Saturday, June 20, 2009

The After Life of Police Work

Life offers us many opportunities and challenges. I am sitting on the balcony enjoying the crisp morning air and my third cup of coffee after having read the paper, when I started thinking about all of those who are leaving the police department for retirement. I picture the faces of friends; old partners; co-workers; acquaintances and those I only knew by sight; as they venture off in a new direction. A life of retirement and moving forward in front of them. Many have a sense of apprehension and fear of the unknown. They have devoted over half of their life to a career they loved and are being pushed out the door to make room for "Enthusiasm."

I want to put a different slant on this exodus of our most talented and experienced members of the department. Life offers opportunities for us to change direction at the drop of a hat. What may seem initially a set-back, is actually a stepping stone for moving in a different direction. I hike whenever I get a chance. I have hiked Mt. Whitney; Half Dome in Yosemite; Mirror Lake; Dove Lake; Parker Lake; Ice Lake, the John Muir trail and many other locations up and down California, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. One of the hikes I do often is right here in our back yard; Iron Mountain. I do it as often as I can and with friends who enjoy the hike and our many conversations directed at solving the ills of society. But, when hiking Iron Mountain there is a clearly marked trail and signs telling you not to cut the trail or leave the trail.

Hiking Iron Mountain helps you learn how to keep your footing on uneven terrain when on a steep descent and to navigate rocky trails, switch backs and long steep climbs. It prepares you for climbing a steep trail in the Sierra's or White Mountain of Arizona or climbing into the Grand Canyon. There are several variation of the trail on Iron Mountain; some longer than others; some steeper than the others; some more technical and then the main trail; wide and varied. This is important because it allows you to take different paths for a change in scenery and to help gain a variety of experiences for future hikes in faraway places.

As we near the end of our careers and prepare for the next chapter in our lives we instinctively look back at where we have been. I am more aware of the stepping stone I have covered in my path to where I am today. My career and life are filled with miss-steps and a few slips along the way. I have taken a variety of paths to gain new experiences and see more of what my career and life had to offer. I guess you could say I have a wonder lust for new adventures. I seldom stayed in the same job for more than 2-3 years. I enjoyed the varying paths and adventures each new assignment offered. I have no regrets for any of the changes of direction these stepping stones led me to. Many times I may not have been as observant, respectful or cautious as I should have been when making some of my decisions to take one path or the other but I have always been watchful of my step, the angle of the descent, the difficulty of the ascent and how to proceed. Sometimes I threw caution to the wind and let whatever happened, happen.

I have three years ahead of me before I head off into retirement. I have made the decision to stay and gut out the future and hopefully in some way help set the course for the next generation of police officer. Those that are leaving have many stepping stones before them. Each stone has its advantage and will take you forward in a different direction. With each step on a new stone you will move forward, but differently. Each of you will move at different rates to new places in your lives and maybe even change direction several times before you find the path that best suits you and the life you wish to lead after police work.

As your foot hovers over the stepping stone in front of you; be thoughtful of the experiences you have had in life and step with confidence; in the face of a small flicker of fear of what is to come. I know that ultimately each of you has given a life time of dedication to making this world a safer place and it is time now for you to encounter a new and exciting adventure. As you step forward onto that stepping stone, that stone will lead you in a different direction; follow your heart; there is no turning back. There is a life after police work.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Exodus is in Full Swing

  • Antoine "Tony" El-Assis         Traffic Motor        25 Years Service
  • Carlos Chacon            Detective / Sergeant    33 Years Service
  • Jeffrey Fellows            Detective / Sergeant    34 Years Service
  • Michael McCollough        Traffic Inv Sergeant    29 Years Service
  • Max Verduzzco            Traffic Inv Sergeant    30 Years Service
  • Robert Rohde            Traffic Inv Agent    34 Years Service
  • Bryan Manning            Traffic Inv Detective    22 Years Service
  • Kenneth Hofer            Police Officer II        29 Years Service
  • Curtis Perkins            Traffic Motor        29 Years Service
  • Stephen Webb            Traffic Motor        29 Years Service
  • William "Bill" Day        Traffic Motor        27 Years Service
  • Darryl Emerson            Traffic Motor        22 Years Service
  • Dave Hoffman            Police Officer II        29 Years Service

The above members of the department bid farewell on Wednesday, June 17, 2009. Friends, colleagues and family joined in a celebration to wish them all well in retirement at the Recital Hall in the Palisades Building at Balboa Park. Many laughs, tears and stories were shared during the recognition of 402 years of dedicated service to the citizens of San Diego.

