Official Political Website for Charlotte Laws - Member of the Greater Valley Glen Council

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Charlotte Laws
Member of the 
Greater Valley Glen Council

21781 Ventura Blvd., Suite 633
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Tel.  818.346.5280
Fax.  818.985.1690

drlaws@roadrunner.com

Photo of Charlotte Laws in March 2005

Minutes – Government and Business Relations Committee

September 29, 2009  


Roll Call. Present are Charlotte Laws, Vic Viereck, Monte Mazo, Carlos Ferreyra, Maria Denis. Quorum obtained.

 1. Item – moving of public comment to the end of City Council meetings.

 Motion:

“The GVGC objects to Councilman Alarcon’s proposed motion to move “Public Testimony on Non-Agenda Items” to the end of Council meetings. This proposed change will have an adverse impact on transparency and on the ability of stakeholders to present their views to the City Council. By the end of the Council meetings, City Council Members and members of the public may have left and will therefore not hear the comments of the stakeholders.”

Passes unanimously. This will be added as community impact statement to council file # 09-2171.

2. Item – Discussion about the census, Regional Complete Count Committee and someone to work with Mayor’s office on Census 2010. Census Training and Conference on Friday, October 9, 2009. No motion made.

3. Item – City employment retirement accounts. 

Background information:

The Benefits of Defined Contribution Pensions

A major difference between public employee pension plans and private industry pension plans is the dependability of how they are paid. Due to payment by the taxpayers, public employee pension plans have almost the guaranty of perpetuity. Private industry pension plans can exist only as long as the customers’ dollars can cover the various costs (including pension plans) of providing their products or services. Large corporations, with expensive pension plans have gone bankrupt. But many governmental agencies continue to fund (with taxpayer money) extravagant pension plans.

According to an editorial page article in the August 21, 2006 Wall Street Journal, pension fund shortfalls range from $500 billion for state retirement systems to at least $1 trillion for all public systems. During the three years since then, the situation has become extremely worse. When corporate and governmental agencies issue bonds, well known rating companies issue ratings on the bonds indicating the bonds’ dependability or risk. The stated yields of the risky bonds are definitely higher than on the dependable bonds. The same concept should be used in financing of public employee pensions compared to private industry pension plans. The reduced risk of not receiving agreed upon pensions should make public employee pensions less lucrative than others. Instead some politicians easily capitulate to pressure from public employee unions, such as during the dot-com bubble. A boom in the value of pension investments led to an unjustified increase in pension benefits for existing retirees.

Since economic growth is not a guarantee, taxpayers need to know the cost of all services to be paid out of their tax payments. The pay as you go basis of defined benefit public employee plans does not meet that need. Changes in investment yields (or even losses) of retirement accounts obliterate any such knowledge. Defined contribution plans define the cost. Such knowledge is critical for long (and short) term budgeting.

Also, when employees retire (if they fully retire) they no longer have Social Security (FICA) taxes or pension contributions withheld from their income. Another cost no longer absorbed is commuting.

Motion:

“In all future negotiations with unions, public employee pension plans should be defined contribution for new employees. In addition, no future pension plan should exceed 85% of the average of the last three years salary.”

Passes unanimously.

4. Item - LA City Councilmember salaries. Discussion. City Charter would have to be changed. Signatures would have to be gathered. Idea of City Councilmembers taking furlough days. No motion made.

Public comment from Judy Price – against lowering their salaries because she fears talented people would no longer seek office. 

5. Item - Business Development ideas. Carlos reported that he is putting together a list of medical marijuana cooperatives in Greater Valley Glen with name and address. Also info about Q conditions.

6. Boardmember comments on non-Agenda items. Peer Ghent email read.

DWP Report by Monte Mazo.

Meeting adjourned.