Perception. CA lawmakers increase per diem vs. Mission Viejo compensation increase

The Sac Bee has just reported that our 120 elected members of the Assembly and Senate will see an increase of $3.00 per day in their per-diem, retroactive to Oct 1st.

It reports that “California’s economy, jobs, revenues and budget are taking a nosedive, but one thing is on the rise — legislative per diem, if only slightly.”

As such “today’s vote will add about $600 per year to their checkbook — maybe more, maybe less, depending upon the duration of a legislative year.”

Reading on the Bee reports “Rosario Marin, who chairs the compensation board and is secretary of California’s State and Consumer Services Agency, said it is unfortunate that per diem must rise, even modestly, during a time of economic distress. The board has little discretion, she noted.”

Now let’s look to Mission Viejo where our city council voted 4-1 (Gail Reavis voting NO) to double their monthly stipend based on 20 years of our city existence, while Frank Ury, the most recent to be elected, has only been in office for just under four years. Yet he argues that we have not had an increase in 20 years
Our council members will each get $6,000 more per year based on this recent vote.
And while they complain about how hard they work and how many hours they devote to their part time jobs let me remind the readers that every elected official knows the compensation for the post.

 When we interview in the private sector for jobs I would hope that we ask a simple question. How much does the job pay and what are the benefits? One benefit for part time city council members is that this “job” is equivalent to that of an apprentice for higher office.

Larry, you are not comparing “apples to apples” with this post. True. But read what Rosario stated above. The state is in a financial hole.  Aside from this abuse of self serving pay increase, our spending over $300,000 for a feel good Rose Parade float is another minor factoid.
Mission Viejo’s Sales Tax Revenue, a major source of our revenue stream to run the ship, has declined by 8.66 percent in the second quarter of 2008, and 8.18 percent in the first quarter of 2008. Our council majority has these same numbers yet hasn’t learned how to say no.

Rather than wait for Term Limits to be in play, the quickest solution for voters is to take that unchecked power away every even year at the ballot box until we can find true fiscal conservatives who put “citizen interests” above their own “special interests.”

Juice readers. The issue is not the council compensation. It’s about perception. We hear that two million jobs have been lost in this country this past year. Nearly 30,000 just in Orange County. Some Mission Viejo homes are in foreclosure, residents retirement and savings accounts are nosediving, yet four teflon elected officials in our city apparently feel immune to these issues as they make foolish decisions.

They have even sold some “cash cows” without justification. Sale of cell tower leases at a major discount where we have a guaranteed revenue stream with zero operating expenses.


About Larry Gilbert