Bay Area Reporter wants my 2009 predictions

Being contacted out of the blue by this prominent SF gay publication
not for anything related to the LP, sex work, or running for office,
but simply for my input as a member of the GLBTQ community, seems
like a sign of progress. I'm not usually one for making predictions,
but I'm not going to pass up the opportunity. Since it is such a
broad question however, I thought I'd solicit some input from you all
on what might be good to include in my response. I'd prefer to make
it witty, radical, and irreverent, but your creative input about what
topics to cover or what developments you think likely during the next
12 months are welcome.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

That's great Starchild,

While there are issues potentially more directly related to the GLBTQ
community, I can't think of anything more current that the incredible
wages of City Hall in the face of a local economic meltdown. After
this...the incredibly useless role of government in managing marriage is
obviously an easy target.

Take a look at this article in the Examiner.

Mike

City workers rake in raises

By Brent Begin
<http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/mailto:bbegin@sfexaminer.com>
Examiner Staff Writer 12/10/08

San Francisco firefighters perform a heavy rescue during their training
exercise on Treasure Island. Examiner file photoSAN FRANCISCO - The
average salary of a city employee has ballooned 22 percent since 2005,
according to budget documents, adding more pressure to The City's
economic woes.

In fiscal year 2005-06, city employees made an average of $74,475, plus
$23,590 in benefits, bringing the total average salary to $98,065 a
year. In the current fiscal year, employees make an average of $91,404,
plus $28,513 in benefits, for a total of $119,917 a year.

The reasons for the increases in average city salary are threefold,
according to City Controller Ben Rosenfeld. Negotiated raises with labor
unions, an increase in city workers making more than $100,000 and a
change in the way retirement benefits are paid have all contributed to
the increase.

Employee salaries and benefits make up about 50 percent of The City's
$6.5 billion budget and compound a growing deficit.

Mayor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday introduced a plan to axe 712 positions,
which includes laying off 399 people, to help make up for reduced
revenues of between $90 million to $125 million for the current fiscal
year, which ends July 1. As part of the ongoing budget process, the
mayor on Wednesday called department heads into his office and asked
them to identify 12.5 percent in reductions in their departments. Newsom
also ordered them to identify a separate plan that identifies 25 percent
in cuts in case the economic crisis continues to worsen.

Officials are projecting a $575.6 million deficit for the next fiscal
year.

At the same time, employees are due raises in coming months.

On Dec. 27, police and firefighters will receive a 3 percent raise, and
another 4 percent by July, according to Human Resources Department
Director Micki Callahan. Sheriff's deputies are also expected to receive
a 7.5 percent pay raise, and many employees represented by the Service
Employees International Union are up for a 3.75 percent raise.

The increases will cost The City another $100 million, Callahan said.
The number of high-paid employees also increases the average worker
salary, Rosenfeld said. More than 8,000 of The City's 28,000 employees
make more than $100,000 a year.

The budget woes have been blamed on less revenue from local taxes as a
result of the economic crisis facing the country. But Newsom
acknowledged that increases in city salaries have led, in part, to the
current fiscal crisis San Francisco faces.

"Delaying raises, rolling back salaries and reclassifying positions" are
some of the options The City is considering, Newsom said Wednesday.

Newsom also defended a number of negotiated raises, especially for the
Police Department, as a way to compete with communities such as Berkeley
and Fairfield, which pay their officers more than San Francisco.

"You have to compete in a market, not just against public agencies but
private-sector agencies," he said.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com
<http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/mailto:bbegin@sfexaminer.com>

Passing the buck in San Francisco

In the last three years, the combination of pay raises and hiring of
high-paid employees has resulted in a 22 percent increase in salaries
and benefits for city workers.

Fiscal Year

Employees

Average wages

Average benefits

Total

2008-09

27,801

$91,404

$28,513

$119,917

2007-08

27,884

$87,071

$27,409

$114,480

2006-07

27,162

$83,637

$26,671

$110,308

2005-06

26,664

$74,475

$23,590

$98,065

Source: City Controller's Office

image001.jpg

2009 Prediction and Beyond

Obama, in true FDR fashion, will extend the economic malaise for an extra eight years with one Govt interventionist failure after another. Once the economy reverses, he will claim the credit.

Warm regards, Michael