May 2, 2013
Mattos, Editor and Publisher
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster
The Farsider is an independent publication that is not
affiliated with the San Jose Police Benevolent
Assn. The SJPBA has allowed the Farsider to be included on its web site solely
for the convenience
of the retired San Jose Police community. The content of this newsletter does
not represent or reflect
the views of the San Jose Police Benevolent Association's Board of Directors or
Many of you living locally may have seen this story that appeared
on the front page of the local section of last Friday's paper. For you
out-of-towners and others who missed it, you can relax. We didn't see anything
in the story that negatively impacts current retirees...
Police Pension Deal Struck
union end lengthy fight over cuts in retirement benefits for future officers—
Mercury News — April 26, 2013
SAN JOSE — San Jose and its
police union struck a deal on reducing pensions for new officers late Thursday,
ending a months-long battle over efforts to cut costly retirement benefits at
least for future officers.
The settlement with the San Jose Police Officers’ Association came on the eve of
what would have been the city’s first open arbitration hearing Friday to settle
the dispute under terms voters approved in 2010 requiring arbitrators to weigh
the city’s ability to afford union pay and benefit requests. The two sides still
plan to meet Friday morning with the retired judge acting as arbitrator to
formalize the settlement.
“We deeply appreciate the work that the POA has put into these negotiations and
the positive outcome avoiding arbitration,” said City Manager Debra Figone.
San Jose has been locked in a bitter dispute with its employee unions over
retirement benefits, whose costs have more than tripled in a decade, devouring
funds for staffing and services. Voters have overwhelmingly backed the city in a
series of ballot measures aimed at checking those costs. But unions are fighting
in court to overturn the most recent, Measure B, passed last June. It limits
new-hire pensions and asks current employees to pay more toward the benefit or
choose a reduced plan for their remaining years on the job.
The settlement comes at a critical time as the city is furiously recruiting
officers to replace a rash of retirements and resignations over the past year.
The Police Department, with approved staffing of 1,109 sworn officers, has fewer
than 1,000 on full duty, well short of the nearly 1,400 on the force a few years
John Robb, the officers’ association vice president, blamed Mayor Chuck Reed for
the officer exodus and said the deal on lowering pensions for new officers will
only make it worse.
“This agreement provides little incentive for a police officer to come to work
in San Jose when all they have to do is step over our city border and work for
an agency that pays substantially more and provides a retirement plan
commensurate with the risk of doing police work,” Robb said. “Unfortunately,
under the legally challenged Measure B, this represents the maximum benefit that
we could have negotiated, and neighborhood safety will pay the price for Mayor
San Jose has already reduced the pensions offered to 118 new city hires outside
the police and fire departments, as called for in Measure B. But San Jose could
not do the same for new police officers and firefighters without union consent
because of arbitration rights voters approved in 1980 to settle pay and benefit
disputes with the city.
Voters, however, limited those rights with Measure V in 2010. It requires
arbitrators to hold open hearings and consider the city’s ability to afford
compensation hikes without cutting services.
Reed said earlier this week that the limits he called for in Measure V would
encourage a settlement favorable to the city.
“We have new restraints on the ability of arbitrators to come into town, give
away a bunch of money and leave,” Reed said before the settlement was reached.
“It will all have to be done in public, and they can’t spend money we don’t
Reed has blamed the shrinking police force on soaring pension costs, noting the
Police Department lost a fifth of its officers while its budget grew by $96
million over a decade.
City correspondence with the officers union showed the two sides agreed on the
basics of a new-officer pension plan. It would raise the minimum age for full
retirement benefits from 50 to 60 and lower benefit formulas. The maximum
pension would be 65 percent of pay instead of 90 percent, with cost-of-living
increases capped at 1.5 percent instead of the current 3 percent.
