Saturday, June 13, 2009

DROP “Bottom Line” Illusive

It is refreshing to see a news reporting agency in San Diego refusing to take the word of elected people when writing stories about people, events and issues. My case in point is the latest story by Rani Gupta of the Voice of San Diego; "The DROP Bottom Line" and her questions about DROP and what it costs. Her refusal to accept the numbers of city officials, union members or others is refreshing and hopeful for the truth in journalism in San Diego. Take some time and read her article and you will see what I am speaking of.

Ms. Gupta's questioning is clearly placing stress on the mayor and his minions. Their ability to flippantly pop off with numbers and assertions not based in fact, has finally caught up with them. They are now going to have to justify their baseless babbles in the press, but also court. Did you all note the highlighted third paragraph? This is taken from the mayor's lawsuit against the SDPOA and DROP. Playing fast and loose in legal papers is surely to come back to bite the mayor and city in their collective asses.

I have a prediction of what will soon happen to Ms. Gupta and her ability to get answers to these pointed and hard hitting questions. Ms. Gupta will soon be put on hold when calling for answers to questions; she will have calls go unanswered and not returned; she will be ignored at press conferences; and she will be black listed by the mayor as a person to exclude from receiving any and all information. It will soon be clear how vindictive this person is when someone has the courage to stand up to his antics.

The use of Lamont Ewell's analysis of DROP in 2005, as a basis for argument by those of us who believe in its usefulness is as Gupta points out, far from definitive. Many pieces of the puzzle are missing with this analysis but it is a fair representation of the value of this employee benefit. Ms. Gupta moves past this and the comments of the mayor and his people and demands supported facts; facts that cannot be provided because they do not exist. Ms. Gupta is not beholding to the Downtown Establishment, Republican Party; Lincoln Club or the mayor and his many minions and has shown her ability to sift through the lies and double speak.

There is hope for the future if reporters like Ms. Gupta keep the pressure on and demand facts to answers. Holding those accountable to the public is in the best interest of all of us. If any person entrusted with the taxpayer's money and interest, find it cumbersome or difficult to provide facts to answers, then find another position in life and get out of public office. The taxpayer and all who serve them deserve better.

Suggestions for Change

Ranting for the sake of ranting gets old and annoying to most people after a certain period. I could rail on about the city council, mayor, city attorney and life in general, all without ever offering a suggestion for change or something positive. There is so much wrong with San Diego's political arena and those who occupy the seats of power; it provides a landfill full fodder. But, today I want to offer some suggestions from the cheap seat I occupy in this game of life.

The mayor continues to posture and play to the press and taxpayer; painting himself as the reform mayor who is reeling in the unions, employees; their wages and benefits and all that is bad with America's Finest City. His biggest supporters; the Union Tribune, San Diego Republican Party, Lincoln Club, Downtown Power Brokers and the San Diego News Network supporting his every appearance. These groups fawn all over his every word (note for future reference I did not say action). The mayor and city council slash pay and benefits of City Employees; the Union Tribune, San Diego News Network and local TV stations jump on the story as if Osama Bin Laden had been apprehended by an enthusiastic rookie cop recently hired to fill one of the hundreds of positions vacated by the mayor's latest cuts to pay and benefits. The mayor stands at the podium espousing to the gullible public all is well.

Things are not well in San Diego, no matter what the mayor and press report. The public's safety is not at the forefront of the mayor or council's agenda and if you think otherwise you better wake up and soon. The exodus of three hundred (300) public safety personnel from the ranks of the police and fire departments, in short order is going to have a negative impact on our collective abilities to provide BASIC safety services. You need to forget the other services once taken for granted that were supplied by storefront officers and fire safety personnel. The mayor's quip; "Replacing Experience with Enthusiasm" is the biggest joke of the century in San Diego, next to the mayor "feeling our pain" by taking a six percent reduction to his $192,464 combined salary. This coming summer is going to be long, hot and dangerous for citizens and public safety officers alike.

