Pixie dust: How Stockton gambled its way from bad to worse

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  • thunderbolt7 DUTCH JOHN, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 8:47 p.m.

    I challenge anyone to analyze and make sense of the Salt Lake County Budget (google search it to see the pdf document). It defies analysis. Barclays Municipal Research determined that "Payroll is 74 percent of Stockton's expenses." What is SL County's? Barclays said Stockton cut only lower-paid staff, yet raised the median payroll to $102,260! What about SL County's median payroll? Barclays claim Stockton city "does not plan to address the fundamental cause of the crisis: employment expenses," What about SL County? Does SL County have risky Pension Obligation Bonds, like Stockton?
    The way in which SL County presents its financial statement makes it impossible for meaningful analysis. Do these politicians learn how to evade and obfuscate in college? Why can't municipalities produce a familiar P & L Financial Statement for analysis?

  • Downtime Saint George, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 4:31 p.m.

    Why do people say they want their cake and eat it too? Isn't that what you are supposed to do with cake? That makes absolutely no sense. Who wants to just look at a cake? Do we give people cakes we don't want them to eat? I don't know about you, but I love to eat cake. So, am I a bad person just because I want a cake and I want to eat it? Maybe it's that I want to eat someone else's cake? Or maybe it is that I want my cake and want to eat it, and then want to eat it again. I am going to have some cake right now. Would you like some as well?

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Sept. 24, 2012 11:44 a.m.

    It's hard to find any sympathy for liberals who think money grows on trees and spends tomorrow's income revenue to pay yesterday's bills.

  • ST Layton, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 11:43 a.m.

    And this is the same path that basically the whole world is headed down. The USA is no execption. Our country is $16 TRILLION in debt, we have added $1 Trillion per year in each of the last 4 years. And unless there are some drastic changes now it will only get worse. Kicking the can farther down the road and hoping that magic will somehow make it all go away is crazy. Yet this is what we have been doing the last last 8 years. Politicians, Congress and Presidents from both parties, have contributed to this mess. But certianly at this point in time the Democrats seem to be completely ingorning the facts we as a country face, they happily accelerate defict spending as we speed towards the point of no return.

  • Pete1215 Lafayette, IN
    Sept. 24, 2012 10:12 a.m.

    "Somehow Stockton has managed to cut its police force while increasing city payroll costs." People should be going to jail.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Sept. 24, 2012 9:32 a.m.


    Well said. But what you describe is (dare I say it?) boring. There is no sizzle, no way to have your cake and eat it too (heck and someone else's cake as well). Which is why we are always looking too far afield.

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    Congress set a great example for doing this for a generation with the Social Security funds that were religiously taken from people's accounts for years. Lehman Brothers ( and Sisters, too) were greedy. They had people from the same graduating class as Tim Geithner that were leading them into the pockets of everyday Americans, on their back. They are still doing those same types of tactics today with no real budgets for the Federal Government for the past 3-years. Then you can't blame in on this administration as they can rationalize away the debt. Spending is rampant to bail out people without faces from places such as Lehman Brothers, the UAW and Auto Companies. The auto company executives flew in with their private jets to meet President Bush. What a great example of high living. Budgets are set for a reason. However, the Congress, supposedly the money managers we elect every two years have gone awry. They get elected by the minority of people that go the polls. So many don't vote in the off years. It is sort of like electing the school board. This year the Tea Partiers are loading the School Board with Eagles.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Sept. 24, 2012 9:01 a.m.

    Well said Hutterite! The desire for HUGE profits seems to drive a lot of these investment companies. if they would just be reasonable and use the little old Scotsman philosphy, they may have been able to avoid all of this.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Sept. 24, 2012 8:58 a.m.

    "Let the city sell off it's recreational splurging to private enterprise."

    Well, I think that is good, but who will buy a stadium in a city with the 10th highest per capita murder rate in the nation? Stockton will end up being the Detroit of California. I wouldn't invest in there.

    I foresaw the burst of the housing bubble and I am no financial wizard. It was basic, "Scotsman" principles: all these people running around thinking that the market has nowhere to go up. What if the economy overheats and the price of gasoline goes through the roof? All the people commuting an hour to work and who are barely able to pay the mortgage will suddenly realize that gasoline is taking too big of a bite out of their paycheck. . . .

  • a bit of reality Shawnee Mission, KS
    Sept. 24, 2012 8:48 a.m.

    I thought it was ironic that the article says that the only inocent victims are the law-abiding citizens of the city. I'd suggest the opposite--the law-abiding citizens are the ones most to blame--after all, they are the ones who voted for the mayors and city councils that made the series of decisions that led to the current state of afairs.

    Democracy only works with a wise and educated electorate.

  • prelax Murray, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 11:56 p.m.

    We used pension funds to bail out companies in the 80's, and to create vast profits from corporate raiding using big pension funds as a carrot on a stick.

    Now cities, counties and states see them as a bail out for bad management.

    Promises to the people mean nothing. Let them work all their life so they can see their retirement bailing out others?

    All that money just sitting there drives business and government crazy. "no worries, we always have the employees pensions to fall back on"

    Let the city sell off it's recreational splurging to private enterprise.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 10:23 p.m.

    Banking and investment should be among the most boring endeavours on earth. They should all be run by old Scotsmen. And they should never, ever, ever abandon sound principle for an easy buck. Ever. And pensions are a commitment to the future. Not a bet. There is no get rich quick scheme that works. Politicians can't say no to a quick fix. It's just not the nature of the beast. So, lenders had better lean to tell it to them. No, Mr. Mayor, there is no easy fix to your pension problem. Take the contributions and invest them prudently. You may have to raise taxes and reduce spending, but betting the city on a false future is worse.

  • mcdugall Layton, UT
    Sept. 23, 2012 9:08 p.m.

    Well this certainly paints Wall St and the Private Investment industry as part of the pension problem and not the solution. Private industry exacerbated the issue by delaying the hard choices cities and towns have to make. Goldman did the same thing to Greece.