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“It's easy to forecast Santa Barbara weather,” quipped Peter Rupert. He couldn't say the same about the economy.

Paul Wellman

“It's easy to forecast Santa Barbara weather,” quipped Peter Rupert. He couldn't say the same about the economy.


Economists Report Modest Gains, Hopeful Future

Santa Barbara County Economic Summit Offers Insight into Local Trends


Originally published 6:00 p.m., May 9, 2014
Updated 12:00 p.m., May 11, 2014
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As they do every year, the speakers at Thursday morning’s Santa Barbara County Economic Summit at the Granada Theatre offered disclaimers before their talks: economic forecasts are dauntingly difficult and often inaccurate. However, they said, good forecasters tend to beat a coin-flip, and the number crunching can be a useful exercise in risk evaluation.

With that “grain of salt” cautioning as their backdrop, the presenters first described the fiscal health of the nation before narrowing their focus to Santa Barbara County. Overall, they said, the outlook is good, and both the country and the county are slowly but surely climbing back from the Great Recession. Where most numbers are still below pre-2007 levels, almost all sectors are rebounding. The job market, however, continues to lag, and economists are at a loss to explain if that’s an impermanent trend or part of a larger cycle.

Peter Rupert, executive director of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project, said some of the positive changes that have taken place in recent months and years are visible throughout the South Coast. He pointed to the new Alma del Pueblo development in downtown Santa Barbara and the freshly minted Deckers campus in Goleta. Both sites were empty parking lots before they were built up, he explained.

Santa Barbara’s GDP growth is outpacing the rest of the state’s, Rupert went on, with the information technology sector growing at a remarkably fast pace. Agricultural employment never fell during the recession, and loans and leases are up from 2013. Santa Barbara’s inequality gap is smaller compared to the rest of the country, but it’s been increasing since 2006.

Those were a few of the takeaways from Rupert’s talk, which also featured more in-depth analysis of the county’s demographics, business activity, employment and income levels, and real estate trends. Below are additional key points he highlighted and provided in audience literature. (Listen to all of the presentations at econtalk.org, and visit ucsb-efp.com for more information.)

Employment

• Total employment in Santa Barbara County increased by 3,338 workers in the past year, a gain of 1.8%; total employment returned to its pre-recession level between February and March of 2013

• The unemployment rate continued to improve, with a decline of 1.19 percentage points; unemployment rates for every city in Santa Barbara remains above their pre-recession levels

• Santa Barbara’s largest industry by employment continues to be government, composing 19.75% of total employment; leisure and hospitality moved up to second largest, tying education and health services with 24,000 workers

Employment Forecast

• Total employment and the unemployment rate will continue improving over the next year, but at a slower rate

• The forecast suggests 1,274 jobs will be added and the unemployment rate will decline by 0.5% between January 2014 and January 2015

Retail Sales

• Retail sales are growing by an annual rate of 6.99%

• Furniture and home furnishings had the largest growth rate (22.9%) and electronics and appliance stores had the lowest (-2.2%)

• Goleta saw the largest growth rate among Santa Barbara County cities (6.91%), but Buellton remains the leader among per capita retail sales ($30,160)

• Retail sales in Santa Barbara and California fell more during the recession than in the rest of the United States; both Santa Barbara and California remain about 10% below their 2007 levels

South Coast Commercial Real Estate

• In dollar value, 2013 was a record year for commercial sales, but half of the volume was in hotel properties; high demand led to 45% of sales trading off-market in Santa Barbara

• More than 1 million square feet of office space was leased or renewed in 2013, a record; Goleta’s vacancy dipped below 10% and Santa Barbara’s below 5%

• Industrial space is scare as vacancy rates are at historic lows; South Coast retail vacancy dipped below 2% for the first time since 2008; Santa Barbara’s retail vacancy dipped below 2% for the first time since 2008 as available space decreased by 28%

Residential Real Estate

• House prices rose in all areas of Santa Barbara County

• The increase in house prices led to a decline in housing affordability on the South Coast

