Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hiking With my Thoughts

I do a lot of hiking and in many cases I am wandering trails alone; with an inseam of 29 inches on a good day; those I hike with take one step to my three. So it does not take long for me to fall behind unless I want to jog. Those of you who know me and see me on a regular basis know that is not going to happen. So I plod along at my own pace and enjoy the solitude. Truth be told I enjoy the solitude; it allows me to think and talk to myself and formulate my many ramblings.

This past week has been filled with much activity. Between retirement announcements; parties; court hearings; Frank White's acquittal; political posturing; promotional announcements; the deaths of Fred McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, it has been a very busy week. Frank White's acquittal started the week off on Monday morning. Daily; announcements trickled out announcing retirements of personnel from almost every area of the department. Some surprise announcements caught a few people off guard, as the numbers continued to rise. At the close of Friday the tally was in the neighborhood of 150 sworn and 30 non-sworn.

Thursday evening was the celebration of Chief Cheryl Meyers' retirement after 31+ years of service to the citizens of San Diego. The poignant tributes paid to Chief Meyers illustrated her place among those who have worked for, around and with her over the years. Those in attendance were spared the presence of the mayor who turned up a "NO SHOW' after making arrangements to appear. It was better he not show his face as this was a celebration for Chief Meyers, who earned and deserved the spotlight and attention on her and her career.

Friday evening had celebrations for Sergeant Tony Johnson, Cold Team Homicide Sergeant; Sergeant Ralph Garcia, Range master; Sergeant Juan Rivera, Eastern Division; and Sergeant Dan Ellison, STAR/PAL. 120 years of combined service leaving to enjoy the next chapter in their lives. Each will be missed greatly by the men and women of the department.

Saturday evening; Sergeant Steve Stone and Detective Victor Morel, Financial Crimes Task Force, held a joint party at the Rock House at the San Diego Police Pistol Range to celebrate their 62 years of combined service to the Citizens of San Diego. Smiles, laughs and lots of great stories were shared as Steve and Vic were honored by those who had the honor and pleasure to work with these two great men. Both will be missed and their experience will be difficult to replace.

Sunday, June 28, 2009, at 3:30 PM, Officer John Russell will celebrate his retirement at the Embers Grill located at 3924 W. Pt. Loma Blvd. If you have some time, stop by and say good bye and good luck to John. John has had a great career and is one of the good guys. His calm, easy going manner did not translate into an officer who just plodded along. John was a hard working, dedicated officer who always worked hard and volunteered to do whatever it took to get the job accomplished. John's enthusiasm and experience will be missed.

As I walked along this morning I wondered where the San Diego Police Department will be in the next 90 days; six months; a year. I wondered about the promotions and transfers to fill the void left by so many retirements. I wondered what is to come from the SDPOA and the City going back to the bargaining table to discuss the mayor's obsession with eliminating DROP and other benefits. I wondered if there was any possibility of a positive outcome from this next step.

My thoughts turned to where I am headed and what should I do for the next three years. Where could I go that would be fun, rewarding and allow me to make a difference? There are so many great jobs that have been created by the exodus of our most senior people; technical positions that require experience in a variety of fields. But what so many forget is the void left in patrol; the leadership and experience that has left and will move inside to investigations and administrative jobs. There are so many options; my mind flittered from one vacant position to another; always coming back to one position. I am also going to be certified for Lieutenant again and like anyone who takes a promotional test, hope to reach that next level in my career. So as you can see my mind was all over the place as I wandered the trails this morning. I was suppose to meet two friends at 0630 hours but did not make it (Sorry Terry and Dick). Sitting with the father-in-law till 3 AM ended any thought I had of getting up at 5:45 to hike at 6:30. I hit the trail at a little after 10:00; alone in my thoughts and wishing I had walked on the treadmill at home after the first 2 miles.

