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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 25, 2010 11:47 AM. The previous post in this blog was Page-turner of the Year. The next post in this blog is "They ripped down my campaign sign!". Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

In San Francisco, somebody gets it

This article documents San Francisco's looming fiscal disaster over municipal employee pensions and retiree health care benefits. It complains that not enough is being done to stop the train wreck.

Ironically, San Francisco has done more than Portland, whose $2.55 billion police and firefighter pension liability is completely unfunded, and which has an underfunding of about another half-billion in assorted other pension and oldie health care obligations.

Comments (49)

The sad thing is the following comment:

"What we're gonna have to do is cut the hell out of services and look at revenue options."

I noticed nothing in that about addressing pension payments, just how to find more money to throw at them.

That list is scary, most of the retirees are early 50s and about $100K-$150K/yr each on average. Not to mention the medical benes which are probably a 100% pickup for the taxpayers.

I don't think someone like Kitz has the guts, but someone is going to have to tell the PERS people, maybe we made a promise, but we don't have the money.

The Business and Civic Leaders in LA get it too!

http://ronkayela.com/2010/10/-normal-0-false-false-6.html

City Pension Crisis: Business-Civic Leaders Demand Total Reform
Excepts from their letter:

"Every dollar overspent on pensions is a dollar less for city services -- parks, libraries, streets and the host of services the City must provide. Thus, one cannot be responsible and oppose reforming the pension programs. Nor can we adopt half
measures. Either we cut public services ever further or pass an increasingly severe burden along to our children. Neither is a responsible choice. In recent years government at all levels have passed problems to succeeding governments and generations. Leadership means leaving this City stronger rather than weaker for succeeding generations."


And then from the LA blog link above that posted the letter:

That is exactly what so many of us have been saying for so long. The future of LA is at stake. We fix what they have broken now or it only gets worse and worse.

If the business and civic leaders are serious about standing up for what's vital for the whole city and its four million residents, this could turn out to be an historic moment -- the day the people began to take back control of a city government that for too long has been nothing but a shill for special interests feeding at the public trough.

For too long, we all have settled for crumbs from the table of power while the wealth of the city went into the pockets of developers, contractors, consultants, the political manipulators and the city work force.

For too many, NIMBYism has been the only sane response to powerlessness.

A healthy and honest public debate -- public and not in the back rooms of City Hall -- can be the starting point for the broad reforms that are needed to restore credibility to our city government, to ending years of mismanagement, to turning LA around.

This can't be a private discussion between labor leaders and a failed city leadership. It must be inclusive of all segments of the community if it is to be meaningful.


Will business and civic leaders of Portland
demand reform?

Large cities and muncipalities all over the country are having the same problems. It's a straw man to simply blame it on "special interests". This is part of the painful (and perhaps permanent) blowback from growth and the bizarre optimism about growth and the infinite availability of resources and wealth.

If Kitzhaber gets it for Oregon, wouldn't he be talking more about it? Wouldn't he be strongly acknowledging that it's more than cutting a few services,and not about his solution of "investing", which means more taxes? Wouldn't he be talking about reducing PERS and health care coverage for state employees payed by Oregon's taxpayers?

The Oregonian has been covering these issues for the state in a serious over the last few weeks. But you won't here politicians talking about it during election season.

The feds are going to have to bail out the cities and states. There's no doubt about that. The question is, how can that be structured to provide a sensible basis for— wait for it— a sustainable future?

The feds are going to have to bail out the cities and states.

Brilliant...

...except - who'll bail out the feds?

You just don't understand - this isn't a problem created by politicians who are beholden to the public employees union who paid to get them elected. Oh no, the causes of this problem (and every other problem that plagues America) are big corporations and rich people.

If we just keep electing the same candidates - those who promise that they hate big corporations and rich people - then the problem will get solved. They've had years to study the problem and are on the cusp of getting it resolved - if they only get one more term.

David Shaff of the Portland Water Bureau gets paid well as a shill for the corporate engineers. It doesn't help that incompetence is heavliy rewarded when a PERS package of $35,000 goes to ~$200,000 in less than 5 years. King Tut Leonard knows how to spend other people's money like no one else.

