Accuracy In Media: The Courier Stands By Its Pension/Fake Surplus Article
The Beverly Hills Courier received a copy of a door-to-door flyer entitled “Shame on Courier” which claims The Courier published information that was not “honest.” The flyer cited a recent letter by City Treasurer Eliot Finkel. The flyer failed to point out that the letter by Finkel reads, in part, “The $23 million jump in ‘unfunded pension obligations’ from 2009 through 2012 is also accurate . . . .” thus confirming The Courier’s report.
The Courier relied on Treasurer Finkel’s “Beverly Hills Pension Task Force” report dated August 2, 2011 as the source for its article, as well as information directly from City Hall. A copy of that report is also available on the City’s official website, www.beverlyhills.org. We invite our readers to examine the report itself and decide for yourselves whether we reported the facts accurately
A comparison of The Courier’s article and Finkel’s report shows that – as admitted by Finkel – our report is accurate.
That report, and Beverly Hills City financial statements show that the unfunded debt of the City of Beverly Hills grew from a surplus of $56 million in 1999 to a deficit of $83 million in 2009. City Hall sources informed The Courier that the current deficit is approximately $106 million. The difference between 2009 and today is $23 million – confirmed by Finkel himself.
We also note that Vice Mayor John Mirisch and councilmember Lili Bosse voted against the current City budget because of “excessive City spending” as proposed by the City’s staff, including a massive new multi-million dollar unnecessary public works building. Nonetheless, once the budget was adopted, Mirisch moved to allocate portions of the “surplus” to Beverly Hills Unified School District schools. Otherwise, the money would have been allocated by the staff to other projects. To The Courier, Mirisch made the best of a bad situation.
The Courier wishes to commend City Treasurer Finkel and his committee on an excellent report. We encourage all Beverly Hills residents to read the report itself – it is brief, direct and compelling.
Other members of his task force were: former City Treasurer Joan Seidel, David Schwarz of Irell & Manella and the California Little Hoover Commission, Eugene Krieger of Shamrock Holdings, Inc., and Abner Goldstone of Capital Research & Management, Inc.
The Beverly Hills Courier stands by its reporting of the current pension deficits, future deficits, and its questioning of the alleged City “surplus” for the current year.
Please click the title page shown below to download the entire PDF of the Finkel Pension Report