Home CONFIRE CONFIRE: Times Editorial Staff Ignored Facts Provided to Them

CONFIRE: Times Editorial Staff Ignored Facts Provided to Them

by ECT

Dan Borenstein of the Contra Costa Times did not tell the entire story today in his Editorial under the byline “Contra Costa Times Editorial” for the Contra Costa Times editorial: District voters should reject false choice offered in fire tax . Borenstein was provided with much information from Chief Louder which he chose to ignore in order to satisfy his own personal opinion.

While I will be sharing his original request to Chief Louder and Contra Costa County in the coming days, I wanted to focus on the document Mr. Borenstein chose to ignore and failed to share with readers of the Contra Costa Times.  This kind of is a big deal because it refutes his claims that nothing is being done to reform pensions.

The document is entitled “Steps to Control Retirement Costs” which Chief Louder provided.  Apparently Borenstein and the Times skipped over it.

Per his article, Borenstein writes, They’re told the district plans to implement serious pension reform for new hires. In fact, the new pension formulas under discussion are just slightly less generous than the current ones and far more costly than the ones in effect a decade ago.”

Fact is, this is a blanket statement and he failed to provide any such facts or figures to back up this opinion. He also failed to share the federal, state, and IRS laws which Supervisor Gioia and Supervisor Piepho stated at the last meeting and is available via video on the County website to view.

I have obtained the chain of emails from Borenstein to the County which includes a copy of the word document which was provided to Borenstein and the Times  earlier this week. This document proves reforms have been taking place. Much discussion has occurred while progress has been made.  To act like nothing has been done is flat out silly and irresponsible on Borensteins part.

To be blunt, its flat out reckless for any paper to do what they did today which is fib to its readers.  Of course, this is the same paper and editorial staff who plagiarized  the LA Times so they are capable of anything.

Here is a copy of the word document which was provided to Borenstein via email.

Steps to Control Retirement Costs

  • The terminal leave benefit was eliminated for employees with retirement membership dates on or after January 1, 2011.  The elimination of terminal leave decreases final average salary for purposes of calculating an employee’s retirement allowance.  This results in lower employer retirement contribution rates.  The Contra Costa County Employees’ Retirement Association (CCCERA) Actuarial Valuation and Review as of December 31, 2010 (rates for FY 2012-13), reflects a reduction of 2.99% (299 basis points) to employer contribution rates for Safety Tier A members (Cost Group #8) and 1.64% (164 basis points) to employer contribution rates for General Tier 1 members (Cost Group #5).  The CCCERA Actuarial Valuation and Review as of December 31, 2011 (rates for FY 2013-14), reflects a reduction of 1.57% (157 basis points) to employer contribution rates for Safety Tier A members (Cost Group #8) and 1.7% (170 basis points) to employer contribution rates for General Tier 1 members (Cost Group #5).  Due to staffing reductions, we currently have no members in Cost Group #5 with retirement membership dates on or after January 1, 2011.
  • The County has concluded negotiations for a new general member retirement tier.  The terms are 2% @ age 60, 90% salary cap, 2% maximum COLA, and 3 year FAS.  Before this new tier can be implemented, State legislative approval is required.  SB 1494 (DeSaulnier) is pending; if approved, it will apply to employees hired on or after January 1, 2013.  We do not currently have projected employer contribution rates for this new general tier.
  • For current employees in General Tier 1 (Cost Group #5), the 50% employer subvention was eliminated.  For employees with retirement membership dates before January 1, 2011, this reduces our employer contribution rate by 2.95% (295 basis points) for FY 2012-13 and 3.14% (314 basis points) for FY 2013-14.
  • In June 2011, IAFF Local 1230 (L1230) volunteered to forego two previously agreed upon 2.5% wage increases scheduled for July 1, 2011, and January 1, 2012.  L1230 also agreed to prospective wage reductions of 2.5% on January 1, 2012, and 2.5% on July 1, 2012.  Additionally, two new salary steps were added to the bottom of the salary range of every classification represented by L1230.  The two new steps (now steps 1 and 2) are 10% and 5% (respectively) lower than the previous lowest salary step (now step 3).The aforementioned wage reductions have the effect of reducing our budget projections for retirement compensable payroll (i.e., the base to which employer contribution rates are applied).
  • Lastly, the side letter agreement included a retirement reopener for July 1, 2012.  Pursuant to the terms of the side letter, the County, on behalf of the Fire Board of Directors, is currently meeting and conferring with L1230 on the subject of a new retirement tier.  However, it should be noted that even if the Fire Board of Directors and L1230 come to an agreement prior to November 6, 2012, the new retirement tier would require State legislative approval, and therefore (given the legislative schedule), would only be implemented for employees with retirement membership dates on or after January 1, 2014.

Photo was a screen shot taken from the Contra Costa Times website

You may also like


JAJames Aug 10, 2012 - 4:04 pm

Do you expect anything less from that little weisle? Thank you for providing proof instead of a he said she said type of arguement. Burke, I know you have said this in the past from Borenstein but I wonder if he will use the line “that is my opinion” they haven’t done enough for pension reform. If I own the Times, I am not to happy with Mr. Borenstein about now considering the information was handed to him on a silver platter and he ignored it.

I look forward to what else you have coming on this in the coming days. How the hell did you get this information anyway?

Go Burke!!!!!

RobSaw Aug 10, 2012 - 4:09 pm

What a ding-a-ling this Borenstein guy is. He is a real piece of work. This one is pretty inexcusable.

