…from TrumpYour Eyewitness is enjoying the consternation in some camps at Trump’s victory. In the US, he saw this demonstration – which the Stabber gave front page prominence – screaming “Trump – NOT MY PRESIDENT”!! So are they planning to migrate out of the US? Cause if they don’t, they’re stuck with Trump at least for the next four years and will have to deal with his initiatives and their consequences!But your Eyewitness has a question to those folks. What happened to “democracy” which American’s been teaching us benighted natives since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823? Didn’t the US fight two world wars – and who knows how many other skirmishes: Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq etc etc – to make the world safe for democracy? Don’t they want America to be democratic?Trump’s victory is a victory for democracy just as Jimmy Carter’s or Obama’s or any other US Presidents. But like with Britain and Brexit, there are some folks who insist that democracy isn’t to be placed at the services of who they define as “the great unwashed”. These are the elitists. But their problem is they want to have it both ways – to channel their elitism through the two political parties with their money but control those parties – and of course their position on the issues.If they were honest about expressing their views on the “yahoos” in the boons, they’d have a powerful defender in Plato…the Greek Philosopher who singlehandedly invented what is now “western philosophy”. Plato said rulers ought to be “philosopher kings” – the rabble would be too easily swayed by (what else?) “rabble rousers”! In America, the party system has done a very good job winnowing out outside “demagogues” as real contenders for the presidency.No outsider has ever managed to pull off what Trump did. The ones who tried – even Ross Perot who was also a billionaire – played by the rules of the game. Not Trump. With his brashness AND his money, he went DIRECTLY to the masses and articulated their fears. And this is what “direct democracy” is supposed to be, no?But the funny thing is, the founding fathers also were leery about this direct democracy…which is why they inserted this “electoral college” business. The popular vote actually DOESN’T elect the president but 548 pledged ELECTORAL votes. Trump received 279 of these but when they meet in December as the “Electoral College” they’re not LEGALLY bound by their pledges!!So some diehards think some Republican delegates will “turn” and vote for Clinton!! Ain’t gonna happen.Why would they throw away their control of both Houses AND the Presidency? That’s power, baby!!…from robbery of RoheeYour Eyewitness isn’t a conspiracy theorist but he’s trying to get his head around the robbery of former Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee. Who also just happens to be the General Secretary of the PPP. Of all the houses in all of Eccles, they pick on Rohee’s? Of course it could be pure serendipity, but your Eyewitness will not rule out enemy action!! He HAS been a tad critical of his successors, hasn’t he?But the ramifications of the robbery of Rohee goes further than his material loss and the trauma of his maids. This merely reinforces what has been going on all over Guyana at all levels of society. Pick a paper…any paper…on any day and you’ll see a robbery under arms being described in all its sordid and frightening detail.Guyana is in the throes of another crime wave…and like most waves, it’s building slowly as it moves towards the Christmas season.To crash with fury on a hapless populace.…from the waterWill GWI never come off the headlines? As soon as one scandal’s buried, up comes another. After blanket denials, one operative of the water company now announced that the untested “purifier” antinfek was not used at Bartica – only in Diamond.So that makes it OK?!
