Good to see the town-hall meeting this week called by Mayor Alan Nakanishi. Thanks to Assemblyman Dr. Richard Pan, who represents Lodi, and State Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, who also represents Lodi, for attending.
When the discussion turned to the looming pension crisis, Pan introduced a pension expert from the Service Employees International Union of California.
Councilman Bob Johnson was not impressed. Johnson isn’t one to mince words, and he did not in this instance.
“To have a person who represents the largest municipal employees union in the state of California talk about pensions without having the opportunity for somebody from the other side to talk about the issue is totally inappropriate.”
Well-stated, Mr. Johnson.
The city is facing a rising tsunami of pension costs, from $7.1 million this year to $16.9 million in 2019.
The city has no idea how to pay for that.
Concessions have been made by the city unions, but most relate to new and future workers, not current employees. We will be watching with interest the progress of the Statewide Pension Reform Act, backed by several California mayors.
And as a community, we desperately need to continue this discussion — with experts from all perspectives represented.