  • Steve Robinson            Detective / Sergeant    30 Years Service
  • Sharon McNair            Detective / Sergeant    24 Years Service
  • Ted Kasinak            Detective         35 Years Service
  • Dave Walker            Detective        29 Years Service
  • Ed Martinez            Agent            29 Years Service
  • Mike Kroesch            Police Officer II        25 Years Service
  • David Lyall            Police Officer II        28 Years Service
  • Scott Lawford            Police Officer II        24 Years Service

The above members of the department bid farewell this evening, Friday, June 19, 2009. Friends, colleagues and family joined in a celebration to wish them all well in retirement in the Hall at the SDPOA. Many laughs, tears and stories were shared during the recognition of 224 years of dedicated service to the citizens of San Diego.

  • John Teft            Sergeant        30+ Years Service
  • Steve Sloan            Detective        30+ Years Service
  • Joseph Wood            Detective / Sergeant    31 Years Service

Steve celebrated his retirement with a gathering at the Rock House at the San Diego Police Pistol Range on Thursday, June 18, 2009. Steve served as a Director for many years on the SDPOA Board of Directors, serving the members and representing us during negotiations. John celebrated his retirement with a gathering at the same location, Friday, June 19, 2009. Many OMBAC friends, family and co-workers joined in wishing John well in retirement. Joe will be celebrating his retirement at the SDPOA Hall on Saturday, June 20, 2009, at 1500 hours. Joe ended his long career working as a Detective Sergeant in Internal Affairs. He will be joined by many family, friends and co-workers to send him off to retirement and wish him well.

The twenty-four (24) dedicated Police Officers above have provided a combined 717+ years of service to the Citizens of San Diego. These men and women have given the best part of their lives ensuring the safety of people they do not know. Each will tell you they did the job because they loved it and could think of nothing more satisfying than fulfilling their responsibilities as a police officer. None of them joined the department for the money or the benefits. They were called to the job for many reasons; most saying because they wanted to make a difference. They will all tell you they are leaving because the promises made by those they served have been broken and they cannot continue to serve and risk the loss of retiree medical insurance for themselves and their family. Few were ready or wanting to retire.

They each can stand tall and be proud of their service, dedication and commitment to the Citizens of San Diego. I wish to say "THANK-YOU" from the citizens and co-workers who had the pleasure and honor of working with you all. Enjoy another 30 years of happiness and joy and remember you were one of the good guys who made a difference. You will be missed greatly!!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Oath of Law Enforcement

The assault of employees continues by San Diego's mayor. There is no let up in sight and the writings are on the wall. Can someone stop by the 3rd Floor of Headquarters and see if one of the Graffiti Task Force Detectives can look into these writings? I can't help but think, based on past behaviors, the mayor and his minions won't use spray paint to boast of the next assault, like the graffiti from Logan or Shell Town gangsters when boasting of their many crimes. Seems the mayor and his staff are boasting of things to come for MEA and Firefighters Local 145. If you missed today's revelation in the Union Tribune; "Benefits for ex-city employees examined" you should take a few minutes and read it.

