May 22 Mail: Pension Agreement, Texting While Driving and Gun Safety

Pension Agreement Not Good for Taxpayers

The mayor’s secretly negotiated pension agreement is a fantastic deal for him (virtually guaranteeing his re-election with full public safety support), a great deal for the present fire and police, an excellent deal for new fire and police hires and for the taxpayers — well, not so good [“Shady Pension Reform,” May 15]. Unfortunately, the $1,684,000,000 present value of the unfunded accrued actuarial liability at the Police & Fire Pension Fund is not going to be reduced dollar-for-dollar by the (claimed) $1.1 billion savings over 30 years. Those “savings” are <> reduced to present value and include the removal of some dubious liabilities that the city never agreed to pay. Even taking the press conference numbers at face value, and assuming the “savings” are evenly distributed over the next 30 years rather than loaded toward the distant future, the present value using the 7 percent interest rate urged by the pension fund gives a present value of less than $500 million, leaving an unfunded present value pension liability to the taxpayers of nearly $1.2 billion dollars.

Any reform, whether negotiated in public with the unions as the law requires or behind closed doors in a sham litigation “mediation,” has to address the <> unfunded pension liability by raising contributions, reducing expenditures and benefits, or a combination of both. Otherwise, the problem is merely smoke-screened for a year or two — long enough to get the mayor and City Council past the 2015 spring elections, but not much more.

John Winkler



One Tip to Curb Texting

I must admit that I am also guilty of texting while driving [“Are You Intexticated?”, May 8]! My most vulnerable time is when I’m responding to a text someone else has sent me. I feel guilty if I don’t respond, thinking they are going to be offended if I ignore them. (Could be!) A small compromise I have made may serve as a suggestion to others. I have used the shortcut function on my phone to type a phrase explaining that I am driving, have resolved not to text and drive, and will talk to them later. Of course, I still have to type the two-letter shortcut, “TX,” but I’m hoping that will be safer.

Roberta Tyler



Practice Gun Safety

On page 8 of the May 8 issue of Folio weekly there is a picture of a person drawing a pistol from his waist behind his back.

He has his finger in the trigger guard, which is not a smart thing to do unless he wants to shoot himself in the rear. If he wanted to be safe with the handgun, he would keep his finger out of the trigger until he is on target. 

Steve Clack