Stockton CA is making news ever since it declared it wouls seek bankruptcy protection a few weeks ago. Assured Guaranty, the Burmuda based insurance company that insures Stockton's bonds against default is livid because the city is "stiffing bondholders to give preferential treatment to employees and CalPERS.
The company called that 'a contortion of the bankruptcy rocess.'" Sacramento Bee, Aug. 3, 2010.
The conturbation grows as the off-shore finance operation lobs cannon balls across the bow of CalPERS, which manages many public employee pension funds in California, like a tax-evading Caribbean pirate ship.
CalPERS has seen it all before with the Vallejo bankruptcy and affirms that "pension obligations take precedence over lenders under California law."
There is no doubt that finance, insurance and real estate special interests have been screaming for the blood of public workers' pensions including every so-called "mainstream" newspaper, all of whom are so far in debt to the same special interests that independent thinking is not being encouraged.
So, if you just read this story about Stockton, it would look like the innocent port was being invaded by the above-mentioned pirates.
Yet, it is Stockton. In 2011 Stockton City Council, apparently failing to publicly notice it, voted Mayor Ann Johnston a large raise. Johnston turned down the raise but it still went to the mayor's office, still, according to the Stockton Record,
"A city Salary Setting Commission in 2011 recommended Johnston's salary be increased from $82,088 to $102,232 - a fat 25 percent hike amid painful cuts to others." Stockton Record, August 3, 2012
Yet, a week later, the mayor and council met and voted unanimously to approve the raise.
Council members, who do not remember their vote, suggest the problem was that the item was placed on the censent calendar.
The whole thing would probably have remained in the shadows -- apparently no one at the Record noticed it in 2011 -- if it had not been that a retired Stockton police captain, Frank Johnston, "read the charter when pondering a run for mayor" and saw that the city had violated its own charter by the size of the raise.
The Record further reports on August 3:
Stockton, California, Police Chief Tom Morris was supposed to bring stability to law enforcementwhen he was appointed to the job four years ago.
He lasted eight months and left the now-bankrupt city at age 52 with an annual pension that pays more than $204,000 --the third of four chiefs who stayed in the position for less than three years and retired with an average of 92 percent of their final salaries...
But at least Morris is not a Johnston like Patrick Johnston, also of Stockton, long-time staffer for John Garamendi, who later served in both the state Assembly and Senate. Later, he was appointed to the California Bay-Delta Authority and subsequently appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Association of Health Plans, a health insurance lobbying office directed at California state government.
We aren't sure how many pensions this Stockton Johnston collects.
It's also unclear if Patrick Johnston is related to either of the afore-mentioned Johnstons.
But lest we come down too hard on the suspicious ways of the City of Stockton, a recent survey of state government funds has turned up $173 million salted away in various funds. So maybe the mis-, ma-, and nonfeasanse flows downstream
Tfhe collapse of Stockton, under thr weight of municipal corruption in the cause of the housing bubble that burst, is bad news on another level as well. The core opposition to the peripheral tunnels that would de-fresh water the Delta comes from Stockton, the city that will be the most affected by the transformation of the Delta into a slough. Regardless of occasional warwhoops from the river port, itt would be unwise to rely on Stockton to get its act together to fight the tunnels. They can't find their backsides with both hands because their hands are in other peoples' pockets.