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Jeremy Rozansky
What Austerity Looks Like « Back to Story

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So the police and fire are essential offering "protection" the same way and the same reasons the mob does.
Here's a "real and serious warning", in the San Francisco Bay Area the Cities have taken up "Zoning Fraud" in order to maintain insane government salaries and profligate pensions. They use a Con called "Design Review" to bilk unwary taxpayers. The Con is simple, the City Planners act as though they have power over a remodel or any additions, but by trick put you through Subdivision "Site Plan-Design Review" and scam you for illegal zoning fees, street fees, school facilities fees, etc.,- A corrupt Scandal!
So when I pull your bloody body out of a burning vehicle, or I risk my life to save your child in a burning house? When I psychically make your grandmothers heartbeat so you can Say I love you one last time? Or when I confort your daughter/son/wife/mother when you die would you tell me I make too much ? Lay me off! Just know me and my children may be homeless and ill do my best to at least protect them.... And that supposed 150,000 I make a year is absolute all overtime because the city refused to hire enough to cover our city so when I work weeks on end no it doesn't add up to 150,000 a year no I don't hope it does. I just want the respect you'd give me if you called me out to help you. Sit in your office chair and say all you want, but know when it takes me 20 minutes to respond to your child being a victim of attack by the wonderful gang bangers the lovely city of SB has ... Know it's because your uneducated opinions trippled our response times.
So when I pull your bloody body out of a burning vehicle, or I risk my life to save your child in a burning house? When I psychically make your grandmothers heartbeat so you can Say I love you one last time? Or when I confort your daughter/son/wife/mother when you die would you tell me I make too much ? Lay me off! Just know me and my children may be homeless and ill do my best to at least protect them.... And that supposed 150,000 I make a year is absolute all overtime because the city refused to hire enough to cover our city so when I work weeks on end no it doesn't add up to 150,000 a year no I don't hope it does. I just want the respect you'd give me if you called me out to help you. Sit in your office chair and say all you want, but know when it takes me 20 minutes to respond to your child being a victim of attack by the wonderful gang bangers the lovely city of SB has ... Know it's because your uneducated opinions trippled our response times.
Do you understand what these men and women do for the city? Selfless I think not ? These men and women go without seeing there families for weeks on ends when fire season comes around and as we all know San Bernardino fire seasons are among if not the most atrocious. The crime rate has sky rocketed, Mexican cartel and mafia are over taking the area witch very few people know and you want to get rid of the city's cut law enforcement and make them amoun the lowest paid ? You wouldn't ask LAPD to do that would you? And as far as family members only getting into the fire department ... Sounds like your one bitter ignorent man. Yes the profession runs in the family because these departments are family they look out for one another and what's you see that bond your loved one has made how Could you not want to be apart of it. You gobtobwork every day knowing you can make a difference, you have the ability to save someone from a life or death situation, when you grow up with this mentality in your household you can't help but to want to be a part of it because you were taught how important it is value life an make a difference in someone else's so yes a large majority follow in there footsteps. So not only are you asking these people to sacrifice themselves everyday at work no questions asked but now sacrifice there income, no questions askedd I guess no one asked questions when the mayor spent emergency funds on vacations, luxury vehicles, and remodeled offices.... But it's fire and PDs fault right ?
The entire state of California is a tragedy!
An interesting excercise would be to examine the city's revenue's and expenses in the years running up to 2007 (the housing peak--thusly te property tax maximim) and compare them to 2007 and to the following years.

I would like to know which year compares closely in revenue to this year, how many firefighters and police were staffed then, how many now---and what has caused that disparity. I would also like to know what happened to all of the extea revenue in the 2006 and 2007 years.

I did this comparison for St Pete, FL and found that the year 2003 compared to 2011 the closest in revenue--nearly identical--yet the city had fewer firefighters and police officers and, currently, with less staff had higher bills. Why? And, why are citizens being asked to reduce their expectations of services IF they dont cough up more in taxes. In San Bernadino it appears that 3 of 4 libraries are already closed.

This is so absurd it defies logic. City officials, temporary and political, feed off of Union fat--money for campaigns and influence--who in turn feed off of city officials ability to bind legally through contracts that are ever increasing in benefits and ever decreasing in Union member contribution.

