Detroit Ruling Unlikely To Affect San Bernardino Pensions

This week the Federal Bankruptcy Court in Michigan “ruled that the bankrupt city of Detroit can impose cuts to its municipal pensions plans.”

Political pundits and anti-public safety politicians like Mayor Pat Morris immediately touted the decision.

They believe the ruling now gives the ability to cut pension payments and retirement benefits in the City of San Bernardino.

It appears they’re getting ahead of themselves.

The law covering pensions in Michigan, isn’t the same law covering pensions in California.

According to a statement released by the California Public Employees Retirement System:

“The Detroit court failed to recognize the difference between a two party contract and the unique nature of a state public employee retirement system, which creates a three-way relationship among a public agency, its employees and the retirement system. In California, our members’ vested rights to their pensions are protected by the California constitution, statutes and case law.

“Unlike Detroit, CalPERS is not a city pension plan. CalPERS is an arm of the state and was formed to carry out the state’s policy regarding public employees. The Bankruptcy Code is clear that a federal bankruptcy court may not interfere in the relationship between a state and its municipalities. The ruling in Detroit is not applicable to state public employee pension systems like CalPERS.”

While Mayor Pat Morris and his anti-public safety cronies on the City Council would like nothing more than decimate the retirements of San Bernardino’s fire fighters and police officers, the Detroit ruling isn’t going to make that automatically happen.

 

San Bernardino City Councilmembers Face Election Challengers

San Bernardino City Councilmembers Robert Jenkins, Virginia Marquez, and Fred Shorett are each being challenged for re-election this November.

1st Ward City Councilmember Virginia Marquez faces two challengers this November.

1st Ward City Councilmember Virginia Marquez faces two challengers in the November Election.

As the filing period to run for the City Council came to a close at the end of the day yesterday, the following fields of candidates emerged:

San Bernardino City Council Ward 1

Incumbent Virginia Marquez faces two challengers, Casey Dailey and John Abad.

San Bernardino City Council Ward 2

San Bernardino City Councilman Robert Jenkins is being challenged by Benito Barrios.

San Bernardino City Council Ward 4

Incumbent Fred Shorett has two challengers, Anthony Jones and Kathy Pinegar.

To win a seat on the San Bernardino City Council, a candidate must win 50.1% of the vote in November.  If no candidate reaches that vote level, a Runoff Election is held in January between the first and second place finishers from the November Election.

With only two candidates seeking the Ward 2 City Council position, it is the only race where the November contest will definitely determine the winner.

Filing for the office of Mayor does not close until Wednesday.  Since Pat Morris is thankfully not seeking a third term in the position, the filing period has been extended five days.

With the seat being open and all of the issues San Bernardino is facing, the mayor’s race looks to be a crowded field with the top two November candidates likely going into a runoff.

Pensions Did Not Cause San Bernardino Bankruptcy

There is a a political narrative in San Bernardino spread by Mayor Pat Morris and his anti-public safety allies on the City Council that the pensions offered to Police Officers and Fire Fighters is the main reason the City had to declare bankruptcy.

That is an untrue fiction perpetrated by the Morris political faction to deflect blame away from the Pat Morris’s failures in office and to fuel support for the dangerous cuts Pat Morris and his cronies would like to impose on public safety in San Bernardino.

In November 2012, a study compiled by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley concluded “a high per-capita ratio of police cuts down on violent crime, and saves money.”

The study pointed out “that each dollar spent on police is associated with approximately $1.60 in reduced victimization cost.”

It then went on to rank the 30 most under-policed cities in the United States. San Bernardino came in at #19.

Not in California, but in the United States!

Please note San Bernaridno filed bankruptcy only the months before, and the “exodus” of sworn officers and civilian staff had not even begun to heat up. So the numbers released in the study are “pre-bankruptcy.”

Since that time, Mayor Morris and his City Council Majority attempted to sell the San Bernardino Police Department, and promised the same with the Fire Department.

Where Has the Measure Z Money Gone?

Since 2007, the City of San Bernardino has collected over $28 million through the voter-approved Measure Z.

The voters directed the Mayor and the City Council to spend the tax dollars generated by Measure Z to make San Bernardino’s neighborhoods and families safer.

But where has the money gone?

That’s the topic of a recent mailer sent by the San Bernardino Police Officers Association.

Although the City has been collecting millions of dollars in additional tax revenues, Mayor Pat Morris along with his rubber stamp City Council majority have made deep cuts to public safety that have resulted in San Bernardino losing roughly 30% of it’s Police Officers.