The recruiting units for both the Police and Fire Departments are working feverishly to locate those individuals who meet the basic qualifications for hire. The mayor and others babble on about the number of candidates available and see no problems in quickly finding those willing to fill the many vacancies. I have a news flash for you all; the San Diego Police Department hoped against all hope to find fifty (50) qualified candidates for its next academy. They have struggled to clear 36 and have run out of time to locate 14 more to meet their goal. This is just the beginning of what is in store for public safety in San Diego. The mayor has helped immensely with drawing qualified candidates to San Diego by proclaiming his need to lay off 124 police officers and an equal number of fire fighters to close the budget gap created if the Governor takes money from San Diego to balance the State's budget. Those smart enough to connect the dots (the same candidate sought by other agencies) sidestep San Diego and go to other jurisdictions offering a more stable working environment and better pay and benefits. Thanks again mayor for the positive words and support.

So now that I have gotten my days rant off my chest and I can take a deep breath, I want to offer some suggestions for change. Before anyone gets their underwear in a bunch reading my suggestions, I am thinking out loud and throwing suggestions into the air for dialogue. When I was on the SDPOA Board I was able to cajole the City into using the "Interest Based" model of negotiations. In this type of bargaining, ideas are offered from each side and no value judgment is made on the proposal or idea. The ideas or suggestions are placed on a board and later discussed in depth for their value in meeting the needs of both sides. So as you read some of my suggestions or ideas for change; do not dwell on the suggestion; think of what, how or if, this idea or suggestion could provide BOTH sides a benefit. To digress; we found in 2005, the City and their negotiators worked this system very well and we (collectively) came up with viable ideas for a contract that in the end never materialized because those in elected positions could not get their heads out of the box and understand the concepts of change.

  • Making amends with Police Officers; change line-up times to 15 minutes after the hour and end of shift times to 15 minutes before the hour. This would allow officers to prepare for their shift while on the clock and finish their shift as well by being on the clock. This was the basis of the FLSA law suits that faltered in San Diego but have been successful in every other court in America. This small recognition by the City would go a long way toward making amends and recognizing the work of its Police Officers day in and day out. (Cost; Nothing)

  • Return the "On Call" status for EVERY investigative Unit; the reduction of this way of doing business has greatly reduced the effectiveness of units to investigate crime. The savings was minimal, but the impact great. Return the "On Call" positions and allow the investigator to drive their city vehicle to the station closest to their home while on call. (Cost; Nothing)

  • Reduce the budgets of the mayor and city council offices by 33%; these bloated offices and staffs have grown to "Kingdom" status and cannot be justified no matter how hard they try. Their importance over public safety and the need to provide basic services to the taxpayer, far outweigh the need of the mayor and council to have multiple staffers doing similar jobs. (Savings; $2.7 million dollars)

  • Install parking meters and pay stations at ALL city parks and beaches; installing parking meters in beach communities (parking passes can be purchased for residents) will provide needed revenue to ensure clean beaches and necessary public safety; charging for the use of parking lots in parks and beaches will ensure those using these venues pay their fair share. (Revenue generating; Est. $12 million gain)
  • Place on the ballot an initiative to charge for trash collection; provide leadership; argue for and support this fee ($12-$15 per month) for refuse collection in the City of San Diego. (Revenue generating; Est. $42 million gain annually)
  • Eliminate subsidies for "Special Events" in San Diego; charge "full cost recovery" of costs for all events in San Diego. Require the hiring of "Private" security, using "off duty" police personnel who are paid by a private vendor who supplies workers comp insurance and salary. (Savings; $15+ million annually)

  • Provide a free city-wide WI-FI system open to the Public; this would generate revenue from advertising and enable more citizens to access the internet. (Cost; $4 million instillation - Revenue Generating; $2-$4 million annually)

