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Fairness in pension benefits

August 11, 2009

Re "Amid the cutbacks, pensions soaring," Aug. 9

I'm a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power retiree whose retirement benefits don't come anywhere near what the folks on your list are making, but I am at a loss to understand the purpose of your article other than to incite public outrage. By comparison, over the last two years, hundreds of high-profile private-sector CEOs made personal fortunes while running their companies into the ground, destroying the lives and pensions of their employees and investors.

While setting caps on public-employee compensation and pensions is an option in these hard economic times, in the interest of fairness, the same limits must be imposed on the private sector when its managers do not perform.

William O. Straub

Pasadena

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Kudos to The Times for covering this issue. Please continue such reporting until this issue gets resolved such that when you go from union to management, your pension gets calculated as though you had retired from the union job at that point.

No pension benefits should be accrued during a career in management. Hence, managers who never worked in a union should not get a city pension plan at all; they should only have 401(k)- and IRA-style accounts.

In America, public employees enjoy far more job security than private-sector employees; they should therefore have lower pay and equal benefits, meaning no pension and no post-retirement healthcare benefits unless they are police officers, firefighters or prison guards. Of course, public employees without pension and post-retirement healthcare benefits should be eligible for Social Security and Medicare.

Erik Ridgley

Los Angeles

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