“The giant whale in the general fund deficit that eats the city’s services and destroys the city’s financial viability is public employee pensions and related benefits paid into (CalPERS). The growth of this monster goes back many years as the public unions acquired control of this city’s political process with their political action committees.”
—San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris, singing a familiar tune. If you want to stoke your anxiety over the city of Stockton’s controversial decision not to take on public employee pensions in bankruptcy court, read this story to the point near the bottom where Vallejo comes in. Vallejo officials now regret ducking a fight with CalPERS.
I can offer a possible Prozac: Pension reform at the state level may be inevitable. Not that the Dems are eager to enact it. But basically CalPERS burned municipalities up and down the state. An ever-expanding pension monster is gobbling their libraries, public safety, street repair and other services. Cities and counties may lead the charge for reform because they may have no choice. In that respect, Stockton is not the salient of reform, it may be one of the last cities to treat CalPERS as inviolate.