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Commentary: McCarthy mischaracterized my record

September 27, 2012|By Clay Epperson

Re. "Commentary: Reform police pay, pensions," June 21:

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a letter to the editor criticizing Councilman Steve Mensinger for falsely claiming that the public had no idea what was in the contracts negotiated with the employee-bargaining units.

I pointed out that all of the contracts were available on the Internet. Council candidate Colin McCarthy responded by attacking me and publishing my retirement income in the paper. It seems clear that Planning Commission Chairman McCarthy is hoping to quickly change the topic from the poor performance and lack of integrity of the current council majority (a group he hopes to join), to beat the drum on out-of-control unions and, especially, my "outrageous" pension.

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Because they are making me the poster child for pension excess, and because they feel no need to be truthful, I want to point out some facts.

His response is full of falsehoods and inaccuracies, but that is the hallmark of the current council and its bullies.

The first big lie is the implication that the city of Costa Mesa is paying me my retirement income and that of all the other retirees. This is not true. While I was on the Police Department, the city paid into the California Public Employees Retirement System, or CalPERS, retirement fund. When the economic downturn hit, the city gave those of us working for the city who were older than 50 an incentive to retire. This helped the city rapidly downsize the work force, and importantly, moved a large number of people off the city payroll and onto the CalPERS' payroll.

I started working for the city in 1978 as a police cadet. I was made a sworn officer in 1980. I worked a variety of assignments, including patrol, gang enforcement, special enforcement (career criminal team) and street narcotics, and I spent four years working major narcotics on the county's regional narcotics task force. Along the way, I earned a graduate degree and was promoted to sergeant and then lieutenant. The job was stressful, dangerous and relentlessly negative. I worked shift work, holidays, weekends, mandatory overtime and lost my days off to go to court. But I knew that was what I had signed up for.

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