To the editor: It strikes me as simply wrong to make millionaires out of Los Angeles cops and firefighters when we have a housing and homelessness crisis.
It was wrong in the first place for retired police officers and firefighters to draw almost all of their already very good salaries in retirement pensions (most of us get a fraction of that, if we have pensions at all); but to continue the DROP program, which pays experienced public safety workers both their salaries and their pensions for the last five years of their careers, against the advice of the previous city manager, is much worse.
After the Los Angeles Times exposed the lavish payouts of this program earlier this year, I assumed city leaders would have done what other cities did: End the boondoggle. Instead, their greed for the sure support of unions is greater then their respect for taxpayers.
Louise Bianco, Tarzana
To the editor: I agree that police officers and firefighters have dangerous jobs, but the amount of pension money some cities pay them is not reflective of prudent financial practices.
Los Angeles should simply cap retirement payouts at the $220,000 set by the federal government for pension plans. All the funny business related to the DROP program should result in annual benefits exceeding that amount.
This reflects terribly on Mayor Eric Garcetti, since he has a responsibility to the citizens of Los Angeles to address this quickly. This is just the tip of the pension crisis, and it is not just the city level where this needs to be addressed.
Gavin Newsom will have similar insolvency issues at the state level when he takes over as governor on Jan. 7. The retirement age for all public employees needs to be pushed back, and the beneficiaries need to fund their pensions with a greater portion of their pay.
Bill Spear, Fountain Valley
To the editor: Garcetti has lost my vote for any higher office he may seek.
If he will sell out Los Angeles in order to pad the pensions of his police and fire department supporters, I would not want to give him the same opportunity to do the same to California or the nation.
B.J. Merholz, Los Angeles