Disagreements centered on the city’s right to amend the plan in the future and
whether the reduced benefit should remain or be renegotiated for new hires if
Measure B is blocked. It was unclear late Thursday how the settlement resolved
To date, none of Measure B’s provisions have applied to city officers pending
the outcome of legal challenges. Unions argue that Measure B violates employees’
“vested rights” to the same or better retirement plan in place when they were
hired. But the vested right protections only apply to current employees, giving
government employers much more leeway in reducing retirement benefits for new
San Jose officials have yet to reach an agreement with firefighters on new-hire
pensions, and the city is asking a judge to compel arbitration.
The city and police still are scheduled for arbitration starting May 6 at City
Hall on renewing the police officers’ contract. The officers are seeking to
restore 10-percent pay cuts and additional raises, while the city is seeking
limited raises. The two sides have chosen retired Judge John A. Flaherty as the
was a sidebar to the article above...
San Jose Police Pensions: A
San Jose and its police officers settled a dispute over reduced pensions for new
officers on the eve of the city’s first scheduled open arbitration hearing. Some
facts about the dispute:
■ San Jose voters in 1980 approved binding arbitration rights for police
officers and firefighters to settle pay and benefit disputes with the city.
■ San Jose voters in 2010 approved Measure W, allowing smaller pensions for new
■ San Jose voters in 2010 approved Measure V, calling for open arbitration
hearings on police and firefighter pay disputes and limiting awards based on the
city’s ability to afford them. The first such hearing was to begin Friday.
■ San Jose voters in June 2012 approved Measure B, calling for smaller pensions
for new city workers and for current employees to either pay more for pensions
or choose reduced benefit for remaining years of work. San Jose police officers
and other unions sued to block it.
■ San Jose and its officers in 2013 agreed on the basics of a new-officer
pension plan, raising retirement age from 50 to 60, lowering benefit formulas
and cost-of-living increases and capping pensions at 65 percent of salary
instead of 90 percent.
■ The officers and city settled Thursday afternoon. But they still will convene
for the 9:30 a.m. Friday arbitration hearing in the San Jose City Hall committee
rooms, 200 E. Santa Clara St., to formalize the settlement as an arbitration
THE TRIALS AND
TRIBULATIONS OF SAN JOSE AND THE SJPD
Police Chief Chris Moore's last minute memo prior to his recent
retirement ordering patrol officers to document all stops where "curb-sitting"
took place was referred to by some cops as the "Do Nothing Memo." Larry
Esquivel, who replaced Chris, withdrew the memo immediately after he was
appointed acting chief, which apparently irked Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell.
This article from last Saturday's paper is a supplement to the article in last
week's Farsider on the same topic...
‘Curb Sitting’ Rollout Urged
wants police to begin documenting pedestrian stops—
By Robert Salonga
Mercury News — April 27, 2013
SAN JOSE — Community
activists have long accused San Jose police of disproportionately “curb sitting”
minorities during routine stops and searches, but there has never been data to
confirm or dismiss the charges.
Sometime in the next few months, after some internal wrangling, police say they
will start collecting information that could shed light on the debate over
alleged racial profiling by city police.
Since the beginning of the year, the breakthrough policy has been batted back
and forth within police ranks. In one of his final acts as police chief in
mid-January, Chris Moore sought to tackle the question head-on, ordering
officers to start documenting age, ethnicity and location in traffic and
But soon after that, acting Chief Larry Esquivel suspended its implementation.
The department said it needed to retool the plan, a move that came under fire
this week when the annual report from the city’s independent police auditor
lamented Esquivel’s decision.
LaDoris Cordell, the auditor and a retired judge, challenged the department’s
assertion that the original policy was overly broad and would be difficult to
implement. Its adoption was a milestone in police-community relations, she said,
and the suspension ran the risk of eroding trust from minority groups.
“I respect acting Chief Esquivel. He has immediately established a positive
working relationship with our office,” Cordell said. “While I disagree with his
decision to suspend (the policy), I remain hopeful that he will re-enact it
police Sgt. Jason Dwyer questions a man about a
facial tattoo during an uninitiated stop in East San Jose in 2009.