These are just a few of the suggestions I have to offer. What are yours? There are many other ideas floating in the minds of people who are reticent to join the discussion. I urge you to post your ideas and to expound on those already voiced. The more discussion generated; the more ideas put out; the better chance we have at doing what the elected officials have failed to do; fixing the ills of San Diego. One voice is easy to silence; a hundred voices will be heard and hard to silence; one thousand voices will be cause for change. It starts with one; who will be the second voice to speak up?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Keeping it Safe

I finished my Internal Affairs "Training" today and took the evening off. Three days of "training" and an evening of relaxation, alcohol and a few laughs. I think it may be inappropriate for me to go much further this evening as the alcohol to plasma ratio may be a bit skewed. To ensure I do not get myself in trouble and in keeping with my pledge to refrain from profane language and maintain a professional BLOG; I will stop here and say "Good Night."

I will return on Friday evening with a post to share my thoughts, rants and impressions of the day. Until then, thank you for checking in and be safe. Remember safety is your responsibility; the mayor has stripped the San Diego Police Department of sufficient officers to provide for your safety. Our ability has been reduced to responding to "Priority" calls for emergency services where a person may be in serious jeopardy of injury… BUT… our ability to respond in a timely fashion even to these calls has been greatly reduced by the exodus of officers created by the mayor's latest imposed contract and elimination of promised benefits.

Good evening and be safe…..

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The mayor AKA Chicken-Little?

Tell me the mayor of San Diego does not remind you of the picture you have in your mind as I describe Chicken-Little; running around screaming and crying and yelling the sky is falling? San Diego is defined in this State as well as the Nation by the words and actions of its mayor. San Diego is the second largest city in the State of California and the 7th largest city in the nation and yet we have the biggest (you supply your own descriptor) as our mayor. How many of you caught Chicken-Little's comments, regarding the Governor's plan to take money from the City to close the State's budget gap? Chicken-Little is now telling taxpayers/citizens if the Governor takes the money he is planning on taking, Chicken-Little will have to lay off as many as 124 police officers and just as many firefighters. Police officers cannot strike by law because the legislature believed the public's safety was so important and cherished, we must endure imposed contracts and poor treatment at the hands of city and county politicians with little if any recourse. It appears clear Chicken-Little does not have the same belief as the legislators who crafted the law against law enforcement strikes.

Who is this (again, you provide the descriptor) kidding when he threatens laying off 124 police officers and an equal number of fire fighters? Chicken-Little is again pandering to the press and making statements not based in any semblance of reality. Reality today is our streets will not be maintained and will fall further into disrepair; libraries will be opened fewer hours if at all; longer lines will be common place when seeking permits and licenses; beaches will be cleaned less often; storefront offices will be closed and abandoned; deferred building maintenance will be put off or eliminated all together; fire inspections will be eliminated; community pools, skate parks, and libraries will be closed for the summer.

When is Chicken-Little going to start at least acting, like the mayor of the second largest city in California and doing what is right? While painful and unpopular; shutting libraries, parks, and pools; eliminating deferred maintenance and street repairs; as well as eliminating Community Storefronts and other City Services must be done long before even thinking of eliminating a single police officer or firefighter. It is completely asinine to even suggest laying off ONE SINGLE police officer or firefighter. Chicken-Little's mere utterance of such a thought, suggests his total and complete disregard for the citizens of San Diego and a clear picture of his integrity and competence.

Enough has been done to impact the public's safety and the Police and Fire Department's ability to provide services to the taxpayer. The legislature saw fit to bar law enforcement from striking for a reason. This same reason would apply to any such thought of layoffs of police officers and firefighters in San Diego. The posturing and playing to the press is pathetic and has become tiresome in the face of continued battering of the employee. The Chicken-Little
mayor is digging a deeper hole for himself every day. Day in and day out he places blame directly or in-directly on the employees of the City of San Diego. Employees have been affected emotionally, physically and psychologically by the continued battering at the hands of the city's Chicken-Little mayor. Most batterers are arrested and prosecuted for their abuses. When will this batterer be removed from and barred from further infliction of pain in San Diego?