Enough is enough. Union stewards and city offiicials should be held accountable, in courts of law, for their egregious overreaches.
"The firefighters’ union has been the most stubborn and transparently self-interested in San Bernardino."

Lay them off and contract out the job.
Try to get a fireman job without a family member in there already. As someone told me years ago"Firemen are so selfless and the job so dangerous that they only allow immediate family members to get the jobs". Dont believe, look at your fire dept see how many have fathers in there- usually close to 50%
I was a 14 yr old EMT Eagle Scout, was a shotputter and could bench 220(6' 1" and 220 lbs) and did everything an adult could do except drive. Does that mean i could had skills that could make me 150K at 14..seems strange that in Calif that happens
Bankruptcy Baby !!! Thank You, Democrats !!!
My town hall is a job machine..secretaries everywhere like it was 1960 typing away.. Fire depts staffed like mrs oleary's cow was going to kick over a lantern
Ken, I think that would like my arson investigator to have an advanced degree or two.
How many people are in San Bernardino's fire department? Do their claims of high call volume have merit or is this statement propaganda? How much of the budget do public schools get and how has that been affected? Would disincorporation or some sort of county sharing be good or bad and why? TYhere are a lot of unanswered question.
BREAKING: COLORADO COURT OF APPEALS CONFIRMS COLORADO PERA PUBLIC PENSION COLA BENEFITS AS CONTRACTUAL.

The Colorado Court of Appeals has reversed and remanded an initial District Court ruling that denied the contractual status of public pension COLAs in Colorado. The Court of Appeals confirmed that Colorado PERA pension COLA benefits are a contractual obligation of the pension plan Colorado PERA and its affiliated public employers. A huge victory for public sector retirees in Colorado! The Colorado Legislature may not breach its contracts and push taxpayer obligations onto the backs of a small group of elderly pensioners.

The lawsuit is continuing. Support pension rights in the U.S. by contributing at saveperacola.com. Friend Save Pera Cola on Facebook!
The city should outsource it's fire service, likely a 25-50% reduction in total compensation costs immediately. Offer the FF a 25% pay reduction AND a pension freeze or or THIS as the alternative.

Police is a bit trickier. Can you outsource to the County or a nearly city? How about demanding a 25% pay reduction and pension freeze or establishing a support position (w/o a gun) at 1/2 the pay ..... REPLACING 1/2 the current sworn staff with these new workers?

Just do it .... ignore the self-interested howls from the Union.
The city should outsource it's fire service, likely a 25-50% reduction in total compensation costs immediately. Offer the FF a 25% pay reduction AND a pension freeze or or THIS as the alternative.

Police is a bit trickier. Can you outsource to the County or a nearly city? How about demanding a 25% pay reduction and pension freeze or establishing a support position (w/o a gun) at 1/2 the pay ..... REPLACING 1/2 the current sworn staff with these new workers?

Just do it .... ignore the self-interested howls from the Union.
For many years, the city's main focus has been on providing and facilitating low income housing, drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers, halfway houses and homeless shelters etc. Growing and supporting the middle class and business community has greatly been ignored. As the city continued to expand its social programs, more nonproductive and criminal individuals moved in, chasing the middle class and businesses out of town. This has caused a huge drop in the city's tax revenue.
Bankruptcy Baby! Thank You Democrats and Your Union Bosses!
Public Unions are just the Mob Collection agency for the Democrat Party.

One would have to be brain dead not to recognize the inherent corruption in Democrat politicians rewarding unions with tax payers money in return for votes and money!

In fact, the Unions and their bought Politicians have been so greedy & corrupt they are bankrupting this Nation!
And this is not the first time it has happened to a CA city. Of course we have Vallejo & that other city I can't think of the name right now. I hope the city gives a big thank you to the public employee unions that make miserable nightmares like this possible.
Robert C. J. Parry October 24, 2012 at 1:51 AM
Municipalities increasingly need to look toward volunteerism. Reserve police officers and volunteer fire fighters serve throughout the country. I believe the majority of fire fighters are actually volunteers.

By attracting and structuring in a robust force of part-timers around a backbone of full timers (much like the military has done with the Guard and reserve), cities can offer high quality service at reduced cost, and enjoy the "spiritual" (in the community sense) benefit of contributions from all walks of life. The LAPD has hundreds of reserve officers.

