The First Annual OC Weekly Pension-Crisis Essay Contest!

Heard about the Orange County pension crisis? The one that County Treasurer John Moorlach says could make the 1994 bankruptcy seem like a penny lost in the couch? The one that the grand jury found in June has fund liabilities $1 billion higher than expected, and that pensioners get to cash in retroactively . . . yawn.

See, that's the problem. Citizens should care about this issue—taxpayers will have to pony up about $114 million extra a year just to make up for the pension shortfall or face massive cuts in services. But no one is paying attention outside of The Orange County Registereditorial board and the wonks at OC Blog.

Sad reality: the Orange County pension-problem story is boring. There's nothing that sexes up the plot—no strippers, kickbacks and resignations like what's going on in San Diego; no conflicts of interest or document forging à la the case against former Huntington Beach Mayor Pam Houchen; no sexy cameo by the Haidls or Jaramillos of the world that could make an otherwise boring financial scandal gripping. Instead, our protagonists are the Orange County Board of Supervisors, who increased the pensions of county workers last year despite warnings by Moorlach. . . yawn.

So here's the deal: if you can craft an OC pension-crisis piece in 500 words or less that is not only informative but can also entertain Weeklymusic editor Chris Ziegler (who, when approached, predicted nothing could possibly make him care about pensions that aren't his), we'll publish your piece and give you $75. Entries must be submitted via e-mail to garellano@ocweekly.com by Aug. 18, must include a daytime phone number and can be written in any format. Just remember: make people give a damn about a looming debacle that increases pensions by 62 percent and will allow county workers to retire at age 55, with 81 percent of their final pay after 30 years . . . yawn.

 
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