Until the mayor, city council, city attorney and the elected state representatives, ALL take a reduction to wages and benefits; eliminate perks and fat from their offices (drivers, free coffee and meals, trips at taxpayer expense, body guards, vehicle allowances, trimming of their staffs) any further reductions to law enforcement and fire is unacceptable and CRIMINAL.

One last note; the sky is not falling as Chicken-Little declares. The stuff falling from the sky is the remnants and contents of the outhouse (City of San Diego) the mayor has blown up. Don't look up until Chicken-Little mayor is out of office.

Federal Court Ruling June 10, 2009

If you have not seen this you need to read it and understand the thinking of the City and mayor.

Union Tribune Article

9th Circuit Ruling on DROP (June 10, 2009)

City Attorney Press Release (June 10, 2009)

This is just in and I have read it once and do not see the same thing Goldsmith is espousing in his release.

6-10-2009 1745 hours (Addition to above)

OK, I have read and re-read this ruling and the subsequent idiocy of the City Attorney. I am no lawyer but being a participant in this litigation and involved from the beginning the question as I understood it before the court was in simple terms; "Was the 3.2% equivalent being taken from DROP participants legal?" The SDPOA believed this reduction from DROP participants to be punitive and illegal. We believed at the time the City was TAKING AWAY a benefit without providing something of a similar value. Non-DROP participants had the 3.2% placed into their retirement accounts and the money was of a benefit to them. DROP participants LOST the money as it was taken and no benefit was provided.

I do not see anywhere in this decision from the 9th District that it opined DROP was NOT a VESTED BENEFIT. Someone help me out here. Goldsmith is all over this as a ruling in the City's favor saying it vindicates him and the City and they can now move to eliminate, change or reduce DROP. I do not see it!!!! On Pages 6924 and 6925 the judge frames the issue and on page 6926 she clearly discusses "DROP Salary" not the DROP as a benefit. I must not understand the English language or writings of judges or attorneys. Maybe I am in the wrong field of work to be making decisions on case law and legal rulings since I am a complete idiot in this area.

6-10-2009 2100 Hours

I appear to have read the ruling correctly. Several attorneys have reviewed the ruling and agree there is nothing in the language that deals with Charter Section 143.1 nor the question of DROP and it being a vested benefit. The City Attorney is AGAIN jumping the gun and making foolish statements and putting out incorrect information. This is reminiscent of the last four years with Mike Aguirre. This is a sad state of affairs to have to deal with such incompetence not only in the mayor's office but the City Attorney's office at the same time.

The local news reporting on this issue is a feeding frenzy and also indicative of the lack of experience and knowledge of REAL Investigative reporting and the ability to do their due diligence BEFORE putting false information out to the public.

The scary part of all of this is with the total inept, pathetically incompetent people in positions of authority within city government; even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. God forbid when this incompetent lot gets something right.

Check VOSD article

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Another Clown on the Block

Did you catch the article on San Diego News Network (SDNN) titled "Pocket Change: a DROP in the bucket"
written by Steven Bartholow? It is another in a long list of false, misleading, slanted, caustic, pathetic examples of the lengths the Downtown Establishment, Republican Spin Machine, San Diego News Media and professed experts will go to convince the taxpaying public; City Employees are taking them for a ride.

Erik Bruvold is one of the professed "experts" quoted by Bartholow in his article. Bruvold is President of the National University System Institute for Policy Research (What?). If Bruvold is an "expert" in something I would be interested in knowing what that expertise is in; it is surely NOT the DROP or anything to do with San Diego City Employee Benefits.

In the article, "Pocket Change: a DROP in the bucket" Bruvold starts out saying; "The DROP program is a testament to the adage that one has to look at all the moving parts. Adopted by local and state governments throughout the U.S., on the surface it can – and I stress the word can – be an attractive program. Obligated to make the pension payout anyway, the employer can retain a valued and experienced employee and cap pension payouts." So as I read this first paragraph I am thinking someone finally gets it and understands the reasons for the DROP and how it works. I was curious to his emphasis on "can" and continued to read his analysis.

