Key CHP employee retires

Gretchen Montgomery

Gretchen Montgomery


Providing safety, service, and security throughout the state, is something you hear about California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers doing on a daily basis.  However, have you ever wondered who helps those officers do their jobs on a daily basis?  Statewide, the CHP employs approximately 7,700 uniformed personnel and approximately 3,400 non-uniformed personnel.  The non-uniformed personnel of the department are crucial to the everyday functions of the CHP.  This group includes Office Services Supervisors, Office Assistants, Public Safety Dispatchers, Commercial Vehicle Inspection Specialists, Automotive Technician, Maintenance Workers and a myriad of other people providing expertise in specific areas.  Without the hard work and dedication of all of these people, the CHP would not be able to provide the public with the high level of service that it provides daily.

The CHP Bridgeport Area wishes to announce the retirement of Office Services Supervisor Gretchen Montgomery, on December 30, 2013.  On that date Gretchen will have been with the CHP for 24 years, 13 days.  Before Gretchen came to the CHP she was a snow plow operator for Caltrans here in the Eastern Sierra, and worked at several other local businesses.  She started at the CHP’s Bridgeport Area December 18, 1989 as an Office Assistant and then promoted “in place” to Office Services Supervisor during May, 1996.  Gretchen has guided and assisted 11 commanders, most taking their first command.

Gretchen enjoys anything outdoors, and continues to be a competitive horseback rider, often traveling hundreds of miles to competitions.  In the attached photographs Gretchen is riding “Coquette” (on the left) this past June, and “Spice” (on the right) in 2012.  Gretchen is “the CHP” in Mono County, and she will be missed not only by CHP employees, but by many other public safety partners, local business owners, residents and the thousands of visitors that have stopped in the office to ask for directions to Yosemite, where chain control starts, where the natural hot springs are, when it will snow, etc., etc!!  Gretchen’s last full day in the office will be December 23, 2013.

68 Responses to Key CHP employee retires

  1. turbo2 January 3, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

    Facts are so upsetting.
    Ken gets really upset.
    then he starts blithering and insulting.
    How completely unlike him.

    US total debt: Gross external debt: $14.959 trillion

    Unfunded obligations: USA today
    The government has promised pension and health benefits worth more than $700,000 per retired civil servant. The pension fund’s key asset: federal IOUs.

    The Stanford study was updated in December 2011 in “Pension Math: How California’s Pension Spending is Squeezing the State Budget.” It used more conservative investment assumptions of a 6.2 percent annual investment rate of return. Yet it found the funding shortfall had climbed by 17 percent, to $498 billion.

    Moody’s listed Chicago at the top of a list of U.S. municipalities facing financial insolvency because of unfunded pension liabilities
    8 Percent Returns in a Zero Interest Rate Environment?
    For Los Angeles’ pension funds, 8 percent is the projected annual rate of return. But Riordan warned, “Over the last decade, the two main pension funds in Los Angeles have seen their assets grow at just 3.5 percent and 2.8 percent annually.” The two funds are the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System and the Water and Power Employees’ Retirement Plan

    In 2010, the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University released a study, “The Crisis in Local Government Pensions in the United States.” It indicated a dire scenario mainly for counties in California:

    President’s Health ‘Reform’ Grows Unfunded Obligations By $17 Trillion:

    US workforce is shrinking:

    Workforce Participation falling:

    Disablilty booms:

    Economy lags with current management:

    Maybe I should just drive a train on a track:

    and just for amusement, how many Illinois governors (4 of 7) are in prison this month?:

    • Pedro January 3, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

      Turbo2, funny you show no accounting of the cost of the likes of Congressman Cunningham and the corrupt privatization of our military, etc, etc, etc.. Riordan got it half right, the contributions that employees made are making less than expected, the contributions the employer didn’t make while using them as a line of credit in their drunken spending are making NOTHING.

      • turbo2 January 4, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

        hooboy.. Pedro, dude, I have to account for all corrupt individuals in a single column?
        Seriously? All the corrupt individuals in politics I can find? regardless of party maybe?
        (that’s ok isnt it? Or do you just want to hear one side of a story?)
        That would be a book. Maybe I should write one. Then each party could complain
        I pointed out the politicians on their side. That could be pretty funny.

