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Post Office Box 15679
Long Beach California, 90815-0679
Phone: (562) 597-8000
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Letters to Editor

California Propositions

From Issue: Volume XX - Number 22

How many of us are able to retire at age 50 to 55 with full pension benefits? If you are employed by the State of California or one of our local governments, you may be able to. The Center for Disease Control reports that as of 2009, the average life expectancy is 78.5 years old. My math skills tell me that some government employees may collect his or her full pension benefits for an average of 28.50 years. And I believe that life expectancy will make remarkable upward progress in the near future due to amazing medical advances.

How did this happen? I believe that public employee unions bargaining with politicians is a recipe for ridiculousness. By using employee union dues, the public employee unions make major contributions to the politicians who they believe will be the most favorable to their causes. If you compare this to private business unions, it would be as if the unions could participate in the selection of the management who make the decisions on employee benefits and then, in the future, the unions could either help to fire them or retain them. So that instead of the management decision makers weighing only factors that will keep their business profitable, which includes happy and qualified employees, they would also have to factor in their own job security.

Governor Brown has a plan to restructure pensions. It's a good start, but most of the reforms are for future employees. If enacted, current employees may have to pay more towards their pensions but the retirement age with full benefits was not addressed. I personally believe that there may be true reasons for police officers, firefighters, and possibly other workers to retire early, but I believe they should be awarded partial retirement and continue to work at perhaps a lower paying job. I would also like to state that I support private sector unions.

I urge a yes vote on Proposition 32. It prohibits unions and corporations from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. It prohibits unions and corporations from contributing directly or indirectly to candidates and candidate controlled committees. It also prohibits political contributions from government contractors.

If passed, Proposition 32 will change the trajectory of our state to a more prosperous and inviting future.

Janet West

[Editor’s Note: Thanks to Ms. West for pointing out that our ballot recommendations were in concert with hers except for Prop. 40. She caught our mistake and the following are our recommendations next Tuesday: 30-N, 31-Y, 32-Y, 33-Y, 34-N, 35-Y, 36-Y, 37-N, 38-N, 39-N, 40-Y, B-N, J-N, N-N, O-N, plus Lacey for DA, DeLong for Congress and Martha Flores-Gibson for State Assembly.]