Friday, February 15, 2013

San Berdoo Death Spiral Continues

Police and firefighter unions in bankrupt San Bernardino want to sue the city for cutting members’ pay and benefits. Last year the city became the first in California to unilaterally stop paying into the California Public Employees Retirement System (Calpers), and the unions who represent these pensioners aren’t happy. Since the city’s bankruptcy hearing is still pending, none of its creditors, Calpers included, are currently allowed to sue for money owed. But the unions are trying to change that. Reuters has the details:
In December, the bankruptcy judge ruled against an attempt by Calpers to have the bankruptcy stay lifted so the pension fund could sue the city in state court to collect pension arrears.

Asking for the stay to be lifted is what the police and firefighters unions will do later this week. The public employees union, representing about 54 mid-level city officials, made the same move last week.
San Bernardino—the third California city to declare bankruptcy last year—has now become a battleground in the war between pensioners and other creditors trying to collect payments from a defunct city. It’s a sadly familiar story: The various blue constituencies are going to war with each other as they each try to extract the last bit of money from near-empty coffers. The city faces stark trade-offs: does it slash services to the young in order to pay pensions to the old? San Bernadino’s schools are in terrible shape and its budget can no longer support basic police and fire protection—but the geezers still want the money they’ve been promised. As more cities go bankrupt, what happens here could set a precedent for similar cases around the state and the county.
I posted about San Berdoo at the time of the original bankruptcy and it's been fun interesting to watch a place I know fall into pension hell. Coming soon to a city near you.



Last time I found a couple of interesting songs about San Berdoo.  I looked hard again this time, and found this old Creedence Clearwater classic "Tombstone Shadow".  The lyrics seem vaguely appropriate:



"Tombstone Shadow"
John Fogerty

Tombstone Shadow, stretchin' across my path.
Tombstone Shadow, stretchin' across my path.
Ev'ry time I get some good news, Ooh,
There's a shadow on my back.

Saw the gypsy man, 'way down in San Berdoo.
Said, I saw the gypsy man, 'way down in San Berdoo.
Five dollars on the table, Ooh,
Keep me 'way from my tomb.
Oh! Oh!

Said I got thirteen months of bad luck,
Bound to be some pain.
Don't you do no trav'lin',
Fly in no machines.
Tombstone Shadow, stretchin' across my path.
Ev'ry time I get some good news, Ooh,
There's a shadow on my back.

The man gave me a luck charm, Cost five dollars more,
Said, \"Put some on your pillow, and put some on your door.\"
He said, \"Take a long vacation, Ooh,
For thirteen months or more.\"
Oh, Lord!

Tombstone Shadow, stretchin' across my path.
Tombstone Shadow, stretchin' across my path.
Ev'ry time I get some good news, Ooh,
There's a shadow on my back.

Oh, oh, Lord!
Oh, Lord!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment