12-11-2019  3:49 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

San Francisco Aims to Rein in Tests of Tech Ideas on Streets

Entrepreneurs would not be allowed to test their products in San Francisco's public space unless the tech in question is declared a "net public good."

Portland-area Residents May Vote on Funding for Homeless

There may be a measure on the November 2020 ballot to fund likely hundreds of millions of dollars for increased social services

Black Food Professionals See Opportunities to “Scale Up” in School Cafeterias and on Store Shelves

Two Portland women are addressing disparities in the local food scene with Ethiopian and Haitian flavors, ingredients

Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone Climbing Historic Ladders

In 1995, Boone was the first African American woman hired by Portland Fire & Rescue; this year she became its first African American Chief

NEWS BRIEFS

EPA Approves Funding for Oregon and Washington to Improve Drinking Water, Wastewater Infrastructure

States estimate $190 million for wastewater, $35 million for drinking water projects in Oregon, and $120 million for...

Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

The Oregon Zoo's breeding success provides new hope in an effort to save Oregon silverspots ...

Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

This free Oregon Historical Society event will be held this Sunday, December 8 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. ...

Need for Blood Doesn’t Stop for Holidays – Donors Needed

Those who come to give through Dec. 18 will receive a Amazon.com Gift Card ...

North Carolina Court Decision Upholds Removal of Confederate Monument

Lawyers argued that the monument was installed at the end of Reconstruction to further the false “Lost Cause” narrative,...

Tacoma liquefied natural gas site gains permit approval

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Puget Sound Energy's liquefied natural gas facility at the Port of Tacoma in Washington state has cleared a final construction hurdle.The News Tribune reports the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency on Tuesday announced that it had completed its review of the facility’s...

Former GOP gubernatorial candidate Buehler runs for Congress

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Republican Knute Buehler, who unsuccessfully ran for Oregon governor in 2018, announced his candidacy Tuesday for a congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Greg Walden. In a video, Buehler criticized what he called Portland liberals and elites in Washington D.C. He said...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

Ray Curry gives thanks for a human right that shaped our country throughout the 20th century and that made Thanksgiving possible for so many Americans who, like him, didn’t get here by way of the Mayflower ...

Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

Members said they witnessed first-hand the deplorable treatment and plight of Black immigrants ...

Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Congress finalizes bill restoring black college funding

After months of negotiation, Congress gave final approval Tuesday for a bill promising to restore more than 0 million a year to the nation's historically black colleges and universities, along with other institutions that teach large shares of minority students.The House voted 319-96 in favor of...

Trump to sign order targeting anti-Semitism at colleges

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Wednesday targeting antisemitism on college campuses, the White House said.The order, which is likely to draw criticism from free speech advocates, will broaden the federal government's definition of antisemitism and...

In South Carolina, Steyer investing in black voters

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — In the waning weeks before South Carolina's presidential primary, Democrat Tom Steyer is renewing his focus on the black voters who play a pivotal role in the first-in-the-South state, rolling out a proposal to improve historically black colleges and institutions.The...

ENTERTAINMENT

NFL, NCAA football fuel Fox TV's win of the prime-time week

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fueled by both college and pro football, Fox won a rare title as champ of the broadcast week among networks. Fox's Thursday night NFL airing of the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears was the week's top show of any kind with 18.23 million viewers, and its broadcast of the Big...

The Associated Press picks the top moments on TV from 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Many have noticed how fragmented our TV viewing is, with multiple competing streaming services and dozens of channels pulling us in different directions. But the year also saw some jaw-dropping moments that found huge audiences, whether it was a royal interview or a viral...

Adam Sandler on plunging into the Safdies' 'Uncut Gems'

TORONTO (AP) — Adam Sandler was waiting to be thrown into a midtown fountain on Sixth Avenue for a scene in Josh and Benny Safdie’s “Uncut Gems” when he noticed a familiar face on the sidewalk.The Safdies like to capture as much authentic New York energy as possible in...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP source: Yanks land ace Cole on record 4M, 9-year deal

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The New York Yankees landed the biggest prize of the free agent market, adding Gerrit Cole...

California considers calling THC in pot a risk to moms-to-be

LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than three years after California voters broadly legalized marijuana, a state panel...

Saudi Aramco starts trading, gaining 10% and reaching jumi.8T

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia's oil company Aramco began trading for the first time on...

Volcanoes an ever-present, if usually distant danger

The deadly eruption of a volcano in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty on Monday left six people confirmed dead...

Swiss Greens fail to enter government despite election gains

GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland's Green party failed Wednesday in a bid to enter the country's government even...

The Hague court questions Kosovo's outgoing speaker

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo's outgoing parliament speaker says he was questioned at a Netherlands-based...

McMenamins
Melanie Hicken CNN Money

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Bankruptcy or not, Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, says the city simply can't afford the pensions it has promised tens of thousands of retired and current city workers, many of whom are counting on the checks to make ends meet.

So how much money do Detroit's retirees actually get?

On average Detroit's firefighters, police officers and other city employees receive pension checks that are similar or slightly smaller in size than the national average of $30,000 a year, according to pension experts. But compared with larger cities that have higher living costs, like Chicago and Los Angeles, Detroit's pensions checks often pale in comparison.

"My basic takeaway was that [Detroit's] pension system itself was not overly generous," said Jean-Pierre Aubry, assistant director of State and Local Research at Boston College's Center for Retirement Research.

While workers who reach the city's top posts, like police or fire chief for example, can retire with annual pensions that reach into the six-figures, the vast majority receive much smaller payments, Aubry said.

Retired general city workers, such as librarians or sanitation workers, received average payments of $18,275 a year in 2011, according to the Detroit General Retirement System. But those who put in the most time (or earn higher salaries) can see far healthier payments. A general city employee who retired in 2011 with an average ending salary of $60,000 and 40 years of service could receive around $45,000 a year.

Such benefits are more or less on par with the Detroit-area union auto workers. Retirees of the three big automakers receive average annual benefits of about $18,000 per year, in addition to another roughly $15,000 to $18,000 in Social Security payments, according to the United Automobile Workers, or UAW.

That's a big distinction: While retired Detroit firefighters and police officers receive more generous pension checks than auto workers -- checks averaged almost $30,000 a year in 2011 -- they often don't receive the added bonus of Social Security payments.

A 30-year veteran of the fire department who retired last year with an average ending salary of $60,000 would have qualified to receive around $44,000 a year, according to calculations using the plan's pension formula.

Police officers and firefighters in big cities often take home much more lavish pension checks. For example, with average annual benefits of $55,104, retirees of Chicago's police force took in nearly double Detroit's retirees. Meanwhile, retired Chicago firefighters had average annual payments of more than $60,000.

Chicago has its own budget woes, however. Last week, rating agency Moody's downgraded the city's credit rating, citing the city's ballooning pension obligations.

Even retired police and firefighters in Kansas City, Mo. -- a city with roughly two-thirds the population of Detroit and a similarly affordable cost of living -- take in more, with average annual payments of almost $42,500.

Still, it isn't all bad news for city workers. Since Detroit's firefighters and police offers are able to retire a decade (or more) before they reach the typical retirement age of 65, retirees can receive their benefits for decades. In addition, many retired officers have time to pursue other careers and accumulate additional savings.

In addition to a lifetime of payouts, city workers also receive retiree healthcare, a benefit that is rarely offered by private sector employers.

They can also extend their pension benefits to a spouse after they die by opting for smaller monthly pension checks, said Don Taylor, president of the Retired Detroit Police and Firefighters Association. The amount the payments are reduced by depends on the spouse's age.

Taylor himself receives about $2,500 a month from his 26 years in the Detroit Police Department, about a few hundred less than he would receive if he hadn't opted to include his wife in the plan. Taylor, 64, will also receive a small Social Security check from his 10 years as a travel agent. But other than that, he has no other retirement savings.

Regardless of whether Orr's proposed cuts go through, pension checks for younger employees will be less generous, said Leon LaBrecque, founder of a Michigan-based wealth management firm, who has worked with hundreds of Detroit city retirees.

Current workers have already agreed to pension cuts. For example, in 2011, Detroit police and firefighters agreed to a roughly 15% cut for pension benefits accrued from future years of service.

"There's this myth that everyone in Detroit is getting a fat pension," LaBrecque said. "But that's clearly not true."

 

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