Imagine if San Bernardino, instead of 320 police employees when it needs at least 370, had only 200 full-time staff, but 500 part timers in its ranks, from all strata of the community. Imagine the flexibility they would have in times of crisis. Imagine the relationship the department would have with the community.

In a couple of article comments, B. Samuel Davis and BlackSaint have more accurately and succinctly summed up the situation in California, and the probable future of the US, than have the last 1,000 editions of the LA and New York Times.

I have friends in California who absolutely refuse to acknowledge where this is all headed. They aren't dumb. They are indoctrinated into socialism lock, stock, and barrel. They don't even know it's socialism. Having grown up marinated in it, they assume it is traditional American values - Marxists aren't inclined to tell the sheep they are brainwashing them.
So what, union firefighters average $150,000 a year?

In NYC, Carnegie Hall stagehands average $459,000 a year (google it).

Firefighters risk their lives more than stagehands or even medical doctors do.

These guys should be paid even more!!!
It seems for a city with $36K median income, $150K firefighters are a little pricy. Maybe the city needs to lay them off and hire $50K firefighters (skip those with advanced degrees, etc.)
Unions, both private and public, have the same result everywhere.

The one thing desperately needed to be cut, salaries/benefits of union employees, are sacrosanct. Everything else must be sacrificed to maintain them.

The result is always the same. You end up with the same amount of work having to be performed with fewer and fewer people.

Meanwhile, taxes have gone up to close the budget deficit. The result here is also predictable: revenues decline as businesses move elsewhere.

So, crime goes up, more businesses flee, revenues go down, the deficit goes up. Vicious circle. No cuts to salaries/benefits, so more tax hikes and reductions to numbers of public employees.

Next stop: Detroit.

Democrats, a wholly owned subsidiary of the unions, enact the same policies everywhere and always get the same results.
You can't pay people to not work - that's what all of America's problems boil down to.

We can't afford the union retirement packages, nor the freeloaders getting goodies for free.

California hasn't yet started to face reality - Liberals destroyed a perfectly good state just so a few could get a pension or Obama-Phones...
This is the perfect opportunity for San Bernardino to cut virtually all city employees and outsource to private companies based upon competitive bids. Ref: Sandy Springs, GA.
Good article on the very tragic situation which is occuring in California cities and soon, at the state level, as our public servants choke the life out of our formally great state. Here's a website that shows the 16k+ retired public employees that receive over $100k/year in California.

http://database.californiapensionreform.com/
good luck convincing anyone outside of California that a city that pays an average of $150,000 to firemen, even if this includes benefits, is anything but deluded. The idea that firemen risk their lives for all of us is nice, but we need to be realistic. Offer those jobs at half the salary and you will find capable people to do the work. Have fun Californian with you looney approach to government.
BlackSaint has pretty much hit all the nails on the head...can't think of much to add. CA is going down, next stop Mexifornia. I love this state for it's natural wonders but the libtards and unions are burying it.

OPEN YOUR EYES!! Public employee unions with the help of their political cronies are laughably overpaid & they know it, but they don't give a damn. They've torpedoed the state but, unfortunately for them, CA can't print $ & people like me (taxpayer, private business) are exiting across the state line with my income intact. I'll still enjoy the natural wonders of CA but without financing the failure - at least until the roads crumble away. Bye bye.
" The city, with a poverty rate equivalent to Detroit’s and a homicide rate that has quietly surpassed Chicago’s,..."

Hmmm... let's check Wikipedia. Yep, 60 percent Latino, 15 percent black, i.e. 75 percent Non-Asian Minority.

The harsh but unpleasant truth is that many readers -- at least the ones who take the trouble to find out the basic demographic facts delicately omitted by the author -- are going to read this and see yet another confirmation of what happens when a white majority disappears.

Can we point to a bankrupt city that's majority white? Can we point to a bankrupt city that's not overwhelmingly black, Latino or both?

