Saturday, July 11, 2009

The rube is at it Again

At the July 8, 2009, Budget and Finance Meeting of the City Council, the little rube jumped up on a soap box and demanded SDCERS provide "Raw Data" (Go to 6:30 of Video) so he can determine if DROP is cost neutral. His ranting lasts for about 2 minutes and then Marti Emerald fires back challenging the little rube's assertion SDCERS has refused to provide data as requested. It appears this issue was discussed in closed session and the others on the committee were reluctant to discuss this in the open. This even got the attention of the Reader where you can find an article titled; "DROP It Like It's Hot". The little rube is under some assumption he has subpoena powers now. Lord; help us all!!!!

This is becoming somewhat of a theme with the little rube. He has been caught spinning, twisting and falsely stating facts since he hit town. A little research tells a lot about a person who believes his importance is more than reality. To bolster his importance in the world of politics he likes to tell people he has advised the likes of George W. Bush, President of the United States and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California in the area of finance and government spending. When pressed about his connections to the White House and President Bush, the little rube back peddles and said he was on a "White House Advisory Panel." Dig deeper and you will learn he was one of a couple hundred government contractors who participated in panels to discuss budgets and government contracts. His actual participation is suspect. An extensive search of the documents prepared from these meetings, do not show his name anywhere.

The little rube touts his "Performance Institute" and the great work he has done with Law Enforcement. He proclaims expertise in so many areas it is almost laughable. But, I did some detailed investigation of my own to see just how much this little rube knows about law enforcement. Come to find out he knows nothing; does that surprise any of you? He, like his buddy the mayor, have surrounded themselves with people who know (in most cases think they know) what they are talking about. The little rube told the SDPOA he was going to make the San Diego Police Department into a "World Class Police Department." OK, so what are we now?

One of the little rube's mantras are to reduce wages and benefits that he believes are excessive and out of line with "Industry Standards." I guess he does not read the material his own company puts out. In a 2008, quarterly journal for law enforcement and first responders; Answering the Call, presented by the Performance Institute and the Police Policy Studies Council; there is an article on "Recruitment and Retention" of police officers. The first two paragraphs of the article say it all; Recruitment and retention in the law enforcement field has becoming increasingly difficult in the past few years. The "baby boomer" generation is now retiring or utilizing social security benefits at a rapid rate. With this group making up nearly 30% of the adult population, the job force is feeling pressure to fill these vacancies and establish solid succession plans. The need for quality personnel has continued to rise while the applicant pool has shown a steady decline in quality potential candidates.

Traditional populations of applicants have become more difficult to attract because of increasing societal changes. More than ever before private industry and security firms are luring qualified applicants with large paychecks and signing bonuses. Many agencies are also losing some of their best employees to other positions or jobs that offer a more attractive benefits package. The young adults of Generation X and Y are infiltrating the workforce at high volumes, while they typically have strayed away from the structural environment law enforcement jobs provide.

The article details the many methods of attracting new recruits and talks of the need to provide wages and benefits; Benefits are a great way to attract law enforcement professionals to your department. Advertisements, marketing literature or recruitment website should clearly state sick/personal holidays, paid holidays and vacation, tuition reimbursement, training programs and competitive base salaries with potential bonuses to reward performance. As everyone knows, benefits are expensive.

So maybe the little rube needs to read his own material; put out as a way to hire and retain police officers. Maybe he does not know his own research institute is telling communities and government what it takes to attract and keep qualified police officers? He has ranted about excessive vacation days being provided to employees in San Diego; never acknowledging the fact we have a combined bank of sick and vacation time and in most cases have fewer days than other cities. He rants about having excessive paid Holidays; yet we have the same or in some cases fewer holidays than other cities. Salaries; don't get me started with the idiocy I have heard from this rube about our "Excessive" wages. What is his plan for "Potential bonuses to reward performance?" I almost wet myself laughing at this one. The article even acknowledges what we all know; benefits are expensive. Maybe the little rube missed this edition of "Answering the Call?"

In the Winter 2008 issue of the "Answering the Call" there is a letter from the editor talking about the economic crisis in the United States. Apparently the little rube missed this one too. The editor, Stephanie Donaldson, VP of Education Services for the Law Enforcement Development Center of The Performance Institute wrote; "Over the past few months, the US and global financial crisis has worsened, dramatically affecting many state and local municipalities. In an economic downturn, too often agencies make reactive decisions to satisfy an immediate need or to balance the budget, only to compromise public safety in the long-term. With the large percentage of budget cuts around the country, departments are wondering how they will maintain public safety with less money and are looking for innovative ideas to ride out these economic hardships." Someone tell the little rube, the cuts he is demanding from the SDPOA and its members, IS COMPROMISING PUBLIC SAFETY IN THE LONG TERM!!!!

