WEATHER »
Roger Aceves says Supervisor Janet Wolf, who he's running against in June, failed to follow proper donation disclosure protocol

Paul Wellman

Roger Aceves says Supervisor Janet Wolf, who he's running against in June, failed to follow proper donation disclosure protocol


Aceves Accuses Wolf of Donation Conflict

Says $60,000 from Labor Union Should Have Been Disclosed During Supervisors Meetings


Friday, April 11, 2014
Article Tools
Print friendly
E-mail story
Tip Us Off
iPod friendly
Comments
Share Article

Goleta City Councilmember Roger Aceves — who is challenging Supervisor Janet Wolf for her 2nd District seat on June 3 — alleged on Wednesday that Wolf involved herself in “potential conflicts” by not disclosing the $60,000 she received from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) prior to addressing SEIU-related matters.

Standing on the steps of the County Administration Building Wednesday morning, Aceves said his “investigative eye” from years of police work led him to believe that Wolf has committed wrongdoing. “We have here a pay-to-play system,” he said. “I think the public has a right to know.”

But county counsel Mike Ghizzoni pointed to a fact sheet put out by the state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), which Aceves claimed Wolf went against. The FPPC document states that such disclosure rules don’t apply to “local agencies whose members are elected by the voters (e.g., city councils and county boards of supervisors).” The $20,000 and $40,000 donations Wolf has received from SEIU in the last few months were reported as required in campaign financial documents.

“What this shows of Roger’s campaign is that he’s not been very successful in capitalizing on issues such as Goleta Beach or being able to define any compelling reason for his candidacy. Now he’s resorted to attacking me and public employees who value my leadership,” Wolf said over the phone on Wednesday, noting that the employees have endured years of cuts. “It’s ridiculous to imply that my vote can be bought,” she continued. “I’ve worked with employee groups for many years and they know that they can trust me. I’m a hard and fair negotiator.”

On February 14, Wolf received $20,000 from SEIU Local 620, which represents 1,850 county employees, including public defenders, custodians, and maintenance workers. On February 18, Wolf — along with all of her fellow supervisors, minus Peter Adam — voted in favor of a new contract for the union, which had been negotiating with the county for months; the new contract stopped freezes on merit step increases and allowed 2 percent wage increases after years of furloughs.

Aceves claimed that Wolf again misstepped when, after receiving a $40,000 donation from the statewide arm of SEIU on March 6, she didn’t disclose that when the supervisors discussed outsourcing Public Health lab services — which employs SEIU members — on March 11. Wolf and others had questioned the length of the contract, but ultimately they decided to postpone a decision on the outsourcing until this week’s budget workshops. Public Health announced on Tuesday that it wouldn’t revisit the idea for another year.

Aceves called it “egregious” for Wolf not to disclose her donations during those discussions. “She received money prior to a vote,” he said, saying the issue is more about ethics than legality. He said he has recused himself from the Goleta City Council when items regarding Deckers Outdoor Corporation come up, as he owns stock. He added that he will mention the $500 that Venoco gave him last November when the council votes on an agreement with Venoco on Tuesday; should the State Lands Commission approve the project, the city would be finalizing an agreement with the company on how the oil would be processed.

Bruce Corsaw, the executive director of Local 620, said he sees the issue differently. “We take objection that we are trying to buy a vote, which is what he’s claiming,” he said. Corsaw said that the union endorsed Wolf in early 2013 — prior to contract negotiations, which began in April 2013 — and has supported her for years even in spite of her votes against oil development, which the union supports and is an industry from which Aceves has received numerous campaign contributions.

Corsaw added that Aceves came to him while negotiations were going on and said he supported the 2 percent wage increases for the workers. Aceves never formally asked for the union’s endorsement, Corsaw said, but he said there are “several reasons” why he wouldn’t have received their endorsement, including an April 2010 incident in which an SEIU county employee claimed that Aceves called him a “turban head.” Corsaw called that event — for which a discrimination complaint was filed but went nowhere — “completely unacceptable.”

Wolf and Aceves will participate in two debates prior to the June 3 primary election. The first, hosted by the Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled for Wednesday, April 16, from 9-10:30 a.m. at the Bacara Resort. They will face off again on Wednesday, April 23, from 6-9 p.m. at the Goleta Valley Community Center in a forum put on by the League of Women Voters.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Like this is news? The corruption between our elected officials and public employee unions is well documented. These sweetheart deals are common practice.

The conflict of interest between politicians that negotiate public employee union contracts and campaign cash from those unions to the same candidates that negotiate these contracts is glaring.

