At a September forum for Carlsbad’s mayoral and city council candidates, one city hall hopeful declared good pay for public safety personnel was unnecessary, since so many kids dream of fighting fires and catching criminals. Another claimed that if pay for public employees were cut by a third there’d be no problem finding replacements for those who quit.
Even though both candidates were losers, their comments may explain why voters overwhelmingly approved Carlsbad’s Prop G, which will prevent future city councils from increasing public safety employee benefits. Meanwhile, newspaper headlines continue their assault on public employee pay. In hard times, it seems, we need scapegoats.
Ever since a handful of elected officials in a small town in Los Angeles County were caught helping themselves to astronomical salaries at taxpayer expense, politicians and the press have declared open season on public employees.
The latest example is an article appearing in the North County Times a couple of weeks ago (“Salaries up for county employees,” November 7). The lead-in claims, “Base pay for some increased by 31 percent from 2007 to ’09.” This may have been an eye-catching introduction to a front page story. But it also fell short of the truth.
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