Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Very Busy Week Ahead

It's going to be a very busy week ahead in Costa Mesa, so here's some information that may help you plan your activities.

Monday is a big day in our town.  The first event you may care to know about is the next meeting of the Financial Advisory Committee.  They meet at 3:30 in Conference Room 1A at City Hall.  This meeting will include a presentation by Robert Porr, Senior Vice President of Fieldman, Rolapp and Associates, but the agenda - HERE - doesn't tell us what he's going to talk about.

Next on the Monday agenda is the special meeting of the Costa Mesa Planning Commission.  This one takes place in council chambers beginning at 6:00 and will be marked by the swearing-in of recently-appointed commissioners, retreads Colin McCarthy, Jim Fitzpatrick and new guy Timothy Sesler.  There's only two items on the agenda, HERE, but the first one promises to generate some controversy.  This is the planning application for a 17-unit common interest development at 1259 Victoria Street - the site of an existing church facility.  You can read the long staff report HERE.  The meeting will be televised live on CMTV, Channel 24 on Time Warner Cable and Channel 99 on ATT U-Verse.  It will also be streamed live on the city's web site.


 (Click images to enlarge)
Next on Monday's agenda is the public safety town hall hosted by councilwoman Wendy Leece at the Harbor Christian Fellowship, 740 W. Wilson Street.  That event will run from 6:30 - 9:00.

And, also on Monday evening, Principal Kirk Bauermeister informs me that there will be a parents meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the choir room of Estancia High School at which the Newport-Mesa Unified School District's program, "Run, Hide, Act!" will be discussed.  I suspect the heroic event that occurred on Friday, February 15th in which Bauermeister and Assistant Principal Mike Sciacca subdued an armed, distraught father will also get some conversation.

Tuesday will see a special study session of the Costa Mesa City Council beginning at 6:00 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, HERE.  This much-touted event will have two items on the agenda.  The first is a presentation by Joe Nation, Ph.D of Stanford University entitled "Unfunded Public Pension and Retiree Health Care Liabilities".  You can see the slide presentation HERE.  Nation is a highly-respected former northern California Democrat politician who has become the go-to guy for information on public employee pensions.  The second item on the agenda, HERE, is a presentation titled "Fiscal Impacts of 2.5%@55 Enhancement for Miscellaneous Group".  Both of these items - if they get to both of them - should be very interesting.  This meeting will also be televised and streamed live.

Thursday is the first in what we are told will be a series of "Meet the Mayor" gatherings at which Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer will rub elbows with community members in a casual setting.  It's a chance for you to chat with the mayor about any item of concern you may have - streets, police, fire - whatever.  This one will be held at the Pitfire Artisan Pizza restaurant (site of former Marie Callendar's), 353 East 17th Street and will run from 6:00 - 7:30.  This should be interesting.

Finally, on since it's the first Friday of the month, it's time for the latest edition of the First Friday Car Show in the City Hall parking lot from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.  If you're a hot rod or other old car fan you may find this event of interest.  Dozens of classic and sometimes not-so-classic cars will be on hand for your viewing pleasure.  Food trucks are usually present so you can grab a snack while you meander among the old cars on a little trip down Memory Lane.

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Anonymous Deception Rules! said...

Geoff, can you tell us isn't Social Security a DEFINED BENEFIT that most every person in the PRIVATE sector is covered under?

I know there is a formula and a new set date for that formula to kick in. I understand that Pers rates are better, and that pension costs and fluctuation risks are borne by the city. I get all that. But Social Security is still a defined benefit the private sector is covered under that city employees are not.

Slide 3 of Joe Nations presentation sentence 1 says the Private sector is covered by Defined Contribution plans and not Defined Benefit plans like the Public Sector Worker. This is totally misleading and not true. Again Social Security is a DB Plan.

What they do is compare Pers to a 401k and totally leave out the point that City employees (most) are not part of the Social Security plan. Pers is a city employees Social Security.

2/23/2013 08:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Pension Game said...

Defined benefit plans may be either funded or unfunded.
In an unfunded defined benefit pension, no assets are set aside and the benefits are paid for by the employer or other pension sponsor as and when they are paid. This method of financing is known as Pay-as-you-go (PAYGO or PAYG).[13] In the US, ERISA explicitly forbids pay go for private sector, qualified, defined benefit plans.
In a funded plan, contributions from the employer, and sometimes also from plan members, are invested in a fund towards meeting the benefits. The contributions are set up so that if absolutely everything goes according to assumptions for all future years, then the full present value of future benefits (PVFB) is in the assets as each participant retires. Stated differently, if I am a participant in a funded plan, then the contributions are set up so that the full amount of money needed to pay my benefits for the rest of my life is in the trust assets by the time I retire. This is the biggest different between funded and unfunded plans. For example, US Social Security is a pay as you go plan. In the past, there has been more money into the system than money paid out. This money has been accruing in two trust funds (OASI and DI). But it is not FUNDED. No calculation is done to ensure that the contributions are large enough so that the full amount of money needed to pay me my Social Security benefits is in the assets by the time I retire and start collecting my benefit.

