Chapter 9 struggle: Unions are buying power

August 15, 2011

“The unions are buying power”

This is a great video of Stephanie Gomes discussing her experience as a member of the City Council in Vallejo, California, as they struggled through a municipal insolvency and bankruptcy. She talks about the power of the police and firefighter unions and their stranglehold on local politics. Gomes comes across as passionate citizen who was willing to confront some of the deep-seated problems in her community. She highlights the importance of local and national media attention on the “dirty laundry” of municipal finances like high salaries and generous pensions for union workers. Her experience is an important lesson for anyone interested in muniland.

Video via Vallejo Independent Bulletin and

Jefferson County nearly files bankruptcy but instead ditches negotiator

The Birmingham News ran this above video of Jefferson County Commission President David Carrington discussing the commission’s meeting on Friday when they voted to delay filing Chapter 9 bankruptcy, cut out their court appointed receiver and deal directly with bond creditors. From what President Carrington says, it sounds like they almost filed bankruptcy at the meeting::

I thought we were going Chapter 9. I think I could take a test on Chapter 9 I know it so well.

I’ll write more about this meeting because I think it marks a high mark of municipal governance, as well as poor reporting by a major U.S. news outlet.


Reuters: Alabama county gives more time for debt deal talks

New York Times: A County in Alabama Puts Off Bankruptcy

Bloomberg: Jefferson County Extends Bondholder Talks After Rejecting Offer

@Twitter Talk

@taxjustice: S&P Report Cites Extension of Bush Tax Cuts as one of the Top Reasons for Downgrade

@MillerTabak: billion dollar deals in the tax-free bond market are very rare these days..expect to see some sizeable institutional demand show up

@sserve: New Jersey’s Biggest Taxes Track Projections for July, Treasurer Reports – Bloomberg

@GreeneBarrett: How states are handling their unemployment fund debts #Stateline

@GreeneBarrett: Strangely compelling short video of #NYC streets as viewed from underneath a skateboard

Follow me at @cate_long and muni issues at #muniland

+ Good Links +

Reynolds Center: Is government aid up in your area? Check BEA data to find out

CNN: Heat pops pipes nationwide; brace for higher bills

Bloomberg: $16.9 billion pulled from mutual funds in a week

AP: Wall Street’s ride compounds states’ pension fears

Bond Buyer: Morgan Stanley To Settle

Wall Street Journal: Suit Alleges Favoritism by BNY Mellon

New York Times: The Texas Unmiracle

Bloomberg: Kasich Exploring Ohio Turnpike Lease as Neighbors Question Price

Reuters:Signs point to California facing new budget gap

Miami Herald:

Most industries saw payroll growth last year, but construction and real estate lag


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