05 October 2015

Chicago Police pension board election - 2015

Have you heard that our pension fund is in dire straits? Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few years, or have the IQ of a salamander, then you know that the new "crisis" being promoted by Rahm Emmanuel is just another opportunity to burden you and your family with more taxes.

 photo 18736507-30fd-4ef1-82b5-94e90abdcdda_zpsywxm7kpw.jpg

That discussion is for another day - let's talk Pension Board.

Whether our taxes are raised or not, we have an election for Pension Board Trustee coming up. Members will receive ballots in the mail sometime between October 9th to the 12th. The ballots will be counted on October 22nd .

The 3 guys running are Mike Lappe, Michael J. Koszola, and Wilson Fantauzzi. In the interest of full disclosure, I'm a big fan of Mike Lappe. He's done a great job representing our interests on the board.

Your Pension At A Glance

Right now we have $2.8 billion in the Fund, with a current funding level of 27%. Outlays over the next 2 years will be $920 million. These outlays are two parts: 1) Retiree benefits, and 2) Duty Disability payments.

The Fund pays its expenses and stays solvent by investing its assets. Currently the rate of return on its diversified investments are 8 - 12%. Each active member pays 9% into the pension. The Fund receives monthly checks from 12,002 active members, but pays out 13,200. [approx. 9,400 retirees, 3,600 widows, and the rest in disability payouts].

Three years ago Mike was elected to the board.

Before Mike was elected there were 284 police officers in Duty Disability status. Today there are 233.

Under Mike's tenure, the board has saved $9 million dollars.

How? By catching coppers who are scamming the system.

Under Mike's leadership and oversight, 19 officers who were on Duty Disability either went back to work, or retired. Of course they were shown video of themselves working their painting jobs, lifting heavy bags of concrete in their backyards, or water skiing. The Duty Disability system is full of cracks. It was developed to help officers who were injured in the line of duty but like anything else, it gets abused. Especially amongst our ranks are coppers who present with vague and "non specific" symptoms like dizziness, headaches, back aches or general pain. These symptoms are the part and parcel of the Professional Malingerer.

Mike worked hard to get to the nitty gritty in the financials and realized that cutting expenses equated to increasing Fund revenues. With that in mind, he went after the officers who failed to show up for their Independent Medical Examinations (IME). Each IME costs the Fund $1,500. Mike has forced "no show" members to pay that fee out of their own pockets - even making one female officer pay $3,000 for failing to show up at two of her appointments.

Sidebar: Illinois Policy Institute does a phenomenal job tracking the financial Tsunami that is Illinois. They have a very good plan that fixes the pension funds for Police and Fire without raising property taxes. It's here if you're interested.

Answering the Critics

I shook my head when I read the comments at this post over at SCC's blog. The things that my fellow officers choose to focus their energies on bewilder me.

Here's my take on a few:

Charge: "Lappe's not doing anything that IAD wasn't doing 10 years ago."

Fact : IAD only videotapes cases where an officer is being investigated within the parameters of the "Confidential Section" of IAD. The Medical Integrity Unit is supposed to catch coppers scamming the system or violating the medical rolls. The problem with that is there are only 4 or 5 employees at the MIU doing the investigations. Mike's been hiring private investigators at $1,000 per case to catch officers abusing the system - and guess what: It's working!

Charge: "Lappe is close to 63 and if he gets elected he has to step down. Why waste our time?"

Fact : Mike does turn 63 in a year but the Board is considering extending the age up. If that doesn't happen, Mike has a capable replacement to fill his vacant chair.

Charge: "Lappe didn't attend any Board meetings before he was elected 3 years ago so it doesn't matter if Koszola or Fantauzzi didn't either."

Fact : Mike attended meetings on his own time starting 5 years ago and decided back then that someone needed to step up and get involved in our pension fight.

It Matters

Mike's taken the Board in a new direction - a direction that not only looks to protect the active members, but also the retirees. He's going to hold Rahm's feet to the fire if the City balks at funding the pension. A group of attorneys are working with Mike to sue the City if there is a default. You don't have to have a CPA or a finance degree to be an effective board member; Mike's proof of that.

Please consider Mike Lappe for Trustee when you get your ballot this week, and make sure you send it in as soon as possible. Your vote matters.

Don't Be a Slappy, Vote for Lappe!

21 September 2015

Adam Carolla and "Chickenshit" cops

Let me start by saying I love Adam Carolla. Witty, smart, original and funny as hell are what keep me listening to his podcasts and buying his books (Not Taco Bell Material, In 50 Years We'll All Be Chicks, Daddy Stop Talking!)

My Bro-Mance with Adam started long ago when he was co-hosting LoveLine with Dr. Drew Pinski. They've reunited for a semi-weekly podcast that is well worth your time.

