Entries by Ed Ring

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 […]

How Glendale Saved Money on Retiree Health Costs

In most cities and counties in California, “OPEB” (other post-employment benefit) costs are a growing expense. While OPEB costs do not amount to nearly as much as costs for pensions, they are significant, and like pension costs, they are increasing every year. And unlike pensions, cities and counties usually have more flexibility to modify OPEB […]

Prohibit Public Money in Campaigns for New Taxes and New Bonds

What’s the difference between “communications” and a political campaign? The difference should be obvious. When you engage in a political campaign, you are explicitly supporting a particular candidate or ballot measure. When you are “communicating,” you are compelled to limit yourself to presenting objective facts and information to the public; you cannot take a stand […]