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Say No to Diversion of Capital Funds

In November, voters will be asked to approve $50 million in new bonds without an overall plan and set of community-based priorities.

To Concerned Berkeleyans: Once again city officials are diverting monies from infrastructure needs to fund employee costs. 

See Item 26 for July 17.

Under this scenario, $3.8 million in savings from the refinancing of capital projects bonds will be used to reduce the City's CalPERS liability rather than putting the money toward the city's more than $500 million infrastructure liability. 

In my opinion, employee pension/benefit contributions need to be implemented and directed to the more than $500 million liability for employee benefits. At the same time that these and other capital funds are being similarly diverted, in November the city will be asking voters to approve $50 million in brand new infrastructure bonds without even having an overall plan and set of true community-based  priorities. 

At the same time that the city avoids right-sizing city employee contracts we are taking moneys away from community-based safety net services for the most needy. 

Please consider writing to the Berkeley City Council on this matter and voting no on all new taxes/bonds until we have the FACTS, right-sized employee contracts,  and a comprehensive community-based plan to address our unfunded liabilities.  

-- Barbara Gilbert

Victoria Peirotes July 17, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Absolutely right on. Also on tomorrow's Council agenda is a vote to allocate $200,000 + to again give city employees nearly free Y access while the entire community (payers of same) has given up 1 of three pools, that would be south-side Willard; in spite of entreaties by most members of the community the decision was made by the City manager and rubber-stamped by by the Mayor and the "Gang of 5". Why? Because the public employee union, along with the big developers all reward the Mayor and Gang of 5 with big $$$ to ensure their re-election. This is an absolute "quid pro quo" and the public are the losers.
Stephen Redmond July 17, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Although it might seem a bit unfair to give City employees low cast access to the Y it's a benefit that if "exercised" would help reduce health care costs. Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water. However, if employees don't use their memberships regularly eg minimum of 4x/month then the benefit should be terminated as it would be a waste of money.. or would it if it helps to keep the Y open. This darn physics is so hard I throw up my hands and say "Aw shucks" let's enjoy the lovely weather and get City Council to open those pools again so that everyone can exercise and enjoy what is arguably one of the best forms of exercise - swimming.
Victoria Peirotes July 18, 2012 at 02:08 AM
I too am a swimmer. Because you, Stephen, are too, you may recall that 2 years ago, city council refused to allocate $78,000 to keep Willard open to the public for the summer but, in the same session, authorized $260,000 for these extra perks for our city employees. The public (payers) go wanting while council juices the public employee unions and their benefits. Do you know all of the benefits and salaries in Berkeley and how they compare to other private and public entities? In Berkeley they exceed all, whether at the Federal, or State or local level. Are you aware that Bates and the Gang of 5 "juiced" the now retired City Manager's salary by over 12% a year before he retired so that it would boost his final retirement pension by an additional $30,000 per year, i.e to $270,000? Do you know that you, and all of us, now "owe" that City Manager $270,000 per year, indexed, for the rest of his life and ours? This isn't taking care of "poor city employees", it's extortion of the public. Berkeley can't afford a warm pool, but why weren't those same YMCA perks offered gratis to those former users of the warm pool who are now without any alternative? That would have been equitable.

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