The disingenuous comments and pathetic argument put forth by the mayor and his minion Goldstone related to "Terminal Leave" is but another benefit under attack. To say "I told you so" is little consolation to the destruction one individual has been able to reek upon a once proud group of civil servants. The mayor; once a police officer, sued to get promoted to sergeant; sued again to get promoted to lieutenant; then promoted to captain; followed by his promotion to deputy chief then assistant chief and then the chief; it is absolutely pathetic and offensive to hear references to him and his time wearing a badge. Over the years we have had police officers go bad and commit crimes; giving a black eye to every man and woman wearing a blue uniform and the badge of a police officer. We did our level best to put on a professional face and work a little harder to re-build and re-gain the trust of the public we serve when these few failed in their oath and promise to never betray the badge, their integrity or public trust. Never has a police officer ever gone as bad as the ex-chief, now mayor. We have had those convicted of murder and rape; so for me to make such a comment is a strong statement of where we are today.

Many of you remember the International Association of Chiefs of Police or IACP. The mayor knows the group and their ideology. The IACP is very high on ethics and honor and promotes agencies re-affirming their oath on a regular basis to keep it fresh in every police officers mind. IACP'S oath, used by agencies world-wide is as follows;

On my honor,
I will never betray my badge,
my integrity, my character,
or the public trust.
I will always have
the courage to hold myself
and others accountable for our actions.
I will always uphold the constitution
my community and the agency I serve.

They follow the oath with definitions of the words in the oath;

Honor means that one's word is given as a guarantee.
Betray is defined as breaking faith with the public trust.
Badge is the symbol of your office.
Integrity is being the same person in both private and public life.
Character means the qualities that distinguish an individual.
Public trust is a charge of duty imposed in faith toward those you serve.
Courage is having the strength to withstand unethical pressure, fear or danger.
Accountability means that you are answerable and responsible to your oath of office.
Community is the jurisdiction and citizens served

I started this post wanting to point out the threats to the rest of the city work force by the mayor. Local 127 SEIU and the SDPOA had "Terminal Leave" stripped from us for our refusal to play along with the mayor's antics during the last round of negotiations. As has been his history, the mayor went all out in his assault on police officers and now blue collar workers for our refusal to kneel and kiss the ring of the master. They have seen the wrath of the egotist and his vindictive and destructive manner when not getting his way. SEIU and the SDPOA had far more TAKEN from them than the other unions who, for whatever reason, bowed and kissed the master's ring and signed contracts. The more I write about this, the more I come back to my thoughts of the "Battle of the Badges." OK I digress again, sorry.

The thing I have learned in my 30 years in law enforcement and just shy of 53 years on this earth, is a person either possesses honor; integrity; character; and courage or they don't. I have learned that a person who lacks honor; integrity; character or courage, NEVER had it and NEVER WILL. In my opinion, a person is born with these characteristics and they are re-enforced by their upbringing. A person who is honorable and acts with integrity, character and courage acts as such when alone or in a group and in all their words and actions. A person who lacks honor is not capable of acting with integrity, character or courage.

The mayor has proven over and over again his lack of integrity and character. His first statements when seeking election to fill Mayor Murphy's seat, told the entire story of the individual who is now the mayor. To refresh; when questioned about his statements and stand on the DROP and SDCERS Benefits and why he jumped on the band wagon rather than tell the truth about these benefits; he replied, "I won't get elected telling the truth. It's politics." He showed his lack of courage and character from the very beginning. He showed his cowardice and lack of character when he admitted his need and desire to perpetuate further lies and miss-truths about employee benefits and the DROP. His true lack of integrity, shown clear for all to see, and yet in San Diego seemed normal and acceptable to voters, who were blinded by a past title and the lore of stripping the civil servants of the perceived, "Cadillac Benefits." Little did people know what they were in for?

The mayor has fostered a culture lacking honor; integrity; character and courage. His actions and words have become a daily attack of workers and their benefits. His true character emits a total lack of integrity; bearing no sign of courage to do what's right; and his ego prevents him from doing the honorable thing and resigning his office to allow the City to try as it will to find a person of honor who acts with integrity; character and courage. There is no hope for this mayor to rekindle or repair his ability to lead this city. He has lost completely the trust and faith of EVERY worker in the City of San Diego. It is a sad time for San Diego; falling further and further into the abyss of hopeless despair. Go back and read the oath of law enforcement and the definitions. This is who we are; who is he?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Have You Seen My Chameleon?

