Friday, May 19, 2017

The Pension Fix

Perhaps I don’t have to worry about eating cat food after all.


Now that there’s a pension fix that stabilizes the fund, I think perhaps I’ll be OK. 


Just a few months ago, it was very bleak—the kind of bleak where you wonder if your survival hinges on selling Chiclets or macramé south of the border or finding a lucrative street corner to panhandle.

That kind of bleak.

The kind of bleak where you ponder about eating cat food and then decide you could subsist on a diet of Ramen noodles. The kind of bleak that keeps your eyes red-rimmed from sleepless nights and salty tears. The kind of bleak that plunges you head first into an abyss wallowing in the unfairness of it all.

The kind of bleak that underscores that life really is not a Disney movie where everyone doesn’t live happily ever after and Prince Charming doesn’t come to the rescue. First responders have battled unfairness all their lives. Happy endings have always been few and far between. And, there never, ever was a Prince Charming, only the  Prince of Darkness Mayor Mike Rawlings.

But at least for now, there is this pension fix.  Retired Assistant Fire Chief Debbie Carlin said it best: “Fire and police are saving each other once again.”

By all accounts, this is a fix borne mainly by first responders. The ones who always sacrifice. The ones who were always promised so much, but who received so very little.  By several accounts, first responders will shoulder 75 percent of the burden.

It’s disheartening that more wasn’t required of the city of Dallas to honor the promises made to those who sacrificed so much. 

But life is not a Disney movie.

All the first responder leadership acknowledged that this compromise bill will be tough to sell to our people, and it is.

We were unable to overcome the Mayor’s narrative of “taxpayer bail out” even though it never was and never will be one. We were unable to overcome the Mayor’s constant portrayal and betrayal of first responders as greedy and the creators of this problem.  We were unable to overcome the Mayor’s concentrated, carefully orchestrated campaign of lies. Had we had more time, perhaps we would have.

Unfortunately during this time, public safety has eroded and will continue its downward spiral. Regardless of this pension fix, the damage has been done. Record numbers of police and firefighters have left. More will still go.  Officials concede it will take 10 years before we will be back to full strength.  Meanwhile, crime and response times continue to climb. 

And while this pension fix stings, active and retired first responders did succeed by…
•Saving the fund to ensure that we will still have a pension check
•Ensuring that the clawback of funds—although still in the bill—is no longer a certainty.

I remember that just a few short months ago, our Prince of Darkness and his minion floated the now infamous Ice Floe plan which would have left all of us without a pension check. I remember just a few short weeks ago when that same Prince tried to float some fuzzy math by the state house pensions committee in an effort to shirk the city’s financial obligation to the pension fund.

I remember all those things. 

I also remember how all the active and retired police and fire associations fought valiantly for every one of us. You may not have liked this or that by one or the other, but they fought for us. All of us. Without them, the results would have been catastrophic.

No, we did not get everything we wanted nor hoped for.  And yes, the sacrifices made—as always—were and will continue to be tremendous.  And, no, it is not fair.

But now is the time for all of us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and ready for our future battles which will surely come. We must continue to stand together for we truly do have miles to go before we sleep.

#backthepension #peoplebeforeprojects #lifeisnotadisneymovie

1 comment:

Candy Evans said...

I hope this works. I am sorry there is such a burden to the first responders, as there was in the Flynn plan, too. Huge sacrifices but you are right, the whole thing was spun as a bail out by the public for firs responders who "spilled their milk." Ron Pinkston heard Kleinman's hired campaign jerks telling voters that a vote for me meant a tax increase. Said I would turn Dallas into Detroit. The young shit was not bright enough to know his history: it was crooked politicians who ruined Detroit, not the unions. In fact, Kwame Kilpatrick moved to Dallas after leaving Detroit.

In any case, forgive me, but I am calling it a bail out. Why? Because I want my district to see that they were lied to by Mr. Kleinman. Property appraisals are in and sky high, so the city will soon have more money to work with. But I want everyone to know that they voted for Mr. Fake Fiscal and the bailout happened anyways! Taxpayers will pay 34.5% over 27.5% on the payroll. Tee hee. I am going to remind them of that every single day until May 2019.