Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Reason to be Concerned

I attended the "State of the District Address and Vision Speech on Transforming City Government" by the little rube this evening. Also in attendance were three city council members; Kevin Faulconer, Tony Young and Sherri Lightner as well as Darin Pudgil of the mayor's office. There were maybe 150 people TOPS, including about 20 staff of the little rube and the other council members in attendance.

The focus of the little rube was seeking "A City Government we can be proud of again." Starting with the obvious; "The City finances are a mess and the public's trust is at an all time low" the rube said it was his mission while in office to "build a government that works." To achieve this, the little rube provided his goals.

  1. Restore fiscal responsibility
    1. Reduce high labor costs
  2. Commit to a 5 year fiscal recovery plan
  3. Conduct performance audits of all City funds and Departments
  4. Implement Managed Competition
  5. Strong Mayor Authorities (Ballot Initiatives 2010)
    1. Make mayor Chief Labor Negotiator for City.
    2. Eliminate Veto power of employees of Retirement Changes.
  6. Reform City salaries and benefits (Cheers broke out)

The little rube went on to promote his vision of "Clean and Safe Neighborhoods" through a "Collaborative Governance Model." He then went on to pitch his changes and desires for "Open and Honest Goverment (sic)." He then receives a round of applause when he said he would "Reject any tax measures." His loudest applause came when he pitched his desire to seek ballot initiatives to force reforms to city salaries and benefits.

Having watched this little rube in the past and watching him work a crowd; he is a dangerous politician. His sound bites are so short and lacking of detail, it is hard to argue with him. He does not provide enough substance to challenge or refute him on a larger scale. One example of this is his Twitter post this afternoon where he posts the following; "More from my State of the District speech tonight: per capita city debt stands at $17,800 for each San Diego family." So how about someone out there do the math? There were 450,691 households in 2000 per the census in San Diego. $8,022,299,800 is the debt for the City of San Diego according to the little rube. Really?

The most concerning part of what the little rube had to say for me was his pledge and rally cry to seek ballot initiatives to "force reforms to city salaries and benefits." He received the loudest applause for this comment and then rallied the crowd with; "Are you all with me?" Rest assured he already has them written and the mayor is on board with them. This means the downtown business groups are on board and the various backers of business owners who have the money to make it happen.

We are going to have to get involved and prepare a competing initiative to preserve our benefits. This is going to take a concerted effort and money. It will require officers for the first time in the lives of those still here, to go door to door seeking support and educating the voters. It will be a long and hard battle to fight. One we can ill afford to ignore or take for granted. If we are to be successful, we need to begin NOW and work 24/7 until the votes are counted in 2010.

We can discuss this more in later posts and work toward a common goal of preserving our benefits.


Just Wondering said...

I copied and added to my post to the Steve's previous blog from late last night:

Well finally some interesting news and, if I might add some food for thought for the POA and DIRECTLY CONTRADICTS DeMaio regarding his statements of excessive salary.

The author, Vladimir Kogan, is a doctoral student at UCSD's Department of Political Science. He has written and had published interesting points of view in the Voice before.

As part of his analysis Kogan wrote, "We should be especially wary of efforts -- including Councilman Carl DeMaio's study of employee fringe benefits -- that contrast San Diego to the "national average." Any such comparison implicitly assumes that San Diego is an "average" city. Given our atypical size, population, and wealth, this assumption should be problematic on its face."

Kogan wrote some very appropriate words: ..."we should be especially wary" .... In other words, DeMaio is a politician. This means he is a cheat and liar like Mayor Sanders but is very dangerous and skilled at leading apathetic sheep, i.e. city voters. As Steve pointed out those who were at the DeMaio's meeting last night applauded loudly when he mentioned cutting salary and benefits of city employees. But when we examine the facts as gathered by an independent examiners we see San Diego's payroll is NO WHERE near the top of similar cities throughout the nation. In other words DeMaio is a liar.

Check out this story in the Voice of San Diego... Unlike the biased story published by the so called SDUT Watchdog group.

Kogan is a co-author of a forthcoming book about San Diego politics and its pension crisis. His analysis is insightful and filled with fact based information unlike DeMaio's rhetoric which has repeatedly been proven inaccurate. Here is the link to the VOICE OF SAN DIEGO'S STORY ON CITY WAGES:


Anonymous said...

I truly hope members of the SDPOA Board were in attendance. (Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer) It was important enough for City officials to be there.

As someone suggested in a previous Blog post, it’s time for activism.

Free Radical said...

Everytime I talk to the councilman I get a little sick to my stomach. He has a very high opinion of himself. He puts himself forth as an expert in nearly everything, when in fact he is an expert at nothing. The problem is our little cardboard Napolean knows exactly how to speak to our hugely conservative penny pinching electorate.

Earlier this year former President Bill Farrah congradulated me on becoming a POA Director at the worst time in POA history. He was not joking. Many of the people posting on this blog see only the immediate effect of the national economic crash, an impasse and salary/benefit cuts. Unfortunately people who call themselves fiscal conservatives like DeMaio and Mayor Sanders are using this crisis to go after public employee benefits. Steve is absolutely right when he says you need to be ready for a fight. The problem is this is not just happening in our City. There is a move on in the County to reduce public safety retirements to 2% @ 50. There are bills floating around our state calling for the cutting of public employee retirement plans. POA Directors have been to Sacramento a couple of times this year speaking to legislators about these very bad ideas. Although we are no longer in PORAC (we need to be) we are having an ongoing dialog with them. They have alot of money and have one of the top 15rated lobbyist in California on their staff.

I think as Cops many of us sit back and tell ourselves we are different than the others and deserve better treatment. I believe things should be that way also, but the times they are a changing. I want to relate a an experience I had on my last trip to the state capital. We were in our suits, each with a POA pin in our lapel. A businessman type who turned out to be from DeMaio's district asked who we were. When we told him he said, "Wow, that must be a tough job. People like firemen, but generally don't like Cops". This was not some birkenstock wearing Obecean folks. This was a normal guy. My point is, the hero glow of 9/11 has faded. People are going back to the "break glass in case of emergency" feelings about Cops. That attitude coupled with a low crime rate has generated a disinterest in our issues in the electorate and has greatly assisted our enemies in there evil plans. Right now our warnings about the slippery slope we are on by them sticking the SDPD with this current contract are being brushed aside. Heck, we have even been accused of trying to scare people.

Woody D.

hoolita said...

Just found you via Scott Lewis's "Following."

I LOVE "the little rube." All he needs is a Napoleon hat.

K-9 Cop said...

So Steve, were there any SDPOA board members there last night? I see Woddy is now posting here, was he there last night? It does not appear as if he was there since he did not mention it.

We at least know now that the board members are reading your BLOG.

16 more years if I can said...

Looks like you captured everything the "little rube" said Steve. In today's SDUT there is an op ed piece by this rube that is almost word for word what you reported here.

Time to start stocking the shelves and prepare for war boys and girls; it's on!!!!

Anonymous said...

450,691 x 17,800 is about $80 billion, not $800 billion.

Anonymous said...

It is 8 billion; not 80 or 800. The exact number is $8,022,299,800. Irrespective, DeMaio's numbers are still wrong!!!