The future of America, folks.
150,000 per year for firefighters?
There are college graduates with masters degrees that would work for half that. On the 360 days they weren't fighting fires, they could run the city government, the libraries and the parks.
I just became a resident of San Bernardino and as a retired person with limited income I am concerned with the crime and obvious deterioration of the the city in general. Unfortunately most of the people that live in my area have to do so due to finances and have no alternative whatsoever.
This article is informative and correct in its description of this city, but I can see this happening to many more cities soon. Few cities are totally secure in these economic times and for some it is only a matter of time (some sooner and some later) before many similar problems will begin happening as it is here in San Bernardino.
It is so difficult to enjoy the final years of life living where you feel so insecure and unsafe.
I hope others will take part in making sure they avoid the pitfalls and learn from this mess.
And the problem with this austerity is....?
FIrefighters making $150,000 per annum? I know primary care doctors that aren't seeing that---and THEY don't have built in pensions.

Glad to see draconian cuts: although cutting 'six information technology department employees' doesn't exactly sound like they're shuttering the police stations and firehouses. From the sounds of San Bernardino's overall condition, it doesn't appear that many of the citizens are visiting the libraries much, so: closing 3/4 of them will have little impact.
Bad decisions have consequences. California the state, and its municipal subsidiaries are starting to experience them. Enjoy.
The "average" firefighter makes $150,000/year!! In this economy, there would be MANY people who would love to do that job at half of that salary or even less. This is a great example of how public-sector unions have wrecked our government economies.Firefighters are often protrayed as heroes, but many of them are greedy blood-suckers.
A question for Californians.

What's going to happen with the Jerry Brown tax increase on rich people? If that passes, look out. More businesses exiting the state or just going out of business.

With respect to paramedic services, why not contract out to private ambulance services and don't call the FD out for those calls.
The greedy public union workers should be proud of themselves, they have forced the closures of many services the public have paid for and rely on. The workers should all be fired, their pensions cancelled and the city should start over. These greedy lazy workers need to feel the same pain the rest of city is facing. But no, they don't care about the people.
If given the chance, and with no restraints, this would be the fate of all cities mismanaged by Liberals, then sucked dry by their allies, the parasitic unions.
Wrong answer. You fire everyone and let them re-apply using a realistic and market based salary & benefit package. You can get excellent, trained fire fighters for under $100,000 annually including huge life and disability insurance policies to deal with the risk of that profession. Same for police. End all defined benefit programs. They were built on lies. Continuing to take funds from current services for citizens to pay handsome benefits to retired and marginally productive workers is never going to work.
$150k per year for firefighters? Granted it is a thankless and dangerous job but I have friends with MBA's who don't make half that. The corrupt politicians who gave away taxpayer money in exchange for union support will now have their own chickens coming home to roost. This is a cautionary tale for the rest of America regarding how public sector unions are bringing this country to its knees. My little state of RI is right behind this city. Decades of public giveaways will eventually sink us too.
California over $350 Billion in debt, I wonder why the are chanting Obama did someone say Bailout money.

Kevin Retcho
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Let me guess are they run by Democrats. Why no mention who's running them into the ground.

Kevin Retcho
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"call loads"

Fire departments are notorious for including *paramedic* calls in "firefighter call* statistics - with the intention/effect of *hugely* overstating the utilization of *fire fighting* resources.

The truth is that most "firefighters" around the country respond to a small handful of *fires* per year - Google it.

Like most "public safety" unions, the firefighters have created an almost entirely erroneous mythos around themselves...all the while sneakily paying themselves outlandish salaries founded upon said myths and exceptionally rare incidents (9/11).

The internet is exposing these truths ($150k per year for HS grads who fight 5 or fewer fires *per year*).

