San Diegans for City Hall Reform pushes more authority for mayor

Steve Francis: "I discovered it was nothing more than a fund to promote Jerry Sanders”

San Diego’s ruling class has no class — and worse, no shame. The well-heeled developers, hoteliers, and casinos that manipulate the mayor and his fellow puppets do so in broad daylight. The overlords collect slush funds, and if city council won’t do their bidding, they threaten to spend the loot on initiatives to achieve their self-enriching ends. It’s bullying by big money. “It’s very reflective of what’s wrong with San Diego,” says mayoral candidate Steve Francis.

Not surprisingly, the current tyranny threat is on behalf of Mayor Jerry Sanders. Local lawyer/power broker John Davies, whose law firm represents a slew of real estate developers, is cochairman of a grossly misnamed slush fund, San Diegans for City Hall Reform. Davies was also chairman of Sanders’s charter review committee, which was packed with lobbyists, lawyers, and assorted lackeys representing developers. That committee recommended that the voters give various autocratic powers to the mayor, such as the ability to appoint the auditor.

This committee also wants an arrangement whereby the council would need a three-fourths vote to override a mayoral veto. There are very few precedents for such an authoritarian threshold. “And they want it now,” says Norma Damashek, president of the League of Women Voters. “Their major push is for this veto override. And they want the mayor appointing the auditor. It is the mayor’s books that the auditor audits.”

Last month came what Damashek calls “the real low point” in recent city council history. Davies told the council that his group of insiders “had reached the end of their threshold of pain.” Davies’ group didn’t like council thwarting its totalitarian designs. He threatened that his San Diegans for City Hall Reform might have to go the initiative route to do an end run around council.

The group had done this before. It was formed in February of 2006. Its initial interest was in passing Propositions B and C in November of that year. It thought the council was moving too slowly. Proposition B was a good measure: voters would have to approve new benefits for city workers. It passed overwhelmingly. Proposition C was not noxious in theory: it mandated that private companies could compete with municipal departments for City work. This approach can work in a clean city, but it’s questionable that it will work in a corrupt and cronyistic city like San Diego. It, too, passed overwhelmingly.

To muscle B and C into enactment, San Diegans for City Hall Reform raised $1.2 million through December 31 of 2006. From whom? Silly boy. Here are some of the donors: the Lincoln Club of San Diego (the Republican money machine); the Associated Builders & Contractors of San Diego; San Diego Board of Realtors; Atlas Hotels; Barratt American; H.G. Fenton; Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, casino operators; San Diego Lodging Industry Association; Grubb & Ellis real estate; Murphy Development; M.W. Steele Group (architectural wheeler-dealers); ConAm Management; San Diego Restaurant & Beverage trade group; Pardee Homes; Collins Development; La Jolla Development; Doug Wilson Companies; John Burnham commercial real estate; Corky McMillin Cos.; Viejas Tribal Government (another casino operator); and to no one’s surprise, Sunroad Enterprises.

Among the law firms chipping in were Neil Dymott, Luce Forward, Milch & Wolfsheimer, and Higgs Fletcher. Among individuals plunking bucks into the pot were Roy Bell, Arthur Brody, Mel Katz, Nicole Clay, and Malin Burnham. The heavy hitter for 2006 was the Republican Party’s Lincoln Club, donating $94,000.

“When John Davies went before the city council with his recommendations of the Charter Review Committee, he was saying, ‘Here’s what we want. If you don’t pass these, we will do an initiative,’” says activist Mel Shapiro. “It’s basically saying, ‘We’re the Republican Party, we run the City, we will do exactly what we want because we have the money. The Republican Party [and the Lincoln Club] is basically a laundry for the developers and hotels. They call their goals ‘reforms.’ I call them ‘power grabs.’”

Once the election was over, the group declared it was now a “general purpose” committee and raised another $94,168.05 in 2007. Almost 20 percent of the money raised in 2006 and 2007 went to two groups that work for Sanders, fundraiser Freelove Consulting and campaign strategist Tom Shepard & Associates.

Francis is listed as a big donor to San Diegans for City Hall Reform, but that’s misleading, he says. “I gave money initially. I was a supporter of B and C. Then I discovered it was nothing more than a fund to promote Jerry Sanders,” he says. He gave $10,000 to the committee, then another $110,000 outside the committee. “I saw Freelove and Shepard taking 20 percent off the top. They are running the Sanders campaign.”

Nor does he approve of Davies making threats to give the mayor dictatorial power. “It’s outrageous,” says Francis. “Davies was head of the mayor’s committee that [was packed with] lobbyists. Then Davies hooks on with the committee that raises unlimited developer, hotelier, and casino money and uses that to push through the mayor’s program. Connect the dots. It is the height of arrogance.”

Francis has appeared before the council to denounce the proposal for a three-fourths veto override, noting, “A 75 percent mayoral veto override would hand to the mayor an executive power greater than [that enjoyed by] President Bush.”

At the end of last year, the San Diegans for City Hall Reform Committee had $36,826.42 in cash. On January 31 of this year, it said its new mission is promoting “accountability, checks and balances in city government.”

“That’s a joke — like saying war is peace and black is white. What they want is checks written to themselves and the balances in their checking account,” harrumphs Steve Erie, professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, who is writing a book, Paradise Plundered: The Crisis of Growth Politics in San Diego. “Their agenda is to gouge the public. This is the best little town that money can buy.”

In 1958, J. David Greenstone, then a young political scientist, studied San Diego’s political structure. His one-word description: “adolescence.” Back 50 years ago, Los Angeles was run by the Committee of 25, a group of power brokers working for their own financial aggrandizement rather than the good of the city. But Los Angeles changed and now has democratic representation and true checks and balances giving average people a voice in government. “But San Diego hasn’t changed,” says Erie. “This is the most gullible town I have ever known. I can’t believe that voters actually swallow this stuff.”

Explains Jim Mills, former president pro tem of the California State Senate, “The developers are in control of San Diego, and they know it. If they don’t get things the way they want them, they will take other means to achieve their ends.”

“It is naked,” says Francis. The developers, hoteliers, and casino operators “don’t care. Their arrogance is stunning.”

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Response to Brash Crash:

So I assume the answer to my previous question "Who is the Capo de Capo of the San Diego U-T establishment/mob?" is John Davies.

Never heard of him before, but you certainly aimed a searchlight at him.

Thanks for your most important expose Don.