The Ministry of Labor has imposed fines on several institutions for employing non-Liberians without valid work permits and their failure to submit statistical reports to the Ministry in keeping with Regulation No. 17, Section 3(a) and Section 4(b) of the Labor Practices Laws of Liberia.Those fined include: Arcelor Mittal, China Union, Western Cluster and PIOM.Others are: Cavalla Rubber Corporation, Maryland Oil Palm Plantation, Nimba Rubber Inc., Morris American Farm, Firestone Liberia, Sime Darby, Lee Groups of Companies, APM Terminal, Fuzion Inc; LIB_24 Radio and TV, among others.The Labour ministry mandates all employing entities to adhere to the Labour Practices Laws of Liberia and cautions them that it will not relent in ensuring compliance.The fine is to ensure that Liberian employment interest at work places is prioritized. The Ministry further announced that it will continue to adopt and implement measures to enforce compliance with its mandate to ensure that Liberians are given the required employment preferences.In another development, the ministry has denied several applications for the issuance of alien work permits from employers seeking employment for non-Liberians for various positions in their institutions.The ministry wants the public and employing entities to be aware of a vigorous enforcement of its renewed commitment to grant preferential treatment to Liberians for certain positions at work places in line with the Labour Practices Laws of the country.It can be recalled that during several consultative meetings held in the last quarter of 2014 with stakeholders in the agricultural, forestry, telecommunications and mining sectors, as well as with the leaderships of the Indian and Lebanese Communities and other major stakeholders in the labor sector, these matters were flagged and the Ministry’s action is in keeping with previous commitments.Labour Minister Neto Zarzar Lighe, informed employers that his ministry will not be issuing work permits for non-Liberians seeking employment for positions such as Accountants, Human Resource Managers and Administrative Managers.The MoL, at the same time called on all employers to advertise vacancies for those positions in the local media and on their respective websites to allow qualified Liberians at home and abroad to compete for those positions. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The president of Journalists against Sexual, Gender Based Violence, Lawrence M. Fahnbulleh, has said that rape remains a threat to gender equality, women’s empowerment, peace and security of Liberia.At a workshop held yesterday at the Ministry of Gender in Monrovia, Mr. Fahnbulleh explained that gender based violence is not only widespread in Liberia but also in all societies.“Stigma and a continuing reliance on solving issues with communities have all contributed to low reporting, and the resultant inadequate provision of care for survivors, or action against perpetrators,” he said.Mr. Fahnbulleh further explained that the GBV does not only lead to physical and mental trauma, but it often carries long-term social consequences for survivors.“Around 15 percent rate of divorce occurs and 25.8 percent of wives are abandoned,” he said.According to him, the collective advocacy by the media and partners have contributed to the Government of Liberia and partners working to establish preventive and response system for rape and other gender based violent cases.“In 2014, 1,394 GBV cases were recorded of which 74 were rape with the number of reported cases lower than previous years of 2012 that reported 2,493 cases,” he said.The decrease in the reported cases in 2014 was largely due to the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease, he noted, adding that rape is unfortunately accepted as part of gender relations.“This perception was made worse during the civil crisis, as SGBV was used repeatedly as a weapon of war against many Liberian women and girls, with the terrible violence they experienced up to now with them.“Child rape is the most prevalent form in Liberia and sometimes results in death,” he disclosed.Mr. Fahnbulleh explained that it is worth noting that these numbers do not represent the actual picture as entrenched cultural norms and community and family pressures prevent many cases from being reported.Major challenges in the fight against GBV, he said includes compromise of cases, refusal by parents or guardians to report cases, traditional justice system, and limited number of trained magistrates.According to him, effective mechanism to control rape includes the establishment of Sexual and Gender Based Violence Crimes Unit, Women and Children Protection Section, Criminal Court “E”, Mobile In Camera Trial Screen and the Gender Based Violence Unit of MOGSCP.He recommended that there must be a national conference, the objective of which is to review concerns, identify the gaps and challenges and dialogue with the community and identify solutions.Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is violence against a person on the basis of gender. It constitutes a breach of the fundamental rights to life, liberty, security, and dignity (self respect), equality (fairness) between women and men, non-discrimination and physical and mental integrity. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
