OK let me first give this disclaimer; I don't subscribe to the Union Tribune. I do not have a bird or cat for which I would need this rag to line the respective bottoms of the cage or litter box. So I missed the conversation the mayor had with the editorial board as published in Sunday's edition. I was alerted to the comments of the mayor yesterday and read on-line with interest, his perception of the relationship he has with the SDPOA. I touched on my perception of his relationship with police officers in a prior post, but now I want to take a few minutes and touch on HIS perception. Remembering, a man's perception is his reality.
I found his comments to be completely self-serving and very delusional. What planet is this guy living on? The mayor was asked, "What is your relationship with the police union right now, after the 6 percent cuts that were imposed on them last year?" I laughed as I read his reply. "Well I don't think my picture is up in their office anymore." Someone needs to clue this pompous, arrogant, ego inflated person his picture NEVER WAS on the wall in any office at the SDPOA. He was a pathetic chief and has been an even worse mayor. The only purpose to have a photograph of him on the wall at the SDPOA would be for sport. But what is telling about his first comment is he attempts to make light of this relationship.
The mayor continues, "You know, I've always have a good relationship with the POA." I laughed again as I continued reading his attempt at answering this question. Please tell me WHEN this mayor had a "good relationship with the POA." I am all ears mayor. You are kidding right? I understand your attempt at being political but for Christ's sake, could you just this one time be honest? YOU HAVE A COMPLETELY PATHETIC, CAUSTIC, DEEPLY DIVIDED, ARROGANT relationship that LACKS TRUST, HONESTY, ETHICS AND COMMUNICATION. You have failed in every manner in every context from the day you announced your run for mayor.
He continues, "I still respect them tremendously." OK, somebody help me out here. He still respects us tremendously. In spite of; help me here; anybody? We refused to drink his cool-aid but he still respects us? We refused to bargain away vested benefits, for lesser, more expensive ones, but he still respects us? We refused to accept three out of four contracts when the bargaining did not even come close to being conducted in good faith and then forced upon us, but he still respects us? But, he still respects us tremendously? Clearly he does not think before he responds to questions.
Now it gets interesting and I will attempt to choose my words carefully but will call it as I see it. To my firemen friends; I respect the job you do and the challenges you have faced and the decisions you have made. Having said that; we can agree to disagree with each other as it relates to accepting or not, the screwing at the hands of the mayor over the past several years. While our needs are different and our views of what is important is somewhat different; I believe the differences in our contracts provided firefighters the ability to lessen the pain and allowed for them to agree to accept the cuts demanded by the mayor over the years. I do see this coming to an end in the coming months and they will understand our plight from a personal standpoint when that occurs.
The mayor finishes his answer with the following; "But I think the association has to be more realistic. If the entire city is suffering, you can't say, 'But we're the police, we deserve everything.' We didn't see the firefighters doing that. They joined us. We were happy they were a partner in this; they didn't want the pay cut anymore than the police officers did. But they saw the way the city was going and they understood." So we need to be more realistic? In what way mayor? We need to understand it is customary for a past chief of police to screw his old department and be realistic that is just the way it is suppose to be? We are supposed to be more realistic about our expectations of honest and ethical behavior from our mayor? What in the hell are you trying to say here mayor?
Where in the hell did you come up with this one; "But we're the police, we deserve everything?" If memory serves me, when I was on the SDPOA Board, we offered more than was asked for and were turned down because in the words of the city's labor negotiator/lawyer; "The city council does not have the ability to understand what you are trying to do. This has become political and they do not want to accept your offer." To follow up on this thought, if my information is correct, the current SDPOA Board offered MORE than the mayor was seeking and were turned down because it was not what the mayor wanted and in the manner he wanted it. Here again the mayor attempts to make the members of the SDPOA out to be greedy, demanding thugs who only care about themselves. He again fails to be truthful and again uses the press to keep the public's opinion negative toward police officers and the association.
Then the mayor goes into his false praise and platitudes toward firefighters. "They joined us." "We were happy they were a partner in this; they didn't want the pay cut anymore than the officers did." Let's be clear of the truth here. Firefighter's crafted a deal that best suited their members. They did so because their contract allows for virtually unlimited overtime and the ability to make the money back that was taken. Firefighters by and large all have second jobs that in many cases pay them more than their firefighting job. The joke in many circles is firefighting is their part time job that allows them to have higher paying real jobs. Police officers on the other hand have a very difficult time taking on a second job, especially if working patrol. The rotating shifts, extended shifts and court do not allow for part time jobs in most instances. The availability of overtime is limited to special events (Padre, Charger, SDSU Football and the assortment of other civic events held every so often in the city) and if an officer is lucky he or she may get 3 or 4 events a year. This does not even scratch the surface of the cuts forced upon police officers in the last contract.
The bottom line is the mayor is delusional if he thinks for a second he has ANY type of relationship with police officers or our association. He lacks credibility and he has proven to be unethical as well as vindictive; a terrible combination for a politician who holds the cards. As a strong mayor he is a complete and utter failure. He is a bully and a liar. He will spin, fabricate, diminish, and exaggerate information to suit his needs. His people will intentionally put out miss information and exaggerations to bolster a point by the mayor and when called on the inaccurate information will simply say the exaggeration was to help with "context."
