If Supervisor Peter Foy had his way, voters would have to approve any pension increase for county employees. According to one union member, having a say in the out-of-control pension system is a "waste":
"The voters voted for him to make this decision, and now he's going to put it back on the voters," she said. "I think it's a waste of taxpayer money."
That sounds like something the officials of Bell would say to a proposal to let the public decide if they should get a salary increase. Does the union member think that putting that on the ballot would lose Bell money? Hardly.
A major problem of pensions is that they are constructed as defined benefit pensions rather than defined contributions. If a pension is supposed to earn 8 percent annually, for example, and the stock market tanks, the taxpayer is on the hook for that 8 percent increase.
Does that sound like your pension, oh you of the private sector? That system is bleeding our government dry of public funds.
While I'm not convinced that voters won't fall under the same union spell that's placed California on the verge of bankruptcy (e.g. fattening education workers' wallets to "help our kids"), it's a step in the right direction.
With Simi and Ventura seemingly stuck with paying partially for the retirement of the Bell officials, that experience hopefully will spur local interest in general pension reform proposals like that of Supervisor Foy's.