Bruvold continues; "The actuarial issues can give one a headache. But at their heart is the question of whether the specific DROP program works in concert with other benefits to encourage employees to retire at an earlier age and, if so, whether that earlier retirement age is balanced by reduced pension payouts so that the total lifetime payout to the employee remains generally the same. Well-constructed plans coordinate the various aspects of the retirement benefit plan so as to ensure that the plan remains cost-neutral." I'm now having my doubts Bruvold knows what he is talking about. The statements above gave me a headache. Bruvold is absolutely correct in his assertion well constructed plans are cost neutral. The rest of the babble is just that. Where these "experts" come up with this stuff is beyond me.

Then Bruvold throw the gauntlet down and says; "Then there is San Diego." Yes Erik, then there is San Diego and all the professed experts; professed "Investigative Reporters"; professed News Reporting Agencies and News Papers; professed "Editors" penning editorial after editorial on the Cadillac Benefits of City Employees; and the professed "expert" Eric Bruvold. Please excuse me while I go rinse my mouth out; the thoughts of all this caused a VERP (Vomit-Burp).

Here we go with the spin cycle, exaggerations, and completely false information being put out as fact to the taxpaying public by a professed expert. Bruvold writes; "Taxpayers in San Diego are presently burdened with a plan where nearly all the incentives encourage an earlier and earlier retirement but which do not also reduce benefit levels. The laundry list of features encouraging early retirement include allowing many employees in the past to buy extra pension credits at an artificially low price, lifetime retiree health benefits which are 100% protected against inflation, very generous guaranteed rates of return for the money employees put into their DROP accounts and caps on pension payouts after employees work a certain period of time. Together these can allow a public safety officer who started with the city at age 20 and who purchased five years of service time to enter DROP at age 45 and retire at 50 receiving a pension payout of 90% of his or her final salary, a DROP account comprised of 5 years of that pension payout guaranteed to earn 7.75% interest, and lifetime guaranteed healthcare." Please explain to me where these idiots come up with this crap?

Someone please call this dork and tell him his buddy the mayor took lifetime medical away from employees even though those hired before 1986 are NOT covered by Medicare and it was a promised benefit for which we agreed to leave Social Security to help save the City money. While you are talking to Erik tell him first there are 1 in 2000 safety employees hired at the age of 20 and if he or she was hired at age 20 they still could not retire at age 45 and would be foolish to purchase 5 years service credit since they would have over 30 years when they ARE eligible to retire. Be sure to tell this guy the purchase of service credit is cost neutral today and have been corrected for some time. Be sure to tell him NO ONE can retire and enter DROP at 45 and for him to write this is a distortion of reality and inflammatory and noting more than a way to rile the unknowing, gullible public into further directing their anger at City Employees. Ask Bruvold if he is interested in raising money for his favorite charity. If he is, tell him he just needs to last three rounds in a boxing match with a police officer (we will make it fair and let him box Binky) in the Battle of the Badges. I think we could raise a lot of money with this idea. I digress I know, sorry. I really want to box the mayor!!!!

Bruvold follows the last fairy tale with another; "The results are scary for taxpayers. By one estimate San Diego's DROP program costs has added hundreds of millions of dollars to the city' pension liability. Politically, it has set taxpayers and workers at each other's throats, reducing to nil the opportunities to have a constructive dialogue about taxes, benefits, and what the city needs to do to be a competitive employer providing high-quality services." The "estimate" this professed expert cites is a Voice of San Diego article written in 2006, by Evan McLaughlin. The information in this article has been cited in various circles to show cause for eliminating DROP. What all these experts fail to disclose is the information provided in the article and attributed to Actuary Joseph Esuchanko has been proved incorrect. Esuchanko was hired by the City and our mayor to assist the past City Attorney, Mike Aguirre in an attempt to eliminate DROP (Check out billing information). Aguirre was unsuccessful in his attempts in court and Esuchanko was of little help when his testimony was attacked.