The only possible explanation I can generate from my 52 ½ year old, Sponge Bob brain, of why the mayor is now championing the expansion of the Convention Center and espousing the increase to fees and taxes, is he physically changes colors when laying down with any of the following; the downtown power brokers, chamber of commerce, Lincoln club, republican money men, or special interests. What other explanation could be plausible? Why can't we see him for what he is? He is constantly changing color as he slithers from his downtown office to any of his many cronies to get his new walking orders. Who is he? What is he?

If you missed it; the latest revelation from the mayor's office is his "championing" of the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center with a price tag of ONE BILLION DOLLARS and an annual cost of $53 million. How many times can someone change colors before they start to look like a clown?

Who among us made the following statements; I'm opposed to taxes; we need to raise fees; I don't think the taxpayers are ready for new taxes; we need to raise taxes (TOT increase from 10.5% to 15.5%); In today's difficult economy I do not think it fair to raise fees; we need to raise fees for entry into Sea Word, The Zoo, The Wild Animal Park ($1 to $2 surcharge per ticket); we need a 1 % to 3 % tax on food and drink; we need a $5 surcharge for rental cars; I support Proposition 8; and oops, I am opposed to Proposition 8? Can someone catch this slippery clown and put him in a cage before he changes color yet again and we can't see him?

I had to laugh as I read the comments of Port Commission Chairman Michael Bixler who was unexpectedly surprised by the plan to expand the Convention Center and said he had a lot of questions. In a Union Tribune article, September 28, 2008, Bixler said; "There's a process that you have to follow; it's like when a tenant is moving out of an apartment and somebody new is moving in and you, as landlord, don't know who they are." But more than that, Bixler said, he does not know how the convention center plans to pay for an expansion and hotel, which together could cost $1 billion. The port also wants to receive market-rate rent from the hotel of several million dollars a year."

I got another laugh as I watched the mayor's video (1st link above) explaining his reasons for supporting the expansion of the Convention Center during this horrible economic time. His colors changing with every word and phrase; he even keeps a straight face as he details the importance of this "Vital Economic Engine." The list of committee members appointed by the mayor is long and distinguished and stacked with the usual players to ensure his desired outcome is guaranteed.

The spin machine is in full swing as the chameleon champions his cause, changing color with each word and action. Rather than rant on about this latest changing of color by the mayor, I would point to an article written by Don Bauder; who, honestly, I seldom agree with; in the Reader on June 10, 2009, titled: "Convention Liars." Bauder nails everything that is wrong with the chameleon and his latest proposed fleecing of the taxpayer.

I am fully aware of the need for a convention center large enough to attract businesses and conventions that will fill the halls and hotels and bring in needed tax dollars to the City. I understand the desire to be one of the top five convention cities in America. I am not so naive that I do not understand the desire. But for heaven's sake; when is someone going to lead this City and start setting priorities that make sense? The streets and parks in this city are in such disrepair from lack of deferred maintenance and repair; parks, libraries and pools will have to be closed in short order due to budget constraints; many of the city buildings and offices are in need of major repairs or replacement; public safety is as stressed and stretched as any in the nation and the chameleon wants to spend ONE BILLION dollars on the expansion to the Convention Center. The thought process of adding $53 million in expenses to the City's budget to pay for this expansion is nothing short of idiotic and pathetic, when viewed against the budget shortfall of this City and projected revenues for the next several years. Not to mention the Pension Debt and lack of planning for future Retiree Medical expenses.

How is it we have come to accept these types of actions from our elected mayor and city council? Why have we become so complacent we allow a mayor to tell us what we want? What will it take to get people to speak up and demand THEIR NEEDS be met before the desires of the politicians? If you could vote on the priorities of the mayor and city council, what would be your top three priorities? Would the expansion of the Convention Center be on your list, even if I were to allow you to set your top 10 priorities?

