Pensions did not cause Detroit's downfall

Published: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 - 10:15 am

Re "Yes, California could suffer Detroit's fate" (Editorial Notebook, Jack Ohman, Dec. 7): Jack Ohman accurately describes the myriad ills facing Detroit and its citizens. The mass exodus of manufacturing fueled by flawed job-killing policies like NAFTA has decimated many Rust Belt cities. Detroit's woes were magnified by corrupt politicians who badly mismanaged the city's finances. Yet Ohman wraps up his piece by blaming Detroit's problems on police, firefighters and other public servants who stuck it out in a city in decline because they cared about their community. Pensions, whether in Detroit or California, aren't the problem. It's time to start taking a hard look at the real economic challenges cities face, instead of scapegoating firefighters and others who put their lives on the line to keep our families safe.

-- Steve Smith, Sacramento

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