We really need to tackle this. It amazes me that we have stood still for so long while letting this spiral out of control.

How much of our country will we have to sell or give up for the debt we are in?

Or will those in charge think we can be tolled out of the mess - soon there will toll's for everything, toll roads, toll bridges, tolls to go into the parks, tolls to go into stores, no tax mind you but tolls everywhere, oh yes, bicyclists will be tolled to go on their paths too!
Tolls to use public restrooms, tolls to enter the library, tolls to enter the hospital to see a new born baby and tolls to see a dying loved one,
until the final toll to be buried.

Nationwide the unfunded Public Employee benefits liability is now $3.6 Trillion

NY state alone has a $200 billion unfunded liability.

"We really need to tackle this. It amazes me that we have stood still for so long while letting this spiral out of control."

Allan L. and other public employees / PERS recipients will continue to suggest that the way to "tackle" the problem will be a federal bail out. No politician will ever suggest that public employees simply have unfair packages that go waaaay beyond what is fair and reasonable and that they need to be pared down.

The way I see it, the public employee unions found a way to STEAL from the rest of the taxpaying public, and the problem will only be "solved" after a some sort of civil unrest (like whats happening in France right now). There will be a tipping point when contributing taxpayers (those that aren't on the public payroll) will simply grow tired and angry about constantly having reduced services while being subject to higher taxes year after year while public employees kick back on their fat a**es enjoying retirement at a full salary and fully paid benefits.

I just love how all the democrat candidates villify "big business" while pandering to public employees and unions that engineered this problem. And I'm a democrat.

"How much of our country will we have to sell or give up for the debt we are in?"

Everything that isn't bolted down. We aren't going to pay these debts back. I'm surprised that so few people admit that out loud. If you look at the total debt burden (federal, state, local, business, household) it isn't getting paid back.

The wildest dreams on the federal level are to try to balance the budget by 2020. Not to run a surplus to start paying down the debt, mind you, but just to balance it and keep making interest payments.

Even if we assume that they can somehow pull this off in 2020, what will be doing for the next decade? Adding more to the debt.

Our choices are 1) default, or 2) extreme inflation which reduces the debt burden by devaluing the dollars in which that debt is tallied. Either will significantly change the country, and quite possibly the world, as we know it. (And most pension benefits are indexed to inflation, so inflation doesn't help us there anyway.)

We have to be prepared that Fall of 2008 wasn't the actual financial tsunami. Perhaps it was the earthquake that proceeds the tsunami.

while public employees kick back on their fat a**es enjoying retirement at a full salary and fully paid benefits.

Teachers are public employees. I know many, including my wife. All of them make salaries in the low $40s. All of them have over 10 years of experience. None of them are going to "retire at fll salary and dully paid benefits". NONE of them. Not even close, in fact. That myth rarely exists in their world, and certainly not for somebody that's joined the system in the past 20 years.

Which makes for some puzzling looks and guffaws around school districts when they read asinine comments about how they're just sitting around waiting to "retire with full pay and benefits".

"how can that be structured to provide a sensible basis for— wait for it— a sustainable future?"

Medical marijuana sales.

"How much of our country will we have to sell"

Well, since employee benes are a topline expense those get paid first, then we worry about schools, polices, welfare, etc.

One more money line from the article:

"it makes perfect sense if you think of San Francisco as a vending machine for salary and benefits."

"The Business and Civic Leaders in LA get it too!"

I doubt it. Name me one thing they've done to fix it. They can wring their hands all day, but really do they anything?

It's these sorts of articles that seriously make me think that, someday, I could indeed become a "fiscal conservative" (whatever that means).

Ecohuman..no one said all PERS are created equal. CoP PERS recipients are more equal than others with the ability to reclassify personel at their discretion increasing their PERS. Thus, buying loyalty and built in votes for people like Leonard who abuses that discretion. Quit whining and vote these guys out.