Sgt. Jason Dwyer, a police
spokesman, said the delay was necessary to update police computer systems to
capture the data so it can be queried, and to narrow its focus to the
most-frequent instances. The department hopes to roll out the system over the
next few months.
“If we have to experience a delay upfront to do that, it’s a small price to pay
for something that will be very useful in the future,” Dwyer said.
Moore’s act would add a section to the department’s duty manual, which guides
police conduct. The addition, L-5108, mandates officers record the
“justification, manner, duration and scope of the detention and/ or search” even
in instances where no one is arrested, according to the memo. It also requires
officers to record ages and races of those who are searched and detained without
“The primary purpose for documenting the detention and/or search is that it
provides a record that can be used if the detention and/or search are the
subject of a complaint, concern or questions from a member of the public,”
according to a memo Moore issued.
Moore issued it Jan. 14, five days before he retired. Ten days later, Esquivel
suspended it “until further notice.”
Moore understood the technological dimension wasn’t yet in place, but he
declared the policy “effective immediately” in his memo because he wanted his
officers to get in the habit of taking down the information, according to city
officials familiar with the drafting process. Moore declined to comment for this
Some in the rank-and-file initially balked at the breadth of the policy, which
covered a wide array of detentions and searches. It was criticized as
over-reaching and encroaching on the judgment of an officer, being referred to
as the “Don’t-do-anything memo” in some circles. Critics said it would
discourage officers from making stops to avoid burdensome paperwork. Dwyer said
the policy is being narrowed to find a workable solution.
“The original memo covers everything,” Dwyer said. “As far as detentions go,
this is something that occurs a lot. We don’t want to put officers in a position
to de-police because it’s too cumbersome and time-consuming to do that.”
Dwyer said the revised policy will address three kinds of non-consensual
searches and detentions: when a person is handcuffed, ordered to sit in the back
of a patrol car or ordered to sit on a street curb.
Curb sitting has had a particular resonance in San Jose after “communities of
color” complained about being targeted, Cordell said.
“They perceived an officer’s order to curb sit as demeaning, humiliating and
unnecessary,” Cordell said.
The police auditor’s evidence is anecdotal; she pushed for the new policy to
Documenting events like curb sitting is new in law enforcement. Recording
information about traffic stops has been widely practiced, but pedestrian stops
were often considered informal acts by patrol officers looking to proactively
keep the peace.
“It’s a newer field of data gathering. It’s a very unexamined area,” said Robert
Weisberg, law professor and co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center.
Raj Jayadev, coordinator of Silicon Valley De-Bug, a media, social-advocacy and
business collective based in San Jose, said the policy and its execution are
being closely watched.
“It’s critically important for building trust between communities and police to
have quantitative data and measurements for those interactions to move us beyond
anecdotes and entrenched political positions,” Jayadev said. “The community has
been waiting for something tangible to hang their hat on to say this approach of
working collectively with police creates a better environment.”
NEWS FROM THE POA
If you are a member of the POA and the Assn. has your current
e-mail address, you likely received the following membership alerts over the
past six days. We are listing them in chronological order for those who didn't
receive them and are interested in what they have to say...
Tier 2 Arbitration Result
morning we participated in an arbitration regarding new employee (Tier 2)
pension benefits. Retired Judge John Flaherty settled the remaining issues about
the Tier 2 plan. Although this plan provides the highest benefits allowed under
Measure B, we take no pleasure in acknowledging that this plan is indisputably
the worst second tier plan in the State of California. It will do nothing to
retain new officers. But that is what the voters enacted with Measure B.
There was no "win" to be had in this arbitration. The arbitrator could not have
exceeded Measure B's limits without voter approval.
The continuing fight to invalidate this second tier will be focused on our quo
warranto action, which seeks to invalidate Measure B in its entirety, including
Tier 2. As we explained last week, we took a major step forward to that end when
California Attorney General Kamala Harris GRANTED the POA's application to sue
the City. Our lawsuit against the City will be filed next week.
