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Posts Tagged ‘Bruce Malkenhorst’

California Pen$ion Nightmare Wor$en$

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 9th, 2012 7:04 AM |

What is the best part of a nightmare?

When you wake up and it is over.

The folks in California do not have that luxury as they get to live the nightmare that defines their public pension system everyday. In fact, the nightmare is getting scarier. How so?

The “not so exclusive” California $100,000 Club continues to experience explosive growth. Let’s check in on this club which since last we checked a year ago has seen close to a 25% increase in size.  (more…)

Sense on Cents 2009 Halls of Fame and Shame

Posted by Larry Doyle on January 4th, 2010 9:47 AM |

For those who missed last evening’s No Quarter Radio’s Sense on Cents with Larry Doyle Hall of Fame and Shame Induction, I am compelled to provide a recap and listing of all those honored or dishonored — depending on one’s perspective. What was the measuring stick to make these assessments? Very simply, the pursuit and promotion of truth, transparency and integrity as we navigate the economic landscape.

Some names you will immediately recognize, others you may not. Additional information about these individuals can be found via the search window (located above the right sidebar) at Sense on Cents. The names appear in no specific order of priority or importance. With no further adieu . . .

Sense on Cents 2009 Hall of Shame Inductees

1. Bernie Madoff
2. Nicholas Cosmo: ran financial scam at Agape World
3. Tim Geithner: tax cheat amongst other things
4. Larry Summers: arrogant, condescending, and sleep deprived
5. Auction-Rate Securities dealers and managers, especially Oppenheimer Holdings, E-Trade, Schwab, Pimco, Van-Kampen, Blackrock
6. The Wall Street Journal
7. George Soros
8. Chris Dodd (D-CT): reasons too numerous to mention
9. The Board of FINRA
10. Franklin Raines and Leland Brendsel: former CEOs of Fannie and Freddie
11. Wall Street management, especially Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs
12. Frank Dipascali: a special place in hell for Madoff’s CFO
13. Rahm Emanuel
14. Jimmy Cayne: CEO of Bear Stearns
15. Dick Fuld: CEO of Lehman Bros.
16. Congress collectively
17. Barney Frank (D-MA): reasons too numerous to mention, but start with “I want to roll the dice…”
18. Bank Stress Tests: a total sham
19. Allen Stanford
20. Steven Rattner: car czar
21. Bruce Malkenhorst: receiving a 500k pension from Vernon, CA
22. Barack Obama: just another politician (more…)

California’s $100,000 Club

Posted by Larry Doyle on May 2nd, 2009 9:10 AM |

Hat tip to MC for sharing with us an initiative of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. The CFFR was founded two years ago to develop transparency in the California pension system. Make no mistake, current and future pension obligations at the state and local level will impact almost every aspect of our lives. The current deficits in these pensions funds and the increasing obligations as our population ages will serve as a chokehold on future generations. This same dynamic is playing out at the federal level as well. However, let’s focus on California.

I am all for longstanding civil servants receiving pension benefits. However, the largesse that has been contracted in certain circumstances is anything but fiscally responsible. I commend the CFFR for working to provide transparency on this topic. Let’s dig deeper. As the Sacramento Bee highlights, Pension Watchdog Puts Database of 5,000 Calpers (California Public Employees Retirement System) Online.

Information is critically important for fiscal discipline. Transparency in the pursuit, collection, and dissemination of that information is a cornerstone of good government. Regrettably, too often our public servants conflict themselves in currying personal favors while obligated to perform their public service. To that end, I commend CFFR for shedding light on this critically important topic:

“We feel it’s time for transparency on this issue,” said CFFR vice-president Marcia Fritz. “In the current economic climate, it’s important that taxpayers know what kind of pensions our public employees are receiving and what the budget implications will be.”

CFFR was founded in 2007 by Keith Richman, a former LA County Republican assemblyman. 

Richman says the foundation’s sole purpose is to highlight  the skyrocketing costs of public employee retirements.

I am not looking to promote personal witch hunts. I am looking to promote fiscal responsibility.  I would hope that every state and local municipality develops an initiative like the CFFR. To that end, please question your local representatives as to how many individuals are collecting six figure pensions. Share with them the fact that in California over 4,800 individuals have six figure pensions. In fact, Bruce Malkenhorst, a municipal government retiree from Vernon, CA is “collecting” a cool half million bucks a year in retirement. An article from Forbes Magazine back in 2007 sheds further light on the municipality of Vernon, California:

Welcome to Paradise
by Evan Hessel 02.26.07

The city fathers of Vernon, Calif. run their tiny town like a family business, with unchecked power, pay and perks.

Four miles south of downtown Los Angeles sits the city of Vernon, a five-square-mile industrial enclave of meatpacking plants, warehouses and paint-mixing factories. There’s not much to see, but smells are plentiful, courtesy of a rendering factory that boils the dead pets of southern California into grease and high-protein animal feed.

Only 92 people live in Vernon. There are no parks, schools, libraries, health clinics or grocery stores. The only four restaurants close by 4 p.m. By sundown the 44,000 workers who commute here have all fled the stench.

Vernon’s leaders like it that way. California’s tiniest city, if you want to call it a city, is one of the nation’s most lasting and efficient political machines, run almost entirely for the benefit of a handful of rarely opposed, extremely well-paid politicians. Vernon should have been subsumed long ago into the surrounding city of L.A, but its independence is a strange and stark example of how a democracy can become a dynasty.

Vernon is run by two families: the Malburgs and the Malkenhorsts, neither of which agreed to be interviewed. The bespectacled Leonis C. Malburg, 77, whose grandfather founded Vernon in 1905, has been mayor for 33 years. Bruce Malkenhorst, 71, was for 32 years the city administrator as well as clerk, finance director, treasurer, redevelopment agency secretary and chief executive of the utility Vernon Light & Power. The city was reportedly paying him $600,000 a year, more than twice what L.A.’s mayor earns, until he resigned all posts unexpectedly and without public announcement in 2005. By most accounts Malkenhorst still pulls the strings. His appointed successor is his 42-year-old son, Bruce Jr.

Theirs is a benign dictatorship. Who would run against them? Outsiders hoping to move into town are denied housing permits and Vernon’s 32 houses and apartments are owned by the city and leased to its employees for as little as $150 per month. In 1980 Malkenhorst Sr. evicted a former cop from his Vernonowned house after he ran against Malkenhorst’s favored candidates. Last year the state Superior Court forced Malkenhorst Jr. to move ahead with an election he had derailed on the grounds that the three challengers had moved in illegally. Once the votes were counted, the incumbents won anyway—in a landslide.

While many state unions do not appreciate the release of information by the CFFR, I believe every state should publicly release it. Watchdog groups should not be forced to request it. To that end, I encourage everybody who reads this post to share the link to CFFR with your local reps and specifically highlight California’s $100,000 Club.


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