The mayor jokes about his not being welcome among the ranks of police officers. He then, as above, lays blame for this poor relationship at our feet. The truth is the mayor knows we know. We know who he is; we know what he is; we know all his dirty little secrets; and the fact he is unethical and vindictive and has lied so much he is no longer capable of identifying the truth. Because of this, the mayor knows we know and he is uncomfortable placing himself in our presence. He is uncomfortable among us because he cannot stand before us knowing we know. He cannot justify his actions toward us. He cannot justify nor back up his lies to and about us. He cannot walk among us, as he is no longer one of us. He has betrayed the honor of the badge and is no longer worthy of having one. He knows this and he knows we know.
The mayor also addressed the low numbers of police officers who are employed by the city. The question, "The police union is talking publicly about the low ratio of officers to the city's population. How does San Diego have one of the lowest big-city crime rates with one of the lowest ratios?" I wanted to puke reading the garbage he spews on this one. "This goes back quite a ways, before I was chief." Yes it does and when you were chief you demand on may occasion moving to a 2 per 1,000 ratio as being optimum and necessary to combat crime in a safe manner. "We have always had the lowest ratio for a major city. But we have an understanding that it's not the number of cops you put on the street, it's what those cops do when they're on the street." We have an understanding that it's not the number of cops you put on the street, it's what those cops do when they're on the street. Who is this "We" you are talking about? In a short period of time, while trying to increase the numbers of officers after the exodus of officers in the late 70's, San Diego lost more officers killed in the line of duty than any other city in the nation. We are headed there again and this is acceptable? "When they are tied to community groups and the neighborhoods, and they work with them, you're always going to get a better result." This has nothing to do with having adequate numbers of officers to safely police a city the size of San Diego. Who will be the next officer killed in the line of duty because there was no one to cover or assist when the call is made? Who will be the officer killed in the line of duty because he or she was so tired from a lack of ability to take a day off due to staffing? Who will be the officer killed in the line of duty because the mayor repeatedly cut wages, benefits and the number of officers and the lack of experience resulted in a critical mistake at an incident? "You can look across the country and you will find the police departments that have huge ratios of police officers. You go to Detroit, they probably have five or six officers per thousand people, and we have 1.6." He we go again with the spinning of reality and the truth. We may have 1.6 per thousand if fully staffed as 2,178 officers. At the current number of sworn police officers working for the San Diego Police Department we do not make it to ONE (1) per thousand. "Right now, in times that are tough, we just put a hard freeze on all employees being hired, including police officers. We've seen the Police Officers Association put out a statement saying people's safety is going to be jeopardized, and all of that. I don't believe that." Easy for you to say mayor. You are not out working the street, trying to manage the calls for service and crime that is occurring in the streets of San Diego. You are not working grave-yards in Mid-City Division with eight (8) officers or Northeastern Division with four (4) officers. You are not the one responding to a Domestic Violence call where multiple callers are reporting a fight, ALONE at three in the morning and the nearest cover unit is twenty minutes away from another division. This police department is grossly understaffed and the lack of staffing is unsafe for officers as well as citizens.
The irony of all this is the mayor so proudly signed a letter of intent to train police officers from Mexico at our police academy. The comment was made there would be no officers pulled from the field to do this training, as we already have trainers at the academy who will conduct the training. This is true; plus, since we are in a hiring freeze and we are not training police officers for the citizens of San Diego, we might as well train officers from Mexico. What I find pathetic about this endeavor is there is nothing concrete as to what the program will cost, who is paying for it, how many dedicated officers there would be conducting this training or what the training would even entail. Simply amazing; only in San Diego can this happen.
The mayor is setting the stage for next year's negotiations with his revised 5 year forecast. His stated intention is further cuts and reductions. He has stated publicly there will be deep cuts to staffing and services. He has not mentioned cuts to wages because he is saving that for negotiations. His plan of attack will be to again make police officers out to be the bad guys, greedy and demanding and unwilling to sacrifice. He will recommend upwards of 150 layoffs of police officers. You know, all those "Enthusiastic" new officers. He will then offer that if officers accept a 4% pay cut, the jobs will be saved. It is going on all around the country right now. This mayor will simply copy and paste the page from that play book and again stick it in our bum. His only way of dealing with the deficit is to cut. He knows no other way.
The mayor will then take his shot at firefighters. The part of their contract that guarantees them overtime is the clause in the contract requiring four (4) people to actively man a truck. If that is removed and the department moves to three (3) per truck, the overtime is gone and firefighters are not only now losing a precious income but they gave up ALL of their holidays as a cost savings during their last contract and will be much further behind us at that point. This will devastate the fire department and will set them back 25 years. That group the mayor so proudly points to as "team players, who get it," will now be the ones standing ready to set a back fire in hope the wind will change and burn his house down.
The rest of the interview has the mayor pimping the expansion of the Convention Center and the Chargers. He just does not get it. Three more years of hell at the hands of this politician. The damage will continue and the hole deeper before he walks away. Who will be left and whose name will be etched on the Memorial in front of Headquarters?