to my own blog where I have been writing about PERS issues for more than 7 years. The blog went up in 2003, but prior to that I had a PERS website. I have been following PERS issues for close to 15 years now, and have attended almost half of the PERS Board meetings and have sat in on every piece of litigation involving PERS since the OSPOA case in 1995/96.

On what basis do you think I'm playing with the facts?

I respect Jack Roberts, but I happen to disagree with his assessment of what Mac did to/for the state on matters related to PERS. And yes, I am a Kroger support. So what?

At the risk of setting off another firestorm from intervenors, I would like to respond to Mr. Fearless regarding my understanding of the court's ruling in Strunk. By upholding elements such as the redirection of individual PERS contributions into the newly created Individual Account Programs (IAP) rather than the individual's PERS account, eliminating the option of the variable annuity and allowing updated actuarial tables to be used, I believe the Supreme Court upheld the heart of the PERS reform legislation and put the program on the path to stability.

It is true that the PERS system has been helped by a rebounding stock market (just as its problems were exacerbated by the market collapse nearly a decade ago). It is also true that the PERS reform encouraged many Tier One employees to retire early, reducing the actuarial imbalance in the fund. However, by your own admission, nearly a third of the current surplus came from the PERS reform legislation, which is not insignificant.

I think the COLA and guaranteed return provisions were always the most problematic and, at the time of the decision, while other Republicans were screaming that the Supreme Court had "gutted" the PERS reform, I advised my Republican friends to claim victory because the more substantial, structural problems had been solved.

So while we can agree to disagree on this, I personally applaud Greg MacPherson's courage and wisdom on this issue and whatever happens in the AG race tonight, I tip my hat to him for being willing to tackle this.

Jack:

I don't disagree with a word you write, except for our assessments of the role of Macpherson in all this. But by pursuing the COLA freeze, PERS is now on the hook for a potential $800,000,000 plus interest plus legal expenses bill. This will, if the litigation continues on its current trajectory, wipe out half of the PERS surplus. Put slightly differently, it will wipe out ALL of the savings from the reform legislation along with additional funds from current gains. Mac and the Governor *could* have avoided this if they had taken the advice they were given by some fairly authoritative sources. The unions would have agreed to the actuarial reforms without any litigation if the offensive features had been removed. As far as the variable annuity, bear in mind that the reforms only stopped NEW funds going into the variable program. All existing funds were retained and continue to draw substantial returns. Moreover, retirees who were in the variable have the option to remain in the variable after retirement as a hedge against inflation.

The IAP has been a sore point, not because of Mac's role in, but how it has been mismanaged in the hands of PERS. PERS has ended up turned on its end having to treat the earnings in the IAP as the same as the Tier 2 rate. Employees don't have the benefit of being able to manage their own accounts as was recommended to Mac when he wrote the PERS lite (Tier 3, IAP + OPSRP) program. In short, virtually all of the money saving features of the IAP have been subverted by PERS and the PERB's mismanagement. Anticipated savings never materialized, except for the reduction of the matching funds. No one is happy with the IAP - employers, employees, PERS, PERB. It was so mangled by the legislature that it has ended up being another boondoggle.

Worse still, the rewrite of the rules on breaks in service have ended up benefitting Tier 1 members in ways no one could have ever imagined. They've tried to fix these loopholes retroactively but that is proving more difficult than anyone imagined. Think about this. Guy/gal takes a break in service for say 2 years. Tier 1 earnings continue to accumulate at the old rates (variable and regular). They come back 2 years later. Now they're moved into OPSRP, which has the IAP component as well as the 1.5% salary per year of service. Imagine what happens in retirement. People retire under Tier 1, IAP, and OPSRP = an absolute jackpot. I know people who've scored big time with this loophole, large enough to drive an 18 wheel triple trailer through. No one thought about this when the "reform" was passed.

Right now, the only people who remain really pissed off are the group of people called "window retirees", those Tier 1 members who retired between 4/1/00 and 4/1/04. Those folks got screwed RETROACTIVELY but a combination of PERS' willful misinterpretation of what the Supreme Court wrote (as if they can't read the words), while conspiring with Bill Gary to come up with a nuclear option to subvert the Supreme Court. Now the PERS Board is being sued, yet again, for breach of fiduciary duty, for violating the statutes, the SC ruling, and for not following the legislature and the SC in implementing the part of HB 2003 (section 14b, to be precise) which would have put the burden to cover the retirees from reserve funds, not from the retirees themselves. The cases to watch are the Arken case, the Robinson case, the White case, and the Kay Bell case. There are three more in the pipeline, all of which the state has to defend.

Faced with this litigation feeding frenzy and the huge loopholes in the reform legislation, I still take issue with your admiration of Greg Macpherson. Obviously we disagree, but life wouldn't be interesting without a bit of disagreement.

Peace out.


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