Response to post #1: I'm not necessarily saying that Davies is the head of the developer/hotelier/casino band. But he is one of the most powerful people in San Diego, particularly in the selection of judges. The fact that he headed the charter review committee was proof that it was not set up for the benefit of the people, but rather for the benefit of the downtown crowd. The fact that he is now cochairman of the so-called San Diegans for City Hall Reform should tell citizens how the city is run -- by and for an elite circle. Best, Don Bauder

Excellent story, Don!

Now we have names for some of the players. How is current and past governmental practice making these folks rich, while causing the city's financial problems?

For instance, can we see a comparison of business taxes in SD as compared to other large cities?

What have been the give-aways to these folks?

“This is the most gullible town I have ever known. I can’t believe that voters actually swallow this stuff.” says Erie.......


Hey JF, you can forget about over taxing the citizens, that is not going to happen.

BTW, have you seen this??


Vallejo is going BK, and it is a carbon copy of San Diego, right down to the PD and FD pension scams.

Read the article, because the exact same thing is currently happening to not only San Diego and Vallejo, but also to the State-which is now a whopping 16 BILLION in the red...far more than the Gray Davis financial disasters.

San Diego, and hundreds of other cities and counties, are going to be forced to file BK because of the public pension scams.

Oh, and for the record-I was actually thinking Fancis might be the answer to the problems this City has, and he might be able to fix them-UNTIL he wrote a letter to the VoSD where he stated that he wanted to give RAISES to the PD.


A small raise, as we know, creates a HUGE debt on the back end in the pensions.

If Francis is going to talk about raises for PD without talking about fixing the pension scam, then a vote for him is 100% out of the question.

He's not the answer to our problems without a pension plan.

Response to post #3: I'll just give you some examples. McMillin Cos., one of the big donors to this group, got the contract to turn the Naval Training Center into Liberty Station. The city council granted this contract even though another builder, Lennar, had much more experience on such conversions. But McMillin was the biggest donor to council members. McMillin got the land for something like $75. The City permitted it to break its promises to create facilities and build infrastructure at Liberty Station. Another donor was Sunroad. (It is also a big donor to Mayor Sanders.) It thought there would be no trouble building a high-rise building too close to Montgomery Field. City Attorney Mike Aguirre got that stopped, but don't be surprised if the City reimburses Sunroad for the cost of taking down the top floors. Those are just a couple of examples. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #4: Steve Erie, professor of political science at UCSD, has San Diego figured out. As the story mentions, he is writing a book on this town's foibles. I read the article on Vallejo, which is on the brink of bankruptcy, greatly pension-related. The town is cutting pay and benefits of employees. This is what San Diego will have to do if it is to avoid bankruptcy. Thus far, the courts have been a barricade, but as more cities and counties look to bankruptcy, the courts will have to come around to reality. Public sector pay and pensions are far too high compared with the private sector, and far too high for the municipalities to afford to shell out the money for them. Sump'ns Gotta Give. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #5: If Francis is out, that leaves Sanders. With Sanders, you will be guaranteed none of the problems will be solved. Francis is wrong about the PD raise, but the alternative, Sanders, is a ridiculous thought. Best, Don Bauder


Response to post #5: If Francis is out, that leaves Sanders. With Sanders, you will be guaranteed none of the problems will be solved. Francis is wrong about the PD raise, but the alternative, Sanders, is a ridiculous thought. Best, Don Bauder

Man Don, you have me in a tight spot here..... I have already gone on record stating Sanders cannot get re elected.

I was going to go with Francis until he wrote the Police Pay letter....now I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place.......tight spot indeed.

Fumbler, help me out buddy, who you voting for?? (I will vote the opposite...lol).

Response to post #9: Fumber, you must listen to Rush Limbaugh. You use similar words, parables; you have a similar cadence; and, of course, you have similar biases. Do you have as much money as he has? Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #10: Only one of the candidates is even talking a good game. That is already clear. I, too, will be interested in Fumber's favorite. Best, Don Bauder

RE: Post 7; Don, you say in this post; "Public sector pay and pensions are far too high compared with the private sector, and far too high for the municipalities to afford to shell out the money for them." Before making such a statement lets define who "Public Sector Employees" and "Private Sector Employees" are. "Public Employees" include; Judges (Supreme, Federal, State, Appellate), Politicians (Congress, Senate, Federal, State, Local), College Professors, Military, Police, Fire, Government workers (City Hall, State Capital and Federal Office employees) to name a few. "Private Employees" include; retail, service (Hotel/Motel, food service), private companies (Only the Top Executives make real money), construction trades, doctors, nurses, self employed. Take into account the cuts to the American worker and the number of jobs shipped off shore and the rate of unemployment and the numbers are skewed. Per capita comparisons do not work here. Your top CEO of any Fortune 500 company makes more money than ANY "Public Sector Employee" will ever make. The fact they pay minimum wage to their employees should not be used to argue "Public Sector Employees" pay and benefits. This is the reason the City adopted the "Living Wage". Your argument is what is wrong with San Diego. They want it all and do not want to pay for it. We have the lowest TOT; pay for fewer services (trash collection to name one); and pay at a lower rate than every other City in the State for the services received. Vallejo's problems are not the same as San Diego's.

Response to post #13: As I have said before, San Diego needs data on pay and pensions on a comparable job basis. The anecdotal data suggest that job-per-job, City pay is higher than in the private sector. As I have said many times, if San Diego cannot afford to shell out the pay/benefits to employees, then the pay/benefits are too high. And it should be clear to all that San Diego cannot afford what's being paid. The City is on the brink. As to private sector CEOs, you are absolutely right: pay is obscene. I have been saying that for many years. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #15: I am dying to know, fumber, what you admit to having in common with Rush Limbaugh. And I can only assume from what you have said that you favor Jerry Sanders for mayor. Best, don Bauder

A pay increase for police and fire would be just fine as long as it would be handled correctly. I would support a substantial pay raise now and into the future it they would also agree to reduce the pension multiplier from 3 back to 2 and to increase the minimum retirement age.

I am all in favor of pushing the real costs of compensation for city employees back in time from the future to the present, and forcing the city to deal with the real costs now rather than pushing them to the future. That way we are forced to raise revenues or cut services/staff now and the problem should never get out of hand. Employee compensation should never be allowed to be pushed to the future, and bonds should never be allowed to subsidize future benefits.

One alternative that I don't hear mentioned is to scrap the pension fund completely and force city employees pay into social security like the rest of us. I have heard the threat of BK used repeatedly to threaten the unions to cooperate, but I have not heard anybody threaten the unions with losing their pension system.