When you see the little rube and have an opportunity to ask him a question, use these analyses from his OWN "Think Tank" or "Government Efficiency" institute. Take these articles with you and share them with those in attendance at whatever gathering he is preaching to. People believe this rube and think he is all knowing and the answer to the economic problems facing San Diego. He is a blow bag and full of hot air. He espouses theory and rhetoric as fact and cannot back up with substance anything he preaches.


Anonymous said...


Another GREAT post. The "Little Rube" sounds like he's trying to outdo the Emperor(I mean Jerry).

My son lives in his district. I'll make sure he reads this and attends his next meeting.

Thanks again for all you do,

Tom Rey

Jack No Name said...

Remind me never to get on your bad side!!! Great post Steve. Another example of the lies the politicians in San Diego get away with.

This "Rube" is a real jewel...

mira mesa resident said...

The little rube is another Mike Aguirre flash in the pan. People will tire of his lack of substance. Great insight Steve into this idiot & who he is. The poster child for a carpet bagger politician.

Fed-Up with Status Quot said...

The POA needs to be involved in these types of meetings and hold this rube accountable. Why don't we see stuff like this form our association? Why is it I get more information here than I do on the POA Forum? I have grown bored with the same 15 people who rant and pat each other on the back for nothing.

Steve, thank you for taking the time to do this for us. I have learned more from your blog than I have from talking to any board member (most don't have a clue) who often tell you they will "look into it" and get back to you.

We need public education and appearance to be effective. When was the last time anyone saw a board member at City Council on a regular basis? I know you and Bill Nemec use to go all the time. We need POA Board members who know what they are talking about and show up at the types of events you pointed out here. I get they all have kids. It was a decision to run to represent us. If they can't do the job, resign and allow someone who is willing to make the time do the job. I'm tired of seeing other people at these events and not our board members.

Keep up the quality posts Steve. I appreciate them as do many of my co-workers.

Carl Starrett said...

Let me see if I get this right...DeMaio says that no data was provided. Emerald says raw data was provided, but it us up to the City to hire the actuarial professionals to interpret the data.

To me, it does not seem appropriate that any of these issues should have been discussed in executive. So if you want to shut DeMaio up, it seems to me that the data can be provided in a very public forum such as an open meeting.

Does SDCERS have any actuarial that it has obtained at its own cost? If so, shouldn't that be turned over rather than force the City to spend money on duplicate efforts?

Anonymous said...

DeMaio's name is pink. Oh, that's classy.

Anonymous said...

For Carl,

Of course SDCERS has actuarial studies. They use actuaries endlessly to compute the soundness of the system, to make recommendations to the Board, and to predict the future based upon experience studies.
However, SDCERS does not necessarily have access to the City's "costs" of providing DROP. In addition, why should SDCERS and members of the TRUST bear to cost associated with this analysis. That responsibility belongs to the plan sponsor, the city of San Diego, NOT the plan administrator, SDCERS.
Furthermore, DROP was and is a negotiated retirement benefit, hammered out through the meet and confer processes over several years with the bargaining units for labor groups. The issues over DROP should be settled there. The recent, yet not final court ruling on June 25th moves the parties in that direction. Back to the table for good faith discussions. I'll add both public safety groups have offered to pay one-half the cost associated with a study to determine DROP's true cost with a mutually agreeable actuary... that leaves one-quarter of such a study to the taxpayers...yet who continuously balks, the city, not the labor groups!

sparky.sandiego said...

Carl Sterrett; you make assumptions that are not correct. First and most importantly no one is attempting to "shut Demaio up" in any way. The little rube has a way of spinning and pontificating out of both sides of his mouth. What he asked for and has been provided is "raw data" related to DROP. As stated by the person who posted above; the cost to SDCERS and the cost to the City are completely different and not a focus or function for SDCERS to render. The City has an obligation and responsibility to conduct this audit and it has refused to do so for going on 5 years now. The City went so far as to place in the MOU of Fire they would conduct an audit and make this determination. To date; this has not been done. Why?

I will speculate and say it is because the City knows the answer and do not want to share with the taxpayer the truth. BUT; the City has made changes to Retiree medical and other reductions and elimination of benefits to force those nearing retirement and the end of DROP to leave. Why? Simply to skew the numbers to assist them in making it appear DROP is not cost neutral. How did they do this? The actuarial assumptions are such that people who enter DROP will stay 5 years and those who enter DROP will do so close to or at 90%. By forcing people to leave early and enter DROP ahead of when most planned; the numbers will show a cost to SDCERS. There will be NO cost to the City for their idiocy. In the long run, the cost to the City will be in a larger ARC due to fewer participants and the need to make up the money the City is loosing because they created a circumstance where people chose to leave to preserve wages and benefits they would loose if they chose to stay.