The Rev. Keith Pecklers, a Jesuit professor of liturgy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, said Martino was clearly responding to a social concern: an increase in traffic deaths in places including Italy and Spain because of speeding, as well as an increase in road rage, aggressive driving and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in places including the U.S. Pecklers dismissed any suggestion that Martino’s “Ten Commandments” were at all sacrilegious, saying it was “creative pedagogy” that would certainly get people’s attention. He stressed that the rules could never be considered binding in the way the official Ten Commandments are. But for some, the document was at least reason to poke fun at the Vatican. “Overtaking is a sin? Well, then I’m a murderer; I’ll turn myself in immediately,” quipped movie director Dino Risi, whose classic film “Il Sorpasso” – known in the U.S. as “The Easy Life” or “The Overtaking” – ends with a car crash. “I think the Vatican has lost its marbles,” he added, according to the ANSA news agency. There was no indication Pope Benedict XVI had approved of, or even read, the document. It was signed by Martino and his secretary – as is customary for lower-level documents that are routinely put out by the offices of the Vatican’s vast bureaucracy. Martino is known as something of a loose cannon at the Vatican, and occasionally his pronouncements have gotten him into trouble. Motorists shalt not … The Vatican’s commandments for drivers: 1. You shall not kill. 2. The road shall be for you a means of communion between people and not of mortal harm. 3. Courtesy, uprightness and prudence will help you deal with unforeseen events. 4. Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents. 5. Cars shall not be for you an expression of power and domination, and an occasion of sin. 6. Charitably convince the young and not so young not to drive when they are not in a fitting condition to do so. 7. Support the families of accident victims. 8. Bring guilty motorists and their victims together, at the appropriate time, so that they can undergo the liberating experience of forgiveness. 9. On the road, protect the more vulnerable party. 10. Feel responsible toward others.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VATICAN CITY – The Vatican on Tuesday issued a “Ten Commandments” for motorists to keep them on the road to salvation, warning drivers against the sins of road rage, abuse of alcohol or even simple rudeness. The unusual document from the Vatican’s office for migrants and itinerant people also warned that automobiles can be “an occasion of sin” – particularly when used to make a dangerous passing maneuver or when used by prostitutes and their clients. And it suggested prayer might come in handy – performing the sign of the cross before starting off and saying the rosary along the way. The rosary is well-suited to recitation by all in the car, it said, since its “rhythm and gentle repetition does not distract the driver’s attention.” Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the office, told a news conference the Vatican felt it necessary to address the pastoral needs of motorists because driving has become such a big part of contemporary life. He cited World Health Organization estimates that 1.2 million people are killed and as many as 50 million are injured in road crashes each year. “That’s a sad reality, and at the same time, a great challenge for society and the church,” he said. He noted that the Bible was full of people on the move, including Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus – and that his office is tasked with dealing with all “itinerant” people on the roads: from refugees to prostitutes, from truck drivers to the homeless. The document, “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road,” extols the benefits of driving – family outings, getting the sick to the hospital, allowing people to get to work and seeing other cultures. But it laments a host of ills associated with automobiles: Drivers use their cars to show off; driving “provides an easy opportunity to dominate others” by speeding; and drivers can kill themselves and others if they drink, use drugs or fall asleep at the wheel.
“It wasn’t bad,” Napoli said. “It was something I felt and decided to shut it down.” Napoli’s recovery wasn’t expected to last more than two weeks after he originally hurt himself in late July. He is now headed into his sixth week of recovery. Napoli said this setback wasn’t nearly as bad as the one he had over two weeks ago while working out in Toronto. “Not even close,” he said. “I felt a pop in my hamstring (that time).” The Angels have been going with Jeff Mathis nearly exclusively since Napoli went on the DL. Ryan Budde has been Mathis’ little-used backup, although he did have a walk-off hit against the New York Yankees on the last homestand. By Doug Padilla STAFF WRITER Mike Napoli’s struggles continue as he tries to return from a strained right hamstring. While running the bases Friday afternoon, Napoli felt some “tightness” toward the bottom of the right hamstring. He immediately stopped the workout session to have his leg examined. “He’s been awesome,” Napoli said of his roommate Mathis, adding that he isn’t worried about his close friend stealing his job. “He’s swinging it, throwing people out, catching winners, working well with our pitchers. He’s holding it down.” Manager Mike Scioscia downplayed Napoli’s setback, calling it merely one of the “kinks” associated with getting back in shape. Roster moves Minor league pitcher Steven Shell cleared waivers and was removed from the 40-man roster Friday in order to give the Angels some wiggle room since big league rosters can be expanded today. For the final month of the season, teams can add players to the major league roster as long as they are on the 40-man. Scioscia said his first priority is to add pitchers that would be able to absorb some