Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another Budget Deficit

I've had a lot of time to sit and read since I had my finger operated on last Wednesday. Let me apologize early on for any typos or grammar errors that may be left behind when I hit the publish button. A combination of oxycodone and my use of Dragon Naturally Speaking, could be a recipe for disaster, but I am going to give it a try. I spent a lot of time reading the Voice of San Diego, San Diego News Network, SignOnSanDiego, the Reason Magazine, as well as cruising the little rube's website, "Cleanup San Diego."

I'm not sure what's going on at the Voice of San Diego. Over the past several months, their writing and investigative reporting has not been up to what it used to be. Their new fact check blog section at times glosses over the real issues. It's almost as if those that are caught fabricating, twisting, or exaggerating facts are being given a free pass. This is what's wrong with the relationship media has with politicians, in my humble opinion. It's almost as if the Voice of San Diego is starting to buy into the rhetoric.

I sat shaking my head the other day as I read where the city of San Diego is now facing an additional $30 million deficit and people were somehow surprised. I've said from the beginning, the massive cuts the mayor has undertaken will do little to cure the budget problems the city is facing. Until the politicians in this city accept the fact they must create new revenue streams; they can continue to cut until there are no services being provided by government and they will still face sizable deficits year in and year out. The shortsighted cuts the mayor has undertaken by eliminating jobs and services, have in reality, created part of the additional deficit recently realized. The only way for the mayor to reduce the retirement deficit, is to increase contributions and reduce benefits . The mayor has reduced the retirement benefits. The problem is, he has also eliminated the addition of new members into the system which has reduced the income, requiring a larger payment from the city. The mayor's solutions have been shortsighted and in the long run will prove to be costly.

I can guarantee when all is said and done, the new deficit will be much greater than $30 million. In the coming weeks this number will grow to $60 million or more and the mayor will blame the state, the economy and the president. It will not be anything he did, even though he's been the mayor now for the better part of six years. This Mayor will saunter along and at the end of his glorious tenure in 2012, he will blame past administrations and everyone else for the failures of his administration. The Mayor is going to take credit for the recent outsourcing of some of the computer services in the city of San Diego. Let us not forget the company offering the lowest bid was not selected and when calling for after hours assistance, you are speaking with someone in India. But the Mayor outsourced a city service and he is going to take the credit.

The little rube is at it again with his; City Employee Compensation Analysis, dated March 3, 2010. The little rube uses this report to show the true cost analysis for city positions. As only the little rube can do, he spins, exaggerates, and flat out lies about the true cost associated with various positions within the city of San Diego. On page 8 of the little rube's compensation analysis, the little rube lists the salary cost of a Police Officer II. The rube is a master at using numbers to argue or make a point. In this instance, the rube includes a variety of costs in an attempt to poison the taxpayer. His way of making the numbers appear legitimate, the little rube pulls the numbers from various reports generated by the City, SDCERS, and others. As an example of the spin tactics employed by the little rube he indicates the city will spend 38.11% or $26,533 toward a Police Officer II's compensation. The real number is less than half this amount and the little rube knows it. In his compensation analysis the little rube adds such items as Medicare payments, disability insurance, risk management administration, unemployment insurance, workman's compensation insurance premium payments, and "other post employment benefits" as part of the employees compensation. These costs are in no way part of employees compensation. While they may very well be costs associated with an employee, they are not part of his or her compensation package. This is just another way for the little Rube to poison the well so to speak and give taxpayers a false indication of the realities of what employees receive for the services they provide. We all deserve better.

It's time to take the headphones and microphone off and put some ice on my hand and call it a night. Have a great week ahead and be safe.

1 comment:

Just Wondering said...

Are you responsible for SDCERS Investment Losses

Should you be on the hook for SDCERS Investment losses? City Attorney Jan Goldsmith thinks you may be responsible for a "substantially equal" portion of the loss, just as the Charter says you are responsible for a substantially equal contribution to the system.

This is a BRAND NEW ATTACK on your pension benefits by Goldsmith who wonders if city employees should share some of the investment risk with taxpayers in the employee pension plan.

But the system's attorneys explicitly ruled out employees contributing to pay down the deficit, which includes investment losses. Both history and previous city legal opinions confirm