• Residential building activity declined throughout the county

Local Finance

• Net income for small regional banks has grown by 14.1 percent in the past year and 158.3 percent in the past two years

• All bank groups had increases in total assets in 2013, led by large regional banks with an increase of 14 percent

Oil and Gas

• Offshore oil and gas production continued to decline from 2011 to 2012

• Onshore oil production increased by 18 percent from 2011 to 2012 while onshore gas production remained constant

Agriculture

• The real total crop value in Santa Barbara County increased by 6 percent from 2011 to 2012

• The wine industry experience growth from last year with increases in prices (23 percent for red grapes, and 8 percent for white grapes), tons of grapes crushed, and tons of grapes produced

Demographics

• From 2012 to 2013, both net immigration and net domestic migration for Santa Barbara County were positive and contributed to over half of last year’s population increase

• The population of individuals over the age of 65 will continue to grow as baby boomers age

Homelessness

• There is a large homeless population in Santa Barbara County, and the majority have major health concerns and/or have spent time in prison

• Most homeless individuals living in the county were county residents prior to becoming homeless

•The most common reasons for homelessness are loss of job, health status, and the economy

Education

• Expenditures per student in Santa Barbara were higher than California in the last year, but both expenditures continue along a downward trend

• Performance indicators and expenditures vary significantly across districts

Crime

• There has been a long run negative trend in crime rates in the United States and Santa Barbara County

• Over the last two years, property crime rates have increased in Santa Barbara County

Environment

• Water quality at Santa Barbara County’s beaches improved over last year, while air quality remained constant

• Annual rainfall levels fell for the second straight year in the county

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

County is one billion dollars in the red for its employee pension accounts and badly in arrears for its deferred maintenance.

How much growth does this county need to see before both those debts get retired?

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 10, 2014 at 4:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"The most common reasons for homelessness are loss of job, health status, and the economy"
...and homelessness is increasing rapidly, yet the economy is rebounding?
(Really)
That's makes about as much sense as wiping before you poop!

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
May 10, 2014 at 5:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Where in the article did it say homelessness is increasing rapidly?

Or did you get that fact from elsewhere, as in:

The Astonishing Decline of Homelessness in America

Despite a housing crisis, a great recession, rising income inequality, and elevated poverty, there is some good news among the most vulnerable segment of American society. America’s homeless population – an estimated 633,000 people – has declined in the last decade.

This seems incredible – perhaps literally, so. The National Alliance to End Homelessness, a leader in homelessness service and research, estimates a 17% decrease in total homelessness from 2005 to 2012. As a refresher: this covers a period when unemployment doubled (2007-2010) and foreclosure proceedings quadrupled (2005-2009).

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/a...

So, what does that imply - a failure of critical thinking, or a failure to do any research or just a mindless post?

tabatha (anonymous profile)
May 10, 2014 at 7:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foofighter, the County's retirement system is not "in the red." The system has plenty of resources to meet current obligations and all obligations in the near and pretty far out future. Fluctuations in the stock market can make it seem as if the retirement system does not have enough to meet future obligations. However, those obligations are in the future and who knows how the investment portfolio will perform going forward. While it is true that promises were made that were unrealistic and pension reform needs to be accomplished, the system itself is not in debt. All current obligations are being paid with money invested and accumulated long ago. With regard to deferred maintenance, it is also not debt. It has been over 20 years since the bathrooms and kitchen in my house have been remodeled. They are all a little threadbare, but serviceable. Would you consider the fact that my bathrooms and kitchen could use some work a debt? The paint job on the exterior of my house is also older, is that old paint job debt? The answer is no. The only debt on my house is what is left of the principle on my mortgage. The deferred maintenance is not debt, it is just deferred maintenance and if I want to fix it as it breaks rather than doing a complete remodel, then I should be able to do so without my decision being called "debt."

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
May 10, 2014 at 8:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eckerman, You just described a Ponzi scheme pension plan, very carefully parsing your words.

