Some very interesting differences were recently published between the response times of Glendale Police Officers Association, which belongs to the pension plan of California Public Employees Retirement System (CALPERS), and the response times of Los Angeles County sheriff deputies who belong to the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA) pension plan.
Everyone would agree we need law enforcement, but how we finance it is critical. According to documents, Glendale employees on average earn about $1,000-$2,000 more a month than comparable county employees.
The article showed [the response time of] Los Angeles County Crescenta Valley station deputies averages about 10 minutes. The presumed difference in response time had to do with more calls stemming from areas deeper within the Angeles National Forest.
The facts, in my opinion, can be misleading compared to the Glendale police average of 3.9 minutes. In similar urban areas, the response time was basically the same, 3.9 minutes. Not given was the response time in the winding, congested and dense streets of cars and trucks in Glendale’s canyons and hills – Chevy Chase Canyon, Glenoaks Canyon, Adams Hill, Rossmoyne Hills, and NW Glendale.
Why is the sheriff department employees’ pension plan self-funded while the Glendale police officers pension plan is guaranteed by the taxpayers annually at a minimum of 7.5% on their investments? What bank pays 7.5% interest?
In the years 2011 and 2012, Glendale taxpayers had to pay an additional $58 million to the CALPERS pension fund. This money could have been used for roads, parks, libraries, etc. In order to increase revenue for our unfunded pension obligations, our city council recently, again, increased 300 old fees and added 100 new fees.
Emergency response time is most important, but is it good politics or good PR that a Glendale police officer earns more income than a county sheriff for a comparable position?
Numbers Don’t Add Up
Big numbers are always hard to comprehend, and [Gov.] Jerry Brown’s $68 billion for a high-speed train truly boggles the mind. Consider this:
Instead of a train between L.A. and San Francisco, we could invest the $68B in the highest rated 30-year government bonds, today yielding an average of 3.35%. Our investment would then yield more than $2.25B per year.
With that $2.25B, we could then buy more than nine million plane tickets between Los Angeles and San Francisco at $250 per ticket. In 2013, there were only 7.7 million air travelers on that route.
In others words: For the money Brown wants to spend on a high speed train, we could give a free plane tickets to every traveler between L.A. and San Francisco every year for 30 years, and have 1.3 million tickets left over.
What’s more, at the end of the 30 years, we could get our $68B bond investment back. We could then take the money and do it over again if we felt like it.
There must be a better use for such money as it is clear that $68B for a train is worthy of ridicule. Just as no one would seriously suggest we invest that sum to provide free airfare, no one should seriously suggest that building a train for that sum is sensible.
Public transportation is a good idea, but it is not worth an infinite price. At $68B, our government is wasting an astonishing amount of money.
Water Conservation is for Everyone
The other day my daughter and I walked in the neighborhood adjacent to CVHS. Green lawns and sprinklers watering the sidewalks reminded us of a line from a movie, “A Cinderella Story.” Set in L.A. during some previous drought, the stepmother, who has the only green lawn on the block, says, “Droughts are for poor people!”
Perhaps you can afford the extra water it takes to keep your lawn lush and green, but just because you can buy that water doesn’t mean you should. Droughts have very real and detrimental effects.
I urge all of the residents in the Crescenta Valley to rethink their landscape. Lawns are the single biggest water hogs in residential areas. If you simply must have one, consider a drought tolerant variety of grass that only needs watering once a week. Other easy steps you can take: fix your sprinklers, use mulch, water less frequently for a bit longer (but only if it doesn’t result in run-off), switch to a drip system, get rain sensors, set up a rain barrel. If you are willing to be more creative, attend a workshop on xeric landscaping. Take advantage of credits when you take out [your] lawn and replace it with something more conducive to our semi-arid climate.
Please do something! Stop behaving like we have an indefinite supply of water because we don’t. Dams are dangerously low and the aquifer is shrinking at an alarming rate. And if you want a startling local picture of how dry it is, try hiking in Eaton Canyon or other areas that should have a stream running that is bone dry. Please be good stewards of our natural resources.
The obituary of Webster Wiley Jr. in the CV Weekly [Aug. 7] was one that produced some thoughtful thinking on my part.
The obituary only tells part of Webb’s story. I think it safe to say that he was a visionary whose vision shaped much of our community. The homes that he built were “cutting edge” at the time of being built not only in design but also in their methods of their construction. Incorporated into his homes were many items of convenience and safety which we take for granted today. Some of what he did was very controversial and possibly not welcomed by everyone in our community. However, today I think that all will agree that a Wiley built home in such areas as Pinecrest and Paradise Valley are good solid homes.
And what of the man? I recollect that Webster Wiley Jr. not only built in this community but was also very much a part of it. He was involved in the social and philanthropic fabric. Local subcontractors and local laborers were hired by him enriching our local economic climate. He supported many local organizations, giving freely of his time, physical labor and money … certainly making a difference for the better.
Perhaps Mike Lawler and the CV Weekly can research the valley history concerning Webster Wiley Jr. and his homes and contributions and present an article for us to further appreciate this man.