Don't facilitate the accumulated lies of decades.
Mr. Rozansky, I really enjoyed your article. Specifically, I was expecting to see the article written from a biased (anti-austerity) perspective. Instead, I found it to be quite even keeled. What came to mind when reading this article was... "Man... deficit spending in San Bernardino must have really really out of whack if even after all of these 'draconian' and 'catastrophic' there was still a large remaining deficit. Especially since a lot of those cuts were simply pushing out pension payments. I feel like all of the anti-austerity arguments are... "We can't do that, it will really hurt everyone"... even though those same people will say... "And, we can't keep spending more". I say... "Bring on the PAIN!" Make people soooo upset about the cuts/pain, that they take a more active role in voting, and no longer vote for people who think short term instead of long term. The way I see it, we either deal with these problems today (both locally and nationally) or, force our children to deal with the problem.
So now they have to go through austerity. What a shame. As if they couldn't see it coming. Oh but they couldn't because they democrats. Just let the good times roll.
You need to share this with Virg. He needs to get the out of control public sector unions under control or this will be Lansing.
This is a very sensible, well-written article. Hopefully, left-of-center people everywhere will read it and begin to understand that governmental entities cannot live beyond their means forever. If you have too much government spending and deficits, too many laws, and public unions that get too much power, you end up with a version of Detroit.
Lets invest in teachers..and unions...and high speed rail...that is the answer
Perhaps the city fathers could see their way to permit commercial competition for fire protection? I guarantee that the city code is chock full of restrictions on economic activity that are legal elsewhere. Reducing those restrictions would not only lower unemployment and improve life in the city, it would also bring much needed revenue into city coffers.
I live in Colorado, one of the bastions of "The initiative process". Where with a simple majority a voting block can manipulate our Constitution. Another term for this nonsense, which is why we have a Republic and not a Democracy, is the land of unintended consequences. Mandating increases in certain expenses (schools etc) has dire effects elsewhere when revenues decline.
Does anyone seriously believe the country will learn anything from this? Just look at the two jokes running for president. The country is starved for someone who is serious
No one else in California will pay attention.

Everyone is too "busy" with their own concerns and will not realize how relevant San Bernardino's situation is to their own.

There are times, to quote John Wyndham, one wonders why God thought it necessary to invent the ostrich.
Yeah, public pay and pensions got out of line, and office holders greedy for votes are responsible for that. But that isn't the whole story. Jobs shipped to China have also gotten out of hand. And capitalists greedy for money (could any Republicans be among them) are responsible for that. So don't push ... don't shove ... there is blame enough for everyone.
Might as well start over. Fire all the police and firemen. Start over with a new force and pay the current market price or whatever can be afforded for such services. I am sure many are willing to work for less than $150K a year.
the democrat party is the worlds largest criminal organization!
What does the 26 cities with a population over 250K and the greatest poverty level have in common?

All are heavy unionized and all have been controlled by Democrats for many many years!

Does this fact and the Blue States bordering on Bankruptcy penetrate the mental fog surrounding. the Liberal mind and their emotions that they use in place of thinking?

Of Course NOT!

Never have so many been oblivious to the obvious.

They still think the Democrat Politicians are concerned about their Welfare.

The same party and polities that reduced the black population into welfare bondage and the most dependable Democrat voters will work just as well for the rest of the population.

Just reduced them to poverty and Depending on Welfare and you have a Democrat voter for life!

President Zero and the Democrats are pursuing the same polities and spreading poverty for the rest of the Nation that have turned those cities and blue States like Calif., Illinois, New York etc. into basket cases and made them dependable votes for the Democrats!

The more the Democrats can spread Poverty, Welfare and the Entitlement mentality the more Democrat voters they make and the closer they get to a Third World Socialist Food Stamp Paradise controlled Lock, Stock and Barrel by the Democrat party!
Father forgive me... for I am guilty of shadenfreude.
Enumerated_Powers October 23, 2012 at 4:34 PM
There are 251 agencies in California that sponsor a pension formula for safety officers based on 3% per year of service times final average salary payable at age 50 without a reduction for early commencement. San Bernardino County is one of those 251 agencies.
Welcome to Obama land. Where unions get theirs no matter what and the taxpayers get hosed.
From the second paragraph "a homicide rate that has quietly surpassed Chicago’s" you somehow get to "its successful Operation Phoenix program, an anti-crime initiative Mayor Pat Morris launched shortly after taking office in 2005". Having lived my entire lifetime in San Bernardino, it is the ability of the city's leaders to convince others that these two points are not incongruent that has led to the current state of affairs.
The power of the union vote and the willingness of the politicians to sell themselves (and everyone else) out to get those votes will ensure that no real change can occur.
San Berdoo suffering is caused by three factors:
1. They elected Democrats financed by the public employee unions.
2. They live in a state run by Democrats financed by the public employee unions.
3. They live in a country run by Democrats financed by public employee unions.
It'scalled a Blue State and every Blue State is in the exact same shape. There is not one single Democrat in this entire nation fit to hold public office. Not one. There are no moderate democrats and if you vote for any Democrat for any office you are part of the problem.
When you continue to push an agenda of tax and spend, eventually you run out of other people's money. This is just the beginning in California, as other cities will need to do the same thing. Why do you think all Californians are voting for Obama? So he can keep funneling money from the Federal government to the bankrupt state. Well, that comes to an end when Romney is elected. And California will need to find solutions themselves or become a bankrupt state.
would you live there???? Im sure they will need less and less police and fire as the city becomes as empty as Detroit.
Hopefully the city and county will realize citizens are going to have to rely more on themselves for protection, and will accept, as Sacramento County does, "self-defense" as good cause to issue concealed carry permits.
If your life has been one long disappointment and only by feeling superior to others can you find temporary relief, then this tale of yet another California city facing bankruptcy may help. But, otherwise, so what? Yes, Bell, Vallejo, Stockton and now San Bernardino are insolvent California cities, but then likewise for Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan. Like businesses, cities must go bankrupt when more money is going out than is coming in – what’s so unusual about that, particularly within this perpetual recession.