Does anyone even question why public employees have such outrageous pensions and benefits? It's the collusion between the politicians and the public employee unions to gouge the taxpayers.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 8:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Poor Turbanhead.
Roger Dodger is throwing chit and seeing if anything sticks.

He should focus on whining about the Revenue Neutrality Agreement/Contract, the real issue that motivates all those Noleta and Santa Barbara city voters in the Second District.

We readers look forward to the Indy reporting in detail all the north county oil industry contributions that Aceves has received.

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 8:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

$60,000 out of the goodness of thier heart? God Bless SEIU for giving this much money and expecting nothing in return.

Janet changed her position on Goleta Beach from a neutral observer to a new protector of the status quo when it became obvious she was going to lose City of Goleta's vote

Janet still has the literal blood on her hands for how the incident with the stabbing at Hendry's was handled. She was warned by staff before the stabbing that unless an alcohol ban was brought up, due to reductions in Parks staff supervision wasn't what it was, it was a question of not if, but when something bad would happen. Soon afterwards, the adminstration of the Parks Department was dismantled and an incompetent Asst. Director of Parks was hired, then promoted and terminated before Mr. Parker was hired. It can only be assumed that she didn't want people around who could nail her on a coverup or sorts. The terminations began shortly after she was reelected.

Mr. Parker is only the most recent quality executive to leave this nightmare of an agency.

Her fiscal policies have been a joke. Mr. Aceves is no perfect candidate, but until people wake up and make changes to this board, nothing will change.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 8:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Saved by a (self-serving) technicality is no a substitute for personal ethics and integrity.

Any elected official who fails to see the inherent corruption taking employee union money and then conducting salary and benefit contracts negotiations with those very same persons should not be sitting in this critical position.

Thank you Mr Aceves for exposing this obvious conflict of interests between employee union campaign money and employee union contracts, which Ms Wolf instead chose to defend.

There are large amounts of employee union-member money spent on certain candidates, because there is a lot of public money at stake these candidates can spend on those very same employee union members. This is how county salaries got so high.

(See "Transparent California" for SB county employee salaries, benefits and pensions by name.)

Always follow the money when you choose to cast your votes, so you know who you also chose to go to bed with besides just your chosen candidate. In Ms Wolf's case, you are clearly going to bed with the massive county employee union SEIU.

Note to Ms Wolf: just because you can do something, does not mean you should do something. The way to take money corruption out of politics is to not vote for those who do not know the difference between technicalities and ethics.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 9:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So how is this different from Mr. Aceves taking funds from big oil?? Don't you think he will be "expected" to vote in the way of big oil and their interests when the time comes? And how do you know the pensions and benefits and pay are so high for these SEIU members? Do you know a large majority of them can't afford health insurance for their families? They live in the same neighborhoods as their below poverty level clients and all the while support the community needs keeping children and the elderly and disabled population of SBC safe risking their own safety. They work selflessly at a significantly lower pay rate than other similar Counties and all the while get beaten down by the community's unappreciation and down right ignorance of their role in keeping YOUR community safe. It's a shame some of you treat these people with such disrespect. If they want to support a BOS that has always tried her best to support them then how is that any different from anyone's personal or business political contributions? Maybe you all could just do without the services SEIU union members (aka County Workers) provide.

irene2100 (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 11:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh poor Irene. You also don't have a clue about how SEIU compensatioin is negotiate. They are full time municipal employees with medical benefits paid for by the County. There is a small additional cost for families to be added to the policies These aren't cops. These are clerks, maintenance workers, engineers, social workersaccountants, etc. They get paid better than most counties .... they have to to be in SB CO. Which has exactly what to do with unions giving $60,000 to one candidate in an election cycle? And Mr. Aceves? Wasn't the amount less than $10,000? Pension obligations for current retirees and current employees show a disparity in 20 years of tens of millions of dollars. Check out the previous budget presentation on the long term forecast of the county budget.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 11:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

No difference, when any of these conflict of interest matters come up before the Board Of Supervisors.

The problem with county employee union donations is the direct immediacy of their contact with Board of Supervisors on a daily basis. Whereas, the oil interests may come up only occasionally.

In both settings, the inherent conflicts of interests exists. No question about that.

Taking money, endorsements and in kind donations from the people you will be dealing with on a daily basis and negotiating their very same contracts makes Wolf's abuse a daily occurrence; Aceves potential oil donation money conflict of interest would be a more variable exposure. But equally bad.

