The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

January 30, 2009
Blog back: Public vs. private, Nazi propaganda vs. our blog, Obama vs. Dahmer

Blog backs review your thoughtful and provocative online comments, amplify points, answer questions, correct our mistakes and humbly accept your warranted criticism.

It was comparison week on The State Worker:

Jan. 22 The State Worker: Furlough order's uncertainties cause anxiety

Ok, Someone help me out here, I just don't get this logic. Everyone is taking aim at state workers and trying to blow their heads off because of the jobs they have. So, why aren't you shooting at Intel employees? They have a great stock option plan, excellent insurance and retirement. Or why not any of the other large corporations, say, the Big 4 in Detroit, their union gets outrageous wages for it's members.

There are plenty of differences between Intel and state government. Private enterprises must gauge customer needs, change with ever-shifting trends and, in most cases, deal with stiff competition. Publicly owned companies must satisfy their investors. If they fail to do any of those things, they risk failure and dissolution. Intel can disappear if it is mismanaged.

Not so with government, as recent events underscore.

Our culture tends to value risk takers and devalue those perceived as avoiding risk. This is, we believe, the essence of the hard feelings so many have toward state workers, particularly in tough economic times like these when the riskiness of private enterprise is laid bare.

Jan. 23 CHP swears in 178 new officers

Funny how you forgot to include the numbers of incidents or calls they have to respond to. Are there enough officers to handle those calls? This group may have been hired to cover shortages throughout the state. But we'll never know, because you only wanted to stir up the hate about new hires at the state.

Stirring up "hate" for state workers is not the agenda for this blog or its companion column. We aim to dispense useful and timely information, provide fair analysis, stimulate rigorous, thoughtful debate and build a social network among State Worker blog users.

One way to accomplish that last goal is to recognize significant accomplishments by state employees. We think that successfully completing the CHP Academy falls into that category.

Jan. 23 Pension reform crusader e-mails The State Worker

Sacramento Bee: Do you know what you are doing with this crusade of yours? You are de-humanizing State Employees. Seems to me that the Bee's actions are very similar to a German leader's actions about 80 years ago. Just change "State Employees" to "Jews"...

Comparing Nazi propaganda intended to foment ethnic hatred to a blog post highlighting public sentiment about state public employee pensions is extreme, to say the least. Our publication of the McCauley e-mail, or any e-mail or letter, should not be construed as supporting the author's position.

And speaking of over-the-top comparisons ...

Jan. 26 Has Obama taught public pension reformers how they can win too?

Comparing Keith Rich Man with President Obama is like comparing Jeffrey Dahmer with Mother Teresa. Other than sharing some DNA they don't have much in common. The internet worked for Obama because he had a positive message of moving towards a win win society. The median intelligence of internet users is above that of society as a whole. This worked in Obama's favor.

Richman and his negative message of doom is DOA with any intelligent group. CalPERS needs to be improved. I would certainly support an alternate 401k for those of us who don't benefit from CalPERS--average state workers who don't retire at age 55. Keith doesn't want any logical approach like that. He's the nasty kid in fourth grade who takes the lunch money and beats the victim up anyway.

We would appreciate exposure to any studies that indicate, "The median intelligence of internet users is above that of society as a whole."

Jan. 28 Union membership grew in 2008

Bee, if I understand what you are reporting correctly, CA's percentage of Unionized workers is up compared to last year, and is well above the national average. I think you missed the mark in the lead for the story. I would like to see how CA is ranked with other States, surely you can run/repeat some numbers for us from the BLS report? It would be appreciated!

A legitimate criticism. We would have focused more on California, but the demands of covering the furlough drama and writing our weekly State Worker column on Wednesday forced us to abbreviate our post. We included this link in the post, knowing that some users would want more info.

States with the highest percentage of workers who are members of a labor union or an employee association or workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union or an employee association contract: New York (26.6 percent), Hawaii (25.5), Alaska (24.7), Washington (21.5), Minnesota (19.6) and California (19.5).

Note: Watch for a special blog back soon regarding Thursday's furlough ruling.

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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