We really need to tackle this.

As a public employee, I'll be the first to say that PERS retirement benefits are excessive. The blame rests on politicians who are long gone, who increased benefits "in the future" without thinking about the fiscal impact.

Unfortunately, those benefits are contractually protected. The PERS reforms of 2003 had a big impact: they mostly got rid of the "money match" option that was bankrupting the state, and put in a much more reasonable (but still very generous) defined benefit for new hires. But certain components of that reform are still being litigated, and the outcome is far from certain.

What are the legal options for addressing the problem? Obviously the 6% "employee" contribution (mostly paid by employers) should be on the table. So should another reform turning PERS into a defined contribution program from here on out. But none of this will do anything about the tsunami of public sector baby boomers about ready to sail off to Hawaii. What are the realistic options? Are there any?

Rampant inflation will be the answer. It is coming at some point.

Ecohuman..no one said all PERS are created equal.

Actually, most people do. Like the statement by Miles, above. When people condemn PERS, they typically make it a blanket condemnation--but mostly ignore the whole story, most of the facts, and several of the examples that highlight how different groups of workers get *significantly* different benefits (or few benefits at all).

Unfortunately, those benefits are contractually protected.

Wrong, Miles, and that makes me wonder how knowledgable you are about the system you claim to participate in.

The PERS reforms of 2003 had a big impact: they mostly got rid of the "money match" option that was bankrupting the state, and put in a much more reasonable (but still very generous) defined benefit for new hires.

"Very generous"? I'd be interested to hear your definition of generous. I've got at least 8-10 concrete examples of people participating in state PERS who, after at least 10+ years of participation, have

...less than $10,000 in their retirement funds--and who, if they worked for about 20 more years, could look forward to a very modest fraction of their pay as a retirement benefit. By modest, I mean less than 40% of it.

Wrong, Miles

Please expand on which PERS benefits you don't think are contractually protected. Multiple lawsuits have determined that government can change benefits going forward (with some limits on that as well) but not retroactively.

I'd be interested to hear your definition of generous.

First, those with 10 years in the system are in Tier 2, which means that after 30 years they will have a benefit of 50% of their final average salary. And that doesn't include the 6% contributions going into their IAPs, which, after more than 20 years, could easily be converted into an annuity that pays another, say, 15% (conservatively) of final average salary. So they're at 65% BEFORE Social Security and BEFORE any personal contributions to their 457(b) account.

Those who are in OPSRP (Tier 3) have pretty much the same thing, except that their benefit is "only" 45% of final average salary instead of the 50% mentioned above.

Compare to this to any private sector retirement plan, and you have to come to the conclusion that it is generous. That conclusion is inescapable.

Our choices are 1) default, or 2) extreme inflation which reduces the debt burden by devaluing the dollars in which that debt is tallied.

There are other, less dramatic possibilities. The most attractive one: a combination of growth in the economy and the resumption of "normal" inflation which, over time, will absorb the high federal debt (just as it did in the 40's and 50's) that is necessary to meet the current challenges of economic depression and high unemployment. Public employment benefits seem excessive, and some of them are. But the problem really is more severe in the private sector, where exports of jobs and an overvalued dollar have made much US labor and business uncompetitive, so that it is impossible for most people to earn a decent living (including retirement and health benefits) in the private sector.

Another possibility, that seems to be fading somewhat out of reach, is to get health care costs under control. A little arithmetic shows that if health care costs were 10% or less of GDP, instead of the current 18%, deficits at the federal level wouldn't be a problem.

It's highly amusing, PD, that you continue to think I have some economic connection to PERS or the public sector. You don't know who I am or what my circumstances are, and your repeated displays of this ignorance undermine the rest of what you would like to argue to readers here. It's also not altogether charming naiveté on your part to suppose that other people's social views and principles are informed only by self-interest — even though that seems to be the case for you personally.

If they have accrued $1000/year for their PERS, they have bigger problems going on than retirement savings, and need some guidance about money management. Maybe THEY are the ones who erroneously think all PERS are created equal.

