Bell tolls for greedy officials
Steven Greenhut: People always ask me about the best ways to roll back the obscene pay and pensions received by out public servants, er, masters. The whole system is rigged in their favor. Ideas to roll back existing millionaires’ pensions won’t pass court muster and the state’s dominant Democrats refuse to even consider slight roll backs for future employees. Often, the officials doing the negotiating on the public’s behalf receive the benefits themselves. You see how it works.
Well, in the poor city of Bell, outside Los Angeles, city residents were outraged after the Los Angeles Times reported that the city manager makes almost $800K a year and stands to receive a pension worth $30 million. Other top officials receive exorbitant pay and even council members receive big salaries — council is usually a part-time job that pays only a modest honorarium. These greedy folks have plundered their city.
The three worst offenders agreed to resign in the face of angry residents. Even Jerry Brown, the man who legalized public sector unionization and who promises to be a full-on union advocate if he wins election as governor, spoke out against what he referred to as nearly gifts of public funds. He promised an investigation. Obviously, the ever changeable Brown senses a political wind and is making an opportunistic play, but even he can’t avoid it. People are angry.
What the unionistas and Brown folks will want us to believe is that these are aberrations. The Bell situation is, indeed, an extreme situation, but it is not an aberration. The plundering and the rip-offs by those who claim to serving the “public” goes up and down the rungs of the government ladder. The $100,000 pension club is growing by 40 percent a year — and it’s filled with the rank and file. One police officer in San Fran earns more than a half million bucks a year. He is not the chief.
You want change? Show up at your council chambers and at the Legislature. Even the greediest pols cannot escape the wrath of an energized populace.
May 21, 2013