innings and help keep the regular staff fresh for a potential playoff run. Shell’s vacant 40-man spot likely will be filled by Jason Bulger, who is 5-2 with a 3.69 ERA in 49 relief appearances at triple-A Salt Lake. He is expected to join the team immediately. Bulger was on the 40-man last season, and even had a short major league stint, but was removed this season. Other pitchers who might be recalled are Marc Gwyn and Greg Jones, both of whom have spent time with the Angels this season. The Angels also are likely to move Chris Resop from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. That would allow room for one more pitcher. Resop recently had surgery on his right elbow to remove a bone spur. Rivera almost ready Juan Rivera will return to the Angels now that rosters are expanded, but he won’t be coming until Sunday. That schedule gives Rivera one more rehab game before coming back to the major leagues. Rivera, who was batting .235 with five doubles and 12 RBIs before playing Friday, broke his leg in winter ball and has been on the disabled list ever since. Rotation in flux Scioscia said a decision on who will start Monday against the Oakland Athletics still is up in the air. Ervin Santana has occupied that rotation spot for three starts, but he couldn’t get out of the first inning Tuesday at Seattle. Monday’s start is expected to go to either Dustin Moseley or Santana. Moseley said he not been told anything and was available to pitch in relief Friday. Colon looks good Reports on Bartolo Colon’s outing Thursday at Salt Lake were positive. Colon gave up three runs and six hits in five innings and picked up the victory. He was in the 80-pitch range and should get to at least 90 pitches when he pitches for Salt Lake on Wednesday. It will be a playoff game for Salt Lake. After his start next week, Colon is expected to rejoin the major league roster. He would then likely start a game on the Angels’ next road trip to Baltimore and Chicago. firstname.lastname@example.orgWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
20 8th: Chelsea would finish on 59 points based on current form – Guus Hiddink has turned the Blues into one of the most in-form sides in the league and had he been able to turn more of the draws into wins, they could have threatened the European places. 20 7th: Liverpool would finish on 61 points based on current form – Liverpool have two games in hand on current seventh-placed Southampton and according to the form guide they are on course to overhaul them. However it wont be enough for a European place. 19th: Newcastle would finish on 27 points based on current form – Only Villa are in worse form than Newcastle at the moment, and thats not saying much. Rafael Benitez is projected to fall ten points short of Premier League survival and thats a fact. 20 20 20 17th: Crystal Palace would finish on 37 points based on current form – Palace are lucky the three bottom clubs have been so poor, otherwise they’d be in deep trouble. After a strong start to the season, Alan Pardews men have now failed to win since December 19th. But even if their poor form continues, they may still comfortably avoid relegation. 16th: Watford would finish on 38 points based on current form – Watford have only taken one point from their last five games. Continue that kind of form and they will finish 16th. 5th: West Ham would finish on 66 points based on current form – West Hams brilliant form is forecast to win them a Europa League place but miss out on that final Champions League spot, despite being joint third in the current form table. 20 15th: Norwich would finish on 39 points based on current form – Back-to-back wins, including a relegation six-pointer against Newcastle, has improved Norwichs form so dramatically that they are on course to finish six points clear of the drop, if they can maintain the momentum. 20 12th: Swansea would finish on 49 points based on current form – Relegation was a very realistic prospect for Swansea a few months ago but ten points from their last five games looks to have preserved their Premier League status for another season. 20 20 20 20 18th: Sunderland would finish on 33 points based on current form – Sam Allardyces side have drawn four of their last five but failure to transform performances into victories will cost Sunderland and condemn them to the Championship next season with their neighbours. 6th: Manchester City would finish on 64 points based on current form – Pep Guardiola will hope Manuel Pellegrini can improve Citys form between now and the end of the season or he will be inheriting the sixth best team in the country. 20 10th: Southampton would finish on 55 points based on current form – The Saints form is indifferent at the moment and they are consequently projected to drop a few places down the table before May 15th. 20 20 4th: Arsenal would finish on 68 points based on current form – Gunners, look away now because youre back in fourth place again! Arsenal have only taken seven points from a possible 15 which, if continued, will see them slip down a place at the end of the season. 13th: Bournemouth would finish on 49 points based on current form – Eddie Howe has done a fantastic job at Bournemouth this season and three consecutive wins before the international break has all but guaranteed their safety. 11th: West Brom would finish on 51 points based on current form – Tony Pulis celebrated the clubs Premier League survival last weekend having reached the magical 40-point mark and a continuation of recent form would see the Baggies finish comfortably mid-table. 