Wolf should know better what this difference is, and hiding behind a technicality is not the answer.

Nor is sending out quip pro quo flack to confuse these two situations instead of a bold response acknowledging this is a systematic problem elected leaders face.

We don't need elected officials who are willing to compromise themselves upfront by accepting employee union donations, which in turn means they can longer in good faith negotiate at arm-length for those very same union employee contracts.

This incestuous relationship is not good for the taxpayers or the county residents, who get only the crumbs left on the table after county employees walk off with most of the spoils.

Thank you Mr Aceves for raising this issue. We expect clean hands from you too.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 11:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Feels like Aceves is really struggling to get a campaign started, even with a big bank account funded by pro-fast-growthers. His campaign is placing those red signs on any open space his crew can find in 2nd District. His track record shows Aceves will work hards to approve more high density buildings and hotels to fill those open spaces in Noleta like he has done in the City of Goleta. Just look at all the high-density development Aceves has approved and is proud of in the City of Goleta with more each time you drive to Costco. Noleta just imagine looking like Hollister in West Goleta, bye bye open space, farms, small town feeling and mountain views, hello too much too fast soon after electing Aceves!

Give your vote to Janet Wolf she has a better understanding of quality of life issues than Aceves. Keep Goleta Beach Park and the County out of the hands of Aceves.

Dont_mess_with_Goleta (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 1:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When a candidate goes negative, it's usually a sign of desperation. I would so rather hear Aceves explain why he is running and what he'd do differently.

As a Goleta resident, I wish he would not be taking $5,000 donations and more from developers like Towbes and Oil interests. Sure he can disclose it but that doesn't make it right or suggest he won't be biased...like when he voted to give Towbes millions to build La Sumida Gardens.

Realize too that when Unions give, their donation is made up of hundreds of small donations from their hard working women and men. That's different than the thousands Aceves is getting from single interest developers. Just look at Goleta - developers are sure getting their money's worth from Aceves' votes.

dprince (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 2:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Aceves lives the good life because of his fat pension that was negotiated by the police UNION of which he is / was a member. Did he have a problem when his UNION was making political contributions? He is completely full of sh!&. Remember the hissy fit he threw because of a minor parking issue. Let me quote this idiot, “You gotta do something about that turban-head.”

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 2:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Classic Democratic machine defenses rolling into action. ignore the issue and the accusation; which is huge and troubling.

Plus refuse to disclose the net result of this inherent conflict of interests is the billion dollar pension debt the county is now facing, putting everything else the county should be doing for the rest of us on total hold.

Instead the Democratic rebuttal machine goes postal with the following responses:

1. Deny
2. Divert attention
3. Diminish and trivialize
4. Demonize - politics of personal destruction
5. Denigrate

In this now all out assault on Aceves using any and all of the above techniques, never once is their any substance about the inherent conflict of interest ms Wolf continues to engage in or the resultant billion dollar county employee pension liability we all have to now pay for.

Those two issues are what is at stake. The weak and off-topic rebuttals above are standard union operating techniques because you see the same things done to anyone who dares try to reign in their greed and power.

Voters - you have a choice. More of the same and more county debt at your expense. Or at least throw out the worst offender and start over again.

Then hold Aceves feet to the fire too. But first get rid of Wolf to tell the county employee unions their campaign money just went down a rat hole.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 2:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As a union member, Aceves would have had no choice. His dues would have gone into the pocket of any crooked politician his union bosses decided to cut a deal with. Even if he dislikes a particular politician, union members' dues go where the bosses want them to go, not necessarily where the members do.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 2:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Before you fall for the SB County unions complaint they are underpaid, over-worked and under-appreciated, get the truth from Transparent California about their actual salaries and benefits, by name and by job position:

http://transparentcalifornia.com/sala...

There are plenty of places where county workers can live very well in this county, that do not justify the level of compensation they claim they deserve "to live in Santa Barbara".

They in fact are over-paid, under-worked, but yes, they are under-appreciated and now even highly resented.

I suggest they take this growing public resentment to heart.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 2:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Union donations made up of "small donations from hard-working men and women"?

Give me a break.

For a glaring example, just look at the public disclosure documents just in the last city council race.

The documents show a long list of SB firemen, many who did not even live or vote in the city, who made routine contributions of approximately $174 each on a routine periodic basis to their fire unon's political action committee.

This certainly gives the appearance that someone else told the fire-fighters this is what you each will be contributing, and this is when you will be contributing this exact same recurring amount.