        Cunningham was a shame. what can you say.
        So’s Tom Harkin.
        Tip O’Neil.
        Richard Nixon.
        Shirley Huntley
        Raymond Levigne
        Jane Orie.
        Vincent Fumo.
        New Jersey’s Traficante,
        and whoever that dud was who was ripping off the post office in the capital for his own profit.
        I’m defending no corruption here.
        I don’t think any bill should ever exceed 10 pages.
        And every amendment should require a separate vote.
        Stop all that crap.
        Make people stand out for their votes,
        and their pork.
        and their lies.

        And the employer of california state employees is…? the state of
        California, as best I can tell: so California is using its employees as a line of
        credit in a drunken spending spree? Well, I guess that’s true. You got that right.

        How Harry Reid got to be the second richest man in the Senate after coming from
        some small town in Nevada with no money is a complete mystery too!!It’s sure
        not apparent from his public service salaries. I think he’s the best bought and paid
        for politician there is! go Harry!
        Why don’t you tell us about YOUR favorite corrupt politician?

  2. Trouble January 3, 2014 at 6:56 am #

    Ever feel like our politically correct society can’t take a joke any more ? Maybe our government and news agencies should lighten up a little.

    • Mark January 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

      My buddy who is a high school Engish teacher just mentioned the other day that there’s always a litte truth to politically incorrect jokes.

  3. Ken Warner January 2, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    TeaBagger is the appellation I use for the pinwheeled eyed radical who is unable to grasp simple issues. I didn’t want to use idiot or moron. I didn’t want to cast dispersions on the mentally challenged by identifying them with a failed political movement that has done this county more damage than al Queada.

    I’m sorry if that appellation caused some of you to have mental flashbacks to unpleasant experiences in your personal history. I think it is far healthier to confront those wretched experiences and rise above them rather than swallow them up and keep them inside.

    • Tourbillon January 2, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

      “the pinwheeled eyed radical who is unable to grasp simple issues. I didn’t want to use idiot or moron. I didn’t want to cast dispersions on the mentally challenged by identifying them with a failed political movement that has done this county more damage than al Qaeda. I’m sorry if that appellation caused some of you to have mental flashbacks to unpleasant experiences in your personal history. I think it is far healthier to confront those wretched experiences and rise above them rather than swallow them up and keep them inside.”

      Ken, that’s pretty strong condemnation that not all progressives merit. Plus the term “teabagger” ordinarily is not applied to progressives, but rather is a homophobic slur that refers to a peculiar sexual practice. You owe our progressive friends and our gay friends an apology.

      • Just another erogenous zone January 2, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

        TB, Why do Americans have to turn every sexual act into an insult? You should apologize for perpetuating it as a sexual slur and “homosexual slur” to all humans. As should all shades of political shills that are throwing it around. No wonder our politics and sex lives are so unhealthy.

        P.S. Any couple that has ONE male can perform it, so that tells you it is mainly a heterosexual act of affection.

    • Tony Cumia January 3, 2014 at 8:45 am #

      Ya I use the same kinda names for the people on the left that act the same way….Obots, treehuggers, leftwingers, nogressives..and a couple other choice words that wouldnt make it onto this know, the people that glue them selves to the failed ‘war on poverty’ and the lovers of the new deal…..not very ‘progressive’ to glum on to proven failed policies of the PAST..A question Ken, do you still fire blanks at your TV when CSI is on?

  4. Politics as usual January 2, 2014 at 10:11 am #

    It appears the local retirement thing is just more subterfuge for the (very tiring) Left v Right political game.
    My feeling is, each political party must find somebody that fills their respective needs for the majority of Americans.
    If that person is not found then the person with the most votes wins.
    Every else is nothing more than childish, meaningless sour grapes.

    • Benett Kessler January 2, 2014 at 11:29 am #

      Actually, a discussion of important issues does have a higher purpose – to discover the truth about them. That’s what we hope for – information that reveals what really is going on with government finances. Without knowledge and truth, no one can face reality and act on it. While this may be a rare phenomenon in government, we can certainly give it try on this blog.
      Benett Kessler

      • Politics as usual January 2, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

        The “higher purpose” that is espoused, sounds honorable and good on paper. Unfortunately a perusal of the comments on this blog often results in just plain old nasty venting that appears to be getting nastier and nastier. The talk-radio moguls know how effective the divide-and-conquer game truly is. This accomplishes nothing but dividing people into being “Left or Right.” Most people simply cannot get beyond that sort of thing today as our social scientists are discovering daily. You get what you voted for – blog comments or not.
        In the end your government is made up of the wealthiest and most of us can no longer relate to that.