It's time to stand up and shout in a loud and firm voice; "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH; GET OUT!!!!" We were looking for a mayor when we got this chameleon.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pension Savings or Screw Job?

Did you all catch the latest out of city hall today? To forewarn you, the "Little Rube" is at it again. At 12:38 PM the Union Tribune/Sign on San Diego posted a story titled; "Report studies pension savings" which sounds innocuous. Naturally I read the article and instinctively began gnashing my teeth. The story begins by explaining how the City could save millions of dollars a year if it were to suspend the 2% Cost of Living increase (COLA) for retirees.

So as the story goes; the "Little Rube" aka Carl DeMaio, and one of the mayor's minions, Jay Goldstone asked Cheiron (A Consulting Firm) to study this part of the SDCERS benefit for retirees. Cheiron said a one year suspension of the COLA would reduce the City's unfunded pension liability by $58 million. Cheiron said if this reduction was taken the City's annual required pension contribution would be reduced by $4.5 million. Cheiron said if the City were to eliminate the 2% COLA permanently the City would cut their unfunded pension liability by $920 million. This would then lead to a reduction, according to Cheiron, of $74 million in pension contribution by the City in 2010.

So I ask myself as I read the last paragraph of the article; "When will the mayor and the "Little Rube", stop the attacks of employees and their VESTED benefits?" I am glad today my doctor saw fit to put me on blood pressure medication over my objections last year. The "Little Rube" wants an opinion from the City Attorney (I actually laughed at this part of the article) to see if the City could "legally suspend the annual increase." I am like you; waiting with bated breath for this next "Memorandum of Law" from our NEW City Attorney. So while we all wait for this new revelation I thought I would break out the calculator and do some math.

I began to look at the numbers Cheiron opined on related to the 2% COLA. I am not a math major but I think I understand the concepts of what is necessary to understand these numbers. How on earth can you make the leap from the first statement of reducing the unfunded liability by $58 million and a reduction of $4.5 million in pension contribution for a one year suspension of the COLA to a reduction of $920 million pension liability with a permanent elimination of this same 2% COLA? I'm sorry; I'm not buying these numbers or analysis. I tried every math equation I could remember from my days of school and math classes, statistics, economics and public finance. I pulled out the latest numbers from SDCERS and the pension liabilities they have reported to the City. The numbers in the article do not jibe in any way when compared to the analysis of Cheiron. Seems reminiscent of the information in the City's court filings they cannot seem to justify or explain.

What do we know about the mayor and "Little Rube"? We know BOTH of them are HELL BENT on eliminating DROP. We know BOTH of them are HELL BENT on eliminating the Defined Benefit Retirement from employees and replacing it with the less acceptable, more expensive and politically motivated Defined Contribution Retirement for new hires. We know BOTH of them are HELL BENT on reducing the work force of the City and outsourcing as many job functions as humanly possible and as quickly as possible. We know BOTH of them have NO ETHICS or understanding of HONESTY when putting information out to the taxpayer when seeking to meet their goals. We know BOTH of them are HELL BENT on doing whatever it takes to make ALL of this reality.

This is just another poke, jab, slap and kick of the dedicated city employee who had NOTHING to do with the City knowingly, willingly and unlawfully underfunding the City's Employee Retirement System. Think the lines are long for those seeking to join the workforce for this City? If you do; I have some land I am seeking to sell at a much reduced rate. I have some pictures if you would be interested in seeing them. Please; no checks or credit cards…. CASH ONLY!!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Demoting Chiefs, Captains, Lieutenants, Sergeants

The City of Fresno Police Department is demoting 25 supervisors from the rank of Chief to Sergeant. The City of Oakland is laying off 140 officers to close their budget deficit. The City of Sacramento Police Department is headed toward layoffs and the City of Stockton has sent layoff notices to 55 sworn officers; seven supervisors were demoted and 35 civilian employees of the department were also laid off. There are about 20 more examples of police agencies facing layoffs or demotions of supervisors and detectives to close budget deficits in cities across the state.