In August we will see the promotion of one Chief; two Captains; six Lieutenants; fifteen Sergeants and a gaggle of Detectives. The promotions will bring more movement and change. Opportunity will present itself for those willing to step forward. Change is there for the taking. When the dust settles we will be a different department. We have an opportunity to help steer the course for the future and put our mark on the San Diego Police Department. Have you thought about what seat on the bus you wish to occupy as we begin to move forward? (No, this is NOT the mayor's train leaving the station) The next 60 days will tells us all what is ahead. Hang in there and be safe.

Parallels of a Time Past

Of late I have been spending more and more time at home taking care of my father-in-law, who is being cared for by Hospice as well. My father-in-law, Junior Parker, is a great man; 85 years old; WWII veteran who served with the 101st Screaming Eagles at Bastogne; is a Silver Star recipient; returned from the war and joined the Los Angeles Fire Department where he rose through the ranks to Chief before retiring 31 years ago this Sunday. His two brothers also served in WWII and both retired from the LAFD. He often shared his thoughts and wisdom from his days on the LAFD. There are so many parallels to what he experienced during his time and what is occurring today with the San Diego Police Department.

In 1978, my father-in-law was attending a budget hearing of the Los Angeles City Council when it was decided vacation leave would be capped; sick leave would be reduced 50%; and all leave over the cap would be forfeited. My father-in-law had served for 32 years and had NEVER taken a sick day and had accrued in excess of 1,200 hours of vacation leave and an equal amount of sick leave. He quickly crunched the numbers and realized he would lose a huge sum of money and made plans to retire. He said he had no desire to leave a job he loved and believed he had several good years left to serve the department before he retired. But my father-in-law is also a practical man who grew up during the depression and knows the value of a dollar and was not willing to lose that which he rightly earned. So, on June 28, 1978, my father-in-law retired from the Los Angeles Fire Department; before he was ready or wanting too. (Sound familiar?)

Several years before his retirement, the Los Angeles Fire Relief Association (LAFRA) made a pitch to the City Council to add a COLA to retiree pension benefits. The active members were willing to go a year without a raise to gain this benefit. The City refused, so the LAFRA took their request to the voters. They won in a landslide; giving retirees a COLA matching the cost of living published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was the first COLA for a municipal retirement system. There was NO cap to this COLA and when you take into account the maximum retirement benefit at the time was 70% at 30 years it was a necessary benefit.

Fast forward 25 years; voters in Los Angeles voted to approve DROP for Police and Fire. Their retirement system is not facing an Unfunded Liability anywhere near that of the City of San Diego. The press and public understand the system and it works. The DROP in Los Angeles started out being a 3 year DROP and has now increased to a 5 year DROP. Members must have 25 years of service to enter DROP. The reasoning is this ensures the retiree has made sufficient contributions to sustain the system and is not retiring early which negatively affects the system. The COLA still remains, but is capped at 3% and the maximum retirement benefit is 90% at 33 years of service. There are four (4) tiers in the retirement system for the Los Angeles Police and Fire Departments. Tiers two through four offer a maximum 70% retirement with 30 years of service; tier five offers a maximum 90% retirement with 33 years of service. The contribution rate is 8% of salary as long as the system remains 100% funded. If the system drops below 100% funded the employee contributes an additional 1% until the system is back to 100% funded.

So why do I spend time talking about Los Angeles? I think we need to take a look around and examine why other plans are working and what is it they are doing that allows them to maintain 100% funding. Why is it voters in Los Angeles, San Francisco and many other cities across the nation are voting to implement DROP programs for their Public Safety members? We need to take a hard look at our DROP and find out if the program is "Cost Neutral" or what the actual cost is. Once this is determined we can understand what if anything needs to be done to correct the faults with the program, so it works for both the employee and taxpayer. To do otherwise would be foolish in the face of a mayor intent on taking this cherished benefit away. We need to have the facts and knowledge to refute his repeated miss-statements and spin regarding DROP so we can make our case to retain this earned and vested benefit.