20 20 20 20 20 9th: Stoke City would finish on 57 points based on current form – After a poor start to the season, Stokes results have picked up having only lost one of their last five. 20th: Aston Villa – 16 points is the Villans’ projected final Premier League points total, if they continue the form they have shown in their last five matches (Click the arrow, right, to see the projected table based on current form and where your team would finish) – Despite not yet mathematically relegated, Villa have practically been condemned to the Championship for months. Having lost all of their last five games, Aston Villa are not projected to pick up another point between now and the final game of the season, if they continue their recent form (seven defeats on the bounce). 1st: Leicester City would finish on 84 points based on current form – The Foxes have won four of their last five games and are projected to drop only six more points between now and the end of the season. Can they really keep up that kind of pace when the heat is on? We shall see! 3rd: Manchester United would finish on 70 points based on current form – It may come as a surprise that, based on recent form, the Red Devils will not only finish third but actually come so close to stealing second place. Despite the pressure on Louis van Gaal, only Leicester have taken more points in their last five Premier League games. Leicester City are seven points clear at the top of the Premier League and Aston Villa are 15 points adrift of safety, but where does recent form dictate they will finish?With most sides only having six or seven games remaining, form will be crucial in deciding tightly contested battles such as the race for Champions League places, where the gap is currently only one point between fourth and fifth.Based on the recent form of the 20 sides over the last five games, a final Premier League table has been drawn up and there are a few surprises.Will the current form of Manchester City and Arsenal be enough for them to secure Champions League football? And if Tottenham continue with their present trend of results will they be able to overhaul Leicester?Click the arrow above, right, to see the projected final Premier League table based on the form of clubs over their last five games. 2nd: Tottenham would finish on 72 points based on current form – Mauricio Pochettinos side are projected to fall well short in their chase of Leicester City having only won two of their last five games. On form they will only win another ten points. This final total is the average points tally for fourth place over the past five seasons, but would be good enough for a runners up spot. 20 14th: Everton would finish on 44 points based on current form – The Toffees are only forecasted to win six more points this season after losing four of their last five matches. That wouldn’t be good enough for a club of Evertons stature and could leave Roberto Martinez hanging on to his job.
Furyk still feels like it’s the tail end of 2005. He played in South Africa, went halfway around the world to the Target World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, and three weeks later it was time to start the new year. He was third at last week’s Mercedes Championships and his game hasn’t changed much. “Maybe I’m not as fresh, but my game … I was able to keep that up easily,” he said. The 2007 schedule: The absence of the Booz Allen Classic in the Washington D.C. area was among the biggest changes in the 2007 PGA Tour schedule, two days after the tour announced a new six-year TV deal. Washington has been a fixture on the PGA Tour since 1968, when Arnold Palmer won the Kemper Open. Another PGA Tour event that has been demoted include Hartford, Conn., which has been around since 1952 and traditionally was played before the football season began. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said he was in discussions with six tournaments __ the Booz Allen, Hartford, Disney, Texas Open and Southern Farm Bureau Classic – about becoming part of the post-Tour Championship schedule. The 2007 Nissan Open is scheduled for Feb. 12-18 at Riviera Country Club. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Asked about an 11-shot swing over two days – she opened with a 79, her worst score on the PGA Tour – the high school junior replied, “I think I was possessed out there yesterday. I felt really comfortable today.” This isn’t the last of Wie playing in men’s events this year. Friday, it was confirmed that she will return to Japan in November and play in the Casio World Open, where she almost made the cut and received $1.5 million in appearance money. Wie is also expected to play twice more on the PGA Tour this year, although the events have not been determined. Campbell, coming off a winless year on tour, took the last two months off and showed up in Hawaii ready to go. “I didn’t do much, started practicing a little bit the last few weeks, but didn’t really play that much at all,” said Campbell, who joined Furyk at 6-under 134. “That made it really good to come out here and be refreshed and stay patient during my round.” With a 5-foot putt on the 18th hole for her seventh birdie of the round, the 16-year-old finished with a 2-under 68 to match her record from two years ago as the lowest score by a woman competing on a male tour. Even so, she was at 7 over and missed the cut by four shots. And at the end of two days, all she could do was say to playing partner Camilo Villegas, “Play well tomorrow.” Chad Campbell and Jim Furyk each shot 3-under 67 on Friday and were tied for the lead at the Sony Open in Honolulu going into a weekend that again will not include Michelle Wie. But as always, she kept it entertaining.
