My heart monitor skipped a beat after reading the Indy’s “Pensions Pinch City’s Pocketbook.” My health can’t take any hint of pension problems. A deal is a deal. Right? So I made some calls to verify. “Laguna Beach City Hall. May I help you?” I answered. “Yes, I’m calling about the pension problem.” The voice on the other end breathed in and out, in and out. Oops, I may have misdialed Transplants Match.com. I said, “Hello. Am I still on the list? Hello.” The delayed voice answered, “Thanks for calling The Laguna Movie Theater. Press one for “On Golden Pond” Press two for “Beaches.” Press three for the Madoff documentary “Take Your Money and Run.” Press four for a list of local attorneys.
People work hard to accumulate money for retirement. Workers count on pensions. It appears the city’s pensions will be in a $2.5 million deficit position by 2022. General revenue is growing annually at 3.1% and expenditures at 4%. Something has to go. Will it be the village entrance? The Lang Park swimming pool? Lighted crosswalks? New bike lanes? Retiree pensions? Or can we do all these civic improvements and use retiree personnel, as contractor-consultants, giving the city the opportunities to have accidental drownings, accidental falls, and accidental crashes. Mishaps happen all the time to old people. It’s sad, but actuarially sound. Just ask CalPERS, the nation’s largest public pension fund. Their algorithm held to a mirror reads “R.I.P. Fuddy-Duddies.”
The thinning of the herd is not a new idea. Take the Eskimos for example. They are an interesting anthropological group. They are a very serious people. There are no Eskimo clowns. Clowns need big red noses. But you can’t Eskimo kiss with a big red clown nose and not knock it off. Eskimo girl kissing, “Your nose fell off. You’re not serious about me. Quit clowning around. Go away.” Eskimos take relationships seriously. When relatives grow old, they take them down to the glacier and place them on an iceberg with some seal blubber. They wave goodbye for the last time. It’s similar to a Laguna paddle out, but with the person still around to see it. “Bye. Bye, Grandpa. Thanks for everything. Come back as a bald eagle so we recognize you. We don’t want to kill you off twice.”
Laguna Beach has 245 active employees and 362 retired employees. You can tell the difference. Active employees do not come in on Fridays. Retired employees still call on Fridays. The numbers tell the story. Fewer working people, who have to carry more people who don’t work. This is not fair. There’s not enough money to go around. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center has come to the rescue. They’ve agreed to fatten up ailing old pensioners and release them to the wild, just like the Eskimos do.
So be sure to show up at the Montage to wave goodbye to the public Grandpas and Grandmas for a job well done.
Crantz tells the Indy that he kept his big red clown nose and gave up his pension for safety’s sake.