Here we go again!!! Remember my rant; "Institutional Knowledge" and the dangers of not having any? This applies to people attempting to write "NEWS" articles on issues they have little or no knowledge about. The San Diego Union Tribune makes a glaring case in support of my ranting with an article by; Eleanor Yang Su and Craig Gustafson, Staff Writers, and Agustin Armendariz, Staff Data Specialist, Titled; "Watchdog Report / Digging into San Diego's Finances / City's payroll surged in '08."
There is no stopping the ignorant, twisting, inflammatory, spin the Union Tribune will employ in their quest to carry out their hell bent agenda; hand in hand with the Republican Money in San Diego; to destroy Unions and their employees. At a recent City Manager's training seminar, the topic of discussion was how to "spin" employee costs to garner taxpayer support for reductions in wages and benefits. The discussion centered on "taking the union/employee arguments away" by "spinning the costs and ability to pay" for benefits granted over the years. Three days of plotting, planning and training on how to accomplish this goal. Is it any wonder we are in this fight? (A majority of City Managers in this country are Republican) The Union Tribune has had this agenda for the better part of 10 years now.
The latest article takes out of context the salary of employees and those who "gained" from the prior year. The article conveniently leaves out major parts of the equation when reporting on this purported "increase" of salary for selected employees. They fail to mention how those employees they lambast for increases, came to receive these increases. They do not mention the fact many of these employees were promoted into supervisor or management positions; were probationary employees who became permanent employees and received step increases; had increased hours of overtime due to the lack of employees necessary to provide the services taxpayers demand; or the fact employees have taken on additional responsibilities requiring overtime where once two employees performed these duties. The article singled out by name; Officer Jeff Chione as someone who had a significant increase of salary from the prior year. Jeff had surgery on his neck and was off work and received disability from the state at a much reduced rate of pay; he returned to work and began receiving his normal salary. The Union Tribune reports his "increase" as 115% over his salary from the prior year. They include in this equation Jeff selling leave time which increased his "salary" which clearly does not tell the truth of Jeff's specific case as sited as a glaring example to make their point. The Union Tribune's use of Jeff to bolster their inflammatory, ignorant attempt to paint a picture of city employees receiving exorbitant increases in salary is a clear example of sensational journalism; NOT news.
The Union Tribune did not stop there. If you read this article on SignonSanDiego via the internet (I refuse to pay for this rag; I don't have a bird) you will see they listed a link to allow anyone to type in a city employee name and view the salary of that employee for the past six (6) years. Karin Winner, Editor of the Union Tribune makes her case for their providing this link. Winner writes; "We at The San Diego Union-Tribune thought long and hard about whether to publish all employees' names and salaries in a searchable form. A major part of our responsibility is to weigh the public's right to information against individual privacy concerns. Employee compensation is a significant cost to the city of San Diego, and plays prominently in the city's strategy for cutting the budget. In our three-day series, the Union-Tribune offers its readers the context for the city's payroll information. Here we can provide you with the valuable details. In the end, the decision to post this data was driven by our belief that you deserve to know how your tax dollars are being spent." So tell us all again Karen how long and hard you thought about the decision to post this link? I know; I know; you have a responsibility to weigh the public's right to know against individual privacy. Don't you also have a responsibility to "ACCURATELY" report ALL RELEVANT information about whatever it is you are reporting on? Trying to keep to my pledge of keeping my rants free of offensive and profane language, I will stop right here; you get my point. Want more on why and how they came up with the information in the initial article just read; "Behind the Stories." It boggles the mind how pathetic the repeated attacks have become and to what lengths the Union Tribune will go to justify a story.
Did you all also see where five (5) of the City Council members have yet to furnish the necessary paperwork to reduce by 6% their salary and the salary of their employees? The excuses and pathetic games these people are employing in an attempt to stave off this reduction is another example of the lack of ethics and honor of elected officials in San Diego. The first excuse is they gave up the $9,600 car allowance (that will end July 1, 2009 anyway) as a reduction to their "compensation" already. Hey bone-heads; take home vehicles and car allowances have been eliminated or reduced for ALL city employees and departments; what makes you special? They say they hired new employees who were hired at lower salaries than those before them. So tell me; what about those new police officers who are new hires who have less pay and benefits than those before them; can they forgo the 6% reduction also? The "Do as I say; not as I do" mentality of elected officials is pathetic. If this angers you as much as it angers me; here are the e-mail addresses of the City Council members;
SHERRI LIGHTNER firstname.lastname@example.org ;
KEVIN FAULCONER email@example.com ;
TODD GLORIA firstname.lastname@example.org ;
TONY YOUNG email@example.com ;
CARL DEMAIO firstname.lastname@example.org ;
DONNA FRYE email@example.com ;
MARTI EMERALD firstname.lastname@example.org ;
BEN HUESO email@example.com
Send them your thoughts and demand they take the SAME cuts SDPOA members are taking. Accept NOTHING less from them and do not accept their excuses or justification for refusal to accept the same cuts to wages and benefits we have all been forced to accept. This is your opportunity to share your frustration and anger at the lack of honor shown by them. Send a CC to the Union Tribune and see if they print any of them.
I can't wait for the next two parts of the Union Tribune's article on city finances, wages and benefits of employees in the coming days. I am sure more spin, lies and inflammatory examples taken out of context will grace the column inches needed to further push an agenda of destruction, directed at the San Diego City Employee. Until then; enjoy your Sunday and be safe.