There were five (5) Oakland officers attending the Internal Affairs Class I attended in Campbell last week. I listened as they detailed the planned layoffs of officers and demotions of supervisors. This is all after the City spent over $70 million dollars hiring 170 officers to bring their department to full staffing. Those in attendance did not have much confidence things would change and they were preparing for the loss of 140 SWORN officers.

The above examples are all worse case scenarios and taken from headlines and web postings over the last couple of weeks. Many are knee jerk reactions to budget deficits from City Council's and Mayor's across the State. The threats of layoffs and demotions are scare tactics and attempts to paint unions and their members as greedy, selfish, uncaring employees who refuse to help save their respective Cities. The common theme presented by these elected members of city governments, is that the budgets of the public safety departments, is larger than all others and thus it makes more sense to cut them.

I am not saying there is not a financial crisis in cities and states across the nation. I am not saying there is not a need to share in the cuts and reshaping of budgets and expenditures. I am not implying we should not participate in reductions of wages or benefits to help keep the city afloat. But I take exception to a mayor who threatens the layoffs of 124 police officers and a similar number of firefighters from a city already decimated with the exodus of almost 250 sworn public safety officers (140+ Police and 88+ Fire) who have retired prematurely. I take exception at a city government that excludes its employees in the decision making processes of these cuts and reductions in benefits. I take exception to a mayor who is using the current financial and economical crisis to further his agenda of eliminating the DROP for purely POLITICAL reasons.

The mayor and city council has yet to share in the cuts the rest of us have been subjected to. The mayor continues to receive his retirement payments as well as his full salary. Yes, he will tell everyone who will listen he took a 6% cut to his regular pay. We are not that stupid mayor; that cut amounted to NOTHING comparatively speaking. Don't get me started on the city council and their refusal to take the same cuts as the rest of us. Their latest slap in the face, orchestrated Marti Emerald, to take reserve funds to make up the anticipated 6% cut, is a complete joke. They have yet to pare their staffs or office expenses. The mayor's office is larger than any mayor's office in City history.

When elected officials begin to act honestly and inclusive; unions and their members can join together in seeking solutions to the mounting problems facing us all. When true honesty and transparency is reflective of the mayor's every action and word; workable solutions will be openly discussed and implemented without fear. To even utter potential layoffs of safety personnel in the City of San Diego today, is indicative of how far from reality and honesty the mayor sits. We have a long way to go and with the current lack of leadership and truth in government (you do know I mean TOTAL LACK of truth) the turn-around may not occur in any of our lifetimes.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How Did This Happen?

People say we are whiners because we expect promises made, to be fulfilled. Half of Americans are expecting a retirement based on Social Security. A good many of these people have also contributed to personal retirement plans (401(k) or Deferred Comp type plans) in hopes of having enough money to live a comfortable life in retirement. When we joined the Civil Service Ranks as Police Officers, we were promised a Defined Benefit Retirement for which we contributed a percentage of salary and the City was, in theory suppose to contribute a like amount. In the early part of the 1980's, the City pleaded with us to leave Medicare in exchange for a "City Sponsored" retiree medical program so THE CITY could save money. The City promised a better plan than would be provided by Medicare upon our retirement. We stopped contributing to Medicare and the City began providing retirees with medical insurance.

Over the years the City asked to take on portions of an employee's retirement contribution, in-lieu of salary increases. This was done for three reasons; One, the cost of taking on a percent of an employee's contribution was less than a similar salary increase; Two, the employee was able to increase his/her net salary by that percent; Three, the employees base salary did not rise, keeping the City's actual contribution into the retirement fund lower. To the uneducated this seems a fair deal. To those who understand these plans the City saves a ton of money and the employee loses in the end with a lower base for which retirement is calculated. The citizens screamed because they did not understand the motives of the City and believed employees were taking advantage of the city and taxpayers; hence the "Cadillac Benefits" moniker.

