That was an hour of my life I will never get back. I sat in amazement as the little rube twisted, spun, fabricated and exaggerated facts about city finances, retirement costs, retiree medical and more. I sat and listened to one after another voter/taxpayer rant about the excessive wages and benefits of city employees. Sitting front and center in the room was none other than Richard "Don't call me Dick" Rider. Rider had prepared a flier he set out for those in attendance to pick up and read. The heading on the flier was the name of his group, "San Diego Tax Fighters." The headline reads, "OUTRAGEOUS! We Are Still Paying 130% and Higher Pensions to Most 30 Year San Diego City Employees." The flier is full of exaggerations and miss-information and it does an excellent job of inflaming anyone who reads it.
The little rube's presentation is the same power point found on his web site "CleanUpCityHall." His script is well rehearsed and followed to a tee. He did not allow anyone to change the focus or dispute his assertions. I was chatting with a detective who had attended the meeting when I receive a message from the little rube via Twitter that read, "Explaining the City Deficit in Five Minutes" , which made me laugh out loud. OK, I understand "sound bites" but come on you little rube. It took the city years to get into this hole and for just as many years, people have been analyzing the reasons and attempting to find solutions and the little rube now tells everyone he can explain it in five minutes. Click on the link above and you tell me if he has succeeded. If not, I would suggest you call his office and tell him he failed. He suggested on more than one occasion this evening the only way to effect change and get politicians to change is to call them repeatedly until you see the change you believe should take place.
The highlight of the night was the little rube rallying the masses to his battle cry. Reforming the pension of city employees. He started by exaggerating the reality of the plan and as usual presented his information in a manner to inflame and anger. He succeeded and it was clear the mood in the room was to remove and cut whatever they could. Then the little rube went one step too far. As he explained his relationship with Donna Frye he said there was not one plan that would fit all when making cuts. "The cuts we need to make are not a one size fits all. The cuts we need to make to the person who retired in 1996 are not the same as those that need to be made to someone who retired recently." Did you all catch that? He indicated in this little diatribe he is looking at making a run at those who are already retired and their benefits. Now, before you all start screaming and yelling; he is a lunatic and stands about as much chance of getting at your benefits as I do making Lieutenant. So you can all relax but you need to be aware of his mentality and thought processes. He is clearly delusional and not well versed in the reality of what a vested benefit is.
What I found more concerning was his repeated comments of taking to the voters a referendum seeking changes he believes need to be made to eliminate city employee's "Lavish Retirement Benefits." He was as usual extremely vague as to what these changes are. He was very clear though he views the voters to be the solution to making the changes necessary to eliminate these lavish benefits.
The one hour presentation was broadcast on CityTV and will soon be in the archive and available to view. It is something everyone needs to view. His town hall meetings are going to be held city wide. The little rube does not see his area of influence as being only District Five. He sees his influence to be city wide and he has made plans to go into every district with his message to garner as much support as he can to pull off his agenda and make San Diego a national model of reform and how to reduce and eliminate retirement benefits. Constant vigilance on our parts is going to be required to ensure current and past benefits are preserved and the benefits of new hires are sufficient.
Who is paying attention?