Friday, September 4, 2009

How Much Longer???

During a conversation this afternoon, the subject of the mayor came up. I know that is hard to believe but it's true. The discussion wandered from 1970's and 1980's activities of then Sergeant and Lieutenant Sanders; to the future as well as wondering what his legacy will turn out be as a mayor. Evaluation; explanation; consternation; observation; contemplation and speculation all entered the discussion. Talking about the abilities and actions of the mayor compared to past leaders brought about a resounding failure as an elected official. There has not been one positive influence or action taken by the mayor during his short tenure that could be identified no matter how hard memories were searched. Trying to explain his actions toward police officers brought about a lot of negative comments and words that did not reflect well for a man in his position. The consensus that he was a poor leader when chief; left the department with a profound lack of support; and was not liked by the majority of those who knew him, was very strong. The bewilderment of his all out attack and demeanor toward the officers of the San Diego Police Department generated the consternation. It was well known and documented his leadership style consisted of decision by committee; but it was not well known he was as vindictive and caustic as he has shown to be. Many of us knew who the real person was and for that reason voiced our strong opinions when he first announced his decision to seek the mayor's office. The observations of the man who holds the mayor's seat, both past and present, created a myriad of comments; none that would be positive or flattering. The observations to a person were personal and viewed from their eyes and not rumor or locker room talk.

As the discussion continued, speculation crept into the conversation of what was next for the mayor? Many people discuss higher office being the goal of the mayor and his actions are all to position himself for this next step. Some have mentioned the Governor's Mansion; others have speculated positions such as the Senate or Congress; while others (I include myself in this group) think he is positioning himself for an appointment in Washington DC. Whatever the motives for his actions; he has been a dismal failure to those he serves and the people who were blinded by his false persona. His every action has been political; designed around appearance and perception.

As we talked, it was mentioned there was discussion the mayor was contemplating resigning before his term is up. The ears perked up and the mind began to race; could it be? Would a narcissistic person quit, walk away, run from, or vacate a position of such power? The answer is; NO. That is, unless there is something on the horizon that would adversely affect his reputation, persona, or standing in the power circles he maintains.

Now the mind is working in over drive; RPM'S spinning at warp speed looking for the trigger that would cause the mayor to make that move. To a person like myself; I could spend the next several hours writing about the issues the mayor has completely and totally failed at and in most cases made worse that would cause even the most narcissistic person to run for cover. I can think of so many things he must accept ownership of that would bring down a politician in any other city. So when the mention was made of the mayor contemplating resignation I must admit I felt a twinge of excitement.

So I sit here tonight thinking about the real possibility of this becoming reality. I have to tell you, I am not a very religious person but if this becomes reality; maybe there is a god. There will not be a turnaround of this city or the police department as long as we employ the person we do currently as our mayor. The only possibility of fighting our way out of this hole is with the leadership of a person of integrity, compassion, honesty and intelligence. Under the current leadership we will continue to slip into the abyss of despair and anger. Let's all hope the contemplation by the mayor is accurate and expedient.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

OneSD Joke is on YOU!!!

Want another example of wasting taxpayer dollars and complete mismanagement from the mayor and staff? Look no further than the $37 million boondoggle, "OneSD". Over the last couple of years, roughly 100 people (40 or so full time city employees and a gaggle of consultants) have been working to build a new system to connect every computer in every department throughout the city to enable closer scrutiny of budgets, spending and invoices by fewer people and tighter controls and a better management of resources. OneSD or the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) initiative was launched in early 2007, after agreeing to purchase software from SAP Public Services and hire Axon Solutions Inc. to install and train staff to use the system. The project was scheduled to be operational in October 2008 but was delayed over and over again because the city continually changed personnel working on the project. With each change came a different view or idea or belief of how things should be. Axon Solutions Inc. was blamed for the city's incompetence and the contract was pulled and given to SAP Public Services to complete the installation and get the system operational.

