Ballot Challenge: Does Fullerton Really Have $500,000,000 in Pension Debt?

The city clerk called me tonight to let me know that someone had come in to protest my sample ballot statement.  She says this person took issue with the following claim:

Has Fullerton’s pension debt really risen to half a billion dollars?

Yes.  According to the CalPERS pension system’s own analysis in this OCRegister article, the lump-sum payment to close out all of Fullerton’s pension liabilities (debt) right now is somewhere between $456,000,000 and $540,000,000.

It’s hard to blame anyone for doubting this figure, as the number is simply unbelievable. But it’s 100% true. That’s half a billion dollars which must somehow be paid off by my children and yours, all thanks to the unchecked generosity of union-backed councilmen like Don Bankhead and Dick Jones.

Fullerton City Council Fullerton City Council Candidates Setting The Bar Low Union Goons Watch Your Wallet

90 thoughts on “Ballot Challenge: Does Fullerton Really Have $500,000,000 in Pension Debt?

  1. I’m a bit lost on that one — are you saying the pension fund that the officers have paid into was looted by the city? Please clarify. Thanks.

  2. Yeah, the truth hurts. Time to wake up Fullerton!

    Donate to Travis so that he can get his message out to the public.

    1. As per the Regurgistor article, the cost of getting out is prohibitive unless you have a mountain of money and I doubt Fullerton has anywhere near that much cash available for such a purpose. Travis can only use this as a campaign platform if he can offer a workable solution that all parties will agree too. I don’t see that happening. Impress me Travis. You can’t just be a complainer, you gotta be a problem solver to get my vote. Please impress me, please.

  3. The truth hurts. And the truth is the massive [email protected] retroactive pension spike handed to the cops and “fire fighters” tanked the City’s budget. That and picking up the employee’s share of PERS contributions.

    Jones and Bankhead sold us out. Bankhead and McKinley are two of the prime beneficiaries.

  4. This system permits a useless zit like McKinely to make almost $20,000 A MONTH in pension payout – much more than he ever made working.

    This is the lying sack of excrement who campaigned in 2010 on a pledge of pension reform!!!!

    RECALL the traitor.

  5. umm…. how did this get so looted without anyone saying anything? Who is incharge of auditing this fund and managing it???

  6. Tuco wishes he had a [email protected] pension but lots of my retired police buddies (not from Fullerton) have a similar pension and their brethren in city and county government get pension spikes. In fact my buddy, an ex city manager, got such a pension spike but his was the only one in my city in over 20 years. He ran the city well and they wanted to reward him and wow did they! (He was parsimonious!)
    But to give pension spikes every year is to look to bankrupt your municipal government. That is courting disaster for your sons, daughters and grandchildren. (oops, and me if you cannot afford to pay my meager pension). Tuco can barely scrape two quarters together for a beer!

  7. It’s not just Fullerton, but the entire State of California! People need to put down their little texting toys, shut off their IDIOT BOX and get off their dumb, distracted asses and wake the hell up to what is going on and where THEIR money is being thrown around!

      1. No one says a darn thing and the surprises just keep on rollin’ in….. sigh…

        Who the hell is listening?

        No matter how loudly you scream at those in charge nothing significant changes. Our system is CORRUPT!

        1. I often wonder if Facebook and stupid toys like the iPad are destroying life as we know it. Nobody gives a shit anymore about their government, it’s all about fun, pleasurable, self-absorbed activities and me, me, me!

          At the rate things are going, people are going to wake up without a job, without electricity, gas, food or water and not have the slightest idea why. California is self-destructing. It is time to get out.

          1. The technology you cite is what’s making change around the world, right here and right now on your computer screen. The iPhone is the new weapon in the fight for what’s right. Please reconsider your argument.

            1. I agree as it is a double edged sword. I also agree that we are very dependent on a delicate system of power, food and water distribution and most at best have no more than a 3 day inventory on hand. People are in a trance from the TV and the non-stop enter(containment). Fullertonians are awakening. We shall see soon enough to what extent. I am optimistic.

  8. ya know, becoming an expat and living on a sweet little island in the caribbean or on the med looks awfully good right now…

  9. Travis,
    I really commend your dedication in holding the city responsible for bad fiscal policy. Had you been on the ballot in any major city in Texas, I would have proudly voted for you in a heartbeat. Keep up the good work!

