December 1, 2012
Re "AMC to wine and dine moviegoers," Business, Nov. 29 This is a dreadful idea. Servers dressed in black crossing between me and the screen? No thanks. Servers "quietly" punching in orders on electronic tablets, which most likely light up? Nuh-uh. Spending half a movie looking down in the dark trying to stab a fork into the expensive food? Please. Whatever happened to just watching the film? Dale Phillips Los Angeles ALSO: Letters on letters: No room for the Nativity Letters: Pension reform without an election Letters: More education makes better teachers
December 1, 2012
Re "A road map for L.A. Unified," Editorial, Nov. 28 The Times refers to a recent study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that determined that teachers without advanced degrees are as effective as those who have them. Really? In my 16 years of teaching at a public high school, I have noticed that teachers who have advanced degrees in their field are better advocates for their programs and more apt to assume leadership positions. This probably has something to do with conducting one's own research and defending a thesis before a professional committee.
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.
November 26, 2012 |
Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan's push for a May ballot measure to cut pension benefits of city employees abruptly collapsed Monday, with a spokesman saying Riordan had suspended signature-gathering efforts. Riordan's Save Los Angeles campaign had hoped to gather 300,000 signatures by Dec. 28 for a measure that would cut the pension benefits of existing employees and require new city workers to rely on a 401(k)-style retirement plan. But according to a statement from spokesman John Schwada, "Riordan recently concluded that the Dec. 28 deadline cannot be met. " The statement said Riordan would explore other options "to accomplish the goal of pension reform.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 26, 2012 |
Despite raucous protests and threats of a lawsuit from labor unions, the Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to roll back pension benefits and boost the retirement age to 65 for new civilian employees. The 14-0 vote represented a major victory for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has been pushing pension reform for months in the face of criticism from labor leaders who have compared him to Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor who has battled unions for much of his first term. Passage of the plan was shepherded by council President Herb Wesson, who told the rowdy crowd of union members that the pension changes were unavoidable.
September 25, 2012 |
A group that represents 18,000 employees at Los Angeles City Hall warned Tuesday it will sue if the City Council enacts a plan to roll back pension benefits and boost the retirement age to 65. With the pension plan up for a vote Tuesday, lawyers for the Coalition of L.A. City Unions sent a letter to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa threatening a lawsuit and warning the reductions in retirement benefits will cause "irreparable harm. " Hundreds of city employees have scheduled a morning rally at City Hall, where they plan to argue that Villaraigosa and the City Council have launched an attack on unions similar to those waged in Wisconsin, where Republican Gov. Scott Walker has battled unions for much of his first term.
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.
September 4, 2012
Re "Brown's pension plan no panacea," News Analysis, Aug. 30 Although you admit that Gov. Jerry Brown's pension reforms will save billions, your analysis supports going much further because of "runaway" pension costs. But the numbers that your experts cite are vastly exaggerated. They reject public pension accounting standards and are instead based on "market values," what a fund would get if all its assets were immediately sold - which no fund would or could do. Others advocate reducing assumptions to discount bank rates.
August 29, 2012
Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled the outlines of a public employee pension reform bill Tuesday that's a step back in some notable ways from the 12-point plan he laid out last October. The measure, which top Democrats will try to rush through the Legislature this week, would do nothing about rapidly rising retiree healthcare costs, and it abandons Brown's proposal to restructure retirement pay for new employees. Yet it would still make badly needed changes to shore up pension funds, help cities struggling with outsize costs and curb abuses in the system.
August 29, 2012 |
In a corny old movie, they'd illustrate this bit with pages flying off a calendar: Antonio Villaraigosa has about 10 months left as mayor of Los Angeles, and although his name is bruited about for higher office, City Hall is where he says wants to be. Not that that will keep him from presiding as chairman of the Democratic convention next week in North Carolina, checking out the competition in Florida this week and campaigning for President Obama....