Bob Roper under the microscope
By Forrest Mize 05/03/2012
In March, a Ventura County man retired with a lifetime guaranteed pension of $230,000 a year. Who is this great man that commands such generous compensation? Was he an Internet startup capitalist, neurosurgeon or bank president? Nope. This great man was a county fire chief and that obscene pension is coming out of your pockets. But $230,000 is not enough for Bob Roper. He is running for County Supervisor and another $125,000 of your money for a total of $355,000 a year. That’s about $1,000 a day. How much of our money is enough, Mr. Roper?
Let’s take a look at those numbers: $230,000 a year is $630 a day and $19,667 a month. Plenty of people don’t make $19,667 a year. It is more than a U.S. senator makes. A four star general like the chairman of the Joint Chiefs makes $179,000 a year while on active duty.He commands a global military force, a million troops and a budget in the hundreds of billions. How is it that a retired fire chief could be worth more than the chairman? If Roper lives another 40 years, county taxpayers will pay this one man $9.2 million.
To look at it another way, a local family with a half-million dollar home pays 1 percent property tax or $500 a month. That means that 38 Ventura County families with half- million dollar homes pay 100 percent of their property taxes every month for this one fire chief’s pension. Does one man really deserve this kind of rock star lifestyle at our expense? Who is worth that?
To make matters worse, candidate Roper spiked his own pension from a working salary of $193,000 (which is insane on it’s own) to a retired pay of $230,000. How do the taxpayers benefit by paying someone more not to work than they do to work? When I asked this question of the Roper campaign, I got this answer from Chris Collier “Chief Roper will NOT take retirement from the supervisor post, so he will not be taking a second pension.” Gee, that’s very philanthropic of him, considering that his current pension puts him in the top percentage of incomes. While pension spiking might be legal, it is certainly not moral or honest.
This is what public employee unions and corrupt politicians do for your cities. Politicians get their endorsements from the unions. In exchange, they don’t stand up for the citizens when the unions demand outrageous pensions and benefits.
If you look at Bob Roper’s website, he already has the endorsement of the local fire fighters union. Naturally, the unions want to have a fellow union hack guarding the treasury from the inside. How can Roper negotiate fairly for us when he is the worst offender? When I asked this question on his campaign Facebook page, they disabled comments.
California is bankrupt. The cities are broke and the taxpayers are struggling to pay bills. These insane public pensions are not sustainable. These men are not the noble, hard-working public servants they want you to think they are. They are self-entitled, hard-line union elites hiding behind phony labels like “public safety” and “first responder” while living lavish lifestyles that we can only dream about, on our taxes. These men, including ex-cops Mike Tracy and Pat Miller and ex-Sheriff Bob Brooks, have sold out public safety for their own greed, and they don’t want you to know it. How many cops, firefighters and deputies could we put on the streets with the pensions we pay to these rich guys? Since their pensions are contractually obligated, they have to be paid first. So when the money runs out, we all suffer the closed parks, closed libraries, reduced services and unpaved roads that don’t make the budget cuts.
Finally, I have no problem with cops and firefighters. Both are honorable professions. I have a huge problem with greedy union thugs organizing against us citizens in the name of public safety and spineless, kleptocrat local politicians selling out their citizens for a few union votes. If you want to be a cop or fire fighter, I salute you. Just don’t expect the rest of us to make you a millionaire.
Forrest Mize is a retired Navy officer, aviator and partially disabled veteran who lives just fine on a pension of less than one-sixth what Jerry Brown’s new Kalifornia elite public retirees make.