The city has demonstrated that it is incapable of administering a pension system. At least with SS they would be forced to pay a fixed amount up front, and would be unable to play any shell games with future benefits.

Response to post #17: Your ideas are intriguing. Unfortunately, City employees have shown no desire to see decreases in any of their benefits. A reduction in the multiplier and an increase in the minimum retirement age would be positive steps. The idea of scrapping the pension fund and having employees go into Social Security has promise; realistically, it would have to apply to new hires. This would mean that SDCERS would go on for many years until the benefits were unwound. I think threatening the unions with that might pound some reality into them. I still think that the best step would be to get them all in a room, and tell them that the City was going to file bankruptcy in 2 hours. The unions would have to give up $X in pay and benefits and they had two hours to do it. Best, Don Bauder


A pay increase for police and fire would be just fine as long as it would be handled correctly. I would support a substantial pay raise now and into the future it they would also agree to reduce the pension multiplier from 3 back to 2 and to increase the minimum retirement age.

By sdblogger 10:35 a.m., Feb 21, 2008 > Report it

I agree with EVERYTHING in this posters post-but especially with what I copied above.

I could deal with this, and so would most SD residents I think-but it will never happen in a million years on a voluntary basis by the PD or FD-they are so far up on Easy Street that they would never agree to a compromise of this nature.

I 100% agree that the best soultion, and most fair to the residents, would be to put ALL new hires into Social Security.

I'm guessing that fumber has a taste for oxycontin...

Anyway, here's a good question -- it's been in the Local 145 contract for a few years now that the city must complete a outside evaluation of DROP to ensure that it is cost neutral. The city has yet to comply. Why wouldn't the mayor want to hire an outside auditor to firm up his position of removing DROP? Article 23H2 of the FY07 MOU for reference.

Vallejo does have serious problems. But Vallejo is not San Diego. Vallejo has no reserves of cash, nor apparently property. San Diego does. There are a lot of things San Diego could do to raise money without raising taxes. Just off the top of my head, eliminate the subsidy for farmers in the San Pasqual Valley. Charge market rates for farms, golf courses, etc. As Don has pointed out, SD has already given away the farm (pun intended) in Point Loma.

Back to Vallejo. It seems that a lot of their financial problems are being caused by overtime. Employees have lost confidence in the city and are leaving in droves. The city has to pay OT to cover shifts. Sound familiar? http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_8294421?source=rss

I really kind of hope that Sanders does eliminate the DROP on our next contract. It'll be fun to see the line at the retirement office on June 30. I'm guessing that 150 firefighters alone will be in that line. Twenty percent of the dept. It's going to get interesting.

The question still remains. Why is it that Los Angeles and San Francisco can pay their employees more (much more) than SD AND maintain the DROP? They're doing just fine... plain and simple San Diego is underfunded.

Putting SD employees into Social Security won't cure the city's problems. It will make them worse, as OT will go waaaay up since the city won't be able to find employees. Or service will suffer.

The 2006 SDCERS CAFR shows that the weighted total for city employees is 13.65% of payroll. Page 57. http://sdcers.org/images/pdf/2006_CAFR_financial_sec.pdf Social Security is 6.2% of salary. So we're talking about a 7% of salary savings to switch. That just isn't going to save the city.

A lot of the problem is that the city is now having to make up for missing payments in the past. That's accounting for more that the regular payment these days. It's hard to make up for capital you never put into your investments.


I disagree. My point with reducing (or eliminating) pensions is not intended to pay less in total compensation, but to force the city to openly and honestly pay the employees what they are supposed to pay at the time they are suppose to pay it.

Back loading pension benefits and then underfunding them is a ponzi scheme that will (and has) led to financial problems. Saying that LA makes X% and San Francisco makes Y% while San Diego only pays Z% is irrelevant to me. What I am interested in is every year saying we have a set payroll budget to divide among the employees. If you want to argue that firefighters are underpaid, then the city needs to reduce the amount of employees or increase revenue. Pretending that we can pay more with the same revenue by underfunding future benefits can NEVER be allowed, yet that is what has happened.

The unions (firefighters, too) colluded with the city to allow this to happen, thinking that the city and/or the courts would bail them out in the end by forcing the taxpayers to pay more than they had agreed to pay. You say that the city is at fault for not making payments. I say that the unions are equally at fault for making an agreement they knew the city could not pay for with the revenue they had. They knowingly and intentionally put the union members pension fund at risk. I don't think the unions should be bailed out by the taxpayers for taking that position.


Putting SD employees into Social Security won't cure the city's problems. It will make them worse, as OT will go waaaay up since the city won't be able to find employees.

Or service will suffer.

By JF 2:22 p.m., Feb 21, 2008 > Report it

Both positions are false.

Putting EVERYONE into SS would virtually cure all the pension funding problems overnight, the funding would be mandated at the same time as paying the employee, leaving NO room for underfunding to be made up at a later date.

Second, there are literally 1000 applicants for every single open FF position. Even if it dropped by a a factor of 99+%, we would still have 10 applicants for every FF position- still a factor of 10.

If McDonalds can run smoothly and competently with minimum wage HS workers, then I think we could get plenty of quality workers with a pay scale of $50K/$60K up to $250K per year with O/T (don't make me post "Harry's list" JF...LOL) with only a HS diploma.

BTW JF, did you see my link to the City of Vallejo???? If not I'll re-post it. Going BK next month over PD and FD pensions/pay.

First of all, there aren't a thousand applicants for every open job. We hired around 40 last year. There were 2000 applications -- after extending the application deadline. Many of those were disqualified just from their application. I think I heard that only about 150 passed the written test and a few more didn't pass the interview, background or medical. When all's said and done, we have about a 2:1 ratio. Not too good.

You might get folks who join for the money. As soon as they find out that they'll get more money and more retirement in City X they'll be gone. Is that what you want? Or do you want a stable life-long work force? I find it ironic that the citizens are furious about "stupid bureaucrats" causing loss of homes during the recent fires, yet don't want to pay for better folks.

Retirement funding is mandated now. Especially in light of the Corbett decision. It's vested and mandatory. The savings over SS just isn't enough to ask workers to stay longer. Don's about 67 (or a little older) ask him if he can carry a hundred pounds to the top story of a high rise. You simply cannot find many folks who can do that.

It's a little odd that you ask if I saw your link to the Vallejo story, given that I discussed it and provided another link above showing that part of the problem is increased OT due to employees leaving. Forget to take your ritalin? Or are your reading comprehension skill that low?