For the record..your wife should get a raise, and the classrooms should be funded first, not last.

"All of them make salaries in the low $40s. All of them have over 10 years of experience."

This, frankly, is just either a flat-out lie or is comparing some school district in Eastern Oregon to an urban sensibility. To give some perspective, my sister-in-law teaches in the Tigard-Tualatin District. I just talked with her. The current contract pays a "full-time" (meaning 7.5 hours per day for 190 days per year - 2/3 time in the private sector) with a Bachelors degree and 10 years experience $51,077 per year. Of course, no teachers can only have a Bachelors degree anymore, they must have that rigorous one-year "Masters" degree - and the salary for that with 10 years in the traces is $55,306. This is only salary. Benefits are $12,000 per year for health insurance and $6636 per year for PERS for the teacher with the "Masters" - totally paid for by taxpayers. Total compensation is in the $75,000 a year range - and it's virtually guaranteed to go up 5 percent or more per year.

Tigard-Tualatin is in the mid-range of Portland area school districts when it comes to salary schedule.

"the resumption of "normal" inflation which, over time, will absorb the high federal debt (just as it did in the 40's and 50's) that is necessary to meet the current challenges of economic depression and high unemployment."

...and monkeys will fly out of my butt.

Allan, your comments almost always assume the either the government will take care of the problem, the problem will solve itself, or that the problem doesn't exist at all.

This is the type of thinking that leads me to assume you must be either a) a public employee, or b) an entitled PERS recipient.

"Please expand on which PERS benefits you don't think are contractually protected."

THey're all protected.

THe questions is - What are PERS receipients willing to do to help the state? Right now, they get first dollar on everything.

They will get first dollar if it means shutting down every state service. Then what happens when we run otu of money?

I'd like to hear something/anything from the other side instead of silence and just kickin' the can down the road.

We can plan on it, less services and to make up the differences, we will be counted on to give more and more for less and less until we give everything for nothing.

But wait! We already did that for Wall Street, didn't we?

Ecohuman, I won't say some of your "math" is "flat-out lies", but they aren't giving the whole picture how normal people calculate their total compensation.

One doesn't just look at their salary, but should include all their benefits, and how much is paid by the employer. Even today's frontpage Oregonian article makes this same "mistake" in not looking at the whole benefits, but the article does a decent job on painting a better picture. Oregon teachers on average are compensated over $78,000 in total. Of course it varies throughout the state. But so does cost-of-living, and usually lower in rural areas.

My wife who has worked in health care with a high specialist classification, makes $38,000, and her work load has been decreased to help the hospital make budget. She only gets 2% from the employer for her 401k. Her total compensation is around $51,000. She pays 20% for health care. She has more degree(s) and extra education than most teachers.

But, I'm not arguing teachers don't deserve reasonable compensation, but you need to look around at this economy's reality and provide honest math.

The Oregonian article is totally wrong to claim "Are Oregon public employees paid more than workers in the private sector? Not really...". They also could have provided the math.

And another issue the Oregonian has failed to mention in this series is their feeble attempt to compare apples to apples. In "job descriptions", "job titles" in government, many jobs are mislabeled and embellished to be jobs more than they actually are. A carpenter on a construction job in the private sector is normally "a carpenter", but with government it is labeled in many ways with one or more adjectives like "senior engineering construction project manager". They are still pounding nails, but might tell the new hire where to pound. This is part of the "step increases" of 4.75% that the O article alludes to-add an adjective and increase the employee pay.

Will all those who collect PERS then leave this state to live elsewhere - where they still have services since there won't be much left apparently here? Is this the outcome we have to look forward to? Are there any states that don't have this problem?

This, frankly, is just either a flat-out lie or is comparing some school district in Eastern Oregon to an urban sensibility.

No, it's in the PPS district and the North Clackamas district. You're actually unaware that salaries differ, aren't you?

To give some perspective, my sister-in-law teaches in the Tigard-Tualatin District. I just talked with her. The current contract pays a "full-time" (meaning 7.5 hours per day for 190 days per year - 2/3 time in the private sector) with a Bachelors degree and 10 years experience $51,077 per year.