  10. Maybe the city can hire Gennaco to tell everyone he finds no evidence of debt?

    All kidding a side those are some serious numbers!!!!!

  11. The City pays into the CalPERS pension plan, not the employee. The bigger rape is by CalPERS in using the 7.75% assumed growth of investments in the plan. This number projects an inflated rate of return that entices members into and to stay in the plan. The formulation used by various employee bargaining units use these inflated numbers to justify their outlandish demands.
    If you study the numbers there is no way to sustain the present sham retirement system.
    This is pretty much what has happened to GREECE, as an example.
    The winding down of the RDAs is the latest step to centralize tax collection from muncipalities, check the distribution of funds from traffic fines and the exhorbitant amount thay have become.

    1. another incident of speculation that caused our recent great depression titled by the media the great recession.our economic recession is more protracted than the Great Depression

    2. Not anymore. More cities are requiring that their employees actually take the 7.75 percent/9 percent from their checks.

      1. Cities have paid the employee 9% for years. Now they are making employees gradually pay the 9%. Most cities are at at least 3%. Behind the scenes stuff though cause most get the % raise behind the scenes and then pay the % contribution. Just a wash. California League of Cities play book. All the cities in California the same for the years with very slight variations.

  12. Vernon Dozier :
    I often wonder if Facebook and stupid toys like the iPad are destroying life as we know it. Nobody gives a shit anymore about their government, it’s all about fun, pleasurable, self-absorbed activities and me, me, me!
    At the rate things are going, people are going to wake up without a job, without electricity, gas, food or water and not have the slightest idea why. California is self-destructing. It is time to get out.

    And when that happens, it will be time to LOCK and LOAD and go hunting for some butt.

    1. “I often wonder if Facebook and stupid toys like the iPad are destroying life as we know it. Nobody gives a shit anymore about their government, it’s all about fun, pleasurable, self-absorbed activities and me, me, me!”

      I kinda think that was the plan all along — dumb down the people, get the reality shows on, what can I get for free?, get to the entertainment!, turn the attention away from government, and no one looks at the scam perpetrated on the country… this is not something new, it’s obviously been going on a long, long, long time…

      1. Reality TV shows, another sore subject. You know what’s really tragic about them? My female friends, coworkers, and relatives read or watch the news a lot LESS because of American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, The Bachelor(ette), etc, etc — and Facebook. It’s really frustrating having to tell them about major news stories when all they care about is who is about to be eliminated on the next show. So I applaud all the women who frequent here on a regular basis and care about what goes on in the world. Keep it up, ladies!

    2. I’ll be long gone before that happens. For the younger folks, I can’t even begin to fathom the idea of spending another 60 or 70 years in California. Can you?

  13. Oh please,oh please don’t protest the ballot statement! It would be terrible to get press coverage on the anti-Recall folk protesting THE TRUTH! Someday I’ll stop being surprised at how these guys managed to seize power.

  14. Suggestion to all candidates:
    Think about establishing a citizens Ombudsman Office that reports directly and only to the City Council and is staffed with an experienced investigative journalist/reporter.

  15. DQ :
    “I often wonder if Facebook and stupid toys like the iPad are destroying life as we know it. Nobody gives a shit anymore about their government, it’s all about fun, pleasurable, self-absorbed activities and me, me, me!”
    I kinda think that was the plan all along — dumb down the people, get the reality shows on, what can I get for free?, get to the entertainment!, turn the attention away from government, and no one looks at the scam perpetrated on the country… this is not something new, it’s obviously been going on a long, long, long time…

    By golly, I think you’ve got it!

    The so called “news” is an absolute sham! It is nothing more than the murder report with a little weather and sports thrown in. Turn it on at 5:00 o’clock and have your intelligence insulted, daily! This, while the country crashes.

    I could scratch a lengthy dissertation here, but there is not enough space and Tony would not approve.

    1. turn to journals that are written by scholars for the news. their life-long devotion to topics allows us to correctly interpret the media and sift the truth from propaganda

  16. The really sad part is that Bankhead doesn’t even feel sorry for screwing over his own grandchildren. No appology. Ever.