        • Benett Kessler January 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

          If individuals do not strive to find the truth, things will not go well. Except for the truly mean-spirited and nasty, we air comments on this blog as individuals choose to express themselves and to find a way to grasp what their lives are about.
          Benett Kessler

          • JeremiahJoseph January 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

            Thanks again Benett, for having a platform where the masses can express themselves, and have debates and reply’s from those who care enough to do so..

            Right or left ideologies have little to nothing to do with who is chosen to be voted for, You know the donor election where the candidate that we will be voting for is chosen by the donors first (of course the candidate that is chosen will scratch the donors back the most).. Legalized Bribery!

            We must strive for the truth, and let new knowledge and information in (keep a open mind), everything we have ever known or loved is emerging, and to hang on to outdated knowledge stunts the growth of much needed progress..

            The history of the universe, is only the history of our understanding of it..

      • Benett Kessler January 2, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

        Perhaps you should go to another website. The only comments deleted, as I have said, are the mean-spirited and vulgar. Many commenters seem to be angry, yourself included, and unable to exchange balanced discourse. Hey, we’re all human and sometimes feel that way. This blog is a discussion. Sometimes it’s messy. Like I said, if you don’t like it, no one is forcing you to read and comment.
        Benett Kessler

      • JeremiahJoseph January 2, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

        Good Luck finding another site where you can weigh in on local and national issues with others, But seriously, I started using my real name because this how I feel, and how can I take myself seriously, or expect anyone else to take me seriously if I don’t own what I say? I know I don’t know everything, but I would like to think I have a clue..
        Perspective changes reality.. ones truths is just a piece of ones perspective..

        • Trouble January 2, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

          Jeremiah, I believe I can be a lot more open and honest on most subjects without being ragged on personally. Once in a blue moon I do use my real name. Usually when I don’t give a damn if people agree with me or not.

          • JeremiahJoseph January 3, 2014 at 10:38 am #

            Trouble, Yeah I can understand that, I remember you said in the past how this area is so small, how word gets around about how so and so said this and so and so said that, and its obvious how people will judge you based on how others in their social circle talk about you.. open and honesty is the ticket (of course especially if I agree with what is being said, LOL) and that is something I dig about social media and blogging, that being people can weigh in from the comfort of where ever they may be, and we get perspectives and insights from those who may be to shy or self conscious to speak up in public settings, beautiful things can start with just an idea :-).
            I guess I have made it to that point of not caring if others agree or not, plus it helps to get support from people on the streets of LP about how I should keep speaking freely (online and in the flesh). I know I can say some things that can raddle ones cage, or make me look radical or ignorant, so be it.

  5. Frank January 2, 2014 at 6:15 am #

    Gretchen, thank you for your service.

    Bennet; this comment section has turned into a trollfest, perhaps you should close it.

    • Benett Kessler January 2, 2014 at 9:10 am #

      One always hopes for nice remarks, but this local retirement has opened the door for people to express their concerns about retirement and government pensions.
      Benett Kessler

      • Tourbillon January 2, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

        You may hope for nice remarks but when you repeatedly publish poisonous and vulgar ad hominem attacks from the likes of Ken Warner, is it any wonder the putatively kinder, gentler Sierra Wave is not so kind and gentle?

        • Benett Kessler January 2, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

          I never claimed we are “kinder, gentler”. Freedom of Speech does allow us to veer over to the obnoxious. We try to keep the truly mean-spirited and vulgar off the site. Of course, this is subjective. And, no one is forced to read or participate in our site.
          Benett Kessler

          • Tourbillon January 2, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

            “Freedom of Speech does allow us to veer over to the obnoxious…this is subjective…no one is forced to read or participate in our site.”

            Quite right. Which is why I seldom access this site any more.

          • Benett Kessler January 2, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

            Fair enough, Tourbillon.

  6. Ken Warner January 1, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

    So much drivel — so little time — or interest in countering the same discredited TeaBagger arguments over and over again.

    The TeaBaggers are always hysterical that Government Program X — that is designed to help millions — is somehow going to take their wealth by some unspecified means. In the case of pensions, it is the very people they carry water for — the plutocrats — that caused a negative cash flow into the pension funds by their irresponsible manipulation of the financial and credit markets.

    Now those very same plutocrats see the opportunity to attack all programs that help people using, as an excuse, a financial disaster that the plutocrats themselves caused with their careless greed. And they use subtle and not so $ubtle methods to enlist the gullible to act as their foot soldiers and spear carriers. These minions of the plutocrats offer no solutions — just fearful warnings of some future disaster. And those warnings are always garbled, vaporus and confused and not worth point by point rebuttal because they have no point.