In the final days, just before interest arbitration began, our disagreement with
the City centered on the language of the agreement, the level of survivorship
benefits, Retirement Service Credit, and amongst other items, what would occur
if a court issued a final decision invalidating Measure B for new employees. The
timeline was such that we were locked into an arbitrated award. Once we worked
through the last issues with the City, there was nothing more to arbitrate other
than to finalize Judge Flaherty's stipulated award. Because it was an award
under Charter Section 1111, neither the membership nor the City Council were
entitled to vote on the final language.
This award will remain in effect until such time as a court rules on the
validity of Measure B. Should the court invalidate Measure B, where it involves
Tier 2 pension benefits, we would begin meeting with the City to design a new
Tier 2 pension plan more in line with industry standards.
Listed below is a partial summary of the benefits contained in Tier 2. The
complete agreement can be found here.
1. Two percent accrual per year with a maximum benefit of 65%
2. A normal retirement age of 60
3. Final compensation will be base pay only
4. Final average salary will be based on 3 highest consecutive years
5. Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) max of 1.5% per year
6. The City and Plan members will share equally (50/50) all in plan costs
7. Tier 2 employees will receive the Tier 1 retiree healthcare benefits
As we move through the litigation process involving Measure B, we will keep you
updated on our progress and how it will affect both Tier 1 and Tier 2 plan
• • • • •
San Jose's Tier 2 Pension Now the Worst L.E. Benefit in the State of California
• • • • •
We received another
proposal from the City today. Essentially, it is a one-year deal with a 2%
raise for everyone or a new top-step of 2.5% for senior officers. Since the
negotiations team has not had a chance to even review it yet, we have not given
the City a response. There are a few other changes from their last offer. You
can view it here.
We are still schedule for arbitration next week. We met today to work through
some of the scheduling details for that process. We should have more for you
later in the week.
• • • • •
People of California vs. City of San Jose Lawsuit Filed Over Controversial
General Kamala Harris Joins SJPOA In Litigation—
San Jose (CA)--On behalf of
the People of the State of California, the San Jose Police Officers' Association
and Attorney General Kamala Harris have filed a lawsuit against the City of San
Jose for not complying with the law prior to placing their controversial Measure
B on the ballot.
"The Attorney General has granted our Quo Warranto request to bring before a
judge the important question of whether or not the City met its statutory
requirements prior to placing the controversial Measure B on the ballot," said
Gregg McLean Adam, from Carrol, Burdick & McDonough LLP. Adam went on to say,
"If the courts agree with our facts then Measure B will be struck down."
Click here to read the filed complaint:
"Once the Attorney General authorized the POA to sue on behalf of the People of
California we did not want to waste any time before filing with the courts,"
said Jim Unland, President of the San Jose Police Officers' Association.
Unland also said, "The sooner the unlawful Measure B can be set aside the sooner
real, honest and legal pension reform can be negotiated that will save money and
put more cops on the street."
• • • • •
Monthly Membership Meeting
As contract negotiations have
continued, there is now a very strong likelihood we will be engaged in Interest
Arbitration next week. All of the Executive Board and the negotiation team will
be involved with that process. As a result, we are rescheduling our May monthly
meeting to Tuesday, May 21st at 7:30 AM.
We will keep you apprised of any developments as they occur.
• • • • •
NBC Bay Area
News Report (video)
AG Approves Measure B Lawsuit
Citing NBC Investigation Attorney
General Kamala Harris has authorized a pension reform lawsuit
against the city of San Jose that cites an NBC Bay Area investigation.
For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:
NEW RETIREES ASSN.
Clicking on the link below will download the latest edition of
the Billy & Spanner to your desktop. You can then open it and read it with a
double click of your mouse...