Any this else you want to contribute to this calculated union ruse (small donations from hard-working men and women) that has too long corrupted our local political scene and bankrupted our public budgets?

Cool. Public workers look out for their own best interests. That is not the issue. We all do it.

What is new is taxpayers are learning public sector union member interests are no longer their own best interests and want this self-serving incestuous relationship between politicians and the unions to finally end.

Thank you Mr Aceves, for highlighting Ms Wolf's inherent conflict of interests. Thank you also for letting this highligth the typical wounded and fraudulent union defense of these very same accusations.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 3:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo it looks like you are having an excellent conversation with yourself. The SEIU has endorsed and donated to Wolf's campaign for years. This is not news and contrary to Aceves' assertion is not illegal or unethical.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 3:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Because it has been determined by the Supreme Court of the United States of America that election campaign donations are free speech protected by the 1st Amendment, we are stuck in a situation where it is nearly impossible to differentiate quid pro quo bribery from ideological support. So, why bother. The Supreme Court as made our system pay to play crony capitalism. So, If you want to be heard by the elected officials in power, you had better open up the check book and write significant numbers of zeros. SEIU is paying for access, the oil companies are paying for access. Let's just all get over it. It's free speech baby! It sounds to me that Roger's polling information did not come out too good so he has decided to go negative. I smell desperation.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 4:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The incestuous campaign donation relationship between elected county supervisors and the county worker union members they oversee and with whom they negotiate their salaries and benefits is unethical.

Politics have allowed it to be legal. Law and ethics do not always follow parallel paths.

Voters can bring this sordid relationship to an immediate halt. it is all in their hands; and no longer the unions hands.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 4:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

County staff unions donating generously to candidates who in turn leave county residents and tax payers in a precarious financial situation does not pass the smell test.

Reject candidates who take county union members money.

Simple as that.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 4:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hershel, I am having an excellent conversation with the voters.

This is no longer a conversation with county union members. There is no role for them to play in this discussion.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 4:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Excellent display of self gratification Foo.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 4:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

County union members are voters and taxpayers.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 5:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And three posts in a row isn't a conversation, it's a rant.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 5:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foofighter, as I said, it's free speech baby. The Supremes said so. All the rest of us can do is vote for those candidates who represent our values. I like the unions and the liberals. They are not perfect, but, in my view, better than the alternative. You, Foo, get to vote for whomever you please. Good luck.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 6:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

RE: "county workers pay taxes and vote too."

Please compare county worker total compensation to the amount of taxes these same workers claim pay that supports this same county: http://transparentcalifornia.com/sala...

Eliminate county workers who have chosen to not live or pay taxes in Santa Barbara County.

There are close to 200,000 registered voters in Santa Barbara County. What percentage are county employees?

Sure, county workers vote and pay taxes. They better. But they are not the majority voice to determine how we spend our county tax dollars. That voice belongs to the voters; not just the county employees and their unions.

Rejecting county union-endorsed candidates like Janet Wolf rebalances county priorities so all residents benefit; not just the relatively few who are also county employees.

The present incestuous relationships between county employees and their favored endorsed candidates have left this county with one billion in unfunded county pension liabilities.

This has to stop, because the union favored candidates are too compromised to do this themselves.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 6:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I like getting this county on a pay-as-you go basis. Present dollars used to provide present services.

I want to stop paying more of our present tax dollars every year to county employees who are no longer employed and working for us.

I want county workers paid well, with present dollars. But no more. They can realistically fund their own retirements with their own dollars, just like every other group of workers faces.

I am not voting for incumbent Janet Wolf, because I don't want more of the same. I want this county out of debt.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 6:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foofighter,

Please address Aceves' MASSIVE contributions from oil interests and developers, before, during and after Aceves was elected to Goleta City Council.

Put up or...

dprince (anonymous profile)
April 11, 2014 at 10:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

dprince: asked and answered already. Please review the entire thread for substance; not just your version of sound bites.

No one is holding Aceves to a different standard. Why would they? Getting the inherent corruption of special interest money out of the county legislative process is not a partisan issue. It is a fundamental good governance issue for all sides to come clean on.

However when the vast bulk of county revenue goes directly into the hands of county union employees, this is the issue of immediate concern when there is such a blatant quid pro quo conflict of interests potential for this continued abuse of the process to continue.

Ms Wolf's legacy is a billion dollar county pension debt along with bloated county compensation, perks and benefits, that remains staring us in the face.

This lingering massive county pension debt did not come about because Ms Wolf was a hard nosed, arm-lenght bargainer like she claims when it came to negotiating with the very same unions from she willingly, without a blink of an eye, also took such large campaign contributions.

