Readers Speak Out on Adachi Pension Measure; Muni Problems …

by on August 3, 2010

To the Editor:

I’ve been a long-time supporter of Jeff Adachi’s, so I find his support for the Charter Amendment on employee pensions and health care benefits totally perplexing.

The question for me is why Adachi is supporting something this regressive and, dare I say, Republican? Seems like the answer is one of three possibilities, none of which are good for his standing with the people who he says he’s most concerned with:

(1) He didn’t read the fine print of this initiative or run the numbers and simply went on the word of its most prominent backer. This may be the most generous interpretation, and gives him a great opportunity to back away from serving as the plutocracy’s “useful idiot” and make amends with his base.

(2) He sincerely believes the austerity brigade’s assertion that the City’s lowest paid workers should foot the bulk of the bill for the budget’s structural problems. If this is indeed true, then he should say so.

(3) He is cynically attacking the lower middle class, in a bid to worm his way into the hearts of our plutocratic elite. If this is the case, I seriously doubt that he’d tell us straight up and we’ll have to wait and see how his political posture changes over the years.

So who’s going to ask him?

Alex Lantsberg
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Leaving the merits and intentions of this measure aside, there is a part of me that has a secret fantasy of having everyone on the City payroll take part in the same system of care that disabled people with HIV/AIDS have had to endure for decades.

If we want to improve the care that everyone receives, then we need to have everyone have some skin in the game. Otherwise, we are supporting a classist system of one system of care for the poor and disabled and another for the well paid. Imagine a law where everyone who received City money has to access the same medical and dental clinics that we do. Every politicians has to stay one night in the shelters, etc. Now that would be fun.

Brian Basinger
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Thank you, Mr. Shaw for finding the key word, the right word for the Adachi pension ploy plan slated to be on this years’ November ballot. His CFO, venture capitalist and speculator Micheal Moritz, care little for the city’s work-force or the services we deliver. It is the same old political poly, being disguised as “progressive reform”. Exploit voter anger at the state of our economy,unionized workers in the public sector who fought long, hard battles for decent pensions, health care benefits and livable wages to enlarge the Middle class and lastly, play the “Armagedon” card of unsustainble beneftis as the only threat to badly needed services

Yes, the word “FRAUD” is the perfect word, the best word for describing this disgusting package of warmed over Republican ideology that makes worker pensions and health care benefits dirty words. The best part of this whole bill, is that there in nothing in it that specifically ear-marks these savings to our services. Of,course, it is being marketed that way just like diet pills that are nothing more than souped up artificial speed that work in the short term, but never in the long run for achieving a healthy weight.

Given that a venture capitalist doesn’t do things without thinking of future profits, or simply because it is the morally right way to really save the services, it is interesting to google some of Mr. Moritz’s favorite investments. My favorite is 24/7. A corporation whose management goal is out-sourcing. You can smell the economic possibilities for destroying public sector jobs with good benefits, our unions and eventually the services that won’t get better or less expensive thanks to the Adachi/Moritz deception. Fraud is the perfect word for this bad bill.

Nancy Lewis FNP
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Jeff Adachi’s Charter Amendment is not, and never has been, about pension reform. It is, and always has been, crafted as a health benefit take-away from children.

This amendment most adversely affects single parents. For example, as a single parent, my monthly contribution to health care would increase by $350 per month. This amount does not include the other costs to me included in this charter amendment. I simply do not have $350 a month in disposable income. I have given up nearly 6% of my earnings as of July 1st to help balance our City’s budget. I am living on the edge of what I can afford right now. If this Charter Amendment passes, I will no longer be able to afford to insure my child.

Also, the Amendment does nothing to address pension reform, despite it being “couched” by Adachi as a pension reform measure. Under his Charter Amendment, Adachi continues to exempt himself from having to contribute to the pension system. If Mr. Adachi were truly worried about the state of the pension system, he would have “earmarked” the money to go directly to fund the pension system, instead of to the General Fund, and would have written in a clause whereby he, as an elected official, contributes to the system (he presently contributed zero towards his own City pension and would continue to contribute zero under his measure).

Despite Adachi’s claim to the contrary, 90% of City Employees already pay, or contracted to pay under their last contract with the City, between 7.5% and 9% of their earnings to the pension system. Therefore, any pension reform in this measure is negligible at best. It is a badly written and poorly thought-out measure, that will cost the City of San Francisco and its taxpayers a lot more than it has to gain – in the expense of litigation which the City will have to unfortunately defend (Adachi, as an attorney, surely knows there are varied and numerous legal issues with his Amendment, which may be why he did not bother to seek a City Attorney opinion before throwing it on the ballot – if he cared so much about voters, why would he subject them to a poorly-drafted measure such as this?), in the expense of an unbalanced budget (due to contractual issues in which millions of dollars in voluntary wage concessions by Safety Officers will be voided should the measure pass, thereby unbalancing the budget which we all worked hard to close), in the extra cost of emergency room care when our children become sick and are uninsured.

The expenses are numerous and become more complex from there. This is bad public policy. City workers are not opposed to working on the health of our pension system (we, after all, have the most to gain by maintaining the health of the system). We helped draft two recent charter amendments addressing pension issues. I would urge the voters of San Francisco to take a good look at this measure.

Mr. Adachi attempts to conceal what will be a health care take-away from children and low-wage earners as a pension reform measure. It is not about pension reform. It is wrong. It is designed to fool voters. I like to think that San Francisco is more savvy than all that and the voters will not look kindly upon a measure touted as one thing (pension reform) when it really is another (a take-away of health care benefits from the most vulnerable of us – our children).

Cathy Helton
San Francisco

To the Editor:

As a California state employee and an RN, I am well aware of both the problem of health care expense in the public sectors and how health care patient expense impedes many Californians from accessing health care when they need it. Better for Mr. Adachi to come out publicly for SB 810, the California Universal Health Care Act, now weaving its way through our legislature in Sacramento for the third time, doomed perhaps but the history of Governor Schwarzenegger’s veto the last two times it passed both the California Assembly and Senate.

SB 810 would reform our current, profit-driven health care delivery system, saving at least 30 cents on every health care dollar for health care instead of mega profits for the insurance, pharmaceutical, medical supply/device corporations and for-profit doctors, hospitals and nursing homes. SB 810 would dissolve the employment/health care contract that keeps us an indentured labor force, working to have health care and falling behind in cost-of-living wage increases, as our insurance premiums go up. In essence, we are subsidizing the health care industry with these foregone real wages.

If Mr. Adachi fails to support SB 810, then we will know that the Adachi-Moritz initiative is nothing but a temporary band-aid on the backs of San Francisco city workers instead of the correct treatment that SB 810 offers all Californians.

Barbara Commins, RN
San Francisco, CA

To the Editor:

MUNI fulfills its motto: “Every rider left behind!”

Herbert Weiner
San Francisco

To the Editor:

Welcome to the East side of San Francisco. Over populated East Side gets less service, and more and more cuts to service. The trolley F line is packed at almost all times of the day as are all the other buses and the underground trains.

Ann DuFrane
San Francisco

To the Editor:

The concern about Muni is real. While I can understand that service cuts can mean fewer vehicles and more time between them, I can’t understand why the bunching — as described in your article — still occurs.

Robert Passmore
San Francisco

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