    The U.S. is the richest nation bar none. And we are the most productive. A 15 trillion dollar economy achieved with 330 million people — less than 5% of the Worlds population. People are living longer and staying healthy and productive because of the social programs the TeaBaggers want to eliminate. And people are earning more money than ever.

    China has a population of 1.3 billion and a GDP of less than 10 trillion dollars.

    And the TeaBaggers think a retired person taking home a few dollars more so they can buy chicken instead of cat food is going to somehow ruin the economy.

    Only in the mind of a TeaBagger can an increase in the number of workers by 42 million be seen as, “…There are fewer workers contributing in, and more workers taking out. …” By the way, workers don’t “take out” — a fine example of TeaBagger logic. But then, when did TeaBagger and logic ever appear in the same sentence?

    Paul Krugman said:

    …Somehow, [the Republican Party] has become infected by an almost pathological meanspiritedness, a contempt for what CNBC’s Rick Santelli, in the famous rant that launched the Tea Party, called “losers.” If you’re an American, and you’re down on your luck, these people don’t want to help; they want to give you an extra kick…

    The working-age population (18 to 64) is expected to increase by 42 million between 2012 and 2060, from 197 million to 239 million, while its share of the total population declines from 62.7 percent to 56.9 percent.

    • Mark January 2, 2014 at 7:56 am #

      ” so little time — or interest in countering the same discredited TeaBagger arguments over and over again.”

      Only eight paragraphs of your own drivel 😉

      btw, I didn’t read it.

  7. Turbo2 January 1, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

    So, the accounting view again, of Kens post:
    -first is another denigrating comment about those he doesn’t agree with. it just is. Go Ken!
    -then we go to the website of the unions. not an unbiased site or an independent evaluation.
    -then the statements that the pensions are ‘largely’ (which means they’re Not) covered by
    investment returns.
    -then a statement that about 40% of the cost of their retirement costs is what they contribute
    (so 60% isn’t covered?)
    -then a statement that pensions have been “viable” (this means ‘paid out’? is this funded
    by debt based spending (ie borrowing into the future, for someone else to pay back later)?
    This works now, but won’t work forever. Someone gets left holding the bag (an empty one)..
    -(A very expensive independent experienced actuarial consultant out of LA told me most of the state
    and union pension funds were using actuarial assumptions that they would Always make a
    12% per year return on their invested funds, thus paying for everything in the future. He just
    burst out laughing, and said no one makes a permanent 12% forever, so they were hugely in
    the hole, they just wouldn’t admit it. Bernie Madoff promised 12% returns. Look where he is.)
    -A ‘careful examination’ of the charts and data shows NO ONE is contributing enough to cover
    future obligations. This is NOT fiscally responsible. what words should one use to describe a
    boss who is NOT putting the money aside for your retirement that they should be? are they
    stealing from you? are they defrauding you? are they assuming someone else will give them
    the money? later? ‘gifts’ from future workers? really? looks like corruption or incompetence
    to me.
    -examining the chart of all the states average contributions it sure looks like the line is
    sloping DOWN on how much the states are putting into their retirement funds vs union%?
    This is also a report from 2008, reflecting data from before the crash, when tax revenues looked
    good. For current ~2013 pictures, now, reflecting the VERY slow recovery from the crash, see the
    PEW site they quote. It really is a great, comprehensive site, tracking nearly all states, and how
    they are doing. Real facts. real data. not a mudslingers site.
    -Ken say: “Pensions do so well…” so 75% of the cost is covered by the deposits and the investment
    earnings. So they are 25% short of being ‘self sustaining’? That’s actually not great. If just the current retirees (ignore the coming great wave of boomers retiring) needed their funds to pay their
    obligations without additional help,
    they’d all be taking a 25% cut in benefits with the money available? that’s terrible!
    -yes, as the stock market (currently at a Record high) recovers, funds should better off. Referring
    back to the state chart Ken/SEIU show, Every state except ny, fl, and few more, were underfunded
    and most have gotten staggeringly worse, not better.
    Do you see this as a stable, self sustaining picture? should people trust that their lifetime pensions
    pay will be reliable, and eternal, given the overall picture of management of their futures, and
    their state budgets?
    -If nearly everyone is in the hole, and (had been) getting worse, is it realistic to think that ‘everyone’ will get bailed out when their particular city, county, state goes bankrupt? Watch Detroit.
    (I had an acquaintance who was a newly retired semior United Airlines captain. When a federal judge dumped the United pension onto the federal pension benefit guarantee fund, to ‘free’ United from this
    obligation, as they went backrupt, his lifetime pension went from $135,000/yr to about $40,000/yr. He said he was really glad he had saved a fair amount of money, after working for 40 yrs.)