SUMMER BARBECUE INFO
The Board of Directors of
the Keith Kelley Club is gearing up for this year's Summer Barbecue. It will be
held on Wednesday, June 5th, at the Elk's Lodge at 444 W. Alma and starts at
All retired Keith Kelley Club members attend free of charge. This is a stag
affair; guests are not allowed. There will be sausage with garlic bread
served at the start of the festivities. Dinner will feature Filet Mignon,
Chicken and Ribs, Salad, Beans, Bread and plenty to drink. A Taco Bar will open
at 8:00 p.m. serving Carne Asada, Chili Verde, Tortillas and Salsa.
This will be a great time to enjoy good company and food while you unwind and
have fun! We will have Keith Kelley Club T-shirts for sale for $15 each.
If you have a question about the barbecue or your membership, please contact me.
Office Manager, Keith Kelley Club
So You Want to Join the San
Jose Police Department?
Today the San Jose Mercury
News published an article reporting, "San Jose officers settle dispute over new
police officer pensions."
For those of you who read this blog to gather information on this once great
police department and are considering applying for a job with the SJPD, you
should read this article and inform yourself before either committing yourself
(eyes wide open) to the task or spending your time in a more productive manner
by applying to just about any other police agency in the State. I will save you
some time and tell you to steer well clear of agencies like Stockton, San
Bernardino and Bell, CA as they are in dire straights along the lines of SJPD.
In a nut shell, current SJPD officers contractually earn 2.5% of the highest
years BASE PAY (doesn't include overtime or premium/specialty pay) for each of
the first 20 years of service, which equates to 50% of the highest year after 20
years service. The earliest age that an officer can retire with 20 years service
is AGE 55.
For every year worked after 20 years on the job, the officer earns a little less
than 4%. At 30 years total service the officer can retire at just under 90% of
the highest years base pay.An officer with 30 years service could retire "at any
age," which for all intents and purposes is age 51 as all current officers were
hired at age 21 or older. Currently, retirees contractually earn a 3% annual
cost of living increase.
The Mercury News article is announcing that the City and the San Jose Police
Officers Association have reached an agreement on pension benefits for all new
hires. This is the "Second Tier" that the voters approved in 2010 after the City
Council promised that it would begin negotiations immediately upon passage, and
in no case allow to continue beyond 2 years.
This Tier 2 plan for all new hires raises the retirement age from 55 years to
60 years and caps the annual cost of living increase at 1.5%. It also caps the
maximum benefit at 65% of base pay (about 2.17%/year).
So the question you have to ask yourself is "Why would I go to work for SJPD
when I could go to work for almost any other agency in the State that has the
new CalPERS standard Public Safety retirement benefit formula of 2.5% @ Age 57
(max benefit 75% @ 30 years service)?
Consider in your decision the fact that you will pay about 21% of your pay
towards that retirement with San Jose versus anywhere from 0-9% elsewhere,
depending on the department that hires you. San Jose is one of the lowest paid
departments in one of the highest cost-of-living areas in the state.
It is pretty clear that SJPD is not a place to work unless you don't mind long
hours, low pay and limited financial security at the end of your career.
THE HISTORY OF THE
SJPD SHALL NOT BE FORGOTTEN
The Night of
the Stones and the Screaming Mimi's
Back in 1965 — long before the
McEnery Convention Center and the HP Pavilion were even conceived — the Civic
Auditorium was the center of downtown activity where most of the events of note
were held. They included Richard Nixon's visit (and subsequent riot by some),
wrestling matches, Tuesday night boxing matches, roller derby events, SJ State
vs. SC University basketball games as well as dances and musical performances
that provided entertainment for the masses of what would later become known as
Silicon Valley. One particular event of note will be remembered by at least a
few local coppers.
It was the night the Rolling Stones came to town and performed in front of a
full house at the Civic. The overflow became known as the "Screaming Mimi's." It
was comprised of an out-of-control group of young individuals whose goal in life
was to see who could scream the loudest. I'm not talking about a loud hum or
chant, I'm referring to combined ear-shattering screams that would shatter the
glass on an audiometer that measures decibels. Combine their excitement with an
exceedingly strong desire to actually touch any of their perceived idols during
their exit from the building and the cops had a definite problem on their hands.