Problems began to surface when it was learned the City was not making their full contribution on the employee's behalf into the Retirement System. Money was being diverted for various reasons; Faberge Egg Exposition; Republican National Convention; Convention Center Expansion; Petco Park, to name just a few. Creative financing and Manager's Proposal One followed by Manager's Proposal Two created a mess which ultimately collapsed, bringing an end to the games being played with the Employee's Retirement System and the payments owed on their behalf. Managers Proposal One and Managers Proposal Two were developed to hide the City's creative financing policies. MP1 was actually done because the Retirement Fund was creeping up on 100% funding and IRS implications would kick in if that happened. With MP1, came an increase in contribution rate for the employee which resulted in a number of senior City Employees retiring; the reason, to not have to pay the increase. MP1 was the beginning if the City's underfunding the Retirement System.

MP2 brought increased benefits and the lure of even less payments by the City into the Retirement System. The City failed to make their required contribution on behalf of the employees as actuarially determined. The City also changed the method used to determine their actuarially required payment (ARC) that was first illegal and second provided for a much lower payment. It was said; "San Diego officials cultivated and accepted a culture of financial management and reporting premised upon non-transparency, obfuscation, and denial of fiscal reality. Under the pressure of short-term needs, City officials gave expedience a higher priority than fiscal responsibility and came to view the law as an impediment to be circumvented through artful manipulation."

Enter the Union Tribune; the assault began on employees, the unions and their benefits. The UT long known for their anti-union position and extreme right bent, began an all out attack of everything union and everything employee. Facts be damned; it's the employee's and their unions that were at fault in every story. Truth and fact be damned; the Union Tribune has a Pulitzer Prize in the making. DROP and other benefits became known as "Cadillac" benefits; a fleecing of the taxpayer; criminal acts. Try as we may; fighting a war of words with someone who buys paper by the truck load and ink by the barrel; we were in a no win situation.

Dick Murphy resigned over the UT created controversy and incompetence of past City Councils and Mayor. Enter the ex-chief of police as a candidate to "fix" these problems. An Internet Web Site is created to enable the candidate for mayor to put forth his platform of "change" as he begins his campaign to fill Dick Murphy's seat. Prominent on this site was the candidate for mayor pledging to reduce retirement benefits for City Employees and eliminate DROP. The candidate for mayor continues the rampage against employees, perpetuating the lies and spin surrounding employees and their "Cadillac" benefits. The sad part of this; of all people, he had the opportunity to kick that band wagon over and tell the truth; but no. When challenged, the candidate for mayor said; "It's politics; I would never get elected telling the truth." (A clear indication of who he is and what was to come.)

The candidate for mayor / ex-chief of police eventually snows the electorate and takes his position as mayor of San Diego. Since that first day; the mayor has made it his calling in life to eliminate the DROP, reduce the City's workforce, cut wages and benefits and carry the water for the Downtown Power Brokers, Republican Party and Union Tribune. When challenged on the legality of his actions, his often used comment is; "The courts will decide." When challenged on his ethics, his often used comment is; "That's politics." When caught in a lie or found to be providing false or miss-leading information he or his office places blame at the feet of someone else.

The facts are finally seeing the light of day; the lies and spin put forth to perpetuate the political agenda of the mayor are now being torn apart. The mayor fired the first shot that turned the heads of people who have begun to question his motives and ethics. The mayor wanted to take DROP to court in an attempt to eliminate it from employees. He has filed the necessary papers to start the process. The problems with his case are already starting to shine bright. In his blinded quest to eliminate a vested benefit from the City's Employees, the mayor uses made up numbers and false information in his pleadings. His team have grasped at air in an attempt at swaying public opinion by putting out false "Memorandum of Law" and press releases, and espousing legal theory that has no legal support in reality. The fight has just begun and as the truth is shown for all to see; the mayor and his minions will soon be seen for the incompetent, unethical lot they are. Patience, honesty and the rule of law will prevail. We will soon be able to focus on our responsibilities and service to the taxpayers.