On Veterans Day, my children made cards to cheer their grandfather, who is in a VA hospital. My first-grader drew the American flag, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. He named these symbols he learned about in school and explained why he thought grandpa would be cheered by these symbols due to their meaning. He included a thank you because his teachers taught him why Americans are grateful for veterans’ sacrifices. My fourth-grader recently participated in a patriotic celebration at school honoring parents who serve in the military and who are firefighters and police officers. This prompted a thoughtful discussion at home about why Americans feel proud of their country and honor those who serve.
Proposition 487, to be decided by Phoenix voters this November, has been clouded by a lot of confusion and misinformation. Unfortunately, one of the main perpetrators is Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who in an attempt to confuse voters, has once again attacked our city’s firefighters.
Allison Hurtado lists the website FOR Proposition 487 in her Oct. 22 article as if it were an unbiased website when in reality; the website she lists is a compilation of half-truths and right wing misinformation to persuade voters to vote for Prop 487. Since she listed the for website, she should also have listed the VOTE NO on Prop 487 website: www.NoOn487.com. If she were to inform readers to go to this website, they would find that “In 2013, Phoenix voters in a landslide passed smart, sustainable pension reform that will save City of Phoenix taxpayers more than $600 million over the next 23 years. Passing Prop 487 would wipe away most of those savings.” [Source: City of Phoenix Update, 6/10/2014]. In addition, “Pension spiking, which this measure (Prop 487) claims to address, already has been eliminated in contract negotiations earlier this year.”
Defined benefit plans were created to assure that after a career serving the public and risking their lives for others, firefighters had a secure and dependable retirement income. Public employees have frequently forfeited pay raises to improve and protect their retirement benefits. They earn less during their careers, but receive good pension benefits that are guaranteed. This protects employees and family members in their retirement years.
Some Phoenix leaders voiced opinions on an abused pension system that needs an investigation as to how it was bankrupted by those whom exploited the system. Those that corrupted and stole the funds need to be investigated and punished.
If you care about the trend in politics in Arizona, please take the time to read this opinion piece. Whether you agree with my political feelings or not, I hope you will use this guest commentary as an opportunity to think about the upcoming election and educate yourself on the issues and the candidates. If you have signed up for early voting, you will be receiving your early ballot in the mail soon. There are so many of us that vote in this way, it may very well be that this election is decided by mail-in ballots.
Reference is made in a letter to the editor (AFN) Oct. 8, “Prop 487 not right for Phoenix” by Chad A. White. Therein Chad makes the statement that this proposition would place an end to firefighters and police officers death and disability benefits. There is no truth to this claim as far as I have read. Either a misunderstanding or misrepresentation. Prop 487 clearly addresses reform only to the method in which pensions have and are structured and which continues placing the city in deficit shortfall.
On the night of Aug. 28, my life and the lives of my family changed forever. My brother, fourth-generation police officer Eric White, was killed in the line of duty. I saw firsthand how Phoenix rallied around our family, and I am forever grateful to everyone who showed kindness to my family.
On Oct. 4 the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will host an obstacle course-style athletic competition and stair climbing event in downtown Phoenix. Funds raised during the event will be put to work in laboratories, where researchers are working to find a cure for this genetic disease affecting the lives of more than 30,000 children and young adults in the United States.