KPSP Local 2: Pension Truth Squad Comes to Valley

Reported by Arti Nehru
August 16, 2011

A couple dozen retired state workers and members of Californians for Retirement Security's Pension Truth Squad gathered outside Palm Springs City Hall Tuesday to speak out in favor of public employee retirement. The rally was strategically planned at a time when state lawmakers are considering proposals to gut public pensions in California.

The Pension Truth Squad is making stops around the state to raise awareness about public employee retirement. Palm Springs was the seventh stop.
"During the time I was employed, every paycheck - 8 percent of my salary went into CalPERS retirement," said Margret Thompson. Thompson worked as a police and fire dispatcher for 30 years before she retired.

Like other state workers, Thompson has a pension that was partly paid for by her and partly by public tax dollars. She joined other members of the Pension Truth Squad in Palm Springs to get across this message:

"I think it's quite unfair that the general public thinks all of us are making great amounts of money, which we are not," said Thompson.

But those public pensions are upsetting some tax payers who don't have a pension themselves.

"Why should A be paying for their pension and putting my tax dollars into their pension?" asked Elizabeth Mendiola of Palm Springs.

Mendiola wants to see the more costly pensions decrease.

As it stands, Palm Springs is about $48-million short of its long term pension funding obligations. And that deficit could grow. Many cities are in the same situation.

"I believe there should be some sort of reform," said Mendiola.

As the debate continues, the Pension Truth Squad plans to continue to make more stops around the state to take a stance in favor of public employee retirements.