A plan to thwart the anticipated chaos and mayhem that would likely take place
after the concert was for the cops to escort the Rolling Stones out the back
door of the Civic and directly into a paddy wagon for their trip to San Jose
Municipal Airport. Other than the land that it sits on today, it bore little
resemblance to today's San Jose International Airport.
SJPD had only one paddy wagon back then. Designated Car 2, it was a black,
one-ton, extended Chevy van with a set of duals on the rear and bench seats
along both sides of the interior. It also was equipped with dual cargo/panel
doors in the rear that swung out, a large step-bumper and vertical bars on each
side that officers could hold on to. The benches inside could seat from 22 to 24
individuals back then depending on their girth. (Probably 18 to 20 in this day
and age, but I digress.)
The Stones were hustled out the rear door of the Civic and into the paddy wagon
for their ride to the airport without problem. The wagon master (driver) that
night was none other than Officer Pete Guerin, who went on and retired after an
exemplary 30-year career. Pete was a third-generation San Jose cop who followed
his father and grandfather's law enforcement careers; both were also San Jose
police officers, as well as an uncle.
Somehow, the Screaming Mimi's got wind that the Rolling Stones were to be
evacuated out the rear of the Civic and showed up in what seemed to number in
the thousands while Pete slowly and carefully maneuvered the paddy wagon with
its celebrity cargo out of the parking lot and onto S/B Market St. against
traffic with two officers standing on the step-bumper and holding on to the
vertical bars with a death-grip for the "somewhat scary" ride to the airport.
If the Rolling Stones were to return to San Jose for a reunion gig today, it's
entirely possible that Pete Guerin would make himself available to again take
the wheel of the paddy wagon. Unfortunately, one of the step-bumper officers
(Lloyd Meister) is no longer with us, but the other one is, and I have it on
good authority that Officer Robillard (Ret.) is willing to make the trip again
providing someone would approve the overtime.
READ AND HEED,
You don't have to read all of this syndicated New York Times
article from last Sunday's paper to get the gist of the message...
Pension-backed Loans are
Taking Toll on Many Retirees
lenders fail to disclose interest rates—
By Jessica Silver-Greenberg, New York Times
Mercury News — April 28, 2013
To retirees, the offers can
sound like the answer to every money worry: Convert tomorrow’s pension checks
into today’s hard cash. But these offers, known as pension advances, are having
devastating financial consequences for a growing number of older Americans,
threatening their retirement savings and plunging them further into debt. The
advances, federal and state authorities say, are not advances at all, but
carefully disguised loans that require borrowers to sign over all or part of
their monthly pension checks. They carry interest rates that often are many
times higher than those on credit cards. In lean economic times, people with
public pensions — military veterans, teachers, firefighters, police officers and
others — are being courted particularly aggressively by pension-advance
companies, which operate largely outside of state and federal banking
regulations but are now drawing scrutiny from Congress and the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau.
The pitches come mostly via the Web or ads in local circulars.
“Convert your pension into CASH,” Lump-Sum Pension Advance, located in Irvine,
says on its website. “Banks are hiding,” says Pension Funding of Huntington
Beach on its website, signaling the paucity of credit. “But you do have your
Another ad on that website is directed at military veterans: “You’ve put your
life on the line for Americans to protect our way of life. You deserve to do
something important for yourself.”
Govan, a retired veteran from Snellville, Ga., file
a federal lawsuit that raises questions about the costs of
pension advances. Pension advances, authorities say,
are not advances at all, but carefully disguised loans.
A review by the New York
Times of more than two dozen contracts for pension-based loans found that, after
factoring in various fees, the effective interest rates ranged from 27percent to
106 percent — information not disclosed in the ads or in the contracts
themselves. Furthermore, to qualify for one of the loans, borrowers sometimes
are required to take out a life insurance policy that names the lender as the
Lump-Sum Pension Advance and Pension Funding did not return calls and emails for
While it is difficult to say precisely how many financially struggling people
have taken out pension loans, legal aid offices in California, Arizona, Florida
and New York say they recently have encountered a surge in complaints from
retirees who have run into trouble with the loans.
