On Wednesday, retired Santa Barbara County employees received a letter from the retirement system's CEO, informing them that their name and the amount of their monthly retirement allowance is about to be released and made public in response to Public Records Act requests made by the News-Press and the L.A. Times. I know this for a fact. I was one of those who received the letter.
It's not that big of a deal for me, because even after nearly 25 years of service with the County, my monthly retirement allowance is not all that much and surely wouldn't raise any eyebrows. Just the same, I don't like the feeling that someone is going through my trousers, pulling out my wallet and peeking in to see how much money is there.
I guess it's just another sign of the hysteria over public employee pensions and how they are supposedly at the root of all that is wrong with state and local government. If you want to do something about public employee pensions in the future that's fine, but asking for the benefit information of employees who have already retired is a little like buying a car, driving it for 20 years and then taking it back to the dealer to argue that you paid too much for it.
Cal Worthington wouldn't stand for that nonsense and neither should we.
I'm sure the Lanny Ebenstein's of the world will find some egregious examples of retirees who appear to be living high on the hog because of a fat pension. But is it really necessary to grab all of us by the ankles, turn us upside down and shake us to see whose pocket the Black American Express Card falls out of?
Thanks News-Press. And you too L.A. Times.
© 2011 by Craig Smith and www.craigsmithsblog.com