Sunday, January 13, 2013

San Bernardino and Bankruptcy Court

San Bernardino declared bankruptcy this year, joining three other California municipalities which could not balance their budgets without breaking their word to the public employees or bursting their weakened bond holdings.

The Daily Breeze suggested that future San Bernardino leaders must row in one direct, and instead of fighting bankruptcy proceedings in court, they should go along with the structured demands of the state pensions system and regain municipal competence.

The leadership needed in our cities must transcend political calculations. How any elected official will make the necessary decisions to cut spending, to curb collective bargaining righs, and to curve the pension obligations downward will more likely prove that elected governance without individual integrity does not yield the necessary good compromises which hurt everyone a little bit.

Rhode Island has turned into "The Greece of the North Atlantic" because of its outrageous pension obligations. Democratic leaders have no choice but to present a stark choice to every Rhode Islander: either every employee, retired and working, new and old, takes a hit, or every public service will be shut down to service the immense debt plaguing the impoverished retirement funds.

City leaders must find some protection or character to make the hard choices. The state legislature has to back off on its healthcare and welfare programs, too. Governor Brown's "balanced budget" as done very little to provide relief to local and county representatives in their tight and unmoving negotiations with the same interests which protect themselves, even if it means compromising bankruptcy protection proceedings for California municipalities.

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