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Pension Reform

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OPINION
December 1, 2012
Re "Riordan drops plan for pensions," Nov. 27 Los Angeles desperately needs to reform its public employee retirement system, with or without former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan's ballot measure. Riordan and the public employee union leaders who trashed his proposal agree on one point: A financial analysis is needed before a proposal is submitted to voters. Great idea. Let's do it. We can assemble the brainpower from L.A.'s world-class universities, think tanks and consulting firms to give voters the facts about city employee salaries and benefits and how they compare to those paid by other large employers.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
January 14, 2014 | By Joseph Tanfani
TRENTON, N.J. -- Admitting mistakes even as he laid out ambitious plans to improve schools and reform criminal justice, Gov. Chris Christie tried to restart his political agenda Tuesday in the middle of the swirling scandal over the George Washington Bridge. The Republican governor opened his annual State of the State speech by repeating his apology for his aides' role in ordering closed several access lanes leading to the bridge. The move last September snarled traffic for four days in Fort Lee, where the Democratic mayor had failed to endorse Christie's November reelection.
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OPINION
July 1, 2012
Re "Put pension reform on the ballot," Opinion, June 26 Marcia Fritz asks voters to require that future public employees in California "share the risks associated with their [pension] plans with taxpayers. " Fritz doesn't mention that shifting from traditional pensions to 401(k) plans has utterly destroyed pension security for private sector workers. In a June 2010 article, Reuters columnist Mark Miller wrote that a Federal Reserve survey found that the net worth for the median American family fell nearly 40% in the three-year period ending 2010, and that the Employee Benefit Research Institute says that 60% of households tell it that their savings and investments (excluding home values)
NEWS
January 7, 2014 | By Kerry Cavanaugh
Let the California public employee pension war of 2014 begin. On Monday, state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris released the ballot title and summary for San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed's pension initiative, which would allow government agencies to negotiate changes to current employees' future retirement benefits. He's now free to poll on the language and begin collecting the signatures needed to put in on the ballot. Advocates on both sides of the pension debate have been waiting for Harris' title and summary because those 100 or so words can make or break an initiative.
OPINION
January 18, 2011 | Marcia Fritz
Just since Christmas, we've learned that San Francisco's retiree health plan is $4.4 billion in the red, that Santa Clara County's fire chief will collect a hefty government paycheck on top of his $200,000 annual government pension, and that UC's latest tuition increase will go mostly to pension debt even as UC's highest-paid executives are threatening to sue for more benefits. Retirement scandals are as common as weather reports, and voters are fed up. Gov. Jerry Brown's commitment to make the tough decisions required for the long-term health of California presents the perfect opportunity to reform the state's public pension systems, but his proposed budget solutions do not include any significant changes in this crucial area.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 16, 2013 | By Christine Mai-Duc
The city of Long Beach is announcing that it has achieved pension changes for all city employees after reaching a tentative agreement that asks four of the city's bargaining units to increase the amount employees pay into their retirements. The contracts represent the final piece of nearly three years of negotiations with nine unions that sought to lower pension costs as the city struggled financially. Since 2007, the city has eliminated 786 positions and slashed $134 million from its general fund.
NEWS
September 4, 2013 | By Jon Healey
Transit unions won the first round in their battle with Sacramento over Gov. Jerry Brown's pension reforms. But under a deal negotiated between Brown and the U.S. Department of Labor, which sided with the unions, their victory may be only a temporary one. At issue is whether the 1964 Urban Mass Transportation Act shields unionized bus and commuter rail workers -- current and future -- from the changes in public employee pensions enacted by...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 19, 2010 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
With Los Angeles facing a $320-million budget shortfall next year, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa backed on Monday what he termed a "landmark proposal" to reform "out of control" pension costs and retiree health benefits for newly hired city police officers and firefighters. "The days of unsustainable pensions are over," Villaraigosa declared at a City Hall press conference, accompanied by City Controller Wendy Greuel and Miguel Santana, the city administrative officer. "The era of free healthcare is over.