This massive employee pension debt came because Ms Wolf along with her progressive free-spending colleagues (Carbajal, Farr) and equally inept progressive predecessors (Schwartz, Rose, Marshall) incompetently managed the county's business while taking freely, without a flicker of conscience, from county employee union campaign chests all along the way.

Time for Ms Wolf to go, take her employee union contributions along with her and start over again with solving this very troubling mismanagement of county finances. If Aceves screws up, he gets booted faster than a NY minute too.

Until the county employee unions finally wake up to the fiscal realities of this unsupportable and incestuous relationship they created, they in fact have the most to lose.

We as residents lose too every day more money goes out of the present county budget to pay for past services to past employees, instead of present services to those in the county right now.

Time to get off this unsustainable public pension merry-go-round and elect those genuinely with clean hands who have refused to take any employee union member contributions or endorsements, so they can come in with a fresh, clean new approach for everyone's benefit.

See the WSJ today - editorial about the voodoo math CalPers is using to deflect criticism of their pension program that requires the employee to invest only one dollar and the taxpayer to fork over two dollars to fund for the very generous pensions promised to government workers in this state.

There is a public pension crisis in this state. We don't need candidates beholden to self-serving, obstructionist public employee union interests from the very beginning to make it even worse.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
You been out ridin' fences for so long now
Oh, you're a hard one
I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin' you
Can hurt you somehow

Don't you draw the queen of diamonds, boy
She'll beat you if she's able
You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet

Now it seems to me, some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
But you only want the ones that you can't get

Desperado, oh, you ain't gettin' no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you home
And freedom, oh freedom well, that's just some people talkin'
Your prison is walking through this world all alone

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 11:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)

You got to watch the street, keep your feet
And be on guard
Make it pay baby
It's only time on the boulevard...

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 11:43 a.m. (Suggest removal)

sad to see Roger Aceves pandering to such tea party, Rove-esque tactics in his vanity run for higher office. wonder if he knows (or cares) how many bridges he has forever burned.

whosecityisthis2012 (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 2:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Calling out an unethical conflict of interests between an elected official and the employees unions who put her in office is now called "pandering to Tea Party, Karl Rovesque" tactics?

Wow. One more reason to ditch incumbent Wolf whose supporters stoop to slur, when their substance fails. Janet is a nice lady. But she is too naive to continue mis-managing this county.

Time to change the direction the majority takes on the Board of Supervisors. She had a chance. Didn't work out. Time to go. Thank you, Ms Wolf for trying.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 3:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

But Foo, in the past haven't you liked "The Tea Party"? Shouldn't you see that as a compliment?
I prefer coffee (and lots of it) myself.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 4:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo, Aceves entire "press" conference was an exercise in slander of the most base, Enquirer-esque variety. Throw words like "crime" and "investigate" around when a simple reading of the statute he cites specifically excludes elected BOS and Councilmembers as they have separate FPPC reporting requirements.
I knew Aceves in the '90's when he was a Police Officer. Suffice it to say I am shocked he would accuse someone of wrongdoing and open that door to his own past. But obviously he cannot win this- or any- higher elected office on his own merits, so he is banking on a strategy of vicious attacks, truth be damned. Not the Santa Barbara way, Roger, especially with someone you once called a friend. Shame.

clintoneradem (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 6:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So Foo, from your posts, I understand that you would like to take away the pension of a 75 year old widow who may have worked as a secretary for 40 years and now has a pension income of about $18,000/year or who was married to County fire fighter who worked for 30 years and has a pension income of about $25,000/year. I can't believe that you are that callous. It must be that my understanding has come from either imprecise language on your part or complete misreading of your posts on my part. Please correct my misunderstanding.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 7:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The campaign has just started. Issues will be raised.

This was a good one. And getting a "technical exemption" for this obviously unethical conflict of interests is just one of them.

Besides county employee compensation reform, the county needs to publicly scrutinize their own code of ethics at the same time.

The alleged "Tea Party" advocates smaller government, lower taxes and balanced budgets. Sounds okay to me.

The rest of the TP hysteria is manufactured outside its own loosely associated ranks. Term used as a convenient but inaccurate inflammatory buzz word by those "cannot win on their own merits". Intended to be a vacuous conversation stopper, much like Godwin's Law.