I see. So what you're providing is "perspective", but the 10 people I can scare up are "lies". Got it.

Of course, no teachers can only have a Bachelors degree anymore, they must have that rigorous one-year "Masters" degree - and the salary for that with 10 years in the traces is $55,306.

In a word, John--bullsh*t. First, you *can* have a Bachelor's degree-if you've been teaching for a while. Second, there are a wide range of pay scales, and how one moves up those scales, and what one has to have to move up those scales--AND THAT GETS ROUTINELY MODIFIED DURING UNION NEGOTIATIONS DURING BUDGET CUTS. Pay raises are not only NOT guaranteed, they're often not received. I can not only prove it, I've seen the pay scale documents firsthand fr teachers in the PPS, for example. If you claim knowledge of how things work, *everything I'm telling you now would be easy for you to verify*.

Total compensation is in the $75,000 a year range - and it's virtually guaranteed to go up 5 percent or more per year.

Wow. The fact that you'd be willing to make such a claim either means the rest of what you said is a flat out lie, or you actually don't know. There is no guaranteed "pay raise", in any school district in the state. If you believe otherwise, I beg you--no, I implore you--to post here some form of proof--any at all--that documents that. Heck, I'd settle for a phone number of a school district administrator that could verbally confirm it on the record.

But I've seen your comments before, John. They're always the same rant, against the same people, using the same examples.

One doesn't just look at their salary, but should include all their benefits, and how much is paid by the employer.

Yes, I know exactly what a loaded salary is, and I'm STILL waiting for somebody to explain to me how, specifically, teachers in Oregon are being overcompensated.

If they have accrued $1000/year for their PERS, they have bigger problems going on than retirement savings, and need some guidance about money management. Maybe THEY are the ones who erroneously think all PERS are created equal.

PERS lose money--in Oregon, dramatically so. Years of paying into it for many teachers have resulted in almost no net gain.

More simply--there is no pot of gold and no rainbow, contrary to the fantasists that lump teachers in with other State workers.

It is folly and an invitation to corruption for the state to act as the custodian of other people's money.

Earlier legal precedent prohibiting the diminution of rights as to unfunded pension promises somehow got misapplied, by corrupt legislators, to mean that the same applied to stock investment losses, when immunity from suit applies instead.

In someone else's words:

"If the fund suffered such a loss, it is possible that the legislature might think it advisable to reimburse the fund although not legally obliged to do so."

252 Or 507, 524 (1969)


Plaintiffs argue that "a constitutional prohibition intended to protect public moneys from the vagaries of the stock market ought to apply with even greater force to moneys held by the state or its agencies in a fiduciary capacity." This argument is valid only if it can be said that it was the intention of the people in adopting Article XI, § 6 not only to avoid the loss of the state's assets but also to pronounce, in effect, the state's duty as trustee in dealing with the property of others.

We find nothing in the history of the various constitutional provisions in Oregon and elsewhere relating to the investment of state funds or the pledging of the state's credit indicating a concern for any losses other than those which would result in a diminution of state-owned assets. The fact that the fund which the state holds is administered as a part of a law which affects the public at large is not enough to make the fund "public" and thus entitle it to protection. This thought is brought out in Bennett v. State Ind. Ace. Comm., supra, by the adoption of the following quotation from 49 Am Jur 304, 305, States § 92 :
"* * * It seems that the rule which forbids a suit against state officers because in effect a suit against the state applies only where the interest of the state is through some contract or property right, and it is not enough that the state should have a mere interest in the vindication of its laws, or in their enforcement as affecting the public at large or the rights of individuals or corporations; it must be an interest of value in a material sense to the state as a distinct entity.' " 203 Or at 278-29. (Emphasis added.)

252 Or 507, 522-23 (1969)

Steve:"The Business and Civic Leaders in LA get it too!"
I doubt it. Name me one thing they've done to fix it. They can wring their hands all day, but really do they anything?