The mayor is short sighted and does not care what happens in the years after 2012. He is like all the others; focus on how it makes HIM look today and let the poor sap who gets elected to replace him in 2012 figure out how to pay the bills.

SDCERS has provided all of the necessary and required information to the City for them to make the determinations the little rube is asking for. He is on a soap box pontificating as he always does.

The information discussed in closed session most likely centered on negotiations and the City's vs SDCERS views of their respective responsibilities and legal issues. ALL of these issues normally and rightfully discussed in closed session.

Anonymous said...

Here is some sobering information from SDCERS...

In the month of June, Member Services met with and processed 466 members for retirement. With the final statistics completed, a total of 618 people retired from January through June 30, 2009. This is an exodus never seen before, prompted by the change in interest rates and health care for City employees. The vast majority, 87% or 538 of the 618 employees, retired from the DROP program.

Guess Jerry got what he wanted while the citizen of San Diego will have to deal it on a day to day basis.

Little Engine Who Could said...

Excellent post. Heres a question for all of you... The following incidents did not make the front page of the U-T (please correct me if i'm wrong): A gang member on PCP rolled up to Officer Hayes's patrol vehicle and fired six rounds into it missing him by inches; Det Zizzo and Det Valentine took rounds into the windshield of their UC car by a shelltown gangster and engaged in a brief gunfight; Officer Scott's OIS where a man stabbed his wife to death, gutted a k-9, then charged Officer Scott subsequently meeting his fate; and Officer was shot at during a traffic stop on Ocean View Blvd (thankfully not hit); the MTS shooting received minimal U-T coverage, and there are countless more. NOW, our inflated and inaccurate salaries, THAT was a priority for the U-T, stirring up much public anger towards us and the fire department (just read the U-T blog/comments posted by citizens). The city government is against us... The newspaper is against us... a large number of citizens are against us... Why does anyone even want to work for this city?? There's nightlife and beaches elsewhere too you know. The people of San Diego need to wake up or I feel we are heading for another exodus of educated, experienced officers who are fed up (LIKE MYSELF).

Carl Starrett said...

Listen guys, I'm on your side. You don't get paid enough for what you do and your chief is a completely tool. People in your ranks come to me to because they are struggling with their bills and I've advised officers who were struggling with the issue of retirement and their future. These days, I am primarily a bankruptcy attorney.

I don't follow City politics too closely because I live in the County. However, the best way to handle someone like the "Little Rube" is to get back in their face with the facts. If he wants the raw data, give it to him. If he wants the actuarial data, give it to him. Work with the facts and get aggressive with him rather that just using an insulting label.

As for Marti Emerald, her attack was unimpressive. Either DeMaio is lying or telling the truth about the cooperation he is receiving.

sparky.sandiego said...

Carl; we can agree to disagree. It is apparent from your writings you are not as informed as you could be. People across this nation are struggling to pay their bills. Some because they over-extended and with the reduction in wages, increases to benefits, increased costs for credit and uncertainty we find officers in the same boat. We make a decent wage. We are way behind when it comes to being provided adequate medical, dental and eye insurance at a reasonable cost (like most other citizens but not like other law enforcement agencies).

I do not subscribe to your notion our chief is a "tool." Chief Lansdowne is playing the cards he has been dealt in this game. He is at a disadvantage; the mayor has a receiver in his ear and his observers are watching the game on TV as it plays out live; telling him what the chief's hole cards are. The chief cares deeply for the men and women of this department and the citizens of San Diego. He has had his hands tied by the mayor and the collapse of the nations economy. He has done "more with less" than any chief before him. (This is a city mantra)

I agree the little rube should be provided the raw data. He has been. I disagree it is SDCERS responsibility to delve into the books of the City to conduct the audit and actuarial study necessary to determining the cost neutrality of DROP. This is the responsibility of the City.

Marti Emerald was tempered but on point in her comments to the little rube. She was abiding by the rules of closed session and it was obvious for experienced observers she was, as was the little rube, not at liberty to discuss this issue in open session.

I would urge you to view the post on this BLOG; June 6, 2009"The 'little rube' is at it again"
You may find the origin of "The Little Rube" label.

Thank you for reading and commenting. You are always welcome to challenge, comment and suggest better ways for me to better present information or us to do a better job serving the taxpayer.

San Diego Detective said...

WOW!!! You are right on with this Steve. You are in the wrong line of work. You need to go to work where you can write like this every day. If more people took the time to research the idiots in elected positions and how they talk out of both sides of their mouths we could hold them accountable. This guy is the biggest liar I have seen in San Diego Politics.

Keep writing Steve. I love every one of these. I have been reading for a month or so and decided to post my comments so you understand people are paying attention and we are reading your stuff.