Response to post #19: I agree that the compromise that has been offered would be good. But City employees have not been willing to give up a thing. They are fighting every intelligent suggestion, and will do so even as the City files for bankruptcy. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #20: There have already been studies -- one by an outside actuary for SDCERS -- indicating that DROP is not revenue neutral. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #21: Yes, Vallejo is not San Diego, but its problems are similar and thus a sober message for San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #22: You assume that if the City adopted Social Security, there would be problems hiring. But would there? Remember, the other cities will be trimming back, too -- if not soon, eventually. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #23: No one seems to be discussing the sunshine tax or what's also called psychic income in San Diego. In the private sector, people take lower wages and fringes just for the privilege of living in San Diego. That should be true of the public sector, too. If police say they are underpaid, so will bolt to Fresno, let them go there. Wish them luck in the summertime. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #24: I agree that even after trimming back pay and fringes, there would be plenty of applicants for these public sector jobs. That will be especially true as the U.S., California and San Diego economies retreat this year. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #25: Again, I don't think employees would run off for better pay and fringes in other cities. Some employees might realize that these cities are paying too much, too, and will have to trim back. So leaving could be a case of going from the frying pan into the fire. Best, Don Bauder

Don, shouldn't the sunshine tax work in reverse for taxpayers? If you want to live here, you'll have to pay more. Yet as several studies have shown, San Diegans pay LESS in taxes than folks in the ten largest cities in CA. I believe that includes Fresno as well.

Not every city is in financial straits like SD or Vallejo. Not every city will switch to SS. SD will end up with the rejects from other cities. We already have a smaller hiring queue than we used to. We already extended deadlines. We already lowered the passing score on the written test. Do we want to be the first city to hire the losers who can't get hired elsewhere? It should be fairly obvious that we have a more complicated fire problem here than in cities such as Fresno or San Jose.

Don, I believe you said that you're 72. Can you still carry 100 lbs of gear up 42 stories? Few 67 year olds can. So what is the disability retirement factor going to be? I don't think folks who are advocating a 67 year old retirement age have any idea how strenuous our job is. There's a reason ESPN calls the Firefighter Challenge the "Toughest Two Minutes in Sports".

Here's the thing -- I've already shown that SS only saves 7% over the current city retirement. (Ignoring SPSP, which I think should go away) So we switch to SS. The city would likely also have a DC plan which they'd match. Say they matched the same as SPSP -- 3.05%. Now we're down to less than 4% savings. Four percent of the city personnel budget is $27 million dollars. That's just not going to save the city. That's not even enough to fully fund the FD. I know it and you know it. There simply has to be an increase in funding as well as a tightening of the belt.

Response to post #33: There is no doubt that San Diegans pay less in taxes than residents of other cities. If the City is forced into bankruptcy, that will be one factor cited at the coroner's inquest. But the question regarding firefighters is whether they, and other City employees, will give up excessive pay and benefits willingly, or will be forced to do so. Best, Don Bauder

Don, we're the only union that has not received any pay raise for three years. We've also voluntarily decreased retirement pick-up, thus creating a pay cut as well. We've done more than any of the other unions

You point out that there was an independent review of DROP. Not really. The wording of the contract states an auditor "mutually agreed upon by both parties" or something to that effect. That has not been done. If the auditor can show that DROP is not cost neutral I'll be the first one to stand up for whatever changes need to be made.

Note this quote from Joseph Esuchanko's web site, "When designed properly, a Deferred Retirement Option Plan can be a plus for both the employer and employees." So we know it can be beneficial -- if structured correctly. Why won't the city stand up and structure it correctly if it's so bad? What changes need to be made to make DROP beneficial to the city? Why would Sanders throw away something that has the potential to save the city millions?

Response to post #35: In my opinion, there is only one way to design DROP effectively: kill it. There is no reason why City employees should walk off with both a lump sum and an annuity, thanks to the DROP arrangement. It is double dipping. Best, Don Bauder

Don, you still haven't explained in financial terms why DROP is bad. You and all the other pundits resort to terms like, "double dipping" and "scam" but are completely unable to illustrate why. I'm dying to see that, especially as folks like Esuchanko say it can make money for the city.

So go ahead... explain it.

Response to post #37: Under the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), a City worker reaching normal retirement age 50 (safety employees) or 55 (others), agrees to stay another 5 years. During those years, the worker receives 90 percent of his or her highest-year salary IN ADDITION to receiving the ordinary salary. This pot of money goes up by 8 percent a year. By this bit of prestidigitation, the person who has made $75,000 a year retires with a pension of almost $100,000 yearly. The program has cost the city more than $400 million, according to a recent study. When DROP was enacted in 1997, the ordinance required that DROP had to be cost-neutral. It is not. Yet the council made it permanent in 2002. Best, Don Bauder

That still doesn't explain WHY it costs the city money. You've simply explained the basic mechanics of DROP. The $400 million figure was based on how much money has come and gone from DROP accounts in SDCERS. However, even Richard Rider agrees that money in DROP accounts is the retiree's own money -- not city money. So explain to me WHY DROP is not cost neutral.

That's all you can do is make a value judgment that city employees should not be allowed to save their own money in an account that draws interest. I'm not interested in your value statements -- you have your values, I have mine. I want numbers on how DROP cost both SDCERS and the city money. I'd also like to see a link to the study that says DROP cost $400 million.


Response to post #37: Under the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), a City worker reaching normal retirement age 50 (safety employees) or 55 (others), agrees to stay another 5 years.

The fact of the matter is this, DROP is a scam and the ONLY reason it even appears to work is because of the ARTIFICIALLY LOW retirement ages of 50/55/60.

FULL retirement age in social security (JF, understand what the word FULL means) used to be 65, today it is age 66, and in a few years it is getting bumped (AGAIN) to age 67. It is very possible that in 10 years full retirement for social security could be 70 or more. So if the City welfare queens were to use the DROP option when the 99% of the rest of America retires they would be working DROP from ages 66 to 71, and you KNOW that they would never do that-hense the artificially low retirement age of 50 so the DROP scam works.

The artificial retirement age of 50 is a scam, DROP compounds that scam, and so do the other benefit/pension absues in Government, including buying service year credits at 5-20 cents on the dollar (there is a reason people must VEST to get benefits), and also the supplemental pension 401K with matching funds of up to 6% ......