At least they have written a letter.
Which is more than "our leaders" have done.
It is possible it is just wringing hands and beyond that don't know what they will do.

I found that site interesting as it reminded me of LA's version of Jacks blog.
Sounds like that blog is as upset as many are here in Portland over same matters.

This is what folks get for allowing public employee unions to use dues money to vote lock step Democrat. The votes were made in return for perks and promises to members. Promises that will never even be paid. Help save American, do away with public employee unions.

PERS lose money--in Oregon, dramatically so. Years of paying into it for many teachers have resulted in almost no net gain.

Eco -- Take a look at the PERS handbook online. I think you'll find that you may be operating under a false assumption about PERS benefits. A member's account used to be important if you were going to retire under money match. But the 2003 PERS reforms stopped contributions into members' accounts specifically to reign in money match. It's not surprising that a teacher with 10 years as a PERS member would have a small account -- because the school district would only have made three years of payments, and the last seven would just be market earnings (i.e, not so good). But while that teacher's account is small, he/she STILL will receive the defined benefit (50% of salary for life) after 30 years, or a reduced amount if he/she retires with less than 30 years. Which is why I keep saying it's a great deal.

What are PERS receipients willing to do to help the state

If it's any consolation (and I doubt it is), I would be willing to give up the 6% employer-paid match. I would also be willing to convert future benefits to a defined contribution plan. The 6% would save a lot of money, and the defined contribution plan would make PERS costs more steady by transferring the risk to the public employee. A stock market collapse wouldn't require governments to make up the shortfalls from current year tax revenue.

"I would be willing to give up the 6% employer-paid match."

Great, now we only have to get the other 99% of PERS recipeints to agree. We still have to work out a way to cover the medical insurance you were promised.

"Sounds like that blog is as upset"

That's the problem, we can get Kitz to write a letter when/if he becomes governor (again.) But he'll be like Teddy and Kitz I, he'll just bury stuff, look the other way and hope someone in the future can fix an even bigger shortfall.

We still have to work out a way to cover the medical insurance you were promised.

Current or in retirement? I'm not a state worker, so I already pay a premium share. And yes, it should be higher.

The only retirement health benefit I will get is the option of continuing group coverage -- with me picking up 100% of the premium -- through my employer until age 65 when Medicare kicks in. This is clearly a subsidy, but it's a pretty common one in the private sector.

Pension reform is going to be a NATIONAL issue whether we all like it or not. Way too many cities, counties and states have pension plans that are underwater and not likely to balance income with payments anytime soon. And it is wishful thinking if anyone thinks the Federal government is going to bail any of these pensions out. Also, Allan L. it should be pointed out that inflation won't be here anytime soon. If anything, the housing market and weak commercial real estate markets will be a huge drag on the US economy for years to come. Not to mention, that historically the stock and bond markets have annual increases in the 5% range. Sure the markets have been great in 2009 and 2010 - but you have to balance those returns with the horrid years of 2007 and 2008.

But while that teacher's account is small, he/she STILL will receive the defined benefit (50% of salary for life) after 30 years, or a reduced amount if he/she retires with less than 30 years. Which is why I keep saying it's a great deal.

Miles, I hear you, but that's not exactly how it works. The "guaranteed" benefit at retirement is way more fungible than that excerpt of the handbook states. Also, the majority of teachers retire or move on before 30 years--those actually having a shot at the maximum dice roll of PERS retirement are a minority. In other words, that favorite image of all retired teachers sipping mai-tais in Hawaii while cashing their checks is largely (almost entirely) false.

My main point has always been--PERS is not monolithic amongst recipients, and teachers may be the bottom run on that metaphorical ladder. So, picking on teachers seems to me (and most folks, in truth) like a bully singling out the handicapped kid on the playground to abuse.

The government still uses cash based accounting for budgets, so when you receive data about total compensation, usually if not always the compensation they display for retirement and other benefits is only for required contributions and current payouts. In other words the total compensation likely does not include much of the deferred compensation, or "unfunded liabilities".