Better to talk about (1) smaller government, (2) lower taxes and (3) balanced budgets than meaningless labels anyway.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 7:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Or could Foo really be that callous?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 7:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo may want to examine some of the highest county salaries/pensions- Aceves" Deputy Sheriff Association members and their bosses:
http://publicpay.ca.gov/Reports/Depar...

oh and by the way Foo those big pensions were increased several years ago under the Brooks Firestone-led Board majority

whosecityisthis2012 (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 7:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I just clicked on this article and there are a lot of comments and a lot to digest. Can you all repeat that?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 7:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Someone said "union donation" and Foo came in rambling to himself like a tweeker. He doesn't realize that the only people listening to his broken record are the ever decreasing number of fox watching tea baggers. He needs to move to Orange County (Calitucky) to be with this kind.

Check the numbers people. Aceves received union money as well, just not as much.

I'm not so convinced Wolf is taking money from unions in exchange for better benefits and pay. She's too stupid to understand that. Have you ever sat and listened to BOS hearings? If you listen carefully you can hear her ask Salud, "what did that mean?" and "what's my vote on this?"

Validated (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 8:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The public pension debt is not a partisan issue. It is an unsustainable public debt issue. Got that? Doesn't matter when the current problems got started. The design of the pension plans were a mistake, and they need to be reformed now.

Not sure why the county workers themselves are resistant to reform. They stand the most to gain directly. Taxpayers and residents are the next to benefit in secondary ways - lower taxes and more direct return of present services for present dollars.

Union bosses of course have some 'spainin" to do to their rank and file, but the sooner they get on board the better for all concerned.

Shocking that no one on the progressive side of County politics saw this train wreck coming and instituted the necessary reforms years ago. (Schwartz, Rose, Marshall, Carbajal, Farr , Wolf). It has been ages since Firestone was on board. Blame does not pay today's bills. (Billion, that is in dollars)

County workers should be demanding something better than future promises which are currently riding on fumes. But since our current office holders refuse to make the hard decisions tainted by their employee union money or not, it is time to elect those that will.

The North County two get it. All they need is one more vote from the South County and we can dig ourselves out of this billion dollar hole, instead of digging it deeper.

This is the legacy Ms Wolf must answer to, but she has not. I wish she had. But she didn't. She was a friend of the employee unions and got caught up with their short-term thinking.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 12, 2014 at 9:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"The North County two get it. All they need is one more vote from the South County and we can dig ourselves out of this billion dollar hole, instead of digging it deeper."

Yeah? How? All these attempted fixes by politicians have been ruled illegal and anything local will just run public safety out of town. Give it up foo. The sky is NOT falling and pension funds are not on fumes. You sound like that idiot Lanny Ebenstein.

Validated (anonymous profile)
April 13, 2014 at 12:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Run public safety out of town". What a laugh. Do you know how many people want to be police officers and firefighters in Santa Barbara? Getting a job with the SBPD or SBFD is like winning the lottery.

Probably the only job more sought after than being a cop or firefighter in a resort town like SB is to be a longshoreman (with a union card) at the port of LA.

Botany (anonymous profile)
April 13, 2014 at 5:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Photo caption: "I found this lying on the ground, is there a garbage can where I can get rid of it?"

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
April 13, 2014 at 6:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Eg: Currently, San Jose is spending 25% of their budget on employee pensions instead of current services. This is called running on fumes.

This is what SB County is doing as well - devoting more of its annual budget every year to pay down its unfunded employee pension promises. This is called running on fumes.

Adding to the one billion (as in "b") unfunded county pension liabilities, you have an additional $300 million in unfunded infrastructure maintenance costs on top of the growing pension demands on the county budget.

This is called running on fumes.

Or deficit financing. Or mismanagement of the public trust. Or pandering to the employee unions for their campaign donations.

Take your pick.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 13, 2014 at 9:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Everyone should have a pension plan. Here are some common examples:

1. Self-funded, such as the various IRA's
2. Employment plan like the 401K defined-contribution plans
3. Social Security
3. Lottery tickets, gambling winnings, inheritances
4. Plan on working "forever"
5. Equity build up in investments and real estate
6. Welfare
7. Combination of all of the above

However, the county pension plans we are talking about are an entirely different animal.

They became promises to pay a certain amount at a later date (defined-benefit plans), with no relationship to the employee contributions, rate of return on investment, or willingness of the taxpayers to make up the difference.

This is what is at issue that is no longer working: defined benefit pension plans which promised to pay out in full at a later date …backed up by other people's money.

WSJ recently estimated for every dollar the government employee puts into their plan, the tax payers are on the hook for two more dollars. This is the scale of the trillions of unfunded government pension plans today. Which are in fact running on fumes, just like a Ponzi scheme.

