Political establishment split over labor measure | August 26, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 26, 2011

Political establishment split over labor measure

Current and former City Council members at odds over proposed repeal of binding arbitration for police, firefighters

by Gennady Sheyner

When Palo Alto's firefighters spearheaded a ballot measure last year that sought to freeze staffing levels in the Fire Department, former Councilman John Barton was in the forefront of the opposition.

This story contains 932 words.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@paweekly.com.


Posted by Who-Cares?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Who cares what John Barton or La Doris Cordell thinks. Neither of them showed any understanding of the budget issues that were confronting the City .. and during their respective "tours of duty" salaries kept rising for virtually everyone on the City's payroll. Neither of these two ever asked: "so .. what's the pay scale for firemen and police officers going to be in ten years, at the current rate of increase?"

No .. they just voted "Yes" on every budget that grew bigger over the years. Neither of them ever took the adversarial role of being the taxpayers' "champion". Neither of them ever gave any real sense of understanding what the budget meant.

So .. who cares what either of these two people think.

They are both gone .. and with good riddance ..

Posted by Karen, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Barton and Cordell...part of the past, not the future.

Posted by Svatoid, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Who cares what barton, cordell, wheeler and kishimoto think. They are all former politicians who accomplished little while in office, ignoring what the city needed while pursiing their own little private agendas. Funny how even more of these former council members sign their letters to the papers using the title"former mayor". As if they actually won something more than a popularity contest within their little club. Do not forget also that during election time these people are always endorsing more candidates than there are seats up for election.
Everyone should read the proposition and decide for themselves how to vote. Do not rely on these former council members for guidance.

Posted by JA3++, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 23, 2011 at 7:15 pm

"According to the city's 2010 Service Efforts and Accomplishments report, total Fire Department spending increased by 37 percent between fiscal years 2006 and 2010."

This trend is unsustainable. It's time for significant change.

I sincerely hope the voters pass this measure.

Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 23, 2011 at 10:06 pm

A mere 37%? The National Debt increased 60% (8.51T to 13.56T). Maybe we should let children vote.

Posted by Jim, a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 24, 2011 at 7:02 am

I bet the repeal of binding-arbitration will NOT be on the Nov 2011 Ballet.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 24, 2011 at 11:59 am

Whether it is arbitration or mediation, it is still decision making by unelected individuals who may not even live in Palo Alto. Let our elected City Council make the staffing and budget decisions. At least we can hold them accountable for whatever they decide.

Yes on D to return control of our taxpayer money to the Palo Alto elected representatives.

Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 24, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Cordell is a champion of union benefit bloat. (Recall the 100% free lifetime benefits for part-time workers she voted for, and for which we're all now paying.) Any time she takes a stand, it helps me figure out my position, which is 180 degrees opposed to hers.

Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 24, 2011 at 2:12 pm

"If we take away binding arbitration and combine it with the fact that firefighters and police officers don't have a right to strike -- you've essentially gutted their union," Barton told the Weekly.

What will be "gutted" is the ability for union employees who spend more time sleeping than working to continue to make $150K per year. These folks should be making $50K per year (more than the national average for ff's) but thanks to the power of the unions they have become a rich entitled class. Taxpayers and their progeny are going to work late in to their lives to pay for these exorbitant salaires and benefits. It is unsustainable. Eliminating binding arbitration is a small first step in correcting this massive problem. We need to remove Price and the other politicians who work for the unions at the expense of the citizens.

Posted by Jaime, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm

I agree with the Taxpayer.

Why are we who work until we're 67 for meager Social Security footing the bill for overpaid government workers to retire at 50 with six figure lifetime pensions?

Firefighters should make 50-60K (topping out in the low 100's for senior and leadership positions) and deal with 401K plans like the taxpayers who are paying their salaries. We need to eliminate this bloat before it becomes our children's problem.

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