Any reader of this blog knows that not including the unfunded portion of a current employee's true expenses is misleading and in many ways a flat out lie.

I am fairly confident that if the true cost of public employees were included into that analysis, the results would be different.

Take for example your property taxes that you just received. Look at the line titled “Fire and Police Pension” imagine how much larger that would be if that fund wasn’t unfunded.

Steve:That's the problem, we can get Kitz to write a letter when/if he becomes governor (again.) But he'll be like Teddy and Kitz I, he'll just bury stuff, look the other way and hope someone in the future can fix an even bigger shortfall.

Agree.
There is far too much looking the other way and hoping that someone in the future can fix . .

In my view, too many people are still in the old way of thinking just a vote will do to keep our country going and that someone "else" will somehow fix . . .
I think we need to see that there is no someone "else" to rescue the situation.

On the local level, there are too many meetings to keep us busy, in my opinion, not productive meetings and many are controlled, subject wise and so forth. . and within the agenda.

I don't know what to do, but I do sense urgency and that we the people need to focus on meeting on our own and conversations about what to do.

clinamen, the "someone else will somehow fix..." is the major problem we have.

Governor Ted knew of discourse that has been belabored on this post 8 years ago. So did past Governor Kitzhaber. That is why we need a change.

I don't know if Dudley will be able to help much, but it is worth the try. With Allan Alley, who really has a grasp of the issues discussed here, helping Dudley, and other advisors, there is a chance. It is better than Kitz's call for "reinventing our revenue sources" which means "more taxes" and a "sales tax".

My main point has always been--PERS is not monolithic amongst recipients, and teachers may be the bottom run on that metaphorical ladder.

Amen to that. Personally, I would double teacher pay (with some added accountability, of course) and pick from the top 5% of graduates.

Average PERS monthly benefits are in the mid $2,000s. So that's about $30,000 a year -- certainly not enough to sip mai tais in Hawaii. Maybe the real story here is that $30,000 is generous compared to average private sector pensions, which says something pretty awful about the private sector.

Great discussion! Did I miss the part about how we will actually come up with the money? This is the only reason I can think of to vote for Dudley -- he wouldn't have much to lose by getting tough with public employes. Too bad it is not enough to offset all his other faults.

Don't expect Dudley to take the PERS investment pot, PERF, and return it to the non-state owners to invest on their own.

Before 2003 the OIC was forced to use third-party investment professionals. (That alone is a big pile of arbitrariness right there.)

ORS 293.736 (1) specifies the investment duties of the "investment officer" (State Treasurer), which is qualified by ORS 293.736 (2), as follows :
"(2) The investment officer may not perform functions specified in subsection (1) of this section with respect to investment in common stock of moneys in the Public Employes' Retirement Fund or Industrial Accident Fund. Those functions with respect to that investment may be performed only by persons contracted with by the council as provided in ORS 293.741."
ORS 293.741 provides, in part, that:
"The council may enter into contracts with one or more persons whom the council determines to be qualified, whereby the persons undertake, in lieu of the investment officer, to perform the functions specified in ORS 293.736 to the extent provided in the contract. * * * '"

Lifted from 252 Or at 510.

Today the choice between direct investments by the OIC or use of third party so-called professionals appears wholly arbitrary, to be resolved politically and without any standard for any judge to apply.

Let's not forget that the proceeds for the potential TPG purchase of PGE was derived from the 2 billion dollar bond sale that was rationalized by the so-called liability noted for the Pension Obligation Bonds. No release from liability was ever obtained from the supposed obligee, so as to fully dispose of that claimed liability. It just grew the pot, the money sand box. TPG, and the like, like big pots of cash from political scoundrels just as much as from apolitical folks.

Expect Dudley to be a complete dud, on the accountability front.