    Here’s a chart everyone should look at least for a minute. Every recession we have gets worse.
    Draw the next line in your mind. We are now trillions in debt. our manufacturing base is still
    declining. We are weaking our currency, (as is everyone else, well , except China, they are buying gold hand over fist) we are underfunded for almost every task we state we are going to do, and
    the number of working people is the lowest it has been since before a world war. Cheery picture!

  8. Turbo2 January 1, 2014 at 9:08 am #

    I still can’t figure out the basic economics. How can a person work for 25 years, lets say from
    age 20 to age 45, and contribute enough actual earnings to any economic/fiscal pool, to then
    be awarded 50-90% of their ending pay annually forever, plus all the health, dental and other
    they need? People lived to their late 60’s when Social Security started. Now we live to
    75-80 yrs avg. that is a Lot of money outflow that is no longer going into the initial pool.
    There are fewer workers contributing in, and more workers taking out. Plus, many of the states
    have spent the money that should have allocated to their pension pool obligations due now and
    in the future. Same with the feds. Somewhere in the future the checking account is going dry for
    the pensioners. Like Detroit. If you like California and the way it’s run, and the generous pensions
    it gives, you need to read this simple page:

    I points out that the retirement system is in a giant hole and getting deeper. The true obligations
    are around a trillion dollars. !!! if anyone likes a ‘sustainability’ discussion, they should start with
    how promises are made and the people who make them aren’t responsible when the pay date comes
    due. they are long gone. This occurs with all parties and sects in this day and age. If anyone
    says ‘stop’ they are roundly condemned. Where is all this staggering pay going to come from,
    for all these retirees who have earned their retirement?
    It doesn’t add up. that’s reality. it’s accounting.

    • The well is dry January 1, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

      County Administrator Kevin Carunchio calls for “creative budget solutions” when the reality of accounting doesn’t add up.

  9. Ken Warner December 31, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    upthecreek is just part of the TeaBagger echo chamber spewing the talking points of the rich who want a two class society — ultra-rich (them) and the ultra-poor and desperate (us). He doesn’t realize that he’s one of us and is talking against his own self interests.

    FACT CHECK: Are taxpayers the ones who foot the bill for public workers’ pensions?

    In a word, no. The modest amount the average public worker takes home is covered largely through investment returns–not the emptying of taxpayers’ pockets. Public employees themselves contribute an average of 40 percent of non-investment contributions to their own retirement. (See Pew Report, page 10)

    FACT CHECK: How financially viable are pensions?

    Pensions have been financially viable for 70 years and were on solid financial ground until the stock market crash. The National Institute on Retirement Security elaborates a bit further:

    Like all investors, pension funds experienced investment losses during the market downturn. A careful examination of the data also tells us that most states have funded their promised benefits in a fiscally responsible manner. An average of 88% of the annual required contribution was paid by the largest state and local retirement systems in the country in 2008.

    As the market recovers, we find that pension funds are recovering losses and that filling the gap will be manageable. […] Because funding of public pensions typically is a shared responsibility, just a one percent increase in contributions from employers and employees would fill the gap. [More]
    Pensions do so well that most of the pension dollars (in California for example, 75 cents of every dollar) paid to teachers, firefighters, and school employees comes from investment earnings, not contributions by government.

    • Reality Check January 1, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

      Ken Warner, when you use a vulgar name to refer to those who have different politics than yours, you lose the argument.

      Calling a group of people a vulgar name in a attempt to win an argument shows that you cannot win with facts and logic.

      It makes you look silly.

  10. Dee Younger December 31, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    Moral of the story. If your retiring with a pension don’t let it be published on Sierra Wave.

    • Mongo The Idiot December 31, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

      I think the discussion is a good one; it has given me a chance to solidify my views and open my mind to other points of view. Otherwise I would have no idea where other people are coming from.

    • Charles O. Jones December 31, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      Don’t let the vocal, disgruntled minority get you down, Dee.

  11. Curious December 30, 2013 at 4:58 pm #

    Penis’s with pension envy, is there anything funnier?

