October 16, 2012
Re "Riordan targets L.A. city pensions," Oct. 13 As a lawyer, former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan surely knows that a pension benefit is an enforceable contract. He may not like unions, but their members are entitled to the same legal protections as he is. No doubt Riordan would have been furious if the city were to have broken its promise to pay him his salary as mayor and his pension (if he were entitled to it), which is exactly what his measure proposes to do to hardworking city employees.
September 25, 2012 |
Here's something you don't see every day in Los Angeles: a unanimous City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a plan to roll back pension benefits for newly hired civilian workers, despite fierce opposition and a lawsuit threat from organized labor. The plan, which The Times' editorial board endorsed before the vote Tuesday, is considerably less generous than the current offering. It would reduce the maximum benefit by 8%, move back the age for retiring with full benefits 10 years, require workers to cover a higher percentage of the cost of their benefits, reduce cost-of-living adjustments and deny retiree health benefits to spouses and other dependents, among other cost-saving features.
September 23, 2012 |
There are a couple of assumptions guiding much of the civic conversation about public employee pension reform: first, that organized labor would fight any reform tooth and nail; and second, that labor's strong presence in Los Angeles would doom such measures to defeat. I'm starting to doubt both of those assumptions, having talked at length to former Mayor Richard Riordan about some of his ideas for dramatically altering city pensions. Riordan is gearing up to put a pension reform proposal before L.A. voters.
July 22, 2012 |
When members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists voted to merge earlier this year, they did so with the long-term goal of combining their pension and health plans. On Sunday, the SAG-AFTRA board of directors took a step in that direction. They voted overwhelmingly to urge trustees of the unions' still separate pension and health plans to begin meetings to discuss how to create single health and retirement plans for members of the newly formed union.
July 14, 2012 |
A plan to seize and restructure troubled mortgages using eminent domain in San Bernardino County is under assault by investor groups, which call it unconstitutional and potentially costly to homeowners. The cities of Ontario and Fontana, in partnership with the county, are exploring using private funds to acquire mortgages that are "underwater," where the homes wouldn't sell for enough money to pay off the loans. Under the Homeownership Protection Program, the loans acquired by government authority would be restructured, lowering the amount owed, with the intent of helping the owner keep the home.
June 25, 2012 |
The Government Accounting Standards Board doesn't have as much throw-weight in Sacramento as the public employee unions when it comes to pension reform. But the new rules the board approved Monday should make Democrats in the Legislature a lot more receptive to Gov. Jerry Brown's reform proposals than they have been. The rules overhaul how public pension funds report on their financial health, requiring employers (i.e., local governments) to recognize costs earlier and, in certain cases, make more conservative projections of future fund earnings.
June 12, 2012 |
Countries with public pension programs should gradually increase their retirement ages to delay withdrawals by workers who are enjoying longer life spans, according to the international policy group Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Pensions are increasingly expensive for governments partly because retirees from the huge baby boomer generation, with longer life expectancies, are starting to take their pensions. “Breaking down the barriers that stop older people from working beyond traditional retirement ages will be a necessity to ensure that our children and grandchildren can enjoy an adequate pension at the end of their working life,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said.
May 31, 2012 |
The state Senate approved a bill this week by Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) that would create a state-run, privately insured pension plan for workers in companies that don't offer retirement benefits. The Times' editorial board endorsed the idea Thursday, on the condition that the plan could live up to the bill's promise of imposing no costs or risks on taxpayers over the long term. The editorial skimmed over a couple of important points, though. To maximize participation, the pension plan would be designed as an opt-out (people would be enrolled unless they told their employer not to include them)
April 14, 2012 |
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and the major studios have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract that averts a potential showdown. The so-called basic agreement covers about 35,000 members who belong to IATSE's Hollywood locals and includes camera operators, set decorators, grips and others who work behind the scenes on movies and TV shows. Under the proposed deal reached late last night, IATSE members would receive a 2% annual wage increase over three years — in line with raises negotiated by other entertainment unions.