The defined-benefit pensions are generous, and based on some formula of final compensation at the end of the worker's career; and not based upon a prudent rate of return on the employee's original investment.

These county defined-contribution plans were a mistake. They have also been subject to the abuse known as "pension spiking", which is bulking up one's compensation at the end of their government career to get a higher pension pay-out for the rest of their lives.

If the concept "unfunded pension liabilities" is still too abstract for you to understand, I recommend you read up on it. Then you can decide if constantly electing those who go into office already beholden to the county workers unions ahead of time is still a good idea.

It is not.

"Transparent California" discloses the pensions paid now by Santa Barbara County, by name.

Keep in mind the county pension recipient according to the WSJ may have only paid in one dollar themselves for every three dollars they are now getting in return from us, for life.

Taxpayers pay for these failed Ponzi promises through reduced county services, higher taxes, more bond issues to cover deficient operating costs, and/or government bail outs.

This is why this issue is everyone's concern.

The choice is between Aceves and Wolf at this time- both need to be accountable to the voters and taxpayers to reform this system. If Wolf turns her back on the county employee unions, for their own benefit, and initiates serious reform along with her two colleagues from North County she gets my vote. If not, then she has to go. Period.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 13, 2014 at 12:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So Foo, according to Transparent California after 28 years of service Roger Aceves retired in 2007 and in 2012 he had a pension of $84,938 per year. Do you honestly believe that he would vote to reduce his own pension? If he would not vote to reduce his own pension, do you believe that he is in any position morally to vote to reduce the pensions of other public employees and pensioners (without looking like a flaming hypocrite)? I understand your concerns and arguments and something has to be done about the long term expense of public employee pensions. However, I am not really sure that Aceves is your guy here. Unless of course the pension issue is just a way for you to attack Wolf and promote Aceves because you prefer conservatives over liberals. If that's the case, I understand that as well, but just say so. We all have our own ideological preferences. Whichever ones become public policy is decided at the ballot box . It's called democracy.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
April 13, 2014 at 3:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eckerman, do you think we should stay on the same course Janet has kept us on?

I have no dog in this fight whether it is Wolf or Aceves. In fact, I am sorry these two are the only choices. But Wolf had her chance, failed, and is too solidly aligned now with Farr and Carbajal in ideological lock-step. She is part of a permanent three vote majority the county can no longer afford.

Aceves is a maverick, took on the Democratic machine, and is the best chance to break this former three south supervisor ideological lock-step.

Aceves would be at least free to vote with the North County Two when it comes to the good of all the county. Wolf is too compromised to ever make the break. She played her hand. Time to let a new kid in.

We know what we get with Wolf, which is why it makes sense to take a chance on Aceves. He has been around the block, no novice to government, and has lived his life in public view. It is not an unacceptable risk to have him replace Wolf.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 13, 2014 at 8:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Now you are making sense Foofighter. Now I understand. This is not about public sector pensions. This is about the ideological slant of the Board of Supervisors. So be it. My problem with Aceves in that regard is his history as a councilman for the City of Goleta. What is happening in Goleta now is not so good. A lot of the development standards that were established to protect Goleta from becoming another form of what happened to the San Fernando Valley were weakened under the leadership of Roger Aceves. That is not good. In fact, he never did anything while working in City government to reduce the cost of City government. His idea is to increase revenues ( by increasing commercial development) not decrease costs. His idea is to pay for government by monetizing land use. So no, I don't see him as a solution. Thanks for your last post Foo. It was honest and rational and it made sense to me. I just don't agree with you.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
April 13, 2014 at 9:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I love all the feather ruffling.

The issue is simple.

Contract is at impass. Donations are made during that time - which leads to vote in favor of those giving donations. More donations are then subsequently sent.

I don't care if you're a Republican, Democrat, or anything - it comes off as shady. Maybe if I need a project done - I can donate $20K get a favorable vote BOOM...project approved.

workingmanonAPS (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 12:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Also - all that nasty, horrid San Fernando-esque expansion kept jobs in Goleta and the Central Coast.

Flir is opening a new campus.
Deckers already did.

Thousands of new jobs could be created over time. But you're right - we should just keep everything the same. Screw all those people that benefit from new roundabouts in Goleta and better paved and marked streets, many of which came through mitigation.