2/23/2013 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

That answered my question about the special PC meeting. It would be interesting to see what comes of the Victoria development. Too bad a nice restaurant woulldn't considered. It's the only place in town with an ocean view and could go along way to bringing up the area. Oh well, it's either apartments or fast food. No wonder Costa Mesa is going downhill not so slowly.

2/23/2013 08:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Eileen Truxton said...

I'm tempted to attend the Planning Commission meeting to watch the three of them "assume the position."

2/23/2013 09:24:00 AM  
Anonymous SS is a DB Plan! said...

Why is it that we cant just be honest and fair when discussing critical issues? Why do the sides need to mislead and deceive to make their point?

At the Study session we are going to hear how the evil city employee gets this DB plan where the private sector doesn't.

What we need to discuss are the truths and facts. The real differences that might help solve some issues and make us all more prosperous and stronger financially.

This BS used to create hate and anger toward the city worker is just false. Private Sector workers who get SS are in a Defined Beneift Plan.

Now let's drop the lies and BS meant to create division and work on the sustainability of the formulas and other reasonable areas.

"Social Security is the most widespread defined benefit plan. It gives most retired workers an annual pension based on their lifetime incomes, adjusted annually for inflation"

LifeWire, a part of The New York Times Company, provides original and syndicated online lifestyle content. David Fisher is a freelance writer based in Bend, Ore. In addition to 25 years as an editor and reporter, he has worked as a professional financial adviser.

2/23/2013 09:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Drop the BS said...

My hope is this Joe Nation drops the whole let's create hate and anger toward the groups and let's really discuss issues and possible solutions. Unfortunately his 3rd slide already says to me we want to create more anger and not solve. We want to pile on how bad it is, what we all already know and lets spend time blaming the employees.

There are many things we can discuss.

Here's one I don't know if Pers would allow but let's discuss.

Encourage existing employees to voluntarily adopt the new 2@62 going forward by allowing them to take home more of their pay.

In other words split the savings of such an effort between the employee and the city. The employee takes home more of his paycheck for the lesser formula. The city might even be able to use it's half to start paying down the unfunded liability.

I do not know if the above is possible or not but who does? We don't spend time discussing anything because we just want to paint the employees as evil greedy SOB's and not focus on solutions.

2/23/2013 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

As a congregant of 1259 Victoria, I am sad to see the little church on the hill turn into a development football. The views are magnificent and the residents on Gleneagles do make sound points. That is probably why the Planning Commission will ignore them.

2/23/2013 10:44:00 PM  
Anonymous brilliant said...

and this is why Mike H always gets turned down. geez, burn bridges at the start of a discussion? great negotiating tactic there. lol

2/24/2013 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

brilliant- says the guy who was demoted from a four year term to a two year term.

2/24/2013 01:54:00 PM  
Anonymous End of an Error said...

kwahlf said:
"brilliant- says the guy who was demoted from a four year term to a two year term."

Sounds like the ocgop cartel is tired of its mule El Shreko. He's become a liability and will probably be cut loose in due course. Good news for car washes everywhere- they can get someone with "international business experience" to man the hoses..

2/24/2013 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous 2 will get you 4 said...

Well said Alf!

Terri: Yes, Karin, you nailed it !

Cyndy: I have never trusted a gender called "men". Alf is the real source of truth

Kim: What about Wendy? Don't forget her war on men ! Plus she will ignore all men at her town hall forum

Patti: Yes, Harlan always tells it like it is with real brilliance. Aren't we special, girls?

Alf: Of course, my parents taught me that.

Terri: Of course we are correct, a i agree with all of you ! all well stated.

2/24/2013 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Haha...the ladies got their goat again. This guy spends a lot of time fantasizing about these women. Man, he's creepy.

2/24/2013 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Question said...

So, who do you think will be Chairman?

2/24/2013 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

just wondering- Yep, he is obsessed with those ladies.

End of an Error- Exactly! Here he is attacking Mike while he ( Fitzy) got demoted.
He is infamous for being the biggest kisser upper in town yet he ridicules these ladies for their comments of support. You can see this in the fake "conversations" he posts in almost every thread he comments in.
It's hypocrisy at its best.

