Supe Confronts Unions, Runaway Health Spending With … MATH!

In San Francisco politics, brazenly picking a fight with powerful labor unions is the equivalent of wandering into Yom Kippur services while wearing an outfit entirely made of bacon — with shellfish for the buttons.

And yet, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd has done just that. At today's final board meeting of the year, Elsbernd will introduce a charter amendment aimed at curbing the city's runaway health care and retirement spending — and also aimed squarely at the influential service and public safety unions.

You can't do that without some sort of mathematical analysis — and now Elsbernd has one in his back pocket. The city's Department of Human Resources has put together a series of tables measuring the city's health care and retirement costs of a decade ago, today, and projected expenses five years down the road. And it's bad enough that one 10-year cost hike is actually described as “infinite.” Yes, a staid government report actually used “infinite” to describe the growth of public expenditures. This is a riveting read.

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