Posts Tagged: San Bernardino

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California’s boldest pension reform, five years in

Photo illustration of a nest egg. (Photo: Hidesy, via Shutterstock)

If you don’t give city employees a pension, what happens? San Diegans voted five years ago this month to switch all new city hires, except police, from pensions to 401(k)-style individual investment plans, becoming one of the first big cities to take the plunge.

News

Reporter’s Notebook: A day with the GOP

Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz at the California GOP convention. (Photo: Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

At the top of the glistening white staircase leading to the hotel mezzanine, the amiable, white-haired activist was handing out “Cruz for President” stickers. “I’ve been scoffed at and scorned,” he said. “It was fun.”

News

Asbestos-like mineral raises concern in arid West, including California

Recent research is focusing new attention on an asbestos-like mineral, blamed for staggering rates of a deadly cancer in Turkey, that also is found in the rocks and soil of 13 Western states, including California. The U.S. Geological Survey has identified 95 sites where the mineral, erionite, exists. Nine of the identified locations are in California.

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San Bernardino eyes cuts of police retirees’ pensions

San Bernardino police officers, members of the SWAT team. (Photo: Juno Kughler Carlson, omnitrans.org) omnitrans.org

San Bernardino’s plan to exit bankruptcy, possibly next year, cuts the pensions of 23 retired police officers who receive an unusual supplement to their regular CalPERS pension. The supplement boosts pensions to the same amount now common among police and firefighters, a standard set by the Highway Patrol in a CalPERS-sponsored bill, SB 400 in 1999.

News

GOP to take control of powerful SoCal air board

A smog-tinged view in black and white of Century City, Beverly Hills and West Los Angeles. (Photo: Trekandshoot, via Shutterstock)

Last year, the high point of the GOP’s Election Day was the Democrats’ loss of their supermajorities in the Legislature, even though Democrats retained control of every statewide elected office. But in early November, Republicans scored a major victory: a seat on the South Coast Air Quality Management District. For the first time in years, GOP members will control the powerful board that has jurisdiction over four counties and 17 million people.

News

In bankrupt San Bernardino, firefighting at crucial juncture

San Bernardino firefighters on the front lines. (Photo: Sheri Armstrong)

Bankrupt San Bernardino’s plan to cut costs by contracting for firefighter and other services has been aided by legislation and a court ruling. But a shortage of firefighters is causing a rough transition. A second fire station was closed earlier this month and others were hit with temporary “brownout” closures, delaying response times. New hires for 14 firefighter vacancies are not expected to complete training until next month.

News

It’s official: Voter participation hits record low

A Californian casts a ballot. (Photo: Vepar5 via Shutterstock)

The state’s official snapshot of the Nov. 4 general election depicts a politically disengaged populace with marginal interest in deciding who will govern. Less than a third of California’s eligible voters cast ballots on Nov. 4.

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CalPERS, San Berdoo agree on pension-debt payoff

Bankrupt San Bernardino announced an agreement with CalPERS last week to pay off an unprecedented pension debt owed for skipping payments to the pension fund for a year — $13.5 million, plus several million more in penalties and interest. Details of the agreement reached in closed mediation were not released. But the city said in a court filing the CalPERS agreement “will help form the basis” for a debt-cutting plan needed to exit bankruptcy.

News

Voters shun election in droves

The state Capitol, Sacramento. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Election 2014 An early tally shows that fewer than one in five of California’s registered voters cast ballots in this week’s primary, continuing a downward trend that has bedeviled the state’s elections. A county-by-county report from the secretary of state’s office noted that 3.24 million people voted out of the 17.72 million registered, or about 18.3 percent. When compared with the total number of eligible voters in California, those who actually cast ballots dwindled to 13.34 percent.

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Vallejo, once bankrupt, faces new challenge

The Vallejo city council last week voted to close a $5.2 million gap in the current budget, showing no alarm that in a five-year forecast the gap reopens, mainly driven by rising pension costs. Moody’s, a Wall Street credit rating agency, said earlier that Vallejo and two California cities currently in bankruptcy, Stockton and San Bernardino, risk returning to insolvency without pension relief.

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