After watching the local broadcast of the Supervisor debates, I have to ask…Where in the world are Supervisors Mary Piepho (D3) and Federal Glover (D5)? More accurately, what planet do they live on these days, as these two incumbent Contra Costa Supervisors (BOS) tell tall tales of accomplishment and leadership that does not have anything to do with reality, on this planet at least.
First we hear from Mary Piepho that Contra Costa County is leading the state if not the nation and the world in handling its retiree health benefit debt. Really? Contra Costa’s OPEB obligation is heading toward $3-billion and is larger than the OPEB debt of five larger California counties — Alameda, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento and San Diego — combined. In offering a mere 40-percent solution, the only leadership we see is in the BOS failure to not deal with the political and structural realities that got us so far in debt in the first place.
Meanwhile, Federal Glover offers voters Rollie Katz flavored Kool Aid when he avers that the County cannot solve the OPEB problem. Rather we need a solution at the state and national levels in the form of Universal Healthcare. As if this will eliminate the current debt and obligation to current employees. This is irresponsible gibberish.
Unfortunately, many of the challengers during these televised debates were not very forthcoming, either. Most hemmed and hawed around the question from the Times’ Lisa Vorderbrueggen when she asked how to increase funding for OPEB when there is already a $51-million budget shortfall on the table.
Clearly, no one wants to address the elephant in the kitchen called cutting obscene health care giveaways to current unionized public employees. Times columnist, Daniel Borenstein, in a recent editorial suggested that, “instead of offering the county-subsidized health benefits, the county (c)ould provide a stipend of $250 a month to cover the cost of Medigap insurance. By one estimate, that simple change would save the county $37 million a year.”
These and other common sense suggestions prove that the issue facing Contra Costa County is not about money. It’s never about the money. The issue is having the vision for sane and fair policies that work, and having the courage and community support needed to take on the public employees unions that are eating taxpayers alive. Instead, all we hear from incumbents is, “Oh my, it took us forty years to get into this jam, and by golly we don’t want to upset the apple cart cause it’s all about relationships.”
The only reason these political sock puppets of the public employee unions don’t represent California’s more agricultural communities is because farmers already know what a load of bullshit looks and smells like.
In the end, despite the childish and self-righteous temper tantrums of SEIU Local One union rep Rollie Katz, the County in fact ends up favoring special interests by coddling union employees instead of funding critical services including health care for the poor and public safety. Please tell us, Supervisor Gioia, what’s so Progressive about that? How does it help working families who really need county services when at the end of the day, the only people who are being served are the union bosses and the politicians they support.