JF, Vallejo is going BK, and it is NOT because of OT. Their problem has been festering for 10+ years, if you read the article. San Diego's problems are a little older-12 years, so we are very similar to Vallejo.

San Diego is in a CASH FLOW bankruptcy, income does not meet expenses. And we will be in Vallejo's position soon, if we are not already.

Pension Obligation Bonds mask many of the problems with the County and other municipalities, and Sanders wants to float those next...... Oh brother.... (Johnny rolls eye).

Don! I was so disappoint to see your "Response to post #23: No one seems to be discussing the sunshine tax or what's also called psychic income in San Diego. In the private sector, people take lower wages and fringes just for the privilege of living in San Diego." Have you been hanging out with Diane Jacobs? When I read that I was shocked that you would repeat such crap. Mortgages aren't paid by "sunshine dollars" nor are the utilities, food, clothing or transportation costs. I wonder if journalists in Chicago or New York or Los Angeles or Washington would come to work for the UT (your former employer) and accept "sunshine dollars" to make up the difference in their pay. Finally, public sector pay has finally become comparable to private sector pay after a long time. Just because the private sector have and are underfunding their pensions, filing Chapt 13 to escape their obligations to their employees (Remember the airlines?) and paying big bonus' to CEOs while cutting retirement benefits (my grandmother worked for GM and she has gotten the shaft) doesn't mean the public sector has to follow suite. And Don, did you know there are several classifications/jobs that workers hold in both the City and County government AND qualify for state aide (Medi-Cal/Healthy Families)? Thank goodness those programs don't count the sunshine dollars as income. Well, yet anyway. Otherwise, more children would be uninsured!

Oh, one more thing about Social Security...the government play shell games with that fund all the time, borrowing from it and not paying back the loan-like to fund a war?. That's when they start the bruhaha that social security is going to run out of money along wit the propaganda that it's better to have private IRAs (so Wall street brokers can play ducks and drakes with the money). But hey...maybe we can pay sunshine dollars into our social security accounts and not worry about a thing! Best Kathy

Don, this is one of your most important investigative columns ever, one that should be of grave concern requiring immediate action by every citizen in San Diego who still cares about protecting quality of life in San Diego.

What you are documenting is the fact that John Davies really is the #1 mob boss in San Diego, that the Davies mob controls all of the newspaper political/editorials and columns like those in the U-T and VOSD, that is to say they control every editor and columnist in San Diego except The Reader editors and columnists.

And as you have reported and responded, there can be no doubt that the Davies mob controls puppeticians like Sanders, Dumanis and judges making the Davies mob the root cause of the decline and fall of San Diego by corruption.

Thus with your warnings, if San Diegans don't at least vote for Francis to replace puppet-mayor Sanders and keep Aguirre as City Attorney, then San Diego voters will have screwed the future for your X & Y generations readers so completely that the current state of San Diego governments’ moral and political bankruptcy will look like the good old days in comparison.

Response to #39 and #40: I think #40 addresses some of the questions posed in #39. City workers are permitted to retire at too young an age (50 and 55). This is at a time when many private sector workers continue to work into their 70s. (I am one of these; I turn 72 in May.) The DROP program gives the workers two sources of retirement income (lump sum and annuity) and to spend it over such a long time period. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #41: A journalist or any other worker in another city looks at the cost of living compared with salary, and then puts that up against the cost of living and salary of what he or she is being offered in San Diego. San Diego's cost of living is about 50 percent above the national average while incomes are only 10 to 15 percent higher. But with c-o-l so high in places such as the Bay Area, it is quite possible for San Diego to pencil out, even with a lower salary. Another point: economics shouldn't determine every decision. Quality of life is more important than quantity -- at least to some people. Repeat: if a City of San Diego worker can get more money in Fresno or Modesto, take the job. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #42: I agree that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Our sons (ages 37 and 40) may not get back what they put into it. Those even younger are at even more risk. But Bush's plan to hand the program over to Wall Street would not have cured it. It would have exacerbated the problems. Wall Street is only interested in pushing any money it receives toward its top nabobs, who bring in $100 million to $1.5 billion a year. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #43: As long as you say "mob" with a small "m," you can certainly say Davies and other members of the charter review committee are bosses who lead Mayor Sanders around by the nose and manipulate the public. Incidentally, the Mob with a capital "M" has played a large role in San Diego's history, too, as I have often written. But that's a different story. Best, Don Bauder

Don, BBH/Johnny Vegas doesn't even come close to explaining how DROP is a scam. That's all the two of you can do is pout that you didn't get it. Your biggest argument against DROP is that people get two different chunks of money. Big deal. You said yourself that you get a retirement and got a buyout. That's the same deal, except that in your case the buyout was company funded. The DROP is not 'company' (read taxpayer) funded. Let me repeat that -- the taxpayer is NOT funding DROP, except for a very small SPSP percentage. Should I not get the money in my 401K even though not a penny of taxpayer money went in there? Oh no! I'll get three checks not two! Oh wait! I have an IRA, too. And mutual funds. And stocks. What a scam! Please... get real.

No one -- not you, not Rider, not DeMaio, not Eric Bruvold has ever shown numbers proving DROP costs the city money. Nor have you shown that it costs the retirement system money. Meanwhile actuaries have stated that DROP can be beneficial. So let's see it. Show me the numbers. If changes need to be made to DROP to make it profitable for both the city and SDCERS simply tell me what they are.

You argue that city employees retire too early. That 'early' retirement is funded by us placing more of our money into the system. It's also funded by putting more city money into the system -- assuming that the city puts in their share. Retiring at 40 wouldn't be too young if it was funded correctly.

You've also agreed that 67 is too old to be a line firefighter in most cases. You've suggested that we put those folks who can no longer do that job into other jobs. OK, what other jobs? Are we going to create 700 jobs just for broken down firefighters? And another 2500 jobs for broken down cops? Again... that would cost the city a lot more in the long run. More in additional jobs, more in worker's comp, more in disability, etc. So -- Social Security isn't really an option. Heck, you state that SS is a Ponzi scheme, yet want city workers to join it. That makes no sense.

Response to post #47:

Let’s see now Don, since The “mob” is responsible for “misappropriation” of taxpayer funds that resulted in grossly inadequate firefighting resources which caused hellaciously excessive deaths and property losses by too many out of control firestorms in 2003 and 2007, wouldn’t causing death and destruction upgrade them to “Mob” status?