The benefits offered employees of the City of San Diego have been labeled "Cadillac" and "Excessive" and "Illegal" and so many other descriptors that I could go on and on. The reality is the benefits offered are in line with those offered across the state and nation. In many ways the wages and benefits when combined; fall well below those of workers in cities; not only within the region but the state. The cost of benefits to a San Diego employee is in many cases 10-20% higher than those of other cities. The contribution to SDCERS by employees is between 10 and 17%, while other cities pay the entire amount for the employee as part of their benefits. Many cities pay the medical insurance of employees and their families while the City of San Diego covers basic health insurance for their employees only. Top that all off with wages that are in the bottom tier of ALL cities in California.

Reasonable suggestion for changes to DROP and other benefits should come from us. What is acceptable to us that will allow for DROP to remain part of our Retirement Benefit? We could sit back and refuse to participate in discussions to protect DROP; but we would then be subject to someone else making the determination of what we should do and how it should be done. I believe we need to participate in the process of evaluation and review that will set the platform for discussions if changes need to be considered.

This is a large field of landmines when dealing with the current mayor. His spin machine is large, tested, and nuclear powered, compared to that of the SDPOA. The mayor's army of henchmen is salivating at the thought of eliminating DROP. Their belief is they can spin the analysis to further turn the taxpayer/public against us. That is why we need to ensure our participation in the analysis and review of the plan. Knowledge is power and the more we have related to this issue the better prepared we will be to combat the spin machine and lies that are sure to surface.

If you want to ensure DROP is available when you reach 50 years of age, I would urge you to get involved today and offer your time to the SDPOA. You cannot afford NOT to MAKE time to involve yourself. If you want a DROP, you must sacrifice your time and energy. Do not expect "the other guy" to do it for you.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Confused? Join the Club!

Today's long waited court hearing on DROP took place this morning. The judge rendered his decision and from the looks of it, was not very clear in his ruling. Case in point is the dueling press releases from the City Attorney and the SDPOA. During the hearing today, I received text messages from someone who was in the court. Who the person is does not matter; but what concerns me is the belief this person took away from court is similar to what the City Attorney reported in his press release. As the judge spoke during the hearing I received messages reporting the discussion. We all know how short text messages are and what type of information can be relayed in them. I would venture I received one hundred such messages and as they were coming in, I was becoming more and more concerned.

The last text I received was as follows; "judge acknowledges sdpd personnel are the best and have had their pay and benefits chopped away at for the last several years but he is not here today to rule on that. poa ordered to back to table to meet and confer about drop…the two parties are first to resolve the process first… poa has an obligation to meet on this issue. the court rules poa did not violate the mmb act. is drop an employment benefit… yes… the issues to be discussed is drop a betts issue. court declines to stop the change in entry age for now. to deal with the july 1st date sdcers and the city will respect the drop applications for july 1… for an unspecified time… to be determined later… as to interest rates… the court rules… rates… will stay place… 4 another 4 weeks." This is a person who sat through the hearing, listening to the sides argue and the judge presenting his ruling. To say there is confusion is an understatement. I shared the above text with several people at Headquarters after receiving it.

A few hours later I talked to Jeff Jordan, Vice President of the SDPOA. Jeff had a completely different opinion of what the judge had ruled. He explained; as the SDPOA press release stated; "Today, in Superior Court, the San Diego Police Officers Association prevailed in preserving the core benefit of the DROP program, which includes the ability to enter the program at age 50. San Diego Superior Court Judge David Oberholtzer ruled that while interest rate terms are negotiable, the DROP entry age is a vested benefit." Jeff said Mike Conger, the attorney who represented the SDPOA, believed the SDPOA prevailed on all issues critical to the DROP; with the exception of the interest paid to DROP accounts. Jeff said the judge ordered the SDPOA back to the table to discuss DROP, but also said any changes must be voted upon as prescribed by Charter Section 143.1.

