As I stated last week, the pension issue is gaining traction.
One major reason is that the mainstream media has taken notice. The media has had help. The website, Pension Tsunami, gathers articles and facts about public pension news from around the country. Collected and assembled by Jack Dean, one time Libertarian candidate for U. S. Senate in California and president of the Fullerton Association of Concerned Taxpayers, the articles are distributed to more than 1,400 subscribers nationally, with the heaviest concentration in California.
While others have raised concerns about the pension issue, such as the Calpensions web site, I mentioned last week and talk radio hosts, Dean has been feeding material to radio hosts and news reporters and bloggers for five years.
He’s had a major impact.
“I always believed that the first step toward getting the word out to the public was by creating media awareness of the magnitude of this issue,” Dean said. “The best way to accomplish this was to show reporters that they were not alone in dealing with this complicated issue.”
Dean’s ongoing campaign has been a combination of creating awareness and education for reporters, editors, columnists and bloggers. But even more important has been the synergy that has developed as a result of providing media folks with instant access to other reporters’ coverage as well as providing them with easy access to research and studies by think tanks.
“I’ve gone even further, however, and become a personal resource for journalists in what a growing number have recognized is a serious threat to their state and local governments’ budgets. Personal communication with news reporters, columnists and editorial writers around the country has become a major part of what I do on a daily basis via both e-mail and phone. It has paid off, especially in California, and, I believe, has helped to generate the extensive and intensive coverage we are now seeing of the public pension issue.”
Because of his work on Pension Tsunami and Pension Watch, Dean hooked up with Keith Richman, Dan Pellissier and Marcia Fritz, of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility. Ultimately, Dean joined the Board of CFFR.
“The country’s economic meltdown last fall, followed this spring by the state’s budget crisis and the release online of CFFR’s $100,000 Pension Club databases helped to further expose the magnitude of this issue, how widespread the problem is, and that it’s growing,” Dean said.
Media awareness of the pension issue did not happen overnight. Dean is proud to be a leading voice in informing taxpayers of the troubling circumstances surrounding public pensions.
Joel Fox is the editor of the Fox & Hounds Daily Web site.