What’s so unusual is how we Americans think about our cities and their employees. At one time, a career as a civil servant wasn’t highly thought of among America’s budding Horatio Algers. You didn’t make much money and there was no potential whatsoever to earn exorbitant salaries, but that’s no longer true, most civil servants today out earn their counterparts within the private business sector. You could look forward to ending your career after 25 or 30 years with a modest but guaranteed pension from the city, although that may not be true much longer. But, at least Mr. Civil Servant, you had lifelong job security – now that feature is still true although city and state employees are starting to worry – and perhaps they should.

During the heavy corporate Merger and Acquisition period, your neighbor was downsized out of his long term private industry job subsequent to a merger - too bad - but definitely not a situation which caused you to lose any sleep. San Francisco won’t merge with Oakland and New York City will never acquire Yonkers as a result of a hostile takeover. Eliminating “duplication” and “inefficiency” through a merger are two words you won’t find within the civil servant’s lexicon.

Within a major metropolitan area like Los Angeles today, there are some 90 different legal municipalities, with 90 separate governments, 90 separate groups of civil servants. Is this duplication really necessary? We are even forced to erect signs informing people they are moving between municipalities: “You are now leaving Pleasantville” followed by another sign 20 feet further along stating: “Welcome to Happy Valley”. Many neighborhoods are so similar in appearance, we require road signs informing us they are actually separate cities.

It’s no longer the year 1820 and our long cherished concept of independent local governments will have to change because we can no longer afford that particular political luxury. Too bad about San Bernardino; city employees are losing jobs, pensions are in doubt, city services are in jeopardy. And many civil servants today will contemplate a career in private industry which, unfortunately, requires a pay cut, but at least it may provide more job security.
"...compromised by decades of poor decision-making"...
Added to the tragedy is the likelihood that constituents will punish the cost cutters from the voting booth while the irresponsible decision makers are not held accountable and are off somewhere enjoying their spoils. These past office holders should have their records be treated at least as severely as Lance Armstrong's.
I don't believe less police necessarily means the violent crime rate will automatically increase if the police focus on crimes with actual victims.
This article illustrates the inherent corruption that comes with public unions. These unions exist for one purpose - as a conduit for funneling taxpayer money to a single political entity - the Democratic Party.

Democrats know full well that the more money they give to the unions, the more money they get in return. Those not working for government or part of a favored few are left in the lurch. The private sector exists for only one purpose, to transfer money to the state.

Obama realized this when implementing the so-called Stimulus - this enormous pot of (borrowed) money was sold to the public by the Democrats through a fawning media as for needed infrastructure improvements (we all remember Obama's claim it was for "shovel ready jobs"), but the real purpose was to transfer money to the states in order to support public unions.

Public unions are now critical to the Democratic Party - its existence is tied in with the unions. It's why Democrats never saw the need to enact another federal budget - the money allocated in the Stimulus has been reallocated every year - although Democrats are very careful not to disclose that fact. Since Democrats know that they could never get Congress to agree on the same allocation, they saw no need to change anything - the money is automatically reallocated every year, Republican House notwithstanding.

