Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Have You Seen My Chameleon?

The only possible explanation I can generate from my 52 ½ year old, Sponge Bob brain, of why the mayor is now championing the expansion of the Convention Center and espousing the increase to fees and taxes, is he physically changes colors when laying down with any of the following; the downtown power brokers, chamber of commerce, Lincoln club, republican money men, or special interests. What other explanation could be plausible? Why can't we see him for what he is? He is constantly changing color as he slithers from his downtown office to any of his many cronies to get his new walking orders. Who is he? What is he?

If you missed it; the latest revelation from the mayor's office is his "championing" of the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center with a price tag of ONE BILLION DOLLARS and an annual cost of $53 million. How many times can someone change colors before they start to look like a clown?

Who among us made the following statements; I'm opposed to taxes; we need to raise fees; I don't think the taxpayers are ready for new taxes; we need to raise taxes (TOT increase from 10.5% to 15.5%); In today's difficult economy I do not think it fair to raise fees; we need to raise fees for entry into Sea Word, The Zoo, The Wild Animal Park ($1 to $2 surcharge per ticket); we need a 1 % to 3 % tax on food and drink; we need a $5 surcharge for rental cars; I support Proposition 8; and oops, I am opposed to Proposition 8? Can someone catch this slippery clown and put him in a cage before he changes color yet again and we can't see him?

I had to laugh as I read the comments of Port Commission Chairman Michael Bixler who was unexpectedly surprised by the plan to expand the Convention Center and said he had a lot of questions. In a Union Tribune article, September 28, 2008, Bixler said; "There's a process that you have to follow; it's like when a tenant is moving out of an apartment and somebody new is moving in and you, as landlord, don't know who they are." But more than that, Bixler said, he does not know how the convention center plans to pay for an expansion and hotel, which together could cost $1 billion. The port also wants to receive market-rate rent from the hotel of several million dollars a year."

I got another laugh as I watched the mayor's video (1st link above) explaining his reasons for supporting the expansion of the Convention Center during this horrible economic time. His colors changing with every word and phrase; he even keeps a straight face as he details the importance of this "Vital Economic Engine." The list of committee members appointed by the mayor is long and distinguished and stacked with the usual players to ensure his desired outcome is guaranteed.

The spin machine is in full swing as the chameleon champions his cause, changing color with each word and action. Rather than rant on about this latest changing of color by the mayor, I would point to an article written by Don Bauder; who, honestly, I seldom agree with; in the Reader on June 10, 2009, titled: "Convention Liars." Bauder nails everything that is wrong with the chameleon and his latest proposed fleecing of the taxpayer.

I am fully aware of the need for a convention center large enough to attract businesses and conventions that will fill the halls and hotels and bring in needed tax dollars to the City. I understand the desire to be one of the top five convention cities in America. I am not so naive that I do not understand the desire. But for heaven's sake; when is someone going to lead this City and start setting priorities that make sense? The streets and parks in this city are in such disrepair from lack of deferred maintenance and repair; parks, libraries and pools will have to be closed in short order due to budget constraints; many of the city buildings and offices are in need of major repairs or replacement; public safety is as stressed and stretched as any in the nation and the chameleon wants to spend ONE BILLION dollars on the expansion to the Convention Center. The thought process of adding $53 million in expenses to the City's budget to pay for this expansion is nothing short of idiotic and pathetic, when viewed against the budget shortfall of this City and projected revenues for the next several years. Not to mention the Pension Debt and lack of planning for future Retiree Medical expenses.

How is it we have come to accept these types of actions from our elected mayor and city council? Why have we become so complacent we allow a mayor to tell us what we want? What will it take to get people to speak up and demand THEIR NEEDS be met before the desires of the politicians? If you could vote on the priorities of the mayor and city council, what would be your top three priorities? Would the expansion of the Convention Center be on your list, even if I were to allow you to set your top 10 priorities?

It's time to stand up and shout in a loud and firm voice; "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH; GET OUT!!!!" We were looking for a mayor when we got this chameleon.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Yesterday, the Chameleon used his propaganda machine and published his SPIN on the FY10 Budget. Let’s look closer and translate the Sanders’ spin with some truth.

Jerry says, “…[we begin] Fiscal Year 2010 with a budget that is not just balanced, but also keeps the faith with the public by protecting services, reducing taxpayer risk…”,

The truth is the FY10 budget is out of balance before it begins. Sanders began whining to the media that the evil state government will take funds, thus the budget is not “just balanced”. He says, he keeping faith by protecting services. Huh? He just said he’d lay off 124 cops and the same number of firemen? They've reduced park and rec hours, closed pools, closed service centers, but increased the size of his personal staff.

Jerry says, “I am proud to sign this budget.”.

The truth, he’s relieved to sign a false and unbalanced budget based upon rosy revenue projections. He goes on, …it addresses the immediate needs as well as our structural deficit, and, "working together to make tough decisions.” How EXACTLY does this budget address our structural deficit? Sanders signed a budget that dips into City Reserve funds to maintain Council salaries while other employees take six percent pay cuts. Sanders could have vetoed it in light of the Council’s decision to feather their own nests. But rather than show REAL leadership, Sanders quid pro quo, for the Council’s 8-0 support to impose contacts. Which, of course, is his definition of, ”our working together” .

Sanders’ vindictiveness has now reached legendary levels as he "works together" with labor groups. But if you can’t agree, he turns his highly paid outside attorneys loose to sue. Then breaks-off negotiation and imposes a contract. The result forces more than 200 public safety personnel, ones with 20, or more years of experience, to retire prematurely to protect their earned benefits.

By the third paragraph Jerry covers his rather large ass and admits “… we will begin the new fiscal year with our hard work imperiled…”

He repeatedly blames Sacramento, because Jerry says “they are not in vogue.”

Truth translation, we’re already out-of-balance, but don’t blame me. It’s those evil politician there, they are the real problem. But, if you do, remember they are out of step and not “in vogue.”

Hey Jerry, the term “in vogue” is defined as the current fashion or style a la mode, in style, modish, latest fashionable, stylish - being or in accordance with current social fashions; "fashionable clothing"; "the fashionable side of town”. A Mayor, like you, with no real substance, with no real leadership skills always turns to fashion statement. Remember San Diegans our Mayor has no clothes and soon you'll have 200 fewer police officer and firefighters to provide essential safety services.

Jerry says, City workers in an act of selflessness have given back 6%.

Except, of course, for the Councilmembers who dipped into City Reserves to maintain their bloated staffs and salaries.

Jerry says he’s one of those valiant city workers giving up 6% too.

But of course, he's double dipping to the tune of nearly $200,000 a year because he now taking his full retirement, full retiree medical, he’s got a city car, and few city police officers to chauffeur him around too. His story, he's has a daughter's college to fund.

Of course he's proud, anyone who could game the system and not really DO ANYTHING has to be proud of themselves.

Then Jerry claims, he streamlined the city and eliminated 875 position. Jerry, wasn’t the 875 positions vacant one where no salary or benefits were being paid? You know phantom positions. But you did add some positions to your office? You know the ones with salary and benefits costing the taxpayers $150-200K a year. Just exactly what has your new director of Special Project done for such largess from the taxpayers?

Anonymous said...

Sparkles, Thank you ever so much for your insightful articles. Your pieces are doing wonders in drawing out individuals with expertise and knowledge about the operations of SDCERS and the City in general. In a few short concise paragraphs they're able to explain issues that somehow elude the mayor and council-morons. Hopefully the residents of San Diego are reading and finally being exposed to the truth and the shameful antics of their elected politicians in covering up the truth.