Some of My Thoughts on “Pension Reform”

OK, my bad, Yes.  I don’t like and seldom email or post on the political stuff.  I promise to resist for a long time, but I had to go there this one time.

I AM A PUBLIC EMPLOYEE.  I am not the enemy.  I am a cop, a firefighter, a teacher, a nurse, a social worker.  I keep you healthy and safe.  I educate your children.  I help those among us who need it most.  I did not cause the economic problems we have today.  I did not crash the economy with “credit default swaps” and “unregulated derivatives”.  I did not accept bailout money and then give myself a multi-million dollar bonus.  I get up in the morning and go to work.  I live within my means and pay my bills.  I AM NOT THE ENEMY!

To Wit:

Thanks to Keith M., my longtime friend, for the forward, and his life-long professional efforts. Thanks to my many dispatch, firefighting, nursing, police, and other friends who labored in a dangerous and thankless job for 20-30 years, kept around by wages that slowly got better, but remain far below those of friends and neighbors selling computer widgets around the world who can walk across the street and barter for more money as they please.  Thanks to my son, Richard, too, and all that labor in the ever under-appreciated and picked apart career of teaching.  Nice retirements we got in public safety work – yes, but fiscally mismanaged over and over of late by our bean counters, then further impacted by the worst economy in decades that has brought SO many things down – retirement funds not the least of them.  But, necessary retirement packages to keep us doing the crap we did for so long–with no bonuses for our great work, no limo rides to the airport to go on deductible seminars and meetings at fine restaurants, and no stock options offered for our endeavors or any of the lives we saved or powerfully impacted.  In all these serve-the-public jobs:  Kids & patients spit on us, fires seared us, criminals assaulted or shot at us, and media tried to hang us for every little slip that overlooked the 1000+ other times we performed perfectly. God Bless the public employees who serve you!

Oh yeah, one more great quote from a friend and former SJPD officer, unhappily retired out from injury on the job:   Regarding police and rescuers in the Colorado Movie Theatre Shooting in July, 2012:  “70 people shot. When everyone else was running OUT, these folks were running IN.  So my question to you is: How do you think that will affect them for the rest of their lives – their health, their families, their fortitude to persevere in their jobs?  AND, …SO HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK THEIR PENSION SHOULD BE??”

(I don’t remember the last time anybody told me about the plumber at $85 an hour, the car mechanic at $125 and hour, the software analyst making $150k a year, or the many others complaining suddenly, when they last put their life on the line, rushed into a burning building to make a sale, helped keep a kid in school and steered him away from drugs, or attended to a dying client every day for a month or three to help close a deal or seal a contract)

Is life, the economy, and the MULTIPLE ways and people who got us here lousy and unfair?  You bet, but where should we really be focusing our strongest efforts to fix this mess?  I for one of many would argue that one of the last efforts should be scapegoating a selective group of special professionals that go above and beyond for the safety and betterment of all of our lives….

Cut and paste the address below to your web address line to see how all of this has impacted the police profession in San Jose, CA, the personal lives of the officers, and the safety of the nation’s 10th largest city.  Cut their wages, double their retirement deductions, increase the cost of all benefits, stifle any option for keeping up with inflation, and then convince them to stay around how?!?


‘Till Next Time….