2/25/2013 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

For those defending their public employee DB plan as being analogous to Social Security, I have to ask; why aren't you in Social Security like the rest of us? Why aren't you facing loss of anticipated SS benefits like the rest of us?

The answer is that you have a far more generous plan and you wouldn't dream of giving that up to join the SS pool. Imagine if congress decided to liquidate all public employee pension plans, stick all public employees in SS and use those funds to prop up SS? How would that sit with you?

Everyone agrees that SS is a pyramid scheme that can not be sustained.

If that is the case with SS, why doesn't everyone agree that is the case with DB public employee pension plans? Sure, the ones who got in early got theirs, but taxpayers can't foot the bill forever. Eventually you bankrupt the taxpayers.

2/25/2013 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Jealousy is not healthy said...

For those complaining about public employee pensions. I have a great idea. Run down to city hall and jump on the bandwagon. Get hired to work in the public sector. Sure, we can all sit here and complain about what someone else has, it's called envy!

Or you can go become friends with Righeimer and the gang. They are inventing jobs left and right giving their friends lucrative salaries and city jobs WITH those awful pensions we speak of.


-Maybe Righeimer can make you the Assistant to the Assistant CEO. I just can't wait until these clowns run out of names for made up positions so they can continue to help their friends out with large salaries and AGAIN those dreaded pensions they hate so much.

The interesting/sad thing about this town, is those who support these clowns are either completely stupid or completely blind to all of their antics. I guess, I'll leave it up to the council supporters to figure out which one they are.

2/25/2013 04:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Sam Grady said...

Bruce, the employees don't have a choice of whether they are in PERS or Social Security. Just like employees of private companies don't have a choice. There is no city in the State that has Social Security instead of PERS or some other defined benefit plan. When the jobs are advertised, every position, from city manager to laborer get the same retirement system. Why do you blame the employees? They don't make that decision. The elected officials do. Even new cities, such as the three in Riverside County (Eastvale, Menifee and Jurupa Valley) all opted to join PERS when they incorporated.

The point, that you seem to be oblivious to, is that Joe Nation is deliberately being deceptive. Private sector employees do get a defined benefit plan. It may not be as good as what members of PERS get, but it is a defined benefit plan nonetheless.

You certainly have not complained about the council hiring several high paid city employees recently. They could of been contract employees, where PERS would not have come into play, but they decided to reward their friends. I also don't see Monahan giving up his PERS pension and medical plan.

2/25/2013 09:06:00 PM  
Anonymous DB's truth said...

Bruce your entire comment is ridiculous, a facade and also shows your desire to create hate.

1st- nobody was defending their DB plans as being analogous to SS. The comment was made to counter total misinformnation on slide 3 of Joe Nations presentation. You most likely purposely decided to twist it. All 3 of the post regarding this were basically asking for honesty if we are going to have this discussion.

If honesty is not attractive to you and you have to twist these things then I feel sorry for you.

As to your ridiculous question maybe you should be asking how we can get the private sector into a better model. Why you would want to put others into what you admit is a failing system shows your compassion to other human beings.

Each of the posts on this subject asked to let's solve some of the public pension issues and one poster even offered 1 idea to help. Yet you chose to characterize it so different.

as to yuor other lame points I will address those in the next post.

2/25/2013 10:16:00 PM  
Anonymous DB's truth said...

part 2... Bruce let me say there are problems that need to be addressed with public employee pensions that are being discussed and actually reformed. That's a good thing for us all.

I would hope in the future you would try to not be one of those creating hate and barriers into the discussion and help look for solutions.

Why do Pers members get a better pension than SS? There are many levels to this question. It also includes a little understanding of the history of CalPers and the City.

SS cannot invest their pool of money into the Stock Market. They have to invest by law into government type investments. The stock market has produced a great deal more return on investments over the years for CalPers than gov't bonds etc. did for SS allowing Pers to offer a better retirement formula. Of course the last few years has shown the huge kink and reverse when it doesn't reach it's goals. The city has to pick up the difference and that is one huge problem. However Bruce keep in mind all those years the stock market did well. Do you know how much the city may have saved over those superfunded years?
Since 1978 did the cioty pay more or less to cover their employees had they stayed in SS? Do you know that answer. I don't but it would be interesting to see that number.

At a council study session or meeting, the Finance Department attributed some of the $60 - $70 million suplus that was built up to savings during those times.

Another claim is that when CalPers invests it's dollars they actually create bigger increases into the companies they invest in because of the huge amounts of dollars they have to invest. I am not sure I buy that but it is stated.