The fact that this state of affairs is inherently corrosive and corrupting makes no difference whatsoever to Democrats for whom the goal is power, and the ability to dispense patronage. In fact, for Democrats the more poverty created by the law the better. Democrats always do well among the poor, since those less well off (or working for government) vote Democrat in the very (very) mistaken assumption that Democrats favor the poor. It's why the Democrats attack the wealthy, and are working like mad to create a society where there is no upward mobility - the Democrats WANT the poor to stay poor, and they are desperate to make it appear as if the rich are to blame for the stratification the Democrats are creating.

When looked at in the foregoing light everything the Democrats do makes sense. The Democratic Party's goal is not prosperity, the goal is long term crisis which invites governmental action. Democrats understand full well that governmental action does not solve problems, it exacerbates problems. So more governmental action is called for. And it goes round and round, with more people on the government payroll, since Democrats understand that governmental workers will vote for their own personal benefit, no matter that the country as a whole suffers.

Democrats also know that they need to extend the boundaries of the entities that are in crisis. San Bernardino failing? Make it a county wide problem - extend the governing boundaries. Of course there is no reason to do that in California because, as noted in one article, the public unions effectively control the state. The people of California now exist solely to serve those working for government, since Democrats have no incentive to do anything other than to serve the interests of the unions.

One question of course is, "where is the media on this?" The answer to that is simple - in the hands of the Democrats. So don't expect a series of network reports on the greed and ultimate unaffordability of public unions - what we will hear instead is story after story about how our "saintly public servants" are starved of money, even as they bleed the rest of us dry.

Think the problem can be solved by business moving away? That won't work since it only consolidates power in the hands of those remaining, and is a goal of those in power. Democrats WANT those who disagree with their mission out of the state, since more people can simply be imported from outside. The immigrants are much more receptive to Democratic corruption since they are used to corruption in their own country and aren't surprised when they see it here. The irony of course, is that those in power are mostly white, mostly male, and have nothing but contempt for everyone else.

It's pretty depressing since there doesn't seem to be an answer for any of it. One would hope that people would finally open their eyes when they see that places run by Democrats always fail. But, without a media that calls out the Democrats for their corruption, nothing is said. Plus it seems that people have a strong tolerance for poverty, no other way to put it - it takes an enormous amount of energy to be involved, and most people simply want to live their lives, and not bother with government.

But, soon enough there won't be any more places to run to. And Democrats in Congress will always seek to alleviate the problem in places like San Bernardino by subsidies. Anything to keep the Ponzi scheme going.

California is the realization of a nightmare scenario as those working for government now use their positions so that those working for government no longer serve the public at large, Government now exists solely for the unions. As to how to reverse course, absent some awakening by the public, including recent immigrants, it won't happen. In the meantime, the Detroitification of California continues.

Disagree? Then why is it that public unions are allowed to donate what is essentially tax money to only one political party. Tell me how this all works out in the end - how can any of this be affordable, and why it can be considered good government. Tell me why the Stimulus was sold as a jobs bill, and it turned out that most of the money went to prop up unions. And just why haven't the Democrats in Congress ever agreed on another budget, even when they were the party in full control.

The way I see it, the Democratic Party deserves and has earned its title as the most corrupt entity on the planet.
City of Los Angeles officials ought to read what's happening to SanBerdu. LA your next, unless you make real changes on pension reform, as ex-Mayor Reardon suggests!
Just one statement sums it up, and is instructive for most American cities slouching toward bankruptcy...an average fireman makes $150,000 per year! Absolutely ludicrous! And, research will show the painful truth to those of you who scream, "dangerous work!" Commercial fishermen are at the top, not cops and firemen.Re-read S. Greenhut's PLUNDER to refresh your memory about one reason America is bankrupting itself..the motto To Serve and Protect means pensions!
Parasites in the public-sector are to blame -- them and the politicians they buy.
Actually the cities which have filed are a preview of coming attractions for the rest of.California. Coastal cities with low crime rates are seeing them increase. Sales tax revenues are in the tank and what the pols haven't figured out is that the folks who pay the taxes make their money in vastly different ways from how Dad or Grandpa did it, they can and do move in a heartbeat. Sad but true.