Then I see the press release from the City Attorney that made me think I was in some dream world and confused. The press release said in part; "Superior Court Judge David Oberholtzer today refused to grant an injunction sought by the San Diego Police Officers Association (POA) against the City of San Diego to prevent changes in the DROP program. In addition, Judge Oberholtzer granted the City's petition for an order requiring the POA to "meet and confer" under state labor laws as to additional changes to DROP. The POA had resisted such negotiations, claiming the program was completely "vested". Judge Oberholtzer did not find that DROP benefits were "vested". Judge Oberholtzer found that DROP is a condition of employment. Judge Oberholtzer also held that there is no law requiring an actuarial study as a condition to meeting and conferring on changes and/or elimination of DROP. But rather, expected the City and POA to discuss this and other issues related to DROP when they meet and confer about DROP." So you can imagine the confusion? It is no wonder the general public cannot understand the issues related to DROP.

What do we know to be in agreement? The judge ordered the SDPOA to meet with the City to discuss DROP. That much in agreed upon by all parties. I think that is where the agreement ends. It will be several days and maybe weeks before we can get our hands on the actual ruling from the judge to understand the vast opinions of what the judge actually said. I think it is a sad state when intelligent people can sit in a court of law; educated in the rules and language; participate in the process and have such vast views of what occurred in a single hearing. It is one thing for a lay person sitting in the galley listening to the proceeding to misinterpret a ruling; but for professionals to have such issues is pathetic. Was the judge not speaking the king's language? Was he not clear in his decision and articulate enough to convey his message for all to understand?

If you are confused; you are not alone. The SDPOA will be working diligently to provide information to members in hopes of belaying the concerns the future holds. The mayor has made it clear his number one goal in life is eliminating DROP. He has worked tirelessly to reduce and eliminate the benefits of those who work for the City of San Diego. Rest assured he will seek a ballot initiative to ask the public to take DROP from workers. He is surly feeling his oats after today. He is popping the corks on his bubbly and toasting to a victory over the SDPOA. He cannot wait to get back to the table to wreak more pain and hardship on the SDPOA.

If ever there was a time for the membership of the SDPOA to come together to fight for a common cause; this is it. We cannot sit on the sidelines while our destiny is decided by others. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder and fight with our every breath for our rights and those benefits we have earned over the past 25 years.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

DROP Showdown at Sunrise

Tomorrow morning the SDPOA will be in court (Department 67; Judge; Honorable David B. Oberholtzer) at 0900 hours to defend the DROP against the mayor's attempt at reducing the interest paid to DROP accounts; changing the entry age of those wishing to take advantage of this benefit; elimination of DROP from managers (Chiefs and Captains); and seeking a final determination that DROP is a "Vested Right." The City is attempting to have the court rule DROP is not a "Vested Right" and subject to negotiations.

The central issue of "Vesting" is clearly addressed by David Wesco, the San Diego Retirement System's Administrator/CEO, in a letter to the mayor on June 22, 2009. Mr. Wesco also sent a tersely worded letter to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith on June 3, 2009, detailing clearly the effects of Charter Section 143.1 and the fact DROP is a "Vested right" in the eyes of SDCERS.

The attorney for the City (NOT the City Attorney) attempts to make the City's case in their petition using the June 10, 2009, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruling on "DROP Salary." The use of this ruling is almost laughable if this were not such a serious case before the court with extreme ramifications. Remember that "Institutional Knowledge" I talked about? This is a classic example of the problems associated with a person who is involved in an issue of this magnitude who has a total and complete lack of knowledge of the core issues. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal made no such determination of DROP. But it appears in a legal brief the City filed as their "Opening Brief on Petition for Writ of Mandate Compelling SDPOA to Meet and Confer on City's Proposal to Eliminate DROP."

The hearing tomorrow will likely take all day. The City was successful in keeping MEA and the other Unions out of the court. The Fourth District Court of Appeal refused today to overturn this ruling which sets up a faceoff with the SDPOA and the City. Mike Conger has prepared his legal briefs that have been posted on his web site for all to read. Take the time to read the facts and educate yourself. You will find a disturbing thread in each of the papers filed by the City. They have included information that is factually incorrect and in several instances the wording is almost word for word taken from article found in the Union Tribune; all of which is a fantasy and factually incorrect.

