Voice of Our Commentators

Here is another roundup of some of the most thought-provoking reader comments of the week. Click on each topic’s headline to see the article in question. Comments are selected by our editors and subject to editing for grammar, spelling, clarity and length.

Pension Hypocracy

For 17 years [Supervisor John] Moorlach has filled out the form to “elect” to take the Orange County defined benefit pension and now has approximately a $100,000 annual pension he will collect every year for the rest of his life, along with lifetime healthcare. The estimated value of Moorlach’s pension is in excess of $2 million.

[Supervisor] Pat Bates never took the pension and has never been a hypocrite on this issue.

The problem with pensions are the Republicans in name only, who talk big as fiscal conservatives but surreptitiously take the money when the press gives them a free pass.

— Truevoice / June 27

I think anyone would begrudge someone a retirement who has made his career trying to destroy retirements. Sounds hypocritical to me.

— Chillinintheoc / June 27

Classic. Autoblame the unions for all of the problems of the world.

When you say “concessions,” do you mean the giant restructuring of the retiree health care plan that the Orange County Employees Association did a few years ago that saved the county billions of dollars? Or was it when OCEA tied their salaries to the private sector? Or was it when OCEA picked up 100% of their portion of the pension enhancement? Or was it the negotiation of the first ever hybrid pension system in the history of the nation?

The real concessions have to come first out of the leadership of the county. I don’t think that the unions are unwilling to help in creating savings for the county, however it is really hard to do that when the guy calling for your pension is somebody who has the most generous taxpayer benefit in the history of the county.

Leaders must first start with themselves? OCEA employees have been making concessions for over a decade, while Moorlach has only been spiking his own pension at your cost.

Don’t buy the hype. Most county employees have been doing their share while executives, managers and contractors have been pulling dump trucks of money out of the back door of the county.

— NotSorryForMe / June 27

What a hypocrite. Let’s attack the workers, and then when questioned about his own retirement, he says officials told him he could not opt out. What a crock of bologna. I mean if this guy showed one ounce of leadership by example, then maybe he would have some credibility, but his actions obviously do not match his words.

— Pnator / June 26

I don’t begrudge him “some type of retirement.” Just pay your fair share like the rest of us do. Walk the walk. We pay way more for our pensions than people put in for Social Security. I know. I worked many years in private industry.

— Bottomline / June 26

[Moorlach said:] “When it comes to paying my portion, if we’re successful in our negotiations with management to pay theirs, I’m happy to pay mine. No better, no worse. When everybody moves, I’m moving with them.”

The rank-and-file employees are paying their portion. They make up the biggest group of employees. Why must Mr. Moorlach wait for the managers and the executives? He could, and should, do the right thing now.

— LadeedaLadeeda / June 26

This is mostly a negotiation by media process, with Mr. Moorlach apparently threatening to go nuclear as a negotiation technique.

A degree of pension reform is needed, however. Hopefully the state Legislature will come up with a reform package in the next 60 days that will enable the state, counties and cities to offer a cash-balance type retirement program that is more affordable to employees and employers and is structured to eliminate perceived abuses.

In the meantime, please consider the possibility that the real agenda behind the nationwide push to constrain or eliminate public sector pensions just could be a goal of diluting or crippling the power of public sector unions. The pension issue may be a tool to that end.

Whether or not an effort to curtail public sector union power is warranted is a topic for another discussion.

— Retiree / June 26

Toll Lanes on I-405

This is, in fact, a major change in the capital improvement projects approved by the voters when they approved Measure M, where the word “freeway” appeared more than 150 times while we never saw the words “toll,” “toll road,” “express lane,” “toll lane” or “HOT lane.”

And when you actually look at the revenue projected over time by Stantec, the toll road revenue consultant, you can see that this project is not merely a switch of money from one project to another but instead an enterprise designed to produce hundreds of millions of additional dollars for Orange County Transportation Authority to spend any way that they want, without the voter oversight promised when we passed Measure M.

OCTA wants a gigantic slush fund to pay for things like “Pulido’s Folly,” the quarter-billion-dollar trolley project from Santa Ana to Garden Grove.

The voters may think that’s a good idea, but let’s ask them.

No vote, no tolls.

— Moonunit / June 27

Government is not a business and should not require a revenue generator.  And we see how the toll roads are working out for the county as they generate revenue for the businesses that actually run the road, not the county itself.

Measure M2 is a tax specifically for the building and maintenance of roads. Those funds should be used to maximize the use of the roads for vehicles.

Is even another carpool lane wise? Has a study been done in that part of the freeway to determine that carpool needs are not being met? These are the questions the board should be asking.

— Keepdapeace / June 27

Fixing Up the President’s House at Cal State Fullerton

The biggest role that university presidents play these days — increasingly in public universities, too — is that of fundraiser. In my experience, university presidents’ residences are less about housing and more about entertaining big donors and prospective new donors.

Even if Mildred Garcia, president of Cal State Fullerton, opted to use public transportation, she’s going to have to schlep around OC and beyond — and she’ll need a car for that.

I don’t feel I know enough about her or her other duties at Cal State Fullerton, but I can tell you that they have grown an increasingly important fundraising machine there, and the more she is bringing in new money to support the school during these tough state budget times the better.

— Rick Stein / June 28

No one whose employment is paid by the taxpayer should be paid more than the governor, who is the chief executive for the whole state and who earns about $165,000.

It is unconscionable to have excessive pay when the state is facing fiscal bankruptcy and key services are being cut.

— Francisco Barragan / June 28

Does the Anaheim City Council Need More Minorities?

I think the ACLU is being racist and divisive here. To suggest that you need to be a certain ethnicity or race to be in a position of leadership is simply divisive and ridiculous.

While it may be prudent to select candidates from other geographic areas of the city — and ward elections could resolve that — this is nothing more than racist-ethnic propaganda to try to frame this as a Latino issue.

— Al Simmons / June 26

I think splitting the city up into districts is a great idea. Then it would be easier for individuals of higher character to run for office, since the burden of funding would be alleviated somewhat. At the moment only the elite get elected.

— SaveAnaheim / June 26

Punishing the Mayor

Mishal Montgomery [Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait’s part-time assistant] works longer hours than most at City Hall and has to put up with more B.S. than most department heads. The idea that the job can be done within 30 hours a week is nuts. We need to calculate how many hours are really worked in that position and then compensate accordingly.

On the other hand, I had no idea the assistants were making that much scratch. [The council had allotted $100,000 for the position.]

What bugs me is the idea that the council could not find $40,000 [to fund a library program] anywhere other than one staffer’s paycheck. I’m not buying it.

I don’t want to believe my elected leaders are this petty and retaliatory, but I am not left with much choice anymore. How sad that people who once essentially ran together on a solid ticket have become so divisive.

If the intent is not to personally attack one another, then I would encourage the current council majority to think long and hard about their actions, because it is certainly coming across to the public as if these recent actions are retaliatory.

Time to take a step back and rethink the direction Anaheim is heading in. Please.

— Cynthia Ward / June 23

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