It is unfortunate that the opponents of Proposition B have elected to engage in a massive and costly misinformation campaign instead of leveling with San Francisco residents about our staggering benefit cost increases and how best to pay for them. The opposition strategy seems to be if residents can be kept in the dark about escalating costs, they’ll end up paying the entire bill through fee and tax increases and cuts in vital city services.
A Prop. B opponent wrote to The Examiner that “Prop. B ignores that San Francisco’s city employees voluntarily agreed to $250 million in pay cuts.” In fact the opposite is true. Prop. B honors current collective bargaining agreements. This $250 million in concessions is largely temporary in the form of furlough days and deferred raises under current collective bargaining agreements. Prop. B does not take effect until after the $250 million in concessions expire. Prop B is not a “double-hit” in this sense.
What's come over Muni?
I have noticed that lately, as we get closer to the Nov. 2 elections, Muni operators are unusually polite, friendly and calm. What a difference from the pre-Proposition G bus driver of a few months ago. The buses are now safer, with less fighting. And it can be even pleasant to ride them. I hope the rest of the passengers can notice the positive change themselves by paying closer attention.
Pledge would cause grief
Economy experts from both the left and the right have pointed out that doing the math reveals that the GOP Pledge to America would eventually bankrupt the federal government, while doing little to reduce the deficit. By declaring defense and entitlements off-limits, the Pledge promises not to cut spending in two-thirds of the budget.
None other than David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director, recently dismissed the Pledge as disingenuous for those reasons, while adding that the only way you could significantly reduce the deficit would be by raising taxes. Yet the Pledge, while not specifying where cuts in the budget would be made, promises to extend the Bush tax cuts for the very wealthy while raising no new taxes, even though the U.S. is still mired in two simultaneous wars.
Don’t blame the teachers
To my mind, attacking teachers and their unions in the manner of your Oct. 4 “ ‘Superman’ has a backstory” does not lead to any realistic solutions, but is part of the problem with education in our country.
I don’t know of any entrepreneur who would create a business model depending on a complement of “super” employees to have the business run efficiently. Competence is only insufficient within a dysfunctional institution. Today’s teachers are probably the most competent lot that ever existed. Unfortunately, dealing with the myriad problems inherent in our society and schools really does demand “super” teachers.