The DROP has indeed been turned into a political football the City, mayor, city attorney, local media and press and the all mighty Downtown Establishment Money and Republican Party et al, keep kicking into the sun. EACH of these entities has refused to provide accurate information in their attacks of DROP. The reason; the facts do not support their argument against DROP and fearing a backlash now of honesty, it is easier and politically expedient to continue to perpetuate the lies. To assist in the fanning of this fire, if you did not notice, is a listing of all of the City Council Members and their e-mail addresses with the comment; "Want to offer your two cents? Contact your official." Think there is an agenda here?

It does not appear the attacks will end anytime soon. It is easier to make the employee and the unions out to be at fault than to admit their incompetence and lack of intelligence have created this mess and prevents them from doing what is necessary to meet their obligation and uphold their end of the agreement. Where is the evaluation promised by the mayor three years ago of DROP to determine if the plan is cost neutral? Why has it not been done in all this time? This is the question the public should be asking the mayor. Put up or shut up mayor.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Battle of the Badges

I was driving to San Jose today with a colleague to attend a class on Internal Affairs (Don't go there, I don't want to talk about it) and we were chatting about the political climate in San Diego. I likened it to an El Nino; wet, unpredictable, ever changing and seldom for the better. The up side is we are in a drought, and could use the rain so maybe that is not a bad thing. Then we started discussing this BLOG. "What am I going to write about tonight?" I laughed and said I had a few ideas but was not really sure.

Well, I have been thinking all day about the "Battle of the Badges." I started wondering how much fun it would be to get the mayor in the ring. Think of the possibilities; retired chief now mayor taking on his number one antagonist, sergeant at the PD; all money goes to the winners charity choice; three rounds; no save by the bell; 10 oz. gloves; no three knock down rule. I figure he would need six months to train and be able to last that long in a ring. Not that it would matter; I don't think it would last that long anyway. I think we could sell out the venue (any venue); there are a ton of people who would pay to see him get his ass kicked (sadly I think just as many would pay in hopes it was my ass that got kicked) and knocked out. Think of the money that could be raised???

I would donate my share to the SDPOA Widows and Orphans Fund in the name of Jerry Griffin. Jerry has been on my mind a lot of late. He was killed in the line of duty in 2003. Jerry was a friend of mine and we enjoyed many good times and laughs; two trips to Sturgis; several trips to Mammoth, mountain biking; numerous motorcycle rides and rallies; as well as the many trips to his favorite entertainment venue. Jerry's daughter Ashley is graduating from UC Santa Cruz this coming Sunday, with a degree in Marine Biology. To honor her and Jerry, I am going to take a side trip on the way home and attend her graduation. Ashley was the apple of his eye; he loved and cherished his daughter. I hope to be there to show her we will never forget her or her dad.

Did anyone out there see the latest with our illustrious city council? At today's meeting council person Emerald won a "pay-cut reprieve" for her and her fellow council persons and their staffs. With a vote of 5-3 the council approved using $315,000 in reserve funds to stave off the 6% cut the rest of us are taking. Emerald reasoned; "We do need to have resources within council offices to be able to do the legwork necessary to make informed decisions on behalf of the public," she said. "I think these funds are vital to our being able to do our job."
He Marti; I have a news flash for you; we need resources to be able to do our job on behalf of the public and provide for their safety. I hate to burst that freshman bubble you are living in as a council person but YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT!!! The arrogance of the people elected in San Diego is unspeakable. She is serious about HER needs but has given not a single thought to Public Safety or what is happening in her council district to crime as she plays her little games. Can we add her to the card? I think I could find an able bodied female police officer who would love the opportunity to pound some sense into her. We could make it a dual card.

