Entries by Ed Ring

The Case for Adopting COIN “Civic Openness in Negotiations” Ordinances

One effective way to help ensure that cities and counties do not approve contracts that reward insiders and punish taxpayers is to adopt so-called “COIN” ordinances. COIN stands for civic openness in negotiations. These ordinances are particularly helpful when cities and counties are in negotiations with public employee unions to adopt or renew labor agreements. […]

Starting an Independent Fire Department

If your city contracts out to a state or county fire agency for services, you may want to consider the example of Calimesa, California. Facing rising costs to comply with minimum staffing rules, as well as ballooning costs for defined benefit pensions, in January 2018 the city formed their own independent fire department. The process […]

How Local Elected Officials Can Work With Local Activists

Whenever a high-profile citizens initiative appears on the statewide California ballot, voter turnout increases. An immediate example is the gas tax repeal, likely to appear on the November 2018 ballot across California, and likely to increase voter turnout. Another impact from these initiatives is the opportunity it represents for candidates. A classic example of this […]

Using Citizen’s Initiatives to Repeal Local Taxes

Local reforms can be initiated by city councils and county boards of supervisors, but they can also be initiated by citizen activists. That’s exactly what’s happened, three times, thanks to the efforts of a group based in Pasadena called “TeaPAC.” Their specialty has been to offer voters the opportunity to repeal local taxes, utility taxes […]

Resources for California’s Pension Reformers

Stampede: a mass movement of people at a common impulse. –  Merriam Webster dictionary The pension reform stampede is about to finally overrun California’s political status-quo for three reasons. (1) Pension debt is out of control. While official estimates are slightly lower, most reasonable estimates put California’s total unfunded liabilities for state and local pensions at […]

Innovative Incarceration Could Result in Lower Costs and Safer Citizens

The average annual cost to house a prisoner in California is $71,000, and according to the California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, the cost has risen 45% since just 2011. And as costs have soared, California’s policymakers have resorted to creative ways to release inmates from California’s overcrowded prisons. But what if that Californian creativity could be […]

How to Restore Financial Sustainability to Public Pensions

Last month the League of California Cities released a “Retirement System Sustainability Study and Findings.” The findings were not surprising. “Key Findings” were (1) City pension costs will dramatically increase to unsustainable levels, (2) Rising pension costs will require cities to nearly double the percentage of their general fund dollars they pay to CalPERS, and […]

How to Assess Impact of Market Correction on Pension Payments

On January 28, 2018, the Dow Jones stock index closed at a record high of 28,610. Nine days later, on February 6, the Dow index hit an intraday low of 24,198, a drop of over 15 percent. Since then the Dow index has recovered somewhat, along with other stock indexes and the underlying stocks around […]