  17. The bankers and the government bureaucrats are financially raping the citizens. Americans are generally too stupid to understand the mechanisms used to separate them from their money. Fullerton is beginning to wake up. Hopefully others will follow your lead. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

  18. I had no idea the pensions where not already accounted for. I thought it was paid for by a system like CAlPers which city workers would pay into just like school employees.

  19. Sinclair Lewis’ “Main Street” described how the petty shopkeepers, little banks and small band of civic leaders mercilessly fed off the farmers that surrounded this Main Street. If not for the farmers, Main Street would not exist. Yet, those with slightly more economic advantage than the farmers set up shop and economically gouged nearly to death these farmers. In essence, the farmers were reduced to serfs by the persons who followed after them.
    Main Street’s popularity is due to the fact that it describes so well the predictable actions of most municipalities(petty governments).
    When one group decides it is intellectually and culturally superior to the populace, they begin to exploit the very people they are dependent on for money. This phenomena is seen when Main Street people enter government and use our hard-earned tax dollars to sponsor or support its version of culture and entertainment; skate parks, giant hearts on street corners. Main Street people do the most damage to the populace with their belief that if not for them, the street and thus the populace would not exist. Instead of realizing the heavy economic burden they place on those not in civic power,Main Street believes they carry the heavy burden of continuing civilization. They justify exacting higher taxes from the populace to monetarily compensate them for their herculean efforts. How many times have we heard the excuse our police and firefighters need exorbitant salaries and pensions because they either put their lives on the line for us everyday or save our lives everyday.
    In fact, it is our lives, those of us who work hard only to see our fruits of labor, our “farms” stolen and frittered away on public projects that puts private profit into Main Street’s hands, that puts our lives on the line everyday for Main Street.
    In our town of Fullerton, our municipal government has decided to our detriment what we need to have and what we need to know, though its actions are often illegal.

        1. Accepted, although I was never at war. It just seemed that no matter how I agreed with you, there was something personal that was rubbing off on me. I was a personal challenged to overcome it.

          Obviously you know a lot about history and like to examine the movement of thought. If you put aside personal dislikes with the Kennedys and honestly examine what they thought through history, you will come up with quite a story.

          Thirteen years before my birth was the turn around in World War Two while Ralph was in training to be a naval officer at Annapolis. It was the begining of America’s true predominence in the world and the feeling that we could do anythng and build society to our vision. Thirteen years after Ralph’s death the progressive dream is about to drag California and the nation behind it into bankruptcy.

          If you are intellectually honest, the Kennedys are perfect charactors to use to examine the changes that happened in those 69 years.

            1. Then that is part of the story. Is not the entire progrssive movement chasing what sounds good, but is not true?

              1. From what I’ve studied, the progressive movement saw government as a tool for effecting a better society. if I remember correctly, this movement was a reaction to the Gilded Age of the late 1800’s ,turn of the century vulgar extravagance by those made wealthy through monopolies on railroads and industry. Progressive movement sought bigger government by expanding its control into areas once dominated by the private sector;education, health, social welfare. Providing health,safety and welfare shifted from the private sector;churches,charities,individual or collective movements, to the public sector. this shift forced government to expand and I believe it was around this same time our Constitution was amended to include Federal income tax.
                My point in paralleling “Main Street” is the average person with just a little more money and knowledge may do great harm to the populace with his or her myopic view of what benefits society. Where the Progressive movement sought to roust politcal corruption from municipal government and purify society into a happier, healthier place by monetarily burdening the populace with taxes and unreasonably regulating them, the
                current Libertarian movement seeks to purify government by restoring to it to its literal powers that demands small , less intrusive governments at all levels.

                1. No, the Progressive movement was a reaction to the corruption of immigrant (Catholic) ward politics.

                  Its membership was educated, WASP do-gooders with a strong sense of moral superiority – think Woodrow Wilson.

                  Anti-saloon sentiment featured prominently. The attitude of superiority over the unwashed masses is alive and well today among modern “progessives” – think Molly McClanahan and Jan Florby.

                2. history major, you are part right. part of it was to clean up Tamany Hall bosses at th e municipal level and the Prohibition amendment to our Constitution was partially spurred by these networking ,inner city saloon keepers, but the national Temperance movement was a primary factor,too, in this amendment that was quickly repealed. as for the wealthy, well- educated WASP do-gooders, you’re right. Maybe out of guilt over their wealth, some persons and families used their wealth to effect the Hygeia on the hill, the utopia for the masses by using government to provide the health, safety,education for the masses.
                  However, Fullerton’s municipal government strays far from the Hygeia(?) on the hill with its greed, brutality and deceits our community endures every day.