Sure there is money now for FIFO. But next year you will need to carry your unfunded portion on the books in plain sight, so get used to putting this full amount out into the public's eye.

BTW: I didn't make up the billion dollar county pension "debt"; it came from the county itself though more technically it is called the county's "unfunded pension liabilities".

Nor have I overlooked the increasing amounts employees now have to contribute to their pensions, which gets backfilled anyway by increased salaries and benefits (raises) to compensate them for this alleged "loss" to their paychecks.

Phase county pensions into defined-contribution plans and make everyone's lives more secure: both taxpayers, residents and employees.

Defined-benefit plans are subject to abuse and are a dinosaur that have no place any longer within public financing.

Yes on M - put money into county infrastructure maintenance now.

Require this county live within its existing budget realities. Then we can finally start talking about innovation and improvement monies for the county, because you failed to even mention setting aside money for that.

And never forget you are spending the public's money. So yes, if you have not put money aside for deferred maintenance, that is a debt (aka unfunded liability).

Or do you plan on taking our a loan for the county when the time comes to get the work done?

That way we can pay even more to pay back the loan with interest.

Or, hey how about a bond issue so we can pay more taxes when it comes time to paint the kitchens and fix the roofs.

Of course, there is all that oil laying about underground just waiting for the county employees unions to tap into so they never have to worry about balancing a budget again.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 10, 2014 at 9:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

googled it!

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
May 10, 2014 at 9:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oct 28, 2013 - D.C. officials are projecting a 10 percent increase in the number of families who will be homeless this winter....Washington Post

Nov 2013 A jump in the number of Los Angeles County residents who became homeless in the last two years defied the national trend (LA Times)

touristunfriendly (anonymous profile)
May 10, 2014 at 9:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Can't tear down perfectly good houses in Detroit and say you have "homelessness" in America. You might not have a program to distribute one-way bus tickets to Detroit, but you do not have homelessness.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 10, 2014 at 10:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's a politician's job to make unrealistic commitments of taxpayer dollars to public employee unions. That's what the unions pay them for. It's the real beauty of the corruption. Bought off politicians can make taxpayer commitments that are out into the future. Of course these commitments will only be a problem long after the politician leaves office. So there's no down side to either the politician or the union, only the taxpayer.

Botany (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 5:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany wrote, "It's a politician's job to make unrealistic commitments of taxpayer dollars to public employee unions" -- but your man Bush 'made unrealistic commitments of taxpayer dollars to irrational and losing wars' ...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 11:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I would bet that if you add up all the money spent by folks in Santa Barbara County who are living on defined benefit pensions (federal, state, county, city, teachers, Raytheon, Delco, Santa Barbara Research, military, Social Security and on and on) you would discover that those pensions represent a significant part of the economy. These people shop in stores, hire contactors to remodel their homes, buy cars, go out to restaurants, donate to charities, and participate in the economy in countless other ways. Oh yeah, they also pay taxes, lots of them. Before we completely scuttle a major sector of our economy, we ought to think about the potential consequences.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 1:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Eckerman, you miss the point.

I want to keep the money for myself or get present services; not let past county workers trickle it down for me out of their pockets, instead of leaving it in mine in the first place. Do you understand this?

You make it sound like county employee pensions are disguised charitable donations to the rest of us.

You are right about this area however: it was long known for its tourism and pensions as the economic drivers --but those were private pensioners bringing their discretionary wealth to our shores. Not pension wealth we had to create first for them. You know, rich people coming here to retire and sharing their wealth with us locals is what made Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara

That pension population never was intended to include our own home grown pensioners who we also paid lavishly with our own tax dollars while they were working for us.

And now we are asked to be grateful if they toss us a few coins from their equally lavish public pensions?

All of which were paid for by our own tax dollars. Thank you very much union shill board of supervisors who created this massive public largesse. (Rose, Schwartz, Marshall, Wold, Farr and Carbajal)

Who is writing your stuff? Here is a test: if the alleged benefits created by public sector workers comes from our tax dollars to start out with, think again about asking us to be now grateful for handing over more our money for their benefit.

