Newspaper Archive of
The Julian News
Julian , California
August 3, 2011     The Julian News
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August 3, 2011

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a local government office and a helpful live person answered the phone? Remember when you could call Public Works about a pothole in the street or a broken drinking fountain at the park, and it would get fixed? Remember when litter along the roadside was regularly cleaned up? 'Despite being nearly the heaviest taxed state, California today does not deliver good value to its taxpayers. Why is that? Where does all the money go? It is axiomatic that a dollar can't be spent twice. If you use it to buy a lottery ticket, you don't have it to buy bread. Government budgeting works the same way. If a city or county spends money on something other than public services, it has less money left for public services, and must cut things like live receptionists, street and park maintenance, and community beautification. For most cities and counties, the biggest category of spending for something other than public services is pensions. An enormous slice of the budget pie is consumed by former government employees who obviously, because they are retiredl no longer provide any service to the public• No one begrudges retirees the pensions they earned while employed. But there are ways that employees, especially management employees, can manipulate the factors used to calculate their pensions so they retire on monthly incomes significantly higher than their salaries were. We believe that the public has a right to know which government employees were "spiking" their pensions, and how they were doing it. Together with the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility, we made requests, under the Public Records Act, for the names of every retiree collecting $100,000 a year or more, along with the exact pension amount, employing agent:y, and calculation worksheet. We obtained this information from many cities and a few counties who provided it voluntarily. By analyzing the information we discovered that many tricks are available to boost one's pension. Take, for example, an employee who retired from the position of "Acting Assistant Manager" whose salary averaged $120,000 a year but who retired with an annual pension of $200,000• He held the position of Acting Assistant Manager for just one August 3, 2011 The Julian News 15 Where Does All the Money Go? by Tim Bittle Remember when you could call year. In fact, all administrative HOMES . CABINS . LAND . RENTALS . PROPERTY MANAGEMENT . VACATION RENTALS level employees in that agency get promoted to Acting Assistant Manager the year they plan to retire, giving them a huge boost in pay that will then be their final year's base salary for pension calculation purposes. During the years of his employment, although he was not paid by the hour, this employee used CTO (compensatory time off for "overtime" worked) in lieu of vacation and sick leave, so that he could accumulate years of "unused" vacation and sick leave. Then, in the year he retired, he cashed it all in, further boosting his final year's compensation. This employee was provided a car until the year he retired, at which point he elected a car allowance instead, increasing his final year's compensation even more. Eight years earlier, just before a promotion became effective, this employee purchased 10 years of (already discounted) extra service credits at the actuarial price for someone holding his old, lower paying, position. Now it appears on the books as though he worked 30 years, instead of the 20 he actually worked, boosting his pension another 50%. As these revelations became public, the cities and counties involved were embarrassed. We began to meet resistance from those cities and counties who had not yet disclosed their pension records. Contra Costa County was the first case we had to litigate. We won in the trial court and the county did not appeal. Despite that victory, Orange County refused our request. We sued again, and won there as well and there was no appeal. Despite these victories, San Diego County refused our request and Sacramento County refused a similar request by the Sacramento Bee newspaper. We won in San Diego, and the Bee won in Sacramento. But this time, both counties appealed. We defended our victory in the San Diego case, and filed a "friend of the court" brief in the Sacramento case. The counties argued that retirees have a right to privacy in the amount of their pensions. We argued that no one has a right to keep secret the payments they receive from public funds. Recently, the courts of appeal in both cases ruled in our favor. In published decisions that apply statewide, the courts held that, not just six-figure pensions, but all pensions are a matter Weekly SUDOKU by Linda Thistle 8 6 9 1 5 4 3 3 7 1 2 85 67 3 4 1 2 6 5 8 4 9 7 5 6 8 1 4 2 9 3 Place a number in the empty boxes in such a way that each row across, each column down and each small 9-box square contains all of the numbers from one to nine. DIFFICULTY THIS WEEK: * * Moderate ** Challenging * ** HOO BOY! © 2011 King Features Synd., Inc. 2019 Main St],¢,,et 70000(,,,Tb5-.tl11 ;11 Panorar00,c V,ew Home on 8.41 acres, 2 garages, 2,756 sq.ft. 6 bdrm/3 bath, Rustic 2 Bd / 1 Bath Home in Kentwood remodeled. $570 IIlandscapedWith separate.28 acregUeStlot, cabinclose Onto JuliannaturallYand $390 ,000 ,000 3 Bdrm/2 Bath on 1.36 acres in lovely Pine easy access$135,000 Hills. Detached office/art studio. Garage, Handicapped Accessible. 