Shortly after sanders was elected mayor, he began his Business Process Reengineering (BPR) and hired Rick Reynolds to coordinate this effort. Part of this effort involved the ERP or OneSD project. Reynolds was ultimately fired by the mayor for undisclosed reasons and has since filed a wrongful termination law suit against the mayor. One of many fall guys when things do not go as planned; remember that experience says the mayor has to have someone to shoulder the blame and Rick Reynolds fit this bill.

Fast forward to August 2009; OneSD goes on line and the joke begins. If you missed the memo regarding time cards; OneSD is alive and well and now part of the time card equation. I understand the lag in getting up to speed with new systems and programs of this nature. I understand kinks that develop when trying to implement such a large and sophisticated project will need to be worked out and massaged. I get the apprehension of using a new system for tasks normally done "the old fashioned way." Change is often met with some resistance and fear while attempts are made to hold on to the "old way" of doing things.

The problem with OneSD is the manner in which the system was brought on line and sold to those who are tasked with using it. When problems were identified; changes suggested; mechanisms challenged; Axon Solutions drug their feet; city employees lost interest and the project languished in limbo. With the price tag growing by the day and no sign of going on line anywhere in sight; heads were on the chopping block. Axon was dumped and SAP hired through San Diego Data Processing Corp. (City IT provider) to finish the project. (SDDPC is a whole story in itself)

The joke is the time, money and energy expended to get to the point we are at today. In true San Diego form, "Commercial-off-the-shelf" products just would not due. There was a report written to justify the expenditure of taxpayer money for this "Gold" program that was implemented without a return on investment or net present value calculation being made or used to justify this decision. Data Warehousing with existing systems within the city would have saved millions of dollars and achieved the same outcomes. The system would have been up and running long ago and the money saved could have gone to one of a hundred programs and projects eliminated in our communities. The arrogance of the mayor's office and their touting of a system much needed, yet grossly overpriced, has boxed the city into making this system work at any cost.

An accounting system of this nature is long overdue. This does not in any way justify the amount of money spent to get this new system on line. As this system fully evolves and becomes part of our daily lives; we will notice little if any changes to the way we do business. OneSD is just another example of the mayor's willingness to spend taxpayer money to make himself look good at the same time laying blame for budget deficits at the feet of the city's employees. The joke is on you San Diego; the fleecing of an entire city is in the making. Under the cover of the Kroll report and past failures of prior administrations the mayor is buying limousine products on a used car budget. Where is the City Council? Where are the checks and balances for the actions of this mayor? Strong mayor form of government is ruining this city. But then, maybe if the mayor was an ethical, honest, inclusive politician who cared more about the city than his image or how things look, it would not be such an issue?

OneSD is in its infancy and just now being rolled out. Time will tell what positive effects it will have on the effectiveness and management of resources in San Diego. It will have to be error free and extremely effective to recoup the money spent thus far on this system. Not having a baseline evaluation of present value or the ability to decipher the return on this investment, the mayor can tout anything he likes to make this program appear to be a wise investment. A real sad state of affairs for San Diego.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I have spent a lot of time reading the goings on at city hall and have come to the conclusion the idiots are running the asylum. The City of San Diego is full of want to be politicians who have not a clue what the hell they are doing. The city has a mayor who is more concerned with HIS image than he is doing what is right. His every move is about him; how it makes him look; calculated with thoughts of "What will people think?" The mayor's every move is political, short sighted and made for the moment. His sham of a five year plan is a joke. The numbers do not pencil out and as the little rube points out is sorely outdated and meaningless today. The current hot topic centers round the expansion of the Convention Center to the tune of ONE BILLION DOLLARS. The mayor stacked a "Community Task Force" to ensure the outcome he got. He went on record BEFORE the task force had their first meeting as being the "Champion" for the expansion. He needed the blessing of a sham committee to bolster his desire and position to begin the sales job to the taxpayer. The poor ignorant taxpayer.