A city must evolve. A county must grow up. And we need to realize that having business in Santa Barbara means more people - and shockingly - more traffic. No one seems to have any complaints when these business/developments help fill county or city tax rolls...

workingmanonAPS (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 12:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Face it people, all of our so-called leaders are bought and paid for by those who can afford their expensive and lavish living standards. This false God we call democracy, is a sham, it portrays the fantasy that your Vote means something but it is truly a farce that we live by. $$$$$$$ is all that leadership of this country is ruled by and until we or I can afford my own representation, I am simply a PEON like the rest...

dou4now (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 5:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Front page investigative story by your favorite N-P whipping boy Peter Lance today on the events leading up to the tragic Moura-Dies drunk driving death.

The minute by minute account of that fateful day clearly reveals the interlocking and incestuous relationships found within the local Democratic machine - one for all and all for one networks that operate in this town indicating why it is so hard to break this current Democratic lock on local politics.

If this self-same system was not also responsible for the massive billion dollar deficit financing in the county and the half-billion deficit financing for the city, there would be no reason to change or complain.

No one is a bad person in this circle; just horribly naive and fiscally incompetent. So they all must assume guilt by association with their final actions - which was rape of the local taxpayers to continue their unobstructed reign in office.

The article portrays vanity and obfuscation far more than evilness and duplicity. But the end result is still fiscal irresponsibility, whether done for feel-good intent or for self-serving person gain. Taxpayers are stuck with the bills regardless, for a long, long time.

That is why we need change in this city. The Democratic machine is sinking us. While they scratch each others back, oblivious to the permanent damage they have already inflicted upon our local political scene.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 8:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Another "D" for Foo's list: Distraction

drdan93109 (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 8:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

no, Foo's "D" is double, for Display misinformation and "Divergent" he is. But he has toned it down some, maybe some mindfulness seminars with Ariana Huffington or Baba Ram Dass.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 8:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"D" for directly-on-point.
"D" for devastatingly accurate.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 9:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

D for disingenuous.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 9:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

D is for dumb ass.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 10:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ouch! Bam! Biff! Wham! Sock! Pow! It's like reading a 1966 "Batman" script. BTW, didja know that the movie was filmed largely around here, esp. on Stearns Wharf, including the Moby Dick restaurant as it used to be, and with offshore rigs' pipes & casing stockpiled on the wharf? But, I digress.

As a former president of SEIU Local 620, I deplore the dollar amounts given to Wolf and all of the local's endorsed candidates. I deplore much, much more the fact that all of this cash is a poor, drop-in-the-bucket counter-balance to the hundreds of millions spent by the Kochs, Adelson, Rove & Co., avaricious corporations, and every other anti-worker, sociopathic "person" in play. It's gonna get a lot worse before it gets any better.

GregMohr (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 1:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Just so your attacks don't get buried in your full prose, Greg aka Mr SEIU, let me repeat:

…... All Santa Barbara voters need to be on the look out for any nefarious intrusions into our local political scene from: Kochs, Adelson, Rove & Company.

Do come along later to identify those "avaricious corporations" when the time comes too.

Then compare the collective pay-offs these folks intend to buy with their money and compare it to the collective pay-off city and county staff union members expect in return for their campaign contributions

That will level the playing field in the upcoming debate regarding campaign money and undue influence conflicts of interest charges.

List of public employee union buzz words to also look out for:

1. greedy corporations
2. 1%
3. banksters
4. declining middle class
5. anti-worker
6. fair share
7. income disparity
8. white privilege
9. …… ad naseum

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 3:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You're welcome, foo; hope you feel better now. ☺

GregMohr (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 5:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Breitbart Joel Pollok discusses the gimmicks in Jerry Brown's budget numbers.

Listen up public sector unions and teachers unions, the short-fall he intentionally overlooks is yours:

….."The first gimmick is "to underreport the cost of an employee benefit--retiree health care--by $3 billion," Crane says. "The governor could have chosen to report the expense at its full size, but to do that under cash-based budgeting, he would have had to actually contribute $3 billion in cash to a retiree health-care trust fund."

Skipping that contribution to the trust fund allowed Brown to bring the state's budget numbers closer to even.

The second gimmick is to skip "more than $3 billion in required contributions to the state teacher pension fund... the largest “skipped” pension contribution in the country."

Other states have done the same: Illinois, for example, which regularly competes with California for the worst finances in the nation, is a repeat offender." …...

foofighter (anonymous profile)
April 14, 2014 at 10:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Man (or woman), if you're sourcing from Breitbart, you're lost in the wilderness.

GregMohr (anonymous profile)
April 15, 2014 at 9:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

event calendar sponsored by: