Two years ago, voters sent a loud message to Pleasant Hill officials: Don't raise taxes while public employees enjoy heavily subsidized health benefits and pay nothing toward their pensions.
The resounding defeat of Measure T, which would have increased utility taxes sixfold, finally moved the council to action. They went to the bargaining table and asked workers to start paying their fair share.
By fiscal year 2014-15, workers will finally kick in the standard worker contribution toward their pensions. The cost-sharing was long overdue, but doesn't even go as far as the standard set by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown in the recent changes out of Sacramento.
With the upcoming City Council elections Nov. 6, the question is which candidates understand the city's financial realities and will continue holding firm in the next round of labor negotiations?
And which candidates have realistic approaches for strengthening the city's business environment to generate more revenue? It's critical because Pleasant Hill, when compared with other municipalities, receives a disproportionately small share of property taxes collected in the city. Consequently, it's highly dependent on sales taxes to make up the difference.
Of the eight City Council candidates, three stand out far above the rest of the pack: incumbent David Durant, attorney Tim Flaherty and retired business manager Jim Bonato. Flaherty and Bonato are both currently
We were surprised by some of the other candidates' disapproval of the council's last round of negotiations. They seemed ignorant of the reason it was so important for employees to begin sharing fairly in the costs of their benefits.
Apparently, they weren't listening last time voters spoke.
Go to www.contracostatimes.com/endorsements and check out more than 60 East Bay endorsements as well as candidate interview videos of various races.