Patt Morrison for August 4, 2010

Mercer 9411
City Administrative Officer, Miguel Santana recently delivered an assessment to members of the City Council detailing how exactly the costs of pensions and health benefits for current and future retiring City workers was going to go from $1.4 billion dollars to $2.2 billion dollars in the next 5 years. The average age of retiring police officers and fire fighters in the city is a young 51 years old and the percentage of the city’s general fund budget that is taken up by funding their retirement is set to go from 8% - 20% So, who answers the call in a fiscal emergency when city negotiators are not legally allowed to roll back a retirement benefit for an existing worker without providing another benefit of equal value? As the costs of benefits continue to increase the Mayor is being joined by four council members to try and get civilian labor unions to renegotiate contracts and change their pension systems and the unions are unsurprisingly pushing back.
Mercer 9402
In the 1970's, one-in-ten women opted not to have a child. Today, that number is one-in-five. There is nothing too revolutionary about the trend - more women of all socioeconomic backgrounds and most educational levels are deciding not to have children with one notable exception: women with advanced degrees. They are still in a group less likely to have children, but that trend seems to be changing. In 2008, 24% of women in their early to mid-forties were childless. In 1994, that percentage was 31%. Why are well-educated woman deciding to buck the trend and have kids? And what are the long-term demographic implications of more childless women?
Mercer 9413

Proposition 8 is overturned - what do you think?

"Plaintiffs challenge Proposition 8 under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment," Judge Vaughn Walker wrote. "Each challenge is independently meritorious, as Proposition 8 both unconstitutionally burdens the exercise of the fundamental right to marry and creates an irrational classification on the basis of sexual orientation." Vaughn added: "Plaintiffs seek to have the state recognize their committed relationships, and plaintiffs’ relationships are consistent with the core of the history, tradition, and practice of marriage in the United States.“ The judge said the ban "fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.”
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