No court case can be called a "Slam Dunk" when issues of this magnitude are being considered. The human variable and potential for "If you say it long enough and loud enough; someone is bound to believe it" coming into play. The City's briefs are filled with the spin, half truths, miss-statements and flat out lies the Union Tribune has employed for the past several years. My hope is the Judge is made acutely aware of these factual errors and sanction the attorneys for the City for their careless and in my opinion; knowing and calculated miss-representation of the facts.

Tomorrow is an important day for the SDPOA and all City Employees who have had the City attempt to eliminate promised, "Vested" benefits and further damage the lives of so many. This is a political fight being waged by the mayor against the city's employees. This has more to do with ego than it has to do with money. The mayor has steadfastly refused to conduct an analysis of DROP to determine its actual cost because he knows the numbers would not support his assertion DROP is costing the City millions of dollars. The mayor has had ample opportunity to provide for the analysis of this program and yet on the eve of trial; in briefs the mayor and city assert in page after page their reasons for eliminating DROP; the "Double Dipping" costing the City millions of dollars each year.

The truth will soon be out and we can hope and pray for a positive outcome in Department 67. Do not look for the judge to rule tomorrow; in all likelihood he will take arguments from both sides and make a calculated decision in the coming days and weeks. The City is sure to appeal if the decision goes against them; keeping people in turmoil for many years to come. I say take one day at a time and focus on your safety and family. Control those things within your sphere of control and let the rest go. We cannot control the actions of the mayor; courts or politicians. We can control how we respond to their words and actions. Stay positive and be safe. They only win if we let them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Does ANYONE on the 11th Floor of the CAB Tell the TRUTH?

Have you all been following the lies out of the mayor's office regarding the Water Department? Alex Ruiz, Assistant Director of the Water Department was caught in several lies when questioned about the City's plan for water conservation and mandatory rationing. Taking the next step in reporting on these lies; the Voice of San Diego asked for e-mails related to the issue through a Public Records Request. Two and a half months after making the request, the City provided a partial list and refused to say how many were withheld and why.

Then the lies begin in earnest. When questioned as to how many were redacted or withheld, Ray Palmucci of the City Attorney's office said he would provide a letter of explanation in 10 days. Darin Pudgil ignored e-mails asking for this information and Palmucci sidestepped the issue feigning ignorance. The City provided 736 e-mails related to the Water issue, but withheld 692 e-mails (48%). So the question raised from this is what is the City trying to cover up? Why is Darin Pudgil refusing to respond to a legal mandate for a Public Records Request that by law is required to be completed within 10 days unless there is some exigent reason for being unable to do so. But again; what is the mayor trying to keep from the public now?

Christina DiLeva, "Press Assistant" for the mayor, wrote a letter citing Government Code sections allowing for the City to withhold e-mails and provide no explanation. So the mayor throws another underling under the bus while Darin Pudgil and Gerry Braun hide in a side office, refusing to accept responsibility for this mess.

The mayor's office provides an excuse for refusing to release all of the e-mails with the following comment; "the public interest served by not making the record public clearly outweighs the public interest served by disclosure of the record." Who wants to take a stab at what in the hell would be contained in e-mails discussing water conservation; the Irvine Ranch Water District approach to water conservation; and the City plan for conservation that the public interest is better served keeping 48% of the e-mails secret?

Lani Lutar, President and CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, made a keen observation about the mayor's office refusing to release these e-mails. Lutar said, "The speculation of what's in the emails is going to be so much worse than what's probably in them. It doesn't seem to make sense. I'm concerned from a good governance perspective why information would not be made available to the public." Maybe more lies?