BUSINESS
April 28, 2004 | Marla Dickerson, Times Staff Writer
Latin America is a recognized leader in social security reform. But lately the golden years there have been anything but. Federal employees across Mexico have staged massive demonstrations to challenge government efforts to ax their pension benefits. Leaders in Brazil and Argentina are under fire from workers angered by cutbacks in their retirement funds. These frictions are cautionary tales for the U.S. as it struggles to fix its stressed Social Security system.
BUSINESS
March 31, 2002 | KATHY M. KRISTOF, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Two approaches to 401(k) reform are emerging from Congress after months of hearings spurred by the Enron Corp. debacle, which saw thousands of workers lose the bulk of their retirement savings when the energy trader filed for bankruptcy protection. One proposal, which could be voted on by the House next month, encourages more disclosure and investment advice to workers with 401(k) retirement plans.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 16, 2013 | By Christine Mai-Duc
The city of Long Beach is announcing that it has achieved pension changes for all city employees after reaching a tentative agreement that asks four of the city's bargaining units to increase the amount employees pay into their retirements. The contracts represent the final piece of nearly three years of negotiations with nine unions that sought to lower pension costs as the city struggled financially. Since 2007, the city has eliminated 786 positions and slashed $134 million from its general fund.
NEWS
September 4, 2013 | By Jon Healey
Transit unions won the first round in their battle with Sacramento over Gov. Jerry Brown's pension reforms. But under a deal negotiated between Brown and the U.S. Department of Labor, which sided with the unions, their victory may be only a temporary one. At issue is whether the 1964 Urban Mass Transportation Act shields unionized bus and commuter rail workers -- current and future -- from the changes in public employee pensions enacted by...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 7, 2013 | By Dan Weikel
The federal government is withholding about $2 billion from transit agencies across California, including $268 million earmarked for bus, rail and street projects at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The money has been held back since December because the U.S. Department of Labor contends that a new state pension law violates the Federal Transit Act in the way it treats unionized workers of transportation agencies. Labor officials say changes in retirement benefits contained in the reform law undermine the collective bargaining rights of transit workers.
NATIONAL
August 3, 2013 | By Richard Simon
CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. - Paul St. George worked 19 years as a firefighter, sometimes running into burning buildings for rescues. Once, he was injured when a wall fell on him. For his service, he counted on a promised $36,000-a-year pension. But in August 2011, this small city - with an $80-million unfunded pension, and retiree health benefit liability five times annual revenues - filed for bankruptcy. St. George's pension was slashed to $24,000. Pensions for other retired city workers also were drastically cut, even after retired firefighters and police officers pleaded, saying they had risked their lives for the city.
OPINION
July 9, 2013 | Patt Morrison
Joel Wachs hasn't been an Angeleno for a dozen years, but he still has his key to the city. And he feels its political tremors. L.A., where he made his political bones on the City Council, has just sworn in a new mayor - a brass ring he tried three times to grab. Only three other men served longer on the City Council than Wachs, but after 30 years as that rare political creature - a social liberal and fiscal conservative - he moved east in 2001, to head the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
BUSINESS
May 27, 2013 | By Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times
The municipal-debt market has always rested on a simple notion - that local governments would do whatever they must to repay borrowed money. Cities wouldn't want to default on their bonds, some of which are owned by their own citizens. And they wouldn't want to alienate Wall Street, which finances many of their civic projects. The bankruptcies of Stockton and San Bernardino have shaken the decades-old faith in that premise, and turned the California cities into closely watched test cases for how municipalities grapple with deep-rooted financial problems.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 21, 2013 | By Anna Gorman, Los Angeles Times
Respiratory therapists, nursing aides, surgical technicians and other patient care workers plan to stage a walkout starting Tuesday morning at five University of California medical centers. More than 12,000 workers from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are expected to participate in the two-day strike over staffing, pay and pension reform, union officials said. An additional 3,400 workers from the University Professional and Technical Employees union plan a one-day sympathy strike.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 6, 2013 | By James Rainey and Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times
Despite bitter attacks in recent weeks, the two candidates for mayor of Los Angeles grudgingly conceded in a debate Sunday night that their rival was (mostly) honest and not so different on many of the plans they have for leading the city. That didn't mean City Councilman Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel didn't find plenty of opportunity for attacks on each other's trustworthiness and independence. But they also laid out records that they said made them most qualified to replace Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is leaving office June 30 after serving the maximum two terms.
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