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In Vino Veritas

Chloe, Pinot Grigio, Valdadige 2013
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir 2013
Kirkland, Pinot Grigio, Friuli 2013
St. Francis, Red Splash 2011
Rodney Strong, Canernet, Alexander Valley 2011
Erath, Pinot Blanc 2013
Taylor Fladgate, Porto 2007
Portuga, Rose 2013
Domaine Digioia-Royer, Chambolle-Musigny, Vielles Vignes Les Premieres 2008
Locations, F Red Blend
El Perro Verde, Rueda 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red 2
If You See Kay, Red 2011
Turnbull, Old Bull Red 2010
Cherry Tart, Cherry Pie Pinot Noir 2012
Trader Joe's Grand Reserve Cabernet, Oakville 2012
Benton Lane, Pinot Gris 2012
Campo Viejo, Rioja, Reserva 2008
Haden Fig, Pinot Noir 2012
Pendulum Red 2011
Vina Real, Plata, Crianza Rioja 2009
Edmunds St. John, Bone/Jolly, Gamay Noir Rose 2013
Bookwalter, Subplot No. 26
Ayna, Tempranillo 2011
Pete's Mountain, Pinot Noir, Haley's Block 2010
Apaltagua, Reserva Camenere 2012
Lugana, San Benedetto 2012
Argyle Brut 2007
Wildewood Pinot Gris 2012
Anciano, Tempranillo Reserva 2007
Santa Rita, Reserva Cabernet 2009
Casone, Toscana 2008
Fonseca Porto, Bin No. 27
Louis Jadot, Pouilly-Fuissé 2011
Trader Joe's, Grower's Reserve Pinot Noir 2012
Zenato, Lugana San Benedetto 2012
Vintjs, Cabernet 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White 2012
Rainstorm, Oregon Pinot Gris 2012
Silver Palm, North Coast Cabernet 2011
Andrew Rich, Gewurtztraminer 2008
Rodney Strong, Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Canoe Ridge, Pinot Gris, Expedition 2012
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Gamay Noir Rose 2012
Dark Horse, Big Red Blend No. 01A
Elk Cove, Pinot Noir Rose 2012
Fletcher, Shiraz 2010
Picollo, Gavi 2011
Domaine Eugene Carrel, Jongieux 2012
Eyrie, Pinot Blanc 2010
Atticus, Pinot Noir 2010
Walter Scott, Pinot Noir, Holstein 2011
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
Coppola, Sofia Rose 2012
Joel Gott, 851 Cabernet 2010
Pol Roget Reserve Sparkling Wine
Mount Eden Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains 2009
Rombauer Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2011
Beringer, Chardonnay, Napa Reserve 2011
Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Schloss Vollrads, Spaetlese Rheingau 2010
Belle Glos, Pinot Noir, Clark & Telephone 2010
WillaKenzie, Pinot Noir, Estate Cuvee 2010
Blackbird Vineyards, Arise, Red 2010
Chauteau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005
Northstar, Merlot 2008
Feather, Cabernet 2007
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Alexander Valley 2002
Silver Oak, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2002
Trader Joe's, Chardonnay, Grower's Reserve 2012
Silver Palm, Cabernet, North Coast 2010
Shingleback, Cabernet, Davey Estate 2010
E. Guigal, Cotes du Rhone 2009
Santa Margherita, Pinot Grigio 2011
Alamos, Cabernet 2011
Cousino Macul, Cabernet, Anitguas Reservas 2009
Dreaming Tree Cabernet 2010
1967, Toscana 2009
Charamba, Douro 2008
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Horse Heaven Hills, Cabernet 2010
Lorelle, Horse Heaven Hills Pinot Grigio 2011
Avignonesi, Montepulciano 2004
Lorelle, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2007
Mercedes Eguren, Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Lorelle, Columbia Valley Cabernet 2011
Purple Moon, Merlot 2011
Purple Moon, Chardonnnay 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend No. 12
Opula Red Blend 2010
Liberte, Pinot Noir 2010
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Red Blend 2010
Woodbridge, Chardonnay 2011
King Estate, Pinot Noir 2011
Famille Perrin, Cotes du Rhone Villages 2010
Columbia Crest, Les Chevaux Red 2010
14 Hands, Hot to Trot White Blend

The Occasional Book

Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 382
At this date last year: 241
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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