Bill Whalen: Politi-Cal

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Is Brown’s Pension an Issue?

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Perhaps California’s political press corps is a superstitious lot, and it decided to take a collective personal day last Friday the 13th.

That’s too bad, because the Brian Joseph, the Sacramento correspondent for the Orange County Register, had a most interesting analysis of California Attorney General Jerry Brown’s pension.

Per this report,  it seems that the Democratic gubernatorial nominee may be receiving a more generous pension than he deserves. And it’s clear that California’s pension laws are terribly arcane — so arcane, in fact, that they seem murky even after a month of one reporter’s analysis. Anyway, check out Joseph’s analysis and see if you can sense of it all.

The question here: why aren’t political reporters jumping on this story?

I think it’s a fair question given that:

1) Pensions are very much in the public spotlight, given both the scandal in the town of Bell and Gov. Schwarzenegger’s insistence that meaningful pension reform occur on his watch;

2) If Brown, who’s campaigning on experience and gained wisdom of government during his four decades of public service, can’t explain his own pension, what does that say about: (a) complicated pension rules and (b) his vaunted knowledge base.

3) Personal finance (Jerry trying to come across as a populist pauper while Democratic attacks dogs portray his foe as “Queen Meg”) is a big part of this election’s plot line.

This must be somewhat frustrating for the Whitman campaign, especially since the media coverage this past weekend wasn’t Jerry’s pension, but instead the $13 million check that the Republican gubernatorial candidate just wrote to the effort, pushing her self-funding total to $104 million, soon to surpass the $109 million that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg shelled out during his 2009 re-elect. 

One other thought: when Arnold leaves office, he’ll have accumulated seven-plus years of public service (November 2003 to January 2011). What dollar amount is he entitled to? And it based of a California governor’s current annual salary of $173,987, or the fact that Schwarzenegger (to his considerable credit) has done the job for free since wining the recall election.

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Written by Bill Whalen

August 16, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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