JimSimmons42 Aug 10, 2012 - 4:15 pm

Cancelled my subscription years ago. I have no need to read garbage by Borenstein or others. While I may not fully understand the document in terms of pension lingo, it shows steps have been taken to tackle the pension problem.

Jill Thompson 55 Aug 10, 2012 - 4:44 pm

Why couldn’t CONFiRE or Local 1230 dispute this? How much are they paying you Burke? Why do you insist on carrying their water? Now you are attacking the Times, I doubt you even have anything form the County.

KelleyM Aug 10, 2012 - 7:03 pm


Local 1230 has tried on numerous occasions to get Borenstein and Contra Costa Times to publish answers and accurate information in response to the incorrect information they published. They have continually been ignored. This may be better answered by Local 1230 president Vince Wells, but I know it has been extremely frustrating trying to get them to publish actual truthful facts. They have their stance and they are not interested in publishing the truth if it is in conflict with their bogus articles. It is like talking to a brick wall. Very similar to some people on this blog and others that have dug their feet in, refusing to listen and even entertain the fact that they might be wrong.

No one is paying Burke! No one has to. There are apparently some people in this County that are interested in having correct facts, including the evidence so they can make decisions on the subject for themselves. Not like the puppets that spout off personal insults because there beliefs that are based in lies and they have nothing better to say. It is kind of pathetic and sad if you think about it.

The CC Times has spearheaded this “attack public workers campaign” Unfortunately, just like the CCTA, they won’t admit to being wrong because it is egg on their faces.

I personally appreciate all the hard work and time Burke has put into refuting this BS. Because of the CC Times and the crap they publish, I have found it hard to trust anything that I read, thankfully Burke also presents us with proof so I can make a decision for myself.

Molly Smyth Aug 10, 2012 - 6:14 pm

Isn’t it the job of an editorial board to provide the facts to make their their opinions. Oops! Boycott the Times! I would like to think those who the Times attacks finally stops playing nice.

KelleyM Aug 10, 2012 - 7:05 pm

Molly, me too. unfortunately the times has an agenda and they don’t want to hear the truth. They refuse to publish it. If it is put on a blog, they delete it.

It is really unfortunate. Almost like CC Times is the equivalent of STAR magazine.

Julio-Antioch Aug 10, 2012 - 7:58 pm

The Times has an agenda? When has a newspaper not had an agenda? TV stations and even STAR magazine have an agenda. Goodness gracious ladies

KelleyM Aug 10, 2012 - 8:05 pm

This man (Borenstein) has attacked public safety with impunity for so long with half truths and incomplete arguments it is refreshing to see someone punch back with some real power behind it.

Terry Aug 11, 2012 - 12:00 am

The only way the Times will get it is when people start boycotting their paper. I cancelled mine 2 years ago and will never bother with this rag again. Thanks Bornstein for always reporting the half truths. You single handedly lost this subscription.

EastCountyReader Aug 12, 2012 - 1:57 pm

I couldn’t agree more with the comments posted here. I was a 20 year reader, but finally cancelled our subscription over a year ago. The paper has turned into a breeding ground for lazy journalism, with a specific agenda that doesn’t necessarily reflect what is best for the citizens of Contra Costa no matter what side of the issues you are on.

Ironic that the Times which was recently caught plagiarizing another newspaper, feels it’s acceptable to tell others how to do their jobs and the County how to run its business. I’ll bet Dean Lesher would be ashamed of what his paper has turned into.

Once again Burk thanks for exposing the story behind the story. I think Borenstein and the editorial board are the reason for so many cancelled subscriptions. When I cancelled the operator asked “why”. I stated “Dan Borenstein” and the editorial board. The operator replied; “yeah, we get that a lot”.

Frank S Aug 12, 2012 - 3:56 pm

That is funny reader, I had something similar happen to me when I cancelled.

Tim Blake Aug 12, 2012 - 5:05 pm

I am new to this site, but I am glad many people feel the same way I do about the Times. BurkforOakley should be their new columnist.

B-wood Aug 12, 2012 - 11:03 pm

Borenstein is sour because he lost his cush job (political reporting) a few years back to Lisa Vorderbrueggen. He is just an angry little man with a big chip on his slumping shoulders.

I just ignore him like most of the remaining readership does. The paper looks like it is struggling and the readership is dwindling …except for those that enjoy ads for “Frys” or “Selling your no longer used gold”.

Times Editorial Board Continues To Promotes Anti-CONFIRE Agenda | East County Today Aug 13, 2012 - 8:52 am

[…] Bethel Island Firebob garzee on ECCFPD: 14-Minute Response To Bethel Island FireB-wood on CONFIRE: Times Editorial Staff Ignored Facts Provided to ThemChuck DeVore on Democrats Picnic at Castle Rock Regional Park Archives Select Month August […]

Vince Wells Educates Times Readers on Irresponsibility | East County Today Aug 31, 2012 - 6:54 am

[…] fact, when the Times editorial came out, I proved on August 10 just how reckless the Times was and how Chief Louder provided Dan Borenstein with a document of what […]

Measure Q: “Fix Pensions First” Campaign Lacks Definition | East County Today Sep 6, 2012 - 9:27 am

[…] done nothing to reign in retirement costs while kicking the can down the road—that is untrue and they are ignoring a document that shows changes have been made. Unfortunately, it takes time because of the state and IRS laws while the results are even longer […]

Times Still Being Dishonest About CONFIRE | East County Today Nov 11, 2012 - 6:46 am

[…] he was honest and straight forward. They were thoughtful and full of wonderful information that the Times and CoCo Tax ignored even when given to […]

Comments are closed.