            1. I would not be surprised Ralph Kennedy. Washed overboard at boat school also known as Annapolis. Ralph Kennedy’s family and his cult claimed he was a rocket scientist after his death. I personally remember Ralph Kennedy telling me he had a bachelors degree in engineering. When I lived in Pasadena decades ago, my neighbor had a Ph.D. From Cal-Tech and he was employed as a rocket scientist at Jet Propulsion Laboratories;fiction meets fact when people move out of the realm of Ralph Kennedy’s children and friends.

  20. The sad thing about ANYONE questioning the $500,000,000 in Pension Debt, just goes to show us, people in this city and all over this state have been conditioned to believe our local government has our best interest at heart.

  21. “For those who would joyously march in rank and file, they have already earned my contempt, for they were given a large brain by accident…when a spinal cord would have sufficed.” ~ Albert Einstein

  22. I perused the Regurgitator article that was provided in this post, and noted that each and every city that is in serious CalPers debt is staffed with their own police department instead of the O.C. Sheriffs Department.

    This issue of unfunded pension liabilities, coupled with the 10% surcharge on our “water bills” that these leeches are still attached to, are the 1-2 punch that every single voter in Fullerton can relate to.

    No one likes a thief, or thieves, and brother these three are as thick as they come.

  23. “Someone came in to protest”? Uh, ok. Who gives a sh$# about a random person coming in to protest. I protest the three geezers claiming Mr. Bushala is a downtown developer.

    Take a look at the Register article real close. The LOW ESTIMATE is under $500,000,000, however, there is also another estimate that is well above.

    Travis, I protest too. Your statement should have said “pension debt well in excess of $500,000,000.” The low estimates on this stuff always seem to be light.

    1. Hollis,
      I remember reading that you were around during the first recall, and I was wondering if you knew who Don Blankhead was blaming the first time that he got recalled from office and Tony Bushala wasn’t available as a scapegoat?

      1. As I recall (pun intended) Don was telling us the city would be bankrupt without the utility tax.

        Don is just not exactly a modern day Nostradamus when it comes to the city’s finances. He habitually claims we cant make it without the special fees yet votes to impose new costs.

  24. Johnny Donut :
    The really sad part is that Bankhead doesn’t even feel sorry for screwing over his own grandchildren. No appology. Ever.

    Something tells me that Blankhead is screwing over OUR grandchildren, and his contempt for everyone that doesn’t kiss his behind and see his “point of view,” allows him to literally tune us out, and figuratively, turn us out into the streets.

  25. But didn’t Jerry Brown pass a law against municipal bankruptcies? Problem solved!

    So all is well, move along now. 🙂

  26. Hence taking food out of you great grand children’s mouth’s. Oh wait Albey Al, you will never have children because you hit the wrong hole.

    1. Hey Erin I missed you at the gym today? I’ve noticed alot of graffiti on the west side of Fullerton. Tell your kid to put down the spray can.

      1. Give it a rest Christine. You’ve been posting all sorts of garbage about Erin and her son for months now.

        I wish I knew what Erin did to you that prompted you to act in such a cold and vicious manner towards her but whatever is the case please just end it.

  27. 500 mill based on 7.75% returns yeah right. Derivative infested soon to be collateralized for national debt repayment to the finance oligarchs whom they foolishly and unknowingly serve. Hello!! Its a lot worse. The parachute they think they can rely on is full of holes. The tax base is being systematically and intentionally eroded as treaties and tax codes are augmented to bring this nation to its knees. The middle class is in the crosshairs. This is a state, local and national disaster waiting to happen. Don’t cry for me Argentina. The feds can keep printing their way out and kick block grants with miles of strings down to the state and local levels but when the dollar is no longer the world reserve currency then its back to the Weimar Republic and a wheelbarrow full of fed notes for a loaf of bread will be the order of the day. Such vile treachery. I extend an olive branch to our local governmnt and ask that they do the right things now. You will need those whom you currently hold in derision-us the masses-the good honest hard working people of Fullerton. Tough times call for unity. They are coming.