In the span of a couple of months, people are starting to demand proof when the mayor or any of his minions speak about issues. In short order the taxpayers will begin to see firsthand the lack of honesty, integrity and ethics in the mayor's office on the 11th floor of the City Administration Building (CAB). I said a couple of weeks ago the lies would soon catch up with the mayor as they did when he was chief.

The 64 thousand dollar question; will he bail from the mayor's office like he bailed from the police department? We can all hope!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Institutional Knowledge

What is it worth? Can it be quantified in dollars and cents? When does it matter most? Within any profession or job it is that person or group of people who have been around long enough to know why something was or was not done; how something came to be; what the thinking was behind a certain change or implementation of a policy, procedure, rule, law or benefit. When it's gone and no longer available those in decision making positions are forced to guess at the intentions of those before them, lacking the willingness or desire to seek out this "Institutional Knowledge."

When Mike Aguirre was elected City Attorney, the purging of experience, knowledge, expertise and "Institutional Knowledge" took priority over what was best for the City. When the ex-chief was elected mayor, the purging of experience, knowledge, expertise and "Institutional Knowledge" took priority over what was best for the City. Mike Aguirre and the mayor each found it suited their collective agendas to hire outside council and consultants with no knowledge of the inner workings of the City of San Diego to do their bidding. "Institutional Knowledge" was viewed as a hindrance to the goals each had for reaching their agendas of eliminating DROP; reducing or eliminating Retiree Medical; eliminating "Terminal Leave"; reducing the interest paid on DROP accounts and the reduction of the City's workforce.

Thankfully those who possess the "Institutional Knowledge" from decades of experience involving policy making; law and labor negotiations are sharing this knowledge. They are providing insight into the thinking and discussion that took place at the time, when changes were made to collective bargaining agreements; enhancements to retirement benefits; withdrawal from Social Security and Medicare; communications with Social Security, SDCERS, the IRS; and City Council Resolutions. They are sharing their knowledge of where these items can be found; how they came to be; what the thought processes were; and the intent of these changes.

Joe Flynn served on the SDCERS Board from 2005 to 2007. Joe has decades of "Institutional Knowledge" related to SDCERS and the operations of the City of San Diego. Joe sent a "Letter to the Editor" to the Union Tribune in response to a June 12, 2009, editorial. Here is the letter he sent;

In your June 12 editorial you continue to convey the impression that San Diego retirees get free health care and the taxpayers get nothing. Not so. In 1981 the City initiated the withdrawal from Social Security to save the City money. To meet requirements for withdrawal, however, the City had to establish the supplemental savings plan (with mandatory contributions by the employee and the city) to take the place of Social Security payments at age 65.

To take the place of Medicare, the City promised that "The City will pay for the retired employee's health insurance." * These costs were paid by the City on a year-to-year basis without full accounting. The City then moved these costs into the pension system which contributed to the under funding. This move was later disallowed by the Internal Revenue Service. Accounting changes now require the city to show the future costs of health care.

The City's withdrawal (from Social Security) did not come from the employees or the Unions but was initiated by the City to save money. It is unfair to report and repeat only the costs without ever mentioning the savings to the taxpayer which have accrued since 1981.

Joe Flynn, Retired City Employee

Member of the San Diego City Employees' Retirement System, 2005-07

*City Manager Memo dated November 20, 1981 entitled, "Withdrawal from Social Security" plus attachment, "Outline of Essential Provisions of Supplemental Pension Plan."

John Kaheny is asking questions from his position of knowledge about the vesting of Retiree Medical. John's knowledge surrounding this issue directs the focus of the City's withdrawal from Social Security and the communications between the City and Social Security Administration. He points to 1981 and the file detailing the election of members of SDCERS when asked by the City to leave Social Security for a promise of a similar benefit to be paid for by the City. Mr. Kaheny believes; based on his "Institutional Knowledge" this information is important when determining the "Vested Rights" argument.