Don't get me wrong, public workers should be paid well enough so they don't abuse their positions doing backdoor favors for the highest bidders.

But to say we should be grateful we are also paying for their lavish pensions which they can now share with us local yokels in a trickle down fashion is beyond insulting.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 2:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was not looking for your gratitude Foo, just for you think about the implications of your policy recommendations. Your taxes paid for the salaries and benefits of the services that you say you want and the retirement benefits (for all government workers, military folks, and defense industry employees) were part of that. The quality of those benefits has not affected your tax rate and probably never will. Your property taxes have remained stable and it is likely, unless your salary has increased substantially, that your income taxes have actually decreased as a percentage of income over time. I have paid a lot in taxes over the years and some of it has gone down the rat hole in places like Afghanistan, but for the most part I am satisfied with services and infrastructure for which my taxes have paid some small part. You seem to think that somehow if there were no public sector retirement programs that your taxes would somehow be lower. That belief is simply not supported by any facts that you presented. I don't mean to insult you Foo, and I apologize if you feel insulted by my posts. I just feel that it is important to point out things that you seem to not have thought about.

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 3:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan, I'm a Llibertarian, Bush was far from being "my man".

Botany (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 4:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ekermann, you still don't get it. Unless you want to intentionally muddle the issues to avoid the obvious. I don't know.

Filling a billion dollar hole in county pensions and cutting back on present services to pay for promises made to county employees is not how we do business any longer.

Which means since the current county operations are "in the red" either I, collectively as a taxpayer, have to fork over more money through higher taxes, bond issues, higher fees and/or make do with fewer present services.

This path means the county goes further into the red for its Ponzi pension payout promises, or takes out loans to meet county operational needs.

Or, county workers have to do with less than what they are currently promised, which has proven to be both overly-generous in the present and highly unsustainable for the future. This is the part you don't seem to get.

The county runs on tax dollars. How those tax dollars get allocated is the issue right now.

But you for some reason choose not to see this. For the most part in this county with its attitudes about growth, business development and unsustainable policies, this is at best a zero sum game.

(1) First step is conversion to defined-contribution pension plans. (401K).

(2) Next is to treat any bargained for increased benefits are in raises; not rights or entitlements. (See #5 below)

(3) Next ditch permanently any automatic longevity increments.

(4) Install permanently a realistic apportionment ratio between personnel costs and county infrastructure needs, as Measure M attempts to do. No more "people versus buildings" arguments.

(5) Include in all employee contracts a slider-clause so county employees understand up front their compensation comes from a variable source of funding: when county revenues go up only then raises can be put on the table, and when they go down, cuts to their compensation are equally put on the table.

(6) County employees need to decertify all present county employee unions, and reform as independent collective bargaining units per NLRB guidelines. The current employee unions hands are too dirty to admit there are problems; let alone offer solutions.

And finally, (7) county employee unions/members need to commit to stay out of the political process for the board of supervisors with donations, PACs or endorsements, per a new employee/employer code of ethics that prohibits this inherent conflict of interests.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 5:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Foo, why such hatred of retired civil servants?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 6:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Almost 20% of employment in SB are government jobs?!?!?
No wonder there are so many re-elect Janet Wolf yard signs around town.

Frightening.

realitycheck88 (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 6:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

not at all frightening, WillyRealitycheck88...Vandenberg has lots of service people (government jobs), 20% isn't high at all. Join the 21st century.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 7:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

20% sounds normal.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 7:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well Foofighter, I ask you one serious question: What do you believe to be the most likely thing to happen, your 7 point plan or some slightly modified version of the status quo? If you bet on your plan being implemented, then I would submit that it is not I who am disconnected from reality. As the original article pointed out, life is very good here in Santa Barbara County. We can always strive to make it better for larger numbers of people, but, by and large, things are fine and we will work out the problems over time with rational and modest solutions. The pension issues will be solved through negotiations and sound planning. The infrastructure issues will be resolved by rational prioritization. And guess what, it is unlikely that your taxes will be increased appreciably. I would put the chances of your 7 point plan ever being implemented at very close to zero percent. Why even go there?