    1. Yeah S&P rates it all A+. It is all stuffed up with the Moreno Valley underwater homeowners that work at Starbucks with stated loans with margins bundled and sold to a Goldman clearinghouse packaged nicely and you still think they are assets on a balance sheet. By now they are CDO’s in a foreign bank with Greek bond holdings. You guys are funny. You actually believe this house of cards is made out of kevlar or spider gene goat silk. You all watch way too much television for your own good.

      1. This story reminds me of the guys that were robbing the ship’s jewelry safe on the Titanic. The LA times has this piece bathed in high fructose corn syrup.

  28. Candidates who care to comment-what will you do to solve Fullerton’s issue of unfunded pension liabilities? What should the council do to solve it?

  29. I think thou protests too much!
    First, if Fullerton cannot pay for the pension obligations they can easily get out of it! Really? Yup! A good ol municipal bankruptcy will work wonders. Then its up to a judge to decide how the assets of the city are divided up and what liabilities to dump! The judge may be of the municipal union persuasion, after all this is California. In that case, pensions will be considered more important to save than streets, sewer, water, fire, and other services.
    Or, the judge may be an Orange County type where it won’t bother him or her to chop pension obligations down to a more reasonable level.
    You all realize that the Federal Bailout of GM and Chrysler was unnecessary. In a bankruptcy, the bondholders take a bath but retain some ownership, the common and preferred stockholders get wiped out and the pensions get dumped onto the Federal Pension Guaranty Corp. Chrysler gets bought out by Fiat and GM starts over without the huge debt overhang.
    Very little difference than what happened with your taxpayer money. The major difference was the pension guaranty corp did not have to lay out the money (taxpayer money) instead, the Treasury picked up the tab (taxpayer money) !
    So Fullerton is looking at bankruptcy in the next 10 years due to the pension excesses of the dithering dinosaurs!

    1. Tuco, bankruptcy or not,
      Fullerton is still on the hook for current commitments for pensions. They are guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions. Now the benefits could be modified on a going forward basis–maybe. But, what has been earned is locked in.

      1. Earned??!!!??

        What a joke. You mean not earned, don’t you? That’s what happened when the idiots Jones and Blankhead voted a massive RETROACTIVE pension spike in 2001.

      2. 401k’s are contributed to with money earned.

        We need the same system for public employees that we have to live with ourselves. Pay into your own retirement account and retire like the rest of us at 66 or 67.

        that would be fair.

  30. Sooner or later every city will become Stockton and Federal Courts will be rewritting all the promises every clown with a badge made to the other clowns with a badge.

  31. History Major :
    No, the Progressive movement was a reaction to the corruption of immigrant (Catholic) ward politics.
    Its membership was educated, WASP do-gooders with a strong sense of moral superiority – think Woodrow Wilson.
    Anti-saloon sentiment featured prominently. The attitude of superiority over the unwashed masses is alive and well today among modern “progessives” – think Molly McClanahan and Jan Florby.

    I’ll give you half credit on this one, because I didn’t see anything about religion being behind the progressive movement, and I sure as hell wouldn’t cite Molly McClanahan as a modern progressive, as she is the antithesis of someone that I would refer to as a “progressive”.

    Molly is more of what I would refer to as a “Regressive Repuglican”.

    Note to readers of this Wikipedia article about the Progressive Era in this country (1890’s-1920’s) that the law that allowed for Recall Elections in the state of California was enacted during the Progressive Era.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Era

    1. The California branch of the progressives under Hiram Johnson sought to give the informed public a chance to get rid of pols bought and paid for by railroad interests.

      McClanahan is a perfect exemplar of the OLD progressive sense of moral superiority and self-righteousness.

      Come to think of it that pretty well describes the NEW progressives, too.

  32. One for the books :
    It’s not just Fullerton, but the entire State of California! People need to put down their little texting toys, shut off their IDIOT BOX and get off their dumb, distracted asses and wake the hell up to what is going on and where THEIR money is being thrown around!

    Agree 100%!

  33. I can’t even comment here, it seems to me that Travis is being bought and paid for by a community member with conflicting interests. How is that right? And the fact that a school board member was paid by same community member to run a recall? Conflicting Interests? Anyone? Travis, what are your qualifications? Your original application was pretty darn thin.

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