  12. Eastern Sierra Local December 30, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    It’s quite curious how I read all these comments about a local resident who has diligently served the community and the people of California for 20+ years only to ridicule her service; complaining about her pension that really should only amount to 50% of her final wages. The interesting thing is that while everyone here seems to be “jealous” of her pension, I’ve NEVER seen a line out the door of any Eastern Sierra Federal, State, or Local Agencies when the “help wanted” sign goes up! In fact on the contrary, it seems to me that the majority of people working locally came here from other areas because they couldn’t find either enough or qualified locals to even apply.

  13. MajorTom December 30, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    It is just a shame how easily it is to turn people against each other. For thirty years now our economy has been run to benefit a select and very successful few. It is to their advantage that the remainder receive less and less of the economic pie, to the point that average people must struggle to get by and many have little hope of a decent retirement. The masses make a cheap and compliant labor force. Instead of some outrage at this injustice, some too easily turn on the few people who are treated decently by their employers, and often people who have spent their careers serving the community. Instead of raising the prospects for everybody, we tear down those who are treated more fairly than they are.

    I don’t believe this country is too poor to treat people decently. It is just that it is more rewarding for those with piles or cash to play with it, create bubbles in real estate or dot coms or the stock market and get richer in those ponzi schemes, or just stuff it under the mattress and live well. With relatively modest changes now, our support mechanisms can be financially healthy into the future.

    Full rant disclosure – I have two pensions, one military and one county. I earned them.

    • Ken Warner December 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

      MajorTom — well said. What I see is the plutocracy’s revenge against FDR’s New Deal. They used Regan to start the attack and it continues today through the Republicans and TeaBaggers.

      We the People can do something about it. I think that people had to feel real pain first and I think that is happening today. It’s going to have to come from the bottom up — like Occupy Wall St. Massive strikes — work stoppages — sealing the border with private militias. There are things — ugly things — that can be done. We may not yet be feeling enough pain — but we are smarter than the frog in the slowly heating pot of water. It’s happened before and can happen again.

      • Trouble January 4, 2014 at 12:24 am #

        Ken, I don’t mean to scare you, but I totally agree!

    • JeremiahJoseph December 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      I hear you on that one MajorTom, if I interpreted it properly, I mean here in this business culture in corporate america what is better then having ripe, broke kids to enter into the business establishment so they can be exploited (collage debt, low minimum wage, income ineguality).
      And I agree, I don’t think USA is broke enough to have to treat people indecently either, I mean the market and economic system is built on this notion of scarcity, competition and the idea of free markets, BUT modern economics has completely distorted our value systems, we are so manipulated by advertising and this consumption growth economy, if only our needs and wants were based on the scientific principles of sustainability…

      3 Billion people starving today is a result of monetary calculation, NOT scientific calculation.

      Also the top 1% didn’t get 40% of the nations wealth by the public understanding how modern economics works, I mean the average person is more likely to know more about sitcom plots, religious scriptures or their favorite sports teams statistics than they would know about modern economics, not to make fun of what brings joy in this life, but clearly shows where our attention is….

    • Mongo The Idiot December 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm #

      I apologize for posting too much, I’ll try to cut back in 2014. (resolution?)
      I was thinking about this very subject today. My mom has two pensions also and spent most of her life in public service. Now she is fully incapable of work, she is very sick and needs my full time care. Her pension would not cover the care she gets if we were to opt to have strangers take care of family, which we do not. It is amazing to me how much of her pension we use to buy food, maintain cars, go to the doctor and so on. The balance is being saved for professional care or hospice should we need it.
      I will do what I can to live within my means and plan for a responsible retirement, I am self employed and responsible for my own pension.
      Major, thank you for your service. And yes, if it turns out you are my neighbor and need help getting food or doing laundry in your old age, I would do it.

    • Ken Warner December 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      Some of you may find this an interesting read:

      TORONTO — HERE’S the puzzle of America today: the plutocrats have never been richer, and their economic power continues to grow, but the populists, the wilder the better, are taking over. The rise of the political extremes is most evident, of course, in the domination of the Republican Party by the Tea Party and in the astonishing ability of this small group to shut down the American government. But the centrists are losing out in more genteel political battles on the left, too — that is the story of Bill de Blasio’s dark-horse surge to the mayoralty in New York, and of the Democratic president’s inability to push through his choice to run the Federal Reserve, Lawrence H. Summers.