Further, since they threaten anyone who dares to thwart the Davies Mob’s totalitarian designs I now realize that it is the Davies Mob (formerly known as establishment) that controls the U-T and not the other way around which explains why so many of their editorials look like deranged rants written by a building full of crazed monkeys using PCs that Kittle cuts and pastes together before publishing.

Response to post #48: I never said that I got two retirements. I did not. I got a lump sum. Period. We had our choice of lump sum or annuity, and I took the lump sum. As to DROP being revenue neutral: the money in the pot is guaranteed to grow at 8 percent yearly. That 8 percent is a very optimistic long term return. If it isn't achieved, the City has to pick it up. Revenue neutral? You say it is not consistent for me to say SS is a Ponzi scheme, yet say that City employees should be put in it, like almost everybody else. Makes no sense? To you, maybe. Best, Don Bauder

Don't try to explain DROP or SS to JF. He has his head so deep in the sand he only sees what he wants to see.

JF, as to your absurd position that 50 is not too young to reitre, or 40 either, as long as it is funded properly-that is a load of baloney.

You simply cannot "fund" multi million dollar pensions for HS educated, blue collar, on the job trained positions such as PD and FD. That is an absurdity.

You need to go take accounting 101, and then take math 101, and then you will see 2+2= 4, not 1 million!

Response to post #51: I have been puzzled by JF's statement that the employees put in all the DROP money. Here is 1404, C3 from the municipal code: "A member's DROP participation account will be credit with....(C) An amount equal to 3.05 percent of the member's base compensation, credited bi-weekly at the end of each pay period, WHICH IS PAID BY THE CITY OR THE PORT." Do you, JohnnyVegas, a lawyer, have an interpretation of that? It seems pretty clear to me. Does JF have an interpretation? Best, Don Bauder

Don, you'll note that above I acknowledge the money put in SPSP when I wrote, "the taxpayer is NOT funding DROP, except for a very small SPSP percentage" in post 48. The savings of DROP to the city is the 13.65% weighted average that goes into the average retirement account minus the 3.05% that goes into SPSP.

Obviously, DROP is complicated. That's why I'm asking the questions. Even the city's own actuary says that it can be beneficial. If it is not now, why not? What has to be changed?

You state that the city must make up the difference between what SDCERS pays and what it earns. For the past ten years, the average earning of SDCERS have been just over 10%. The system pays 8%. That's a net gain of 2% on what is now around $250 million dollars. That's a lot of dough. About $5 million. There were certainly years in there in which there was a negative net gain. So do we reduce the guarantee percentage? Do we simply tie interest to what the system makes -- thus writing off any gains to the system?

My apologies about saying that you got retirement and a lump sum. I thought you had said that... obviously not.

Response to post #53: The actuary hired by the City said DROP is not revenue neutral. Other actuaries and lawyers have said it, too. If you read the municipal code, DROP is to be revenue neutral. Another factor: employees who purchase benefits for years they did not work (purchase of service credits) have bought those years for a lowball price that is not actuarially sound. SDCERS recently voted to pass that $146 million on to taxpayers, not ask the employees to pay what they should have paid in the first place. Now, if an employee bought purchase of service credits cheap, he or she enters DROP with an artificial advantage. Finally, SDCERS claims it has been making ten percent for a long time. But an 8 percent expectation is very high. Warren Buffett, for example, would shave a couple of percentage points off of that. Best, Don Bauder


SDCERS recently voted to pass that $146 million on to taxpayers, not ask the employees to pay what they should have paid in the first place.

Bingo! Liability all passed onto taxpayers, while all benefits go to the City employee.

Pensions work the same way. Taxpayers take 100% of the risk, employees reap 100% of the benefits.

JF, the fact is 8% is higher than any private sector plan, and also higher than the vast MAJORITY of public sector plans.

Then when there is a windfall over the 8% it is passed onto the employee in the form of a 13th check and whatever else(instead of being banked for future losses/shortfalls).

And if there is shortfall the taxpayer makes up 100% of the shortfall. That is a scam anyway you slice it.

Don, actuaries are like lawyers -- they're basically hired to say what you pay them to say. That's why the contract calls for a mutually agreed upon actuary. It really shouldn't be all that big of a deal, no? One of the actuaries you're speaking of is Rick Roeder. As I recall, the city is suing him for providing erroneous information. That confuses things as well. Are we to believe his report on DROP but not his other reports?

POSC at artificially low rates (but not as low as the 5 cents on the dollar that Johnny Vegas claims -- more like 66 cents on the dollar) will impact DROP and the system as a whole. That's why I've come out in these blogs against POSC at low rates. However, that's a function of POSC, not specifically of DROP.

And Johnny, the taxpayer never makes up 100% of the shortfall. More than half the money that goes into SDCERS is not taxpayer money OR employee money. It's investment gains. So sorry, but it's not "100% taxpayer liability" scam you portray.

DROP is complicated, which is why I'm trying ferret out all of the details of it. Once again, I have a vested interest in making sure that the city stays solvent. But -- many actuaries have said that DROP in and of itself is not the devil reincarnated. So -- how do we change the system to make it revenue neutral if it isn't now? But first you have to prove that it isn't revenue neutral. Again, why won't the city simply come up with an actuary in concert with the union to fix the problems?

Response to post #51 & 52:

For what it is worth Don and JV, as one of hundreds of thousands of totally screwed San Diego taxpayers I appreciate the investigative work and discussions you are doing on our behalf to expose the depth of malevolent corruption that the Davis/U-T Mob has perpetrated against and threaten the lives and property of every citizen in San Diego with.

Since this is Sunday, it is a good day to pray that champions like you, along with Aguirre, Frye, Francis and The Reader will be able to save San Diego from Mob rule in 2008.

As you are aware, time is rapidly running out before San Diego reaches a state of chaos that we become “America's Hell on Earth City” as the consequence of the Davies/U-T Mob rule.

This era of totalitarian Mob tyranny must end and the rights and quality of life of San Diego citizens restored.

Thank you for your dedicated efforts on our behalf.

