Monday, December 5, 2011

Herhold: Learning how to speak Pension

Updated: 12/05/2011 10:10:29 PM PST 

At its meeting Tuesday to discuss reforms to the city's retirement system, the San Jose City Council shows every sign of inflicting a numbing new language on voters: "Pension."

Like the obscure language Sentinelese, which is almost entirely unknown to linguistics experts, Pension can be lethal to learn. The residents of the North Sentinel Island drive away anyone trying to establish contact, even those accidentally wandering onto their turf.

Because this is an all-service column, let me introduce you to a basic lexicon. The key thing to remember about Pension is that any time you come across a term that sounds like English, it does not mean what you think it does.

COLAS: A classic example of Pension's pitfalls. Bet you thought we were talking Coca-Cola, Pepsi or RC, maybe even Red Bull or Zam Zam. Naturally, it couldn't be so easy. COLA stands for cost-of-living allowance. 
Forget any health advice. If you're an employee, a COLA is always good. If you're a taxpayer, not so much.

VESTED RIGHT: Sounds like good sartorial advice, doesn't it? Get yourself a sharp vest, maybe a leather number with pockets for every tool under the sun, and you'd be vested right. But no: In Pension, a vested right means anything promised to an employee since third grade, including your oxblood marble collection and that sweet 1973 Camaro in your garage.


Submitted by Todd Bray


Anonymous said...

Big mouths wife work gets money to operate from the city of San Jose and the State of California

pot kettle black

Anonymous said...

If true, then unlike you, he'd be an expert. Or, are you an expert, too?