  14. Dee Younger December 29, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    The same people who are upset that she is receiving a public pension are the same people who would be slobbering all over her if she were a war veteran. Honor our military not civic employees. One of the nicest people I’ve ever met was a Navy veteran who served as a cook for over 20 years in service of his country. Humble and decent to a fault, It was his pension that allowed him to live in a nice mobile home instead of a ditch in his final years. He served his country just as nobly as Gretchen did for 25 years. Enjoy your retirement Gretchen.

  15. Roy December 29, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    I worked for the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. for 30 years. I paid 100 percent of my monthly retirement every GD month of my career, the county did not contribute anything as they do with other retirement systems. I paid taxes on the money I contributed into my retirement account every month and did receive interest at a low rate for the money I paid into the retirement system….I will admit that I have 100 percent paid medical, dental and eye care insurance as LA County pays the employees insurance after 25 years of service, I do not make a 6 digit retirement income and I feel I deserve every dollar I make…..

    I am fed up with those of you that whine and cry about public employees and the pensions they receive. I earned my pension and have the bullet wounds to prove it…

    • Mongo The Idiot December 29, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

      Thank you for your service.
      I am not now and have never been capable of a law enforcement career myself and am grateful you were.
      Glad to see you made it out alive to collect your retirement.

    • upthecreek December 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

      All California state employees should contribute at least 8% of their salary to their pensions and all pensions should be capped at $50,000 per year. California needs to end its 4 billion dollar a year contribution to the state pension system. Divide that amount equally among all state workers and make them pay it. There should be no more state funded retiree healthcare for state employees. Put them all into Medicare. Maybe the state can split the $104 a month Medicare premium with the retiree if we can afford it. Finally match pension eligibility with social security eligibility age.

      Govt gone WILD…

      • Mongo The Idiot December 30, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

        I see these pensions as a benefit you get for working at the company store. The Federal company store (BEP) prints the money while Uncle Sam backs it with bonds, debit, and muscle. Too much or too little Fiat cash in the economy causes inflation or deflation. This balance of available cash is somewhat maintained with government spending, taxation, regulation, etc. The recipient’s pension is really just government coupons that can be redeemed for goods and services at the current rates of exchange; it could be revoked or depreciated at any time with a shift of power. The world economy is based on this system, this is why we no longer have a gold or silver standard. So, I believe it is a equitable exchange given the government supportive duty the recipient has performed and the need to get money into the economy. Can you imagine how bad the economy would have been the past few years if there were no pensions.
        I on the other hand deal in widgets. If you and I are willing to trade widgets for chicken dinners and so on, as well as protect our shores, police our roads, and manage our own counties. Then we can eliminate this system and complain about some real hard facts of living on a giant ball of dirt with a molten center that is inhabited by disorganized, unhappy, and hungry beings.
        Awaiting your counter point.

        • Pedro December 30, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

          Good point Mongo, all money, pensions, investments are based on promise of the IOU being good in the future, and the future only exists in our minds. You think if we learned to live in the moment more and sowed for the future but didn’t cling to it, then your “coupons” could actually be worth more? Seems what Christ, Buddha and other teachers have said about being too attached for your own good.

          I do believe barter and one on one mutual cooperation is one of the ways to make this better. Victory Gardens and quilting bees! Let’s take our economy back.

      • Bob Loblaw January 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

        Your statement is patently ridiculous, so here’s what you seemed to miss in 12th grade Economics. Corporate pension plans used to be the most common form of retirement program in the U.S., but have been supplanted by the ever-popular 401(k) plan. The reason is simple: employers are shifting the burden of retirement from their company to the individual. Instead of funding a pension plan, which rewards a career of service with a lifetime of payments when a retiree reaches a certain age, companies are funding 401(k) plans, which place the employee in control of his or her financial future. Here’s where the problems start. If Bob is a mechanic, he probably doesn’t know a whole lot about investing. So his 401(k) has someone to do that for him. Unfortunately for Bob, because he is a lowly mechanic, and can’t afford to lobby our nations Legislative Branch, nobody has a whole lot of interest in looking out for what’s best for Bob. Frank on the other hand, has piles of money and would like nothing better than to have even more, so he sends his Lobbyist to go and schmooze our Legislators to make the rules more “Frank Friendly” and get rid of all these pesky restrictions on his Wall Street Craps table (Which, happily enough, is mainly funded unwittingly by Bob). Frank is happy to take his chunk of Bobs winnings as reward for his good work, and when Bob loses it’s Bobs problem. So when Frank “Let’s ‘Er Ride” one time too many and doesn’t really lose anything of his, Bob loses everything and has to eat Friskies.

