Yesterdays release by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith of his "Memorandum of Law" (MOL) opining on Charter Section 143.1 and the validity of DROP, has proved to be a black eye for everyone involved in touting this "work." It did not take a legal scholar to see through the writings of Goldsmith et al. (Consider the authors of the MOL; Jan Goldsmith and two attorneys who worked on Mike Aguirre's Pensions Task Force, one who has 4.5 years of municipal law experience and the other who passed the bar in December.) A ray of sunlight, often hidden by clouds in June, shone through today when David Wesco of SDCERS sent a letter to the City Attorney that addressed (or dressed down) Goldsmith and the flawed MOL penned and published for all to see.
Mr. Wesco addressed the many contradictions in law, policy, and practice set by opinions of past City Attorneys. In 1996, then City Attorney John Witt wrote an opinion, directly contradicting that of Goldsmith and distinctly absent in Goldsmith's research and MOL. I wondered out loud last night why the votes of the three elections held by SDCERS and used in support of Goldsmith's MOL were missing from the documentation. I think we all know why now. The standard used for elections in the City of San Diego and SDCERS, related to Charter Section 143.1, is, was and should be; "A 'majority vote' means a majority of the actual votes cast."
Mr. Wesco urged Goldsmith to withdraw his MOL because of the many flaws contained within the document. Mr. John Kaheny (Highly respected City Attorney - retired) also urged Goldsmith to withdraw the MOL for similar reasons. Mr. Kaheny attempted to persuade Goldsmith to; "pull the document and re issue it after curing the defects noted and improving its analysis as well as providing your client (City of San Diego) with a legal document that you (Goldsmith) and your staff (City Attorney Staff) can be proud of producing." Goldsmith pooh-poohed this advice and said the issue would be litigated in court soon, when the case goes to trial with the SDPOA.
The turmoil created by such reckless actions can no longer be allowed to continue. The elected officials of this City are as incompetent as any in America. They have continually and consistently placed blame on others for their failings and incompetence. The time has come for the entire lot to resign, leave their offices and allow honest, intelligent, persons of integrity to assume leadership and control of the City. As the mayor so eloquently spoke recently; "replacing experience with enthusiasm" will serve this City and its taxpayers, employees and visitors much more effectively and efficiently than those currently occupying elected positions. Even the mayor agrees enthusiasm is far more important than experience and anyone can learn to do the job. A person with no experience in politics would not be corrupted by the system and more willing to do what is right and honorable.
The reckless actions of the mayor, city attorney, and city council have exacted its toll on the employees who serve the citizens who live, work and visit San Diego. The constant turmoil created by those elected and the complete disrespect shown toward a dedicated work force, is unconscionable and uncalled for.
The mayor's complete disregard for the law during negotiations and his demands for elimination of earned, vested benefits and complete and total lack of ethics demand he resign his position. He has lost the faith, trust and respect of those he is responsible for leading. He has shown through actions and words, those who have given their hearts and soul for this city, do not matter to him. The men and women employed by the City of San Diego deserve better. On a side note; the mayor recently demanded additional street lights be installed near his residence. The lights were quickly installed and the mayor did not like the color of the lights and demanded they be re-done to "fit in with the surrounding" lights in the area. Who among you thinks you would get a light repaired, let alone installed in your neighborhood today? The abuse of his authority and power is appalling and another clear example of his arrogance.
The City Attorney has followed the mayor's lead and has shown a complete disregard for the men and women for whom he serves. Jan Goldsmith is the "City's Attorney" as such represents the men and women who work for this city. His reckless MOL has again created unnecessary angst and fear among the rank and file who have been attacked without reason by their own attorney. When MOU'S are prepared and codified, we rely upon the integrity, experience and thoroughness of the City Attorney. The men and women, who should have faith and trust in the City Attorney, have lost ALL faith in his ability to provide the necessary legal advice to ensure a stable life. The trust he will fulfill his obligations in a completely competent manner has been destroyed. We endured four long years of similar incompetence and can ill afford another four.
The City Council has shown they are not leaders and have lost the trust of their employees. Collectively, they have sat silent, as the mayor, City Attorney and press tormented, disrespected and assailed their dedication to the citizens of San Diego. The City Council has allowed the mayor to destroy decades old promises and decimate the public's safety. Their effectiveness as a governing body has proven to be extinct. It is time they collectively resign their positions and allow a new and enthusiastic Council to be seated who bears the integrity, honesty and compassion to guide this City and its employees through this difficult time.
The economic struggles of America are real and clearly understood by every employee working for the City of San Diego. We all understand the need to sacrifice and share in the pain of cuts. We understand and acknowledge the need to make adjustments to wages and benefits. We do not understand nor accept the dictatorial manner in which the City has exacted its cuts to wages and benefits. The throwing of the baby out with the bath water attitude of the mayor toward employee benefits will not be tolerated nor accepted. A shared solution involving stakeholders at every level is necessary to accomplish a fair and equitable solution to the City's problems. Until persons are elected, who are of the mind to be inclusive of stakeholders in seeking solutions; instead of playing politics and making unreasonable demands of only employees; continued strife and unrest will prevail.
San Diego needs a change in leadership.