Eckermann (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 8:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As long as voters keep putting in their union buddies, there will be no change. Agree with you there, Eckerman.

But you could have all seven elements implemented in just one or two election cycles with a new and independent BOS majority. You got all those goodies after corrupting the election process - none of them are God given rights. So they all can be taken away, just as easily. And should be because even you admit many promises were over-sold.

As pointed out earlier with 20% of the county population working for the government and most likely members of one form of public sector unions or another, this county may well have passed a tipping point.

However, since it was the bad judgment of both unions and voters that got us in to this mess, your suggestion "we will work out the problems over time with rational and modest solutions" is the departure from reality.

You are a little late with the integrity and common sense pitch, otherwise we would not be in this current mess.

But as a union boss, one does have to smooth things over with those who pay their dues, so I am sure there is a willing and eager audience to hear exactly those words.

So now that I concede a pragmatic draw, please share your ",modest and rational solutions" to get rid of the one billion pension liability, the infrastructure back log and still have sufficient revenues for improvements and innovation.

Specifics please --- some actuarial analysis to show you can retire the billion dollar debt, and also cover the increasing demands made by your current salary and compensation structure.

And be able to fund improvements and innovation in this county: Light rail, underground all utilities, new greenbelts, breakthrough technology efficiencies for county operations, more book mobiles, restaffing the libraries, more public guardians for the transient population, more jail cells, smart bus stops, tunneling 101 through the back country, more welcoming railway entry to our county, a county split, better regional airport, IV improvement district …...

All of our taxes have gone up with every bond issue and every parcel tax - hugely. Just add them up when you look at our property tax, layer upon layer of significant new taxes.

And all we hear from the unions is everything needs more money or else they have to terminate services, take furloughs and suffer bad morale. That is the message the unions keep sending us. For one reason and one reason only, they want more of our money. And parcel taxes and bond issues do grab a big chunk of it.

Sure, these are all voter approved, but the message the unions keep sending out is corrupt. There is plenty of money, and we don't like how it is getting spent - mainly to bail out the past irresponsible promises, the maintenance budgets not funded, and the raises that continue to be granted which kicks up the later Ponzi pension payouts even further.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 9:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Voters must be happy then, or not like the alternatives more.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 9:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When voters better understand the facts, they become unhappy. There is a growing mood shift. Witness the election of Peter Adams himself. Over-coming the lock unions have had on political opinion in this town is not an easy task.

But shifts are happening with each election. Measure M will be a test case between the power of the unions to keep setting the county agenda, or whether the tax payer backlash is growing to the point of making a difference after all.

The issue is you can't bury a billion dollar unfunded liability, no matter how many times voters keep voting union. The county workers should be on the front lines, but their unions can't admit them them what is really happening.

Power of the bully pulpit is all that the non-union side has. It is tough, but getting people to at least think about these issues will bring better governance for everyone in the future.

It is not good to run up a billion dollars in unfunded pension liabilities. Who can really argue against this. And yes, I am tired of seeing voters keep increasing my property taxes.

So I fight. Because I also feel ripped off by the disingenuous arguments the unions use to get their hands on my money. I want to keep it for myself. So should you, if you are a property owner.

If you are a renter, you don't directly feel this impact except over time with subsequent rent increases which you blame naturally on rent gouging landlords. Nope, blame the voters who stuck it to the property owners.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 11, 2014 at 10:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I plead ignorance on the issue of unions but Foo's correct--and nails it on the head in his/her last paragraph about how these bong measures pass the costs on to consumers.

Moreover, the cost is not only in terms of rents, but in all business transactions. If your overhead costs increase, you have to raise the prices of your services. Meanwhile, people are still homeless, stressed out, and dying on our streets, while Fat Cats get richer.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 5:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

how do you measure out your "bong measures", BC?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 6:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Clausen, you can't claim to be interested in this town politically and also claim "ignorance about the issue of unions".

