Tent cities spring up around LA — A California city goes bankrupt, can’t pay its outrageous union employee salaries

Mick Gregory

This is the current state of California. But you haven’t read about it in the LA Times or SF Chronicle. It’s being reported by the BBC and YouTube and by citizen journalists.

I’m not surprised the elitist mainstream newspapers are not reporting that 500 homes a day are foreclosed on in California now. But when will they?

“Tent cities have sprung up outside Los Angeles as people lose their homes in the mortgage crisis.”
Granted, the climate is nice and these tent cities are nothing new.

Now this: Vallejo, a suburban city outside of San Francisco faces a $16 million deficit in the 2008-2009 budget starting July 1 and unsuccessfully negotiated with its government employees including electrical workers unions for contract concessions through 2012. Public safety salaries comprise 74 percent of the city’s general fund budget.

John Riley, president of the International Association of Firefighters, said he is disappointed by the 7-0 vote to file bankruptcy. Any ideas Mr. Riley? How about you get the average benefits that the taxpayers of your community get? Not full-pay after 20 years of service and free medical for life.

Ask your average newspaper reporter if their benefits come close to that.

There will be no bail out for the “free” press, but I’d bet that there will be for these city service union employees. Just raise taxes.

One small county in California is $2.6 billion in debt due to huge government employee retirement payouts

Mick Gregory

The California meltdown caused by the historic housing bubble burst that led to tens of thousands of foreclosures and dramatic dip in real estate tax collections has some other issues coming to the table. Contra Costa County, and affluent suburban Bay Area commuter area is deep in debt, on a scale of some countries.
CC County Supervisors took a first look today at the county’s $2.6 billion projected debt for retiree health benefits and set the bar for a round of labor negotiations later this year, endorsing a pullback in benefits for about 1,100 nonunion employees and retirees.

Those employees, many of them middle managers, (in the real world these would be white collar exempt positions) attacked the supervisors for, among other steps, seeking to cap the county’s health care subsidy beginning in 2010. What kind of plan is so expensive? How about retire at full pay after 20 years plus free HMO coverage. That is what government employee unions have done to the California dream.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, foreclosure filings jumped 57% in March compared with the same month last year and rose 5% versus February, as the nation’s housing market continues to deteriorate.
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