The thing I sincerely enjoy from Adam is his honesty, and an honest person can't be censored. From time to time throughout the years Adam's career he's been highly critical of police in California and has gone ballistic on 'chickenshit cops'; due to himself getting stopped and cited for minor traffic violations (specifically: no front plate, no seatbelt and speeding).

During the September 17th, 2015 Adam&Drew podcast, Adam went on a tirade in which he said,"After 9/11 we made the mistake of saying that they're all heroes. They [police officers] are not all heroes. ("Chickenshit" comments are 15:01 thru 20:45)

That's fine and I understand the impetus for the anger and resentment because, to be honest, we police officers should be more lenient with the law abiding citizens who actually work for a living, aren't out creating disorder and are contributing to society in a positive way.

What ignited his ire for this podcast is that he was in London, England and observed that it is a regular occurrence to see Londoners loitering outside drinking establishments with glass pints of beer in their hands and smoking cigarettes. He used the observation to roundly criticize the police for harassing law abiding people here who would like to walk around their neighborhood with open alcohol or hang outside with a beer while playing a game of bags.

 photo e667a193-068a-4f1f-9237-4c5109fcc1b0_zpskihbqcwc.jpg
"The picture of civility - white folks out enjoying a pint"

Here are my comments as a veteran police officer:

1) Lighten Up: If you pin on a badge, step out in to the street and place yourself in harm's way then by definition you are a hero. You are by default putting your life and safety on the line just by being out in uniform. We aren't perfect, and some of us are barely qualified to sort glass at a recycling center, but the majority of us do the best we can. Any traffic stop can turn deadly. Any noise disturbance can be an ambush. We are getting murdered just sitting at stop lights these days. Are we on the same level as combat soldiers? No, but our job isn't to "break things and kill the enemy" like your standard infantryman; on a moment's notice we have to be able to engage people in various roles. Sometimes we're the law enforcer, sometimes we're the priest, or the psychologist - or sometimes we're the clown.

We aren't engineers, or dentists or radio hosts - careers where you never have to fight someone, arrest a violent offender who is twice your size, or see your co-worker lying shot in the face on a dirty sidewalk. How about some perspective, people.

2) Quotas: You live in an affluent area (aka California) which means that your local police departments are imposing "quotas" on their officers and compelling them to write "chickenshit" tickets. Contact your local politician, the mayor's office and your congressman and demand that the quotas be lifted. When you give the police more flexibility, most cops will be more discriminating in who they cite. And by the way, if cops were more stringent in citing and arresting black people, the incarceration rates of black would be even higher than they are now. The fact is cops give blacks breaks much more than is reported.

3) Equality: The mainstreaming of Marxism means that "Equality of outcomes" is now the bar that must be attained. All laws, at all times, must be applied to everyone, even when there is no rational expectation for enforcing the laws in that area. A white woman pulling her 3 year old in a wagon on Halloween and sipping a chardonnay is equally as deserving a ticket as a black gangster disciple walking with a glass of Hennessy at 1 a.m. at 71st and Indiana.

"Urban area" policing is becoming the template more and more in low crime areas because departments don't want to be accused of treating minorities different than whites. Even though white people aren't out drinking Hennessy in the streets til 2 a.m., playing dice games and murdering each other over a $10 pot - under the rules of Political Correctness, our leadership will compel officers to cite ordinary law-abiding citizens for the same stuff we do in the ghettos. By the way, we enforce the drinking in public and public gaming ordinances in the ghettos because putting Jojo or BooBoo in jail for 8 hours may save someone's life. Those laws are designed to avert violence in public. Why are Brits allowed to stand out side their pubs and drink? The obvious point is that their actions are not contributing to public violence. But go to a football match in the UK and see if the cops enforce public drinking laws and they do because there's a difference between hooligans and civilized folks. One group can't handle their alcohol and the other can.

4) Projecting: The problem with being a public figure like Adam is that his life story is an open-book. He is a contrarian and an iconoclast, and why? Because maybe his dad wasn't a part of his life and, of course, he's got a lot of resentment. Unfortunately he assigns his anger and hurt to "The Police" because on some level they represent Daddy. How many of the "BlackLivesMatter" people are in the same boat; blaming cops because they just hate their dads? Seeing the illegitimacy statistics for blacks makes my point for me.

In conclusion, it's easy to pick on the police because we are the "face" of the Big State, and nobody likes to get cited, stopped, intruded upon or harassed. We police officers are not mind-readers and don't have the ability to foresee who's going to commit a crime. So lighten up! If you get stopped for a legit reason; shut the fuck up, take your ticket and thank the officer.

Realize that if you believe you're living in a police state - it is due to Leftist politicians; not because cops are "assholes on a power trip."