Hope someone can take you aside and explain how it all works together, so you can get smarter about the role the public sector unions have long played in the misfortunes of the whole community, for the windfall benefits to the few.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 8:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Obviously Foo has the measuring cup.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 8:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

People, Politicians will lie about anything and for everything, don't ever stop and think, is that true, when it comes from a Politicians' mouth; just remember only those who can afford them have their ear.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 10:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

-sigh- Pension plan dollars are invested, much more efficiently and profitably through pooled defined benefit plans than through individual IRAs and 401(k)s. I really think that foof, if not a paid minion of Some Larger Power, is a stock broker, investment counselor, or not-fee-only financial planner. Pension plan dollars are a lumbar in the spine of the economy. Take those dollars out, and the economy's back is broken.

GregMohr (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 10:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The big problem with defined benefit plans is that the risk is all on the taxpayer. The employee has no skin in the game.

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

Why should the employee have a skin in the game, they already paid.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 11:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So did the taxpayer

Botany (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 11:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

But the retiree still pays taxes, making them also a taxpayer.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 12:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So what. Everyone (should) pay taxes. That's one of the main problems with liberal thinking. Public employment doesn't exist to provide social programs for employees, it exists to provide services for ALL the taxpayers equally. In the process of funding cushy social programs for employees, services suffer. Public employees exist to provide services, services don't exist for the benefit of public employees.

Botany (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 12:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

With that arguement Botany, emergency service personnel shouldn't use emergency services.. at least that's how it comes off.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 1:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That's a ridiculous analogy Ken. A much better one would be keeping switchboard operators on the payroll when their jobs became obsolete.

Botany (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 1:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Switchboard ops are still needed!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 1:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

So's the pony express.

Botany (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 1:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Public employment today has become an employee protection racket. The more people dependent upon Big Government, the more a permanent voting block becomes self-perpetuating.

Time for a serious re-grouping, rather than the unsustainable mission creep that is now called "civil service".

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 2 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Defined contribution pension plans - you get what you get. You contribute as much or as little as you want, and manage it prudently or speculatively as you want.

Defined benefit plans - you get even more, because taxpayers are on the hook for any unfunded promise elected officials care to make anywhere along the way, in exchange for those same future pension recipients to help to re-elect them.

Defined-benefit pension plans are out of control. The must be phased out starting now, so we can get rid of their toxic impacts on present government services.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 12, 2014 at 2:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Public sector labor laws are not the same as private sector labor laws. Ditto pension laws. To change the retirement systems would require the state to change the laws.
There are many, many differences in public sector and private sectorlaws. Even retirement systems differ among city, county and university employment. Nevertheless, unfunded liability of pensions in both public and private sector pension plans is a huge problem.

LHThom (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2014 at 8:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

More importantly is the need to change the psyche of the public sector workers; and that starts at the top with the elected officials we choose to set the tone for the entire organization.

When voters put in union friendly elected officials, we see only rising debts and unsustainable unfunded liabilities. The psyche of the public sector employees remains one of total entitlement to as much of the budget as they can get their elected cronies to hand over.

When voters finally decide they need independent elected officials not tainted by employee union co-options, there will be more neutral arms-length bargaining for the good of all concerned and not just the public sector employees.

And the public sector employees will get a new message they are hired, fired and rewarded for their professional competence: not just their obstructionist union organizing tactics.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2014 at 9:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"change the psyche of the public sector workers", like in North Korean re-education camps? You don't think they do anything all day long except devise ways to ruin your day?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2014 at 9:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"high demand led to 45% of sales trading off-market in Santa Barbara"

The grapevine of the 0.1% must be pretty healthy in these "post-recession" times.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
May 13, 2014 at 9:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, EastBeach, interesting stuff, eh? In the meantime, some fret, fulminate and fustigate over a ballot measure to increase the unincorporated area's bed tax. -sigh-

GregMohr (anonymous profile)
May 14, 2014 at 11:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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