        The fact of the matter, is that government employment (with the possible exception of LADWP) pays less than private employment. The reason people take government jobs, is for benefits like pensions and health insurance. Compare some of the average pay statewide to those employed by municipalities. Fact is, less pay, but better benefits. I can’t seem to grasp why so many people in this country have decided that nobody should get decent health coverage, with the notable exception of the upper 1 percent. All I can figure is you are either Frank, or maybe a county vehicle ran over your puppy.

        • Bob Loblaw January 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

          That diatribe was pointed at upthecreek.

          • Trouble January 3, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

            Bob, well done!

        • Mark January 3, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

          “The fact of the matter, is that government employment (with the possible exception of LADWP) pays less than private employment.”

          That use to be the case but is not even close to the truth now, nor was it ever in Inyo or Mono Counties.

          The private sector has cut salaries in order to keep in black ink. The county is giving raises and isn’t anywhere near in black ink.

          • Bob Loblaw January 6, 2014 at 10:41 am #

            Mark, if you look up average wage statewide (for example heavy equipment operator) and compare it to what local municipalities (ie Caltrans, Inyo and Mono counties, etc) pay the state average is higher.

  16. Mark December 29, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    I didn’t see this article going anywhere good.

    If I was Gretchen I wouldn’t want to wake up and read this

    • Mongo The Idiot December 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

      Dont worry about it Mark,
      I’ll bet Gretchen knows what kind of people are on the road and is surprised that so many of them can type.

  17. Sick of Mono County December 28, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

    She EARNED her pension! The state just didn’t give it to her.

    • Desert Tortoise December 28, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      Yep, and unlike a 401k or IRA, you have to put in a large number of years, usually 0 or more working for the state, to qualify for that pension.

    • upthecreek December 28, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

      nobody said she didn’t earn her pension.
      the problem is the tax payers can’t afford her pension.
      the great government pension Ponzie scheme will soon come to an end..
      500 billion in unfunded liabilities and counting.
      Govt gone wild….

      • The Real Monkey December 29, 2013 at 2:56 pm #

        $1,000,000,000,000 to $6,000,000,000,000 Iraq/Afghanistan

      • Pedro December 31, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

        utc, you say she earned it, but you can’t afford to pay now, and you’re paying for parties on Wall Street? You might want to look at your ethics. 3 trillion and counting on “stimulus”, someone’s getting stroked, but it’s not working people.

    • Mark December 29, 2013 at 9:51 am #

      Since Sierra Wave opened pandora’s box let’s see how the State works. What was her hourly pay, benifits and pension. Lets add it all up and see what it cost the tax payers to employ Gretchen for 24 years including her pension.

      It’s a well known fact the best jobs in Inyo/Mono county come at the expense of tax-payers

      Perhaps Gretchen should be thanking us

  18. Mongo The Idiot December 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Thank you for your service. Twenty Five years is a lot of life to have spent doing any one thing. I hope your pension is adequate and that you enjoy the rest of your days with your animals, family, and friends under the Eastern Sierra sky.
    Give your horse a big kiss from Mongo!

  19. BobK December 28, 2013 at 11:39 am #

    badfinger; Well why don’t you go out and get a job, work hard for 20+ years, probably take some of it home with you when 8 hrs is not enough, don’t whine and then maybe you can find out yourself.

    • Mark December 29, 2013 at 11:25 am #

      20+ years, what a joke.

      I challange you local & state gov employees to share your pay benifits and pensions.

      Same goes for private sector employees, lets see who has the sweet deal.

  20. badfinger December 28, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Well, how Big of a Pension will she be Collecting? 🙂

    • upthecreek December 28, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

      Dont worry badfinger.the tax payers will take great care of her for the rest of her life. She can also secure a nice govt consultant job and still collect her Huge pension.
      Govt gpne wild
      Pensions for everyone….

      • Pedro December 28, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

        Ya, she should have been a Wall Street banker getting bailout bonuses or a contractor selling $800 toilet seats to the pentagon. God forbid we actually use our tax dollars to pay the deferred wages we promised for actually serving the taxpayers.

    • sugarmagnolia December 29, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

      why speculate? you should be able to estimate it pretty close. You know her time of service, you can get her age with a little research online, and you can get her salary on line (all state employees salaries are available)….She most likely gets the ‘standard’ retirement ratio (as opposed to the higher LEO retirement ratio) of 2% at 55…But I’m guessing you don’t really want to do any research to get the facts, you just want to rant.


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