Ronald Govan, a Marine Corps veteran in Snellville, Ga., paid an interest rate
of more than 36 percent on a pension-based loan. He said he was enraged that
veterans were being targeted by the firm, Pensions, Annuities & Settlements,
which did not return calls for comment.
“I served for this country,” said Govan, a Vietnam veteran, “and this is what I
get in return.”
The allure of borrowing against pensions underscores an abrupt reversal in the
financial fortunes of many retirees in recent years, as well as the efforts by a
number of financial firms, including payday lenders and debt collectors, to
market directly to them.
The pension-advance firms geared up before the financial crisis to woo a vast
and wealthy generation of Americans heading for retirement. Before the housing
bust and recession forced many people to defer retirement and to run up debt,
lenders marketed the pension-based loan largely to military members as a
risk-free option for older Americans looking to take a dream vacation or even
buy a yacht. “Splurge,” one ad in 2004 suggested.
Now, pension-advance firms are repositioning themselves to appeal to people in
and out of the military who need cash to cover basic living expenses, according
to interviews with borrowers, lawyers, regulators and advocates for the elderly.
“The cost of these pension transactions can be astronomically high,” said Stuart
Rossman, a lawyer with the National Consumer Law Center, an advocacy group that
works on issues of economic justice for low-income people. “There is profit to
be made on older Americans’ financial pain.”
The oldest members baby boomers became eligible for Social Security during the
recent housing bust and recession, and many nearing retirement age watched their
investments plummet in value. Some now are sliding deep into debt to make ends
The pitches for pension loans emphasize how difficult it can be for retirees
with scant savings and checkered credit histories to borrow money, especially
because banks typically do not count pension income when considering loan
The combined debt of Americans from the ages of 65 to 74 is rising more quickly
than that of any other age group, according to data from the Federal Reserve.
For households led by people 65 and older, median debt levels have surged more
than 50 percent, rising from $12,000 in 2000 to $26,000 in 2011, according to
the latest data available from the Census Bureau.
Financial products such as pension advances, which promise quick cash, appear
especially enticing because their long-term costs are largely hidden from the
Federal and state regulators are spotting fresh examples of abuse, and both the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Senate’s Committee on Health,
Education, Labor and Pensions are examining these loans, according to people
with knowledge of the matter.
Although the firms are not directly regulated by states, officials from the
California Department of Corporations, the state’s top financial services
regulator, filed a desist-and-refrain order against a pension-advance firm in
2011 for failing to disclose critical information to investors.
That firm, Structured Investments, has since filed for bankruptcy, but a
department spokesman said it remained watchful of pension-advance products.
URBAN LEGEND UPDATE AS OF APRIL 27, 2013
The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox
• Does washing the lint filter in your clothes dryer
help enhance the performance and lifespan of that appliance?
• Did the accused Boston Marathon bombers collect welfare benefits while on
U.S. government watch lists?
• Image purportedly shows a fourth-grade science quiz
about "Dinosaurs: Genesis and the Gospel" from a South Carolina school.
• Did hockey commentator Don Cherry issue a sardonic comment on Iraqi
• Does the husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein chair a company that brokers
sales of USPS facilities?
• Photograph purportedly shows Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan
Tsarnaev in police custody with no injuries. (Graphic image warning)
• Did Sarah Palin call for an invasion of the Czech Republic in response to
the Boston Marathon bombings?
• Did the accused Boston Marathon bombers attend expensive private schools?
• Photograph purportedly shows a police officer
delivering milk to a Watertown family during a stay-in-place order.
• Did Juval Aviv correctly predict upcoming terrorist attacks against the UK
• About a ten-year search for a counterfeiter of one-dollar bills.
• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news
stories from around the world!
Worth a Second Look
• Does Bill Ripken's 1989 Fleer baseball card feature a hidden obscenity?
Still Haunting the Inbox
• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's
circulating in the on-line world.
• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes
commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.
SIDE & OTHER ODDS AND ENDS
Click on the Large or Full Screen button when you watch the first
• • • • •
wife, Gloria, who suffers from ALS, took to the air for the second year in a row
and followed last year's skydiving adventure with this one. The e-mail
containing the video link arrived late last night and included a message that
"Thanks to all for your support. Although Gloria's ALS has left her unable to
move or speak and care for herself, she has made her second skydive to get more
awareness for the disease and to raise funds for research Here is the video made
27 April 2013."
Contact Don Hale at
for more information about ALS.
• • • • •
Much ado has been made over
the failure of the $100,000+ Fisker Karma extended-range hybrid, but it wasn't
the first so-called "clean energy" car that went belly up — at the cost of $529
million in taxpayer dollars we might add. Do you not remember that the 2012
Pelosi GTxi SS/RT Sports Edition also laid an egg? Here's an ad from a couple of
years ago that promoted the car. (4 Mins.)
• • • • •
According to Leroy the
Webmaster, Evian has followed up last year's famous Roller Baby commercial with
this new one. Check out these cuties. (1 Min.)
• • • • •
Sorry, boys and girls, the
ease of qualifying at the Range for the 832 CCW endorsement by firing 15 rounds
at 15 feet may be over. If the rumor is true, you may have to take a partner
with you when you go to qualify. The first minute-and-a-half of this classic
1936 film of the Los Angeles S/O Pistol Team received from Glenn Bytheway shows
the new qualification requirements the City is considering.
• • • • •
I never cared much for
spiders. In fact, I get the heebie-jeebies when I see one crawling up my arm or
leg, even if it's a friendly Grand Daddy Long Legs. Having said that, I don't
have a problem with the big ugly creepy crawler on this website as it is easily
controlled by grabbing a leg and dragging it around with your mouse. You can
even feed it with a double-click of your mouse which will drop a bug on the
floor. You can then watch the critter go after the tasty morsel. Whoever created
this website is both a genius and more than a little weird.
• • • • •
The last time we presented
this clip about anvil shooting was in the Feb. 10, 2011 Farsider. Bruce Morton
said it was so much fun when he tried it that it was time for us to show it
again, so let's git 'er done. (3 Mins.)
• • • • •
Chinese going a little too far with their Visa commercials? Alice Murphy
reports, you decide. (3 Mins.)
• • • • •
Donating to charities like
the Red Cross or the Wounded Warriors Program are all fine and good, but there
is a segment of our population that also needs your help. Have a box of Kleenex
handy if you choose to watch this short ad. (2 Mins.)
• • • • •
So what happens when you
try to wring out a water-soaked washcloth aboard the International Space
Station? First, you have to open a hockey puck to get to the washcloth, then
soak it with water before you wring it out. (3 Mins.)
• • • • •
Speaking of science, here's
a short and simple primer (pronounced 'primmer') on how the Internet works that
even a caveman and the Farsider Editor and Webmaster could understand.
• • • • •
And that brings us to
this piece of startling news: if you don't believe Global Warming is real, Bruce
Fair says you should read this AP article that appeared in the Washington
Arctic Ocean Getting Warm;
Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt
The Arctic Ocean is warming
up. Icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the
water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from
Consulafft, at Bergen, Norway.
Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change
in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone.
Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north
as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf
stream still very warm.
Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the
report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely
disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic,
while vast shoals of herring and smelts. which have never before ventured so far
north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.
Oops. Bruce neglected to
mention that this AP article was from the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of the Washington
Post (90 years ago) and confirmed by Snopes...
• • • • •
Pic of the Week
Noel Lanctot claims this photo proves Lou Costello was right
|This is the message box, using the