Point of View
Councilman Tobin Brinker
Posted: 10/17/2011 04:04:50 PM PDT

When the police union leaders lie to try to elect a candidate to the San Bernardino City Council, they undermine the public’s faith in the ability of our officers to enforce our laws fairly.

The police union is doing everything in its power to discredit me and destroy my reputation so that it can elect someone who has absolutely no commitment to or experience working with 3rd Ward residents and families. Why? Because the union wants someone who will vote to protect its members’ pay and generous benefits.

In a recent guest commentary, police union member Steve Desrochers attacked me personally and provided a lot of misinformation about pension reform. (Re: “Brinker’s leadership deficit,” Oct. 14.)

Pension reform matters because one-third of city employees earned more than $100,000 last year and paid zero for their own pensions. The city pays the employee share at a cost of about $3.5 million per year.

This city needs to decide if its priority is to continue paying the employee share of pension costs while residents suffer reduced services, or if we are going to stand up and demand that employees who make a very good living, at taxpayer expense, pay their fair share.

My opponent in the election complains that copper wire thefts are causing residents to suffer lighting outages and blaming me because the city is slow to get lights fixed. Pension reform is a serious step toward fixing that problem.

If the city enacts pension reform and switches from the current employee furlough model, the city would save more money and more employees would be back at work (both police to catch wire thieves and lighting crews to fix lights).

I have proposed a solution that balances the city budget in a way that ends furlough days and puts more employees back to work; a successful model that Mayor David Zamora implemented in Colton before he passed away this year. Loma Linda also recently switched from furloughs to a pension reform model that requires employees to pay the employee share.

The residents of the 3rd Ward have been bombarded by negative mail, slanted phone polls, vicious websites and other wild attacks. All of the lies that are being spread are designed to distract from a serious discussion about the proper balance of employee pay and benefits versus providing basic services for residents.

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