In 1978 when the city converted to CalPers from SS there was a fear, as there always is, of SS going BK in the future. Here comes the opportunity for the city to only have to pay the same 7% they do for SS covering their employees for the Calpers coverage and the employees probably underpaid at that time compared to the private sector( I do not think this is true today in all cases) would at least get a slightly better retirement. Why would anyone city or employee pass that up? The one caveat is when CalPers does bad then the city would have to increase their portion.

Over the next 35 years Costa Mesa General city employees received 2 increases in their formulas. From 2 @ 60 to 2 @ 55. I do not know why. I would assume because everyone else in the public sector was increasing theirs and probably the return rates of CalPers were pretty good and people felt it could support that increase. Then they went from 2 @ 55 to a few years ago 2.5 @ 55. But this increase was on good faith paid for by the employee. It was estimated by John Bartel (Pension expert) and by CalPers to cost 3.52% of each employees pay. So the employees agreed to pick up this cost.

When the stock market crashed this 3.52% may not be enough anymore but in 2008 that is what the experts estimated.

There is a great deal more but in review

CalPers return rates have been traditionally better than SS allowing them to offer better retirment formuls than SS.

The general city employee paid for and continues to pay for one increase that was estimate actuarially.

Originally it was thought city employees were paid less than private sector so to balance that a bit better retirment was offered. I doubt it's still true today in all cases.

The city in the begining didn't have to pay any more than they did for keeping employees on social security. If you could pay the same mortgage and have a better houes would you go for it?

There's so much more we could discuss Bruce and hope we do.

Instead of demonizing those with better retirments than you maybe we should find a way to uplift you and/or make employees pensions more sustainable.

2/25/2013 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


The core issue here is that the pension systems don't have enough money to cover the promises made. The pension funds want taxpayers to make up the difference.

As a taxpayer, I take exception to PERS coming back to me and saying, "oops, our calculations were wrong, give us more money."

I pay property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes and god knows what other taxes that I don't even see on a daily basis. I want to know that when my city, county, state or federal government has paid an employee for their services for 2013, we have paid for those services. I don't want my kids paying for that person's pension in 2033 because some person at PERS got some equation wrong.

It is as simple as that.

Whatever snake oil was sold to previous city councils about "rates of return and how they don't need to fund PERS because of amazing returns on investments and, oh, by the way, we should get even better pensions because our returns are so amazing, and you just have to guarantee those returns in case they don't materialize, but don't worry" was just that, snake oil.

This council and future councils will be reminded of this every time agreements come back for renewal.

All other discussion about how we got here, who did what, who gets what, etc. are interesting as far as informing us of what we should not do in the future, but are not an argument for reaching into my pocket for more taxes.

2/26/2013 02:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Jealously is not healthy said...

Well Bruce you make some valid points. So get out of your house and drive to every city, county, state and even the Federal Government. Tell them you don't feel their employees should have a defined pension because your SS is not adequate for your liking.

Start with going to the next city council meeting and speak for your three minutes against Righeimer and his band of misfits for allowing such lucrative salaries and PERS retirement for themselves and their friends with made up positions. Or ask to become the Assistant to the Assistant CEO as I suggested in my other post.

If you're NOT willing to do that, then please don't post anymore about PERS or retirements because your argument is DUMB! (For lack of a better term)

2/26/2013 05:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Jealousy is not healthy said...

One more thing. I'm sick of always hearing the "I pay taxes" argument. You and other people who are public employee haters always say that.

As Benjamin Franklin once said "Nothing is certain except death and taxes." What I mean is public employees are also TAX paying citizens.

So please please please get off you soapbox already and stop the pity party. We pay taxes too!

2/26/2013 10:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Sam Grady said...

Bruce is too much of a coward to confront Righeimer and his cohorts. He was actively supporting Mensinger, Monahan and McCarthy for council even though Monahan gets the very thing he despises. He has no problem with the hiring of Lobdell, Francis, Joyce, Knapp and other council boyfriends who get a PERS pension and I have never seen him speak out at any council meeting against those hires. He talks like he alone pays taxes and everyone else gets a free ride. Go on the City-Data Forums Bruce. The whiners spend all day complaining there. You would fit right in.

2/27/2013 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


When all else fails you too resort to personal attacks?

Geoff raises important issues here. I believe the effort he puts in raising those issues deserves just as much effort form his neighbors in response.

Unfortunately, some would prefer that everyone here buy into the union/association line that any solution short of raising taxes to keep the status quo is divisive or something.

Not gonna happen.

If stating that I am not willing to pay higher taxes to continue these unsustainable pensions annoys you, too bad. Get used to it, because I am going to continue saying it.

2/27/2013 02:09:00 PM  

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