The students learned a practical lesson as well from last week’s protests. In Los Angeles, you can do just about anything – dress any way you like, act as crazy as you wish – as long as you don’t mess up traffic. It seemed the ire of local officials and the public toward the demonstrators escalated as the students took to the freeways to interrupt traffic. State Treasurer Phil Angelides has been on the campaign trail so long that he seems to be finding it difficult to separate when he is shilling for himself or a product. Angelides was appearing last week with talk radio’s Ron Owen in San Francisco when the host began reading a spot for a mattress ad. Playing along, Angelides extolled the virtues of a good mattress when the host mentioned the sponsor’s name. “Did I just participate in a product placement?” Angelides asked. Replied Owen: “What do you mean just? We’re doing it right now.” Staff Writer Harrison Sheppard contributed to this report. Rick Orlov, (213) email@example.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl event Such was the case last week for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was shouted and cursed at by student demonstrators at City Hall. After the mayor praised the students for their efforts on behalf of illegal immigrants, he then chastised them. The students, who wanted to hear “si, se puede” not “go back to class,” told an abashed Villaraigosa – in strong Spanish street slang – what they thought of his ideas. The following day, Villaraigosa took an even sterner approach, authorizing the Los Angeles Police Department to step up its action against truant students. The mayor’s difficulties with the students provoked both anguish and a bit of concealed joy among school officials. Anguish, because officials were hoping the mayor could appeal to the young people to return to class. But they couldn’t help but smirk a little as the mayor – who has made much of wanting to take over the school district – learned what every parent could have told him about the difficulty in getting through to a stubborn teen. When actor-comedian George Lopez got his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last week, people were still thinking about the immigrants-rights protests that drew 500,000 people to downtown Los Angeles the previous Saturday. Attending the Hollywood Boulevard event for Lopez, City Council President Eric Garcetti took note of the record-breaking gathering. “Thanks for having me here,” Garcetti told the actor. “And I particularly enjoyed the Lopez family reunion. I didn’t realize your family was so big and so well-behaved.” Every politician eventually learns this lesson, no matter how popular he is: Your friends and supporters will cause the biggest headaches.
1 James Forrest celebrates It’s the fourth of six meetings between the Old Firm this afternoon.Celtic and Rangers go head-to-head in the Scottish Premiership, kick off 12pm, and excitement is building ahead of kick off.Brendan Rodgers’ side sit 24 points clear at the top of the table – 33 ahead of their fierce rivals – but Rangers confirmed Pedro Caixinha as manager yesterday and the players will be looking to impress their new coach.The teams have now been confirmed, with winger James Forrest returning for Celtic.Take a look at the starting line-ups below…Celtic XI: Gordon, Lustig, Boyata, Sviatchenko, Tierney, Bitton, Brown, Armstrong, Forrest, Sinclair, DembeleSubs: Simunovic, Griffiths, Gamboa, De Vries, Roberts, McGregor, EboueRangers XI: Foderingham, Tavernier, Hodson, Hill, Wilson, Wallace, Holt, Hyndman, McKay, Miller, WaghornSubs: Alnwick, Windass, Dodoo, Forrester, Bates, O’Halloran, Senderos
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d see160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! For years, governments throughout California have lived in a blissful state of denial about the long-term costs of giving “free” health care for life to public employees. Politicians have happily agreed to lifelong health benefits at the bargaining table because it was an expense they wouldn’t have to pay today. But now our day of reckoning is close at hand. Over the course of the next year, new accounting rules will require governments to project their long-term health costs. Denial will no longer be an option, and an honest accounting of what’s been going on all these years is sure to shock us all. According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, between 35 percent and 45 percent of the state’s employees will retire in the next 10 years. When they do, their medical care will be all of our responsibility for decades to come. A California Healthcare Foundation study predicts that the obligation will cost state and local governments $31.5 billion per year by 2019 — up from $4.5 billion a year now. The future liability is estimated to be as high as $10 billion for the Los Angeles Unified School District and $9 billion for the Los Angeles County. So you would think these government organizations would be banking the funds now to meet these foreseeable future expenses, right? Wrong. Local and state officials have made little or no effort to save, assuming someone else would solve their problems for them. “This is such a large problem, and it’s not limited to the L.A. Unified School District,” says David Holmquist, the LAUSD’s director of risk management and insurance. “Universal health care or some assistance from the state or federal government is really the way to go.” That’s nice. Since it’s Christmastime, maybe we can wish for a pony, too. Universal health care may be a worthy long-term public policy, but local officials can’t assume it will magically appear and correct for their decades of fiscal irresponsibility. Realistically, there will be no easy way to cover the liability. Governments will need to meet the costs either by cutting services to the public, raising taxes or both. There’s little that can be done now to reduce the problem. Employees have been promised lifelong benefits, and there’s no way to legally or morally take them back. But government can keep the crisis from growing worse by requiring that future public-employee contracts include terms more like those found in the private sector. It’s time for the giveaways to end — and fiscal responsibility to start.