4 Redwood Decks. III Julian Estates- 3 bedroom, den, 2 bath, 2 This Cuyamaca¢l.l 7€ Ell/"tlrLake view custom home car garage, 2200 sq. ft., 4.42 acres. Wood in on 4+ acres 3 br, 2be, 3 car garage, Interior, Lodge Feeling. guest suite, 1330 sf bonus room and many REDUCED TO $399,000 custom features $599,000 • p.I.,,ll,VVV Truly custom in Julian Estates, 3 bedroom, I[  3 bath, den, 2 car garage on 6.89 acres. 2 master suites, one handicap accessible. Mature forest plus orchard and horse property. [1[.2.53 level acreage of natural beauty with I1 coy pond surrounds this 3Bd/1 1/2 bath home in Wynola Estates. 1813 s .ft. 3Bd/2Bath, 1703 sq.ft, on 2.51 acres. REDUCED" $ 3 7 5100 Customized 2006 Solar Home in Cuayamaca Woods. Well - 92 gpm. Panoramic Views! Priced at $425,000 Custom home on 8 acres and Great views, easy access, well on property, 2470 sq. ft, 3br/3ba/tcar with gourmet 2 " Idings  896 sq. ft. Upgraded 2br/lba cabin with 2 kitchen workshop and 2 sunrooms, plus RV and a 700 square foot rental  fireplaces and 2 covered patios. 37 Acres. hook-ups for up to 35ft. cabin, li 1 Year-Round Creek REDUCED- $399,900 $499,900 • 11/4.32 acres on Eagle Peak Rd. Septic, Well, Electric, Panoramic Views $175K 3/2.5 acres - Harrison Park, well, electric. $99,900 3/.49 acres - Harrison Park Lot - ready to go! - $30,000 3/5 acres Harrison Park with well & electric. $:1.09K 3/8 acres - Pine Hills -Perc test, Septic Layout & Surveyed. Panoramic views Electric Nearby REDUCED TO $:1.60K and 6.32 acres - Pine Hills - Incredible view lot. Completed Perc Test, Survey and Septic Layout. REDUCED to $175K ' ~ Both lots at a discounted rate of $320K II public record• Citing the strong public interest in knowing how tax dollars are spent, the courts ruled that government must disclose the names, pension amounts, and calculation details of its retired public employees. Tim Bittle is the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association's Director of Legal Affairs. • Experience & the child of Thought, and Thought is the chiM of Action. We cannot learn men from books. -- Benjamin Disraeli ACROSS 1 Safe- cracker 5 Collection 8 Memo acronym 12 Seed coat 13 In favor of 14 Sitarist Shankar 15 Soldierly 17 Radar screen noise 18 Defense grp., 1954-77 19 Mate 21 Gear teeth 24 Illustrations 25 Morse "T" 28 Dryer fluff 30 Rd. 33 -- Khan 34 Tarzan's transporta- tion 35 Carnival city 36 There 37 Mountain goat 38 Blue shade 39 "This- recording" 41 Celebrity 43 Nursery item 46 Labor camp 50 Birthright barterer 51 Pertaining to funds BUT00TRUE • It was 20th-century U.S. Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson who made the following sage observation: "The price of freedom of religion or of speech or of the press is that we must put up with,and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish•" • It's common knowledge that Microsoft founder Bill Gates is regularly ranked as one of the world's wealthiest people, but you might not realize that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the world's wealthiest charitable organization, with an endowment of $36.7 billion. • If you're planning a trip to Iowa anytime soon, you might want to schedule a stop in the town of Walcott. There you can visit the Iowa King Cros:00rord il 1 2 12 i-- 15 18 25 26 33 36 i 6 23 41 52 m 43 44 5O 54 57 54 Swiss city sackful 55 Rage 8 Latticework 56 Despot shelter 57 Emulates 9 Healthful Simon 10 Hertz rival 58 Ball-bearing 11 Prop for item Sherlock 59 Blood (Pref.) 16 As well 20 Butter DOWN servings 1 Thanksgiving 22 Smooth- sides talking 2 Great Lake 23 Trig 3 River to the functions Colorado 25 Rotation 4 Slight snafu duration 5 Resort 26 Past 6 Mess up 27 Very clean 7 Santa's 29 On deck m 10 11 31 32 147 148 49 31 Through 32 A long time 34 Test tube 38 Broken-leg aid 40 Stupefies 42 Candle count 43 CSA soldiers 44 On the briny 45 Send out 47 Lounge about 48 Composer Khachaturian 49 Pita Sandwich 52 Raw mineral 53 Born © 2011 King Features Synd., Inc. 80 Truckstop, the world's largest. With a whopping 220 acres, the truck stop is 1.5 times the size of Disneyland. • In a traditional Hungarian wedding ceremony, the bride wears a headdress made of woven wheat, thought to help ensure the couple's fertility. • Historians say that famed German composer Ludwig van Beethoven was quite particular about his coffee. It is •claimed that he counted out exactly 60 coffee beans for each cup that he drank. • The longest mountain range on Earth is located underwater -- in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, to be specific. It's nearly 25,000 miles long, and the only part of it that's above water is the nation of Iceland. • If you are an American of a certain age, you almost certainly spent time watching the 1960s sitcom "1 Dream of Jeannie." The iconic ,bottle where the genie lived wasn't actually created for the show; the set dressers used a Jim Beam holiday decanter from 1964. Thought for the Day: "It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare." -- Mark Twain © 2011 King Features Syndicate, Inc. The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson Most Affordable Home Markets 1. Niagara Falls, N.Y. 2. Riverdale, Ga. 3. Coolidge, Ariz. / 4. College Park, Ga.// 5. Detroit 6. Hastings, Fla. A 7. Cleveland  8. Lithonia, Ca.  9. Trotwood, Ohio 10. Sioux City, Iowa .... o [mrce- • Coldwell Bafiker II r - I King Crossword - Answers Solution time: 25 mins, Weekly SUDOKU Answer L 9 £ S t 6  I. 8 P L 6 8  £ S 9 L 5 8  9 L I. 1. £ 6 £ 6 17 g g L L  9 g 9 g i. 9 t' 6 Z £ L L 9 6 £ 9 8 ; t' 9  L Z 6 8 £ t, S 8 £ Z 1   9 6 L 6 t  £ L 9 L 8  © 2011 King Features Syndicate, Inc.