Mr. Kaheny's knowledge goes deeper when discussing the elimination of "Terminal Leave." Mr. Kaheny points out the Rules of the Civil Service Commission and the provisions related to leave. The Civil Service Rules which are part of the Municipal Code in Article 3: Civil Service; Division 11: Leaves of Absence; discuss "Terminal Leave" and its use. The "Institutional Knowledge" of Mr. Kaheny and Joe Flynn are providing the; who, why, how and when decisions were made; and where and how to verify these important details. These pathways are opening up other avenues of information and bringing to light related documents the mayor and city attorney do not want to see the light of day.

One of these documents is, "Opinion Number 2007-04" written by Mike Aguirre on September 27, 2007. The mayor and his minions tout and spout Retiree Medical is not a "vested right" and thus they can eliminate or reduce this benefit as they see fit. Even Mike Aguirre, who wanted to eliminate EVERY BENEFIT possible, opined this benefit to be a vested right. It is clear; AGAIN the mayor is hiding FACTS from the public and the employees he is systematically and repeatedly screwing. The mayor will deflect any knowledge of this information and point to some other opinion from another of his many "outside" lawyers and consultants. All of whom lack the "Institutional Knowledge" to provide competent and accurate advise.

More is to come as documents find their way to the surface as the "Institutional Knowledge" is tickled, caressed and prodded into action. The "Institutional Knowledge" may have left City Service; much of it did not leave voluntarily; and much of it was laying in wait; wanting and waiting for someone to ask. To think the mayor has the gall to boast replacing "Experience" with "Enthusiasm" when that experience is what carries the "Institutional Knowledge" that runs and protects this City.


Today, a jury in Vista found Frank White "NOT GUILTY" of all charges stemming from his off-duty shooting. Rick Pinckard represented Frank at trial and provided excellent representation. The SDPOA supported Frank and his wife through this difficult time. Mr. Pinckard is to be commended for his dedication and expertise in defending Frank.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father’s Day

I'm going to be brief today and keep it light. I had the pleasure of attending Sergeant Joe Woods' retirement party yesterday at the San Diego Police Officers Association. Many family, friends and co-workers paid tribute to a man who impacted so many. Joe was one of those who always had a positive attitude and brought that out whether he was mentoring new recruits as an Academy Training Officer; a member of the SWAT team; coaching or counseling members of his patrol squad; or interviewing people during an investigation while working Internal Affairs. Joe always had a smile on his face and a kind word. Sergeant Woods will be missed.

I signed my BLOG up on Twitter this morning. If you would like current updates and musings from my BLOG, please join and follow. If you have not used Twitter it is very easy to do. Find the Twitter web site; and then click the "join" button if you have not yet registered. After you have joined, you can either; search for the link to "SparkySanDiego"; or "Steve McMillan"; (I also have a Twitter account under "stevemac1956") and click the "Follow" button. It is that simple. If you wish to have the updates show up on your telephone by way of a text message, don't forget to activate your account with your cellular telephone. I promise not to send more than 2 new notifications per day from Twitter; unlike the mayor who sends as many as 10 a day, most of which have nothing to say.

I want to wish all the fathers out there a "Happy Father's Day." Like many of you, I am blessed with two wonderful children who have made me very proud. My daughter is an English/Language Arts teacher at a local high school and my son is starting year one in Law School next month. As many of you have experienced it is not always easy being a father and working in law enforcement. The changing shifts, long hours and constant of having to work holidays, birthdays and those times when our children wanted us there the most; all made difficult by the career we chose. We suffered along with them. But, we persevered and never stopped finding those times when we could spend laughing with; loving and teaching our children.

Go enjoy the day and spend time with your children; your children's children and your significant other. I am off to the Padre game this afternoon and hope for a win to end the weekend. After the game my kids will be home waiting for me and a BBQ with the in-laws. I am working on two lengthy posts I hope to finish this coming week, dealing with Manager's Proposal 1 and 2 or MP1 and MP2. The mayor is looking to repeat the idiocy of these two incidents with his own proposal; I will call it MP3 (mayor's proposal 3) that will take use AGAIN down the wrong path. More on that later.

Happy Father's Day.