So a group of Sonoma citizens has horned in on Stockton’s bankruptcy trial – against the city.
Save Our Sonoma Roads has filed a “friend of the court” brief saying Stockton should have cut public employee pensions.
The reason is that pensions are eating Sonoma government services, too. There’s not enough money left over to properly maintain roads. If the judge in Stockton’s case rules Stockton must cut pensions, then that precedent will allow Sonoma supervisors to cut pensions and protect road maintenance funds.
For that matter, it would allow cities up and down California to cut pensions. Possibly other states could, too.
That may not be a bad thing overall. It would probably be a bad thing for Stockton.
Here leaders eliminated free lifetime retiree medical care for the retiree (and spouse!) and they cut other compensation until city compensation was brought in line with the state average. If the court saws into pensions, Stockton will find it very hard to hire 40 cops a year a la Measure A and the Marshall Plan. Stockton will continue to suffer one of the highest crime rates in the land (just mentioned by Time). Staffing other departments will get harder, too.
In short, it’ll monkey-wrench city government. The interlopers from Sonoma probably never gave any thought to Stocktonians right to live in safety. They just parachuted in, seeing Stockton’s bankruptcy as all about them.