Letters: California’s pension problems


Re “California is no Detroit,” Opinion, Dec. 29

John D.R. Clark’s explanation of the state’s pension problem was easy for even a regular guy like me to understand. He tells us that because of the post-1999 enhanced retirement formula, public employees with 30 years of service can retire with 90% of their salary. He mentions that bankrupt Detroit had no way to meet its pension promises, but that the vast majority of cities and counties in California are not on a path to bankruptcy.


Clark is fair. The blame game gets us nowhere. Clark not only describes the problem our state, cities and counties face, but he also offers suggestions to alter the flow of gravity. But he concludes cynically:

“That is all it would take. If only it weren’t politically unacceptable to both sides.”


California is Detroit. No one can have 90% of their salary upon retirement. The pill is too large to swallow, and we’re choking on it. Investment income, which the enhanced contracts assumed would remain high, is unpredictable.


No one wants more taxes. But talk cuts, and prepare for litigation.

Rich Marcell

San Diego


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