I'm always intrigued reading about the pension issues that confront so many municipalities in California and elsewhere concerning its employees.
I can remember early in my working career that many looked askance at municipal careers because they supposedly paid significantly lower salaries. Well, I guess that isn't quite the way it worked out, as those employees oftentimes managed to earn as much or more than in the private sector.
As noted in the Daily Pilot's recent issue on pensions ("Local cities' pension payment plans draw optimism and doubts," June 30) a retired Costa Mesa firefighter's retirement pension is $156,000 annually. I wonder how much the average private sector retiree is paid?
I loved the quote from the president of the Costa Mesa Firefighters Assn., who stated that firefighters do not receive Social Security, and their pension is the only source of retirement income. Really. Tell that to the millions of those other workers not quite so lucky.
He goes on to say that the Costa Mesa firefighters shared in the city's cost-savings burden during the economic downturn. Wow. They couldn't have taken too much of a haircut based on the current payouts.
I don't mean to beat up on Costa Mesa, as Newport Beach and so many other cities spend lavishly on employee retirements as well. No wonder pensions are in such a world of hurt.
Rohrabacher should challenge Trump’s behavior
On May 27, 2016, during the waning months of the Obama administration, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and USC professor Greg Autry wrote in the Washington Times of an "existential American crisis."
That particular crisis was, in their judgment "… undermining our core values, tearing apart our electorate and threatening our national security."
That was then. Now, under a new Republican administration, Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) feels no compunction to speak out against President Trump's vulgar, irresponsible, reprehensible Twitter attacks. Is there any doubt that Trump is also "… undermining our core values, tearing apart our electorate, and threatening our national security?"
Rohrabacher's moral compass needs to be recalibrated. It appears that his actions are motivated only by a troubling, blind, fealty to partisanship. His constituents deserve better. Sad.
Church group calls for change in justice system
We write as people of faith who are either attendees at, or members of, Irvine United Congregational Church.
Our progressive Christian faith prompts us to express both outrage and heartbreak over the latest miscarriage of justice involving a black man killed by a police officer, in this instance in St. Paul, Minn.
Whether the result is an acquittal, as here, a hung jury, or conviction on a lesser charge, it has proven very difficult for the survivors of these victims to achieve full justice. This episode happened in St. Paul; others have happened in Ferguson, Mo., New York City, Cleveland, Baltimore, Houston. In short, this is a national problem.
Last year, Philando Castile was pulled over for a broken tail light and wound up dead, despite the presence of his girlfriend, pleading for his life, and her 4-year-old child.
Officer Jeronimo Yanez contended that he feared for his life when Castile reached for his identification. Video evidence was inconclusive, and it has proven difficult for juries to go against the word of a police officer. This is particularly true when our laws and a legal system that give law enforcement officers too much latitude in the use of "justifiable" deadly force.
The toll on black life racked up in the last few years should not be the subject of controversy. As Americans we should be able to think of ways to address the problem, ways which respect both the courage needed to be in law enforcement and the sanctity of black life.
Law enforcement should be an ally of citizens that they are charged with protecting and serving, not a mortal threat to some. There is a need for basic reform in the criminal justice system throughout our country.
David A. Smith and 41 members of the Irvine United Congregational Church Advocates for Peace and Justice Ministry