Response to post #55: You have fingered a major problem in San Diego's pension system. It has been cited by the various consultants that studied the system. It is stupid to set a bogey of 8 percent and then hand out to employees anything over that. There will be good years and bad years. If you distribute the so-called "excess," then there won't be a reserve when bad years come along. And such years will come along: watch 2009 and 2010 -- and perhaps this year, even though it is an election year. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #56: I don't dispute that actuaries are like lawyers and management consultants. In fact, that's one thing that got SDCERS in trouble: its actuaries and lawyers did NOT tell them they were going in the wrong direction. One of SDCERS's outside lawyers, in an unguarded moment in a speech, referred to DROP as an egregious example of double-dipping. Roeder in fact did warn SDCERS several times that it was going on the wrong track. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #57: I agree that if San Diego doesn't get on the right track and become a City run by the citizens and not the developer/tourist industries, the situation may become hopeless. But Sanders is led around by the nose by this big bucks cabal. The result will be more residential development -- exactly what San Diego doesn't need. San Diego desperately needs infrastructure work. But it will never get on the right track as long as the downtown real estate/hotel industries manipulate the mayor and most councilmembers. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #2:

Don regarding your comment in back in post #2 “---Davies is the head of the developer/hotelier/casino band. --- he is one of the most powerful people in San Diego, particularly in the selection of judges.”

It was most coincidental and interesting to read in Parade Magazine yesterday: “How To Save Our Courts” By Justice Sandra Day O'Connor February 24, 2008

Among other things she said “Now, as a private citizen, I am anxious about the state of the judiciary in America.”

Further “What worries me is the manner in which politically motivated interest groups are attempting to interfere with justice.”

And a most important highlighted statement “We must decrease the influence of money and politics on judges.” http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2008/edition_02-24-2008/Courts_O_Connor

Judicial corruption is most certainly a national problem as well as in San Diego.

Response to post #61: In re the influence of money and politics on judges, San Diego should be the national anti-role model: an example of how not to do it. Best, Don Bauder


It was most coincidental and interesting to read in Parade Magazine yesterday: “How To Save Our Courts” By Justice Sandra Day O'Connor February 24, 2008

Judicial corruption is most certainly a national problem as well as in San Diego.

By Anon92107 2:29 a.m., Feb 25, 2008 >

I caught that article too, excellent article.

Justice O Conner was the most influential Supreme Court justice of the last 30 years. She was always the "swing" vote, on all the major cases the last 30 years, and you knew she would follow the law, not her bias.

You could never tell how she would vote-she was more conservative than liberal, but she was an incredible justice-it is too bad we don't have a few more like her. Right now Kennedy has taken her "swing" vote spot-and he has surpringly made sone very good "swing" vote rulings.

Kennedy might- and that is a big might- be able to fill her shoes..........

Response to post #63: Yes, she was a good justice. Today's court is packed with ideologues, I am afraid. This court is going to let big business scamsters get away with murder. Best, Don Bauder


Today's court is packed with ideologues, I am afraid. This court is going to let big business scamsters get away with murder.

By dbauder 4:47 p.m., Feb 25, 2008

Funny you say that.

Just last week the SCOTUS ruled in one of the the Enron cases (Bill Lerach's Calpers case to be specific) that bankers and accountants could not be held liable for a company fraud, even if they WERE A PART of that fraud. Unreal. So in all future cases where there is fraud, the assisters need not worry about liability.

Justices Alito (and Thomas too) has sided with government in virtually all circumstances, and I think Roberts (despite what he said at his confimation hearing regarding precedent) is not too far behind.

Response to post #65: People worried that the Bush ideologues would reverse years of progress in social areas. From the onset, I feared that it would be worse: this court would be protecting corporations from having any responsibility for fraud. And that's exactly what's happening. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #65 & 66:

So if I understand the two of you and former Supreme Court Justice O'Conner correctly, the new rule of law in America, Sacramento and San Diego is that neither businessmen nor politicians have any responsibility and accountability for their own fraud in this new era with "influence of money and politics on judges"!

Then there was also the NYT article in the U-T on Saturday "Waterboarding inquiry centers on legal advice" which focused on an investigation of UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall and former DOJ Attorney Professor Yoo who advised the White House that it was OK to perform warrantless searches, OK to detain military prisoners without charges and OK to torture them because our POTUS has Supreme Executive Authority. http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080223/news_1n23cia.html

Welcome to 21st Century America. We seem to have come full circle since our Founders wrote the Declaration of Independence.

Response to post #67: Yes, Yoo is not giving UC Berkeley/Boalt Hall a good name. Best, Don Bauder

Yoo can not be taken seriously, nor can anyone who has made the type of nonsense legal argments he has.

You put a bunch of lawyers in a room together, and ask them to come up with ways around some type of law or statute and beleive me there will be NO shortage of ideas and crzzy arguments-Yoo has proven this.

Response to post #69: Yet Yoo's credentials are impeccable. Best, Don Bauder

Response to posts #68 69 70:

Sadly neither the U.S. Congress nor the Supreme Court is doing anything to protect us in accordance with our Constitution from the Bush Administration's autocratic use Supreme Executive Power. Separation of Powers has not been working since Bush-Cheney took office.

And as far as Yoo "not giving UC Berkeley/--- a good name", Berkeley sold out it's honor and integrity when it continues to choose hydrogen bombs for profit instead of protecting humanity, and recently contracted a $500 Million sell-out alliance with BP oil. So Yoo is in the right place along with Dynes who had to step down in disgrace as President of UC. At least Moores left after disgracing the Board of Regents, which was not easy to do considering they had no honor and integrity left to disgrace.

Response to post #71: If a Democrat wins the presidency, restoring the separation of powers should be a first order of business. Best, Don Bauder


Response to posts #68 69 70:

Sadly neither the U.S. Congress nor the Supreme Court is doing anything to protect us in accordance with our Constitution from the Bush Administration's autocratic use Supreme Executive Power. Separation of Powers has not been working since Bush-Cheney took office.

Boy, you're not kidding.

Bushie has pushed the Executive Power authority to the edge of the envelope, even past that point and near a constitutional crisis, using the power in a grossly irresponsible manner, basically ramming his authority down the throat of the Congress who has not made a challenge to many of the abuses.

The fact is if the Congress did push back we could very well be in a constitutional crisis.

Bushie has been a disaster for America, the worst President the last 50 years (yes, he makes Jimmy Carter look like Teddy Roosevelt!), and possibly the worst in the last 100 years.

Bad times don’t last though, a tough country does.

America has the most brain power out of any country in the world, and that isn’t going to be changing anytime soon.

Response to post #73: I, too, believe Bush has been a disaster, and I am referring to both economic and foreign policy. But I see that Fumber has chipped in, saying we are all full of wheat grass. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #74: "Spewing forth the drool and vomit of the left wing blame american first abortion fest." Hmmm. I see some mixed metaphors here. But we welcome you back, Fumber, and look forward to more of your observations. Best, Don Bauder


spewing forth the drool and vomit of the left wing blame america first abortion fest

By fumber 6:07 p.m., Feb 26, 2008

Cool, my good buddy Fumbler is back.