Then I got to thinking; maybe we could make it a triple. I am doubly sure we could sell out the Cox arena at SDSU if we added Carl De Maio to the card as the third bout on the card. We could get a police officer who would jump at the idea to punish the "Little Rube." Think of the money we could raise for the SDPOA's Widows and Orphans Fund. Is there a promoter in the house?

I think I better get up and do some push-ups and sit ups and start my training. I want to be ready when the mayor accepts my challenge. Until tomorrow; be safe and enjoy life.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What IF?

With tongue in cheek, I sit here wondering about the possibilities. What IF; the mayor acted with integrity and pulled the "Last, Best and Final" offer for a contract from the SDPOA and went back to the bargaining table? What IF; the mayor sat down at that table with an open mind and a willingness to listen without judgment to suggestions for cuts? What IF; the mayor stopped thinking "Politics" was saying what he thinks people want to hear and told the truth? What IF; the mayor stood tall and told the truth about DROP and employee benefits? What IF; the mayor actually put the public's safety as the number one priority in the City of San Diego? What IF; the mayor stopped the rhetoric and provided the realities of the public's safety after the exodus of 200 employees of the Police Department? What IF; the mayor presented a realistic budget to the public that included the necessary increases to fees and taxes to pay for the service provided? What IF; the mayor sat at the dais and actively participated in EVERY City Council meeting, showing the taxpayer he is the leader of this great City? What IF; the mayor hired Assistant Chief Javier Mainar as the new Chief of the San Diego Fire Department; saving thousands of taxpayer dollars and building morale for a department that is losing over 10% of its most experienced and dedicated of employees? What IF; you chose the next one……

I could go on with; "What IF" for hours. There is so much that is wrong with the mayor and his response to the problems of this city. I keep hoping against all hope he will slip in the shower and bump his head and have a change of attitude or see the light or get a clue or wake up or stop the nonsense or anything that would allow him to see what he has done is not working and only making things worse. I refuse to believe inner circle confidants are steering him in the direction he is taking the City. When Rear Admiral Ronne Froman left the mayor's office it was the first glimpse of trouble on the 11th Floor of City Hall. The exit of Fred Sainz offered a glimmer of hope. Then the hiring of Gerry Braun and his "Ass-Kicks of Virtue" brought back indications he was in need of a new spin doctor to help navigate the press. It has not gotten any better, when last week he hired James Waring of the Sunroads debacle.

The mayor toots his own horn as he boasts "transforming organizations so that they become more effective and efficient" over the course of his 30 year career. There is not a leader alive who does it all themselves. Their successes were and are a direct result of the work and support of those below him. I said in my "VVM" post, the mayor has lost the trust, faith and support, of the workers in the City of San Diego. While the mayor may have surrounded himself with people he believes will best help him carry out his agenda; it is apparent those same people are the ones giving him advise that is destroying this once great City. The transformation taking place in the City of San Diego is NOT for the better, nor what taxpayer's want or bargained for. The mayor, in his quest to provide a more efficient workforce, has cut over 700 positions and forced an additional 350 to retire before they were prepared, to preserve benefits unnecessarily reduced or cut. This will in short order have a negative effect on the effectiveness of ALL City Departments from Water, Street, and Parks; to Police and Fire.

If I were able to sit and talk openly with the mayor, I would tell him it is not too late to change course. I would tell him to pull back the imposed contracts of Local 127 and the SDPOA and sit down at the table with them. I would tell him to open his mind and listen to their ideas for cuts and changes to their contracts. I would tell him to trust them and believe they do understand what the economy has done and what needs to be done to stay afloat. I would tell the mayor to leave his ego at home and think outside of the box of ordinary collective bargaining and work toward "YES." I would tell the mayor there is no downside to telling the truth. To do anything less is cowardly and what is wrong with politics. I would tell the mayor he has no time to waste and if there is any hope of keeping this City together and safe from ruin he must stop the destructive course he has set and immediately change course and begin to build the trust necessary to work together and make positive changes for the good of EVERYONE who lives, works, or visits San Diego.

What IF the mayor actually did any this???