While the mayor is plotting and planning his fleecing of the taxpayer to help his political cronies, he is seeking an actuary to justify his plan to change the ARC to the Retirement System so the City will be required to pay less today than they should. Now let us not forget the mayor ran on a platform of change and fixing the underfunding that put us in the position we find ourselves and now he is attempting to do the same thing past administrations did and cut the ARC to save money and UNDERFUND the retirement system. If this is not criminal I am simply a security guard for a nickel and dime business. The sad part of all this is the increased contribution put on the back of the employee during the last contract negotiations; in the long run, had NO EFFECT on the unfunded liability and simply shifted the contribution responsibility to the employee and saving the City NOTHING relative to their required contribution. The dolts who came up with the plan to shift the employee contribution back to the employee have yet to figure out this will in the long run COST the city more money in the coming years. This because the institutional knowledge and understanding of the pay structures of employees is long gone and short minded people responsible for the changes simply see a smaller payout today. (I am not going to explain it here because the dolts will figure it out and screw us even more next year)

If all of this is not bad enough, the mayor is scheming and plotting to build a Taj Mahal - City Hall to the tune of yet another ONE BILLION DOLLARS. I laugh every time I think about this pompous ass and how he has snowed the taxpayers of this city. He was, in many people's eyes, one of the worst chiefs the San Diego Police Department ever had. His smoke and mirrors, committee driven joke of an administration has been replicated at city hall. Smoke and mirrors, committee after committee, task force after task force have made getting real work completed a joke. Case in point is Managed Competition. The director who was tasked with making this voter mandated program reality just quit out of frustration because the mayor has created an environment where NOTHING ever gets done. So the mayor is planning and plotting and scheming to spend TWO BILLION DOLLARS this city does not have, on two projects that benefit who?

The mayor cuts wages of city employees; refuses to honor years old promises of retirement medical for employees hired before 1986 who opted out of Medi Care at the city's request; forces upon employees increased retirement contributions after the city decides it is too political to honor past agreements; reduces employee medical insurance and increases the burden upon employees by providing less money for this benefit; demands employees take furlough days, further reducing wages of employees; eliminates hundreds of positions from EVERY department within the city and demands MORE work be taken on and completed and at the same time expects customer service to remain high. All of this because the city DOES NOT HAVE THE MONEY to pay for wages and benefits promised. The city is also facing a 100 million dollar deficit next year if projections are accurate and the mayor still has the unmitigated gall to campaign for these TWO BILLION DOLLAR expenditures and at the same time continue the assault on employee wages and benefits.

When will people begin to see the true picture of what is going on in San Diego? When will the press start pressing the numbers and pointing out the smoke and mirror games the mayor is playing? When will the press start looking at the actual numbers of crimes, police officers, calls for service, TRUE STAFFING numbers of police officers IN THE STREET during EVERY shift? When will the press stop with the saint hood anointing of this phony politician and call BS on his shams? The press seems to give him a free pass on his failure to implement Managed Competition; reduce the UAAL for the Retirement Plan; provide adequate public safety; adequately maintain and implement deferred maintenance plans; seek increased revenue; all the while his office has grown by leaps and bounds with new hires to help cover his backside and provide political cover for his glaring incompetence.

If you have not figured it out by now, you need to get a clue. This year's imposed contract for police officers resulted in 270+ senior officers leaving in the largest exodus of officers ever seen. Next year, when the 9% contribution kicks in for the "new" retiree medical trust the mayor has proposed, you will see more officers heading for the door. This time you will see the officer with 5-15 years service leaving for departments providing adequate family medical, retirement benefits far exceeding what is presently available here in San Diego and a City that respects their contributions to the public's safety and is willing to pay for it. The ability of the San Diego Police Department to hire and retain officers is at best a struggle today. It is going to get worse in short order. The mayor says it's not a problem; there will be hundreds of applicants and with the job market as it is there will be no problems hiring new recruits. NEWS FLASH mayor; YOU ARE DEAD WRONG!!

Who will pay for this failure? A police officer with his/her life? A citizen with his/her life? How many will pay for the mayors idiocy and failed politics? When it happens I am going to be the first to say I told you so. I am surely not going to sit back and give him a free pass. I will do my level best to make sure the information is put out for the taxpayer to read. It is time to put a blanket on the smoke, break the mirrors and shine a light on the office of the mayor!!