Fumbler, don't be a stranger here-we miss your unique (yet highly entertaining) commentary here!

Response to post #77: Then it's agreed: we want Fumber's singular prose and unique logic back. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #79: Unfortunately, San Diego's do-gooders are out to do well, not good. It's a facade. We will continue pointing that out. But we welcome your vigorous defense of them. Best, Don Bauder

Speak better English, Fumber. You mean "well doers." (Don uses "well" in a different sense -- i.e., prosperously.) Off for a wheatgrass shot now, which I shall drink in your honor.

Response to post #81: Let's compromise on "well diggers." Best, Don Bauder

Here is San Diego in 1 year, San Diego version 2.0.

VALLEJO, Calif. -- This one-time shipyard city turned Bay Area commuter village is considering a move that is rare both in California and across the nation -- declaring bankruptcy.

A somber City Council prepared to vote this evening after putting the bankruptcy issue on the table earlier in the week during an emotional hearing that drew hundreds of concerned residents.

Civic leaders blame Vallejo's current money woes on a downturn in the housing market and the high cost of providing public safety.

Police and firefighters account for 80% of Vallejo's budget, city officials say, due to ballooning overtime bills and lucrative union contracts that have boosted base salaries, benefits and retirement plans.

Link here folks; http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-vallejo29feb29,0,7721740.story

Response to post #83: Yes, that has been posted here before, but it is always good to have it in a different location. There are some real similarities with San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

Don, why are Alex Roth and the U-T so hellbent to getting Aguirre out of office? I'm interested to know their connection. I guess they are part of the San Diego elite, but they arent developers. Their articles are so biased its riduclous.

Response to post #83: Yes, I have heard a lot about the U-T's totally slanted story this morning about the council action on the lawsuit to challenge illegal pension benefits. Clearly, the council had given Aguirre permission to pursue the suit, but instructed him to pursue it in the name of the city attorney rather than the council, because the council didn't want to appear as if it were going back on promises to unions. The judge wanted the suit in the city's name, so Aguirre followed his instructions. Pat Flannery's blog yesterday said it best: the opening of the council records clearly shows that Scott Peters is a baldfaced liar, as well as a union whore. Nobody should be surprised by that. The fact that Peters and Maienschein, two of the major players in the illegal concealing of the City's pension deficits, are running for city attorney tells you all you need to know about San Diego. The Voice had a pretty balanced story. The U-T, as could be expected, twisted it to make Aguirre look bad. This so-called newspaper does that all the time. The top editors hate Aguirre, and reporters like Roth have to slant their stories the way management wants them, although Roth may be to blame, too. This biased news coverage is one factor in the paper's collapse, although not as big a factor as demographic and technological changes afflicting all metro dailies. Best, Don Bauder

Thanks Don, I agree with everything. Its a shame the "major" paper in SD is not subjective.

This was an interesting article with Warren Buffett's comments on corporate underfunded pensions:

Pension problems ahead Natural disasters aren't the only worry on Buffett's mind. He is also concerned about the bill that will come due when U.S. companies are forced to tell shareholders they have been pumping up their earnings by under funding their pension plans.

Most big companies have been vastly overestimating the kind of returns their pension plans can realistically expect to earn, Buffett writes. He writes that a survey of S&P 500 companies with pension plans shows the companies on average expect their pension assets to earn an annual return of 8%. With more than a quarter of those assets invested in cash and bonds, Buffett writes, the implicit expected annual stock investment return is 9.2% - and that's after fees. "How realistic is this expectation?" Buffett asks.

Not very, he finds. He writes that the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged from 66 to 11,497 during the 20th century. That is a huge rise - yet it averages out to just 5.3% compounded annually, Buffett writes. What's more, were the DJIA to repeat that 5.3% average annual gain throughout the 21st century, its value on Dec. 31, 2099, would approach 2 million.

"It's amusing that commentators regularly hyperventilate at the prospect of the Dow crossing an even number of thousands," he writes. "If they keep reacting that way, a 5.3% annual gain for the century will mean they experience at least 1,986 seizures during the next 92 years. While anything is possible, does anyone really believe this is the most likely outcome?"

If that scenario isn't outlandish enough, Buffett goes on to note that were stocks to return 10% annually throughout this century, the Dow would hit 24 million by year 2100. "If your adviser talks to you about double-digit returns from equities," he writes, "explain this math to him - not that it will faze him. ... Beware the glib helper who fills your head with fantasies while he fills his pockets with fees."


Pat Flannery's blog yesterday said it best: the opening of the council records clearly shows that Scott Peters is a baldfaced liar, as well as a union whore.

Brutal. But 100% true.

Response to post#85: Buffett is a genius. He is also honest. He said today that the gravy days of the insurance industry are over. His Berkshire Hathaway relies very heavily on insurance. He has said all along that expected pension returns are unrealistic: City of San Diego and County of San Diego take notice, please. "Beware the glib helper." Good advice. Buffett talks about shaky private sector pensions. The New York Times has devoted a lot of space recently to shaky public sector pensions -- particularly certain states. (Illinois is very ill.) Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #86: Yes, brutally true. It's worth repeating that two of the major players in the City's concealing of its huge pension deficits (Peters and Maienschein) are running for city attorney. It seems astonishing, but it really isn't in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

Don, Gerry Braun at the U-T doesnt seem to be footing the company line. Will be interesting to see how much slack they give him, seeing as they have weekly anti-Aguirre pieces in their "news" columns.


Response to post #91: Gerry Braun wrote an excellent column this morning, and I emailed him to tell him so. He focused on the issues instead of on the personalities. That's verboten at the U-T, particularly when someone it viscerally hates -- Aguirre -- is involved. I hope Braun can survive there. Best, Don Bauder

Response to post #9:

Our highest priority is to terminate the era that former Justice O’Connor exposed, where the influence of money and politics causes our judges to overrule the Rule of Law. Until we restore the Rule of Law in San Diego all other problems cannot dealt with as Aguirre keeps proving because of the corruption of San Diego judges that has been going on continuously since the Greer court at least.

As you exposed in your “Brash Cash” Response #2 “Davies is --- one of the most powerful people in San Diego, particularly in the selection of judges.” We need a list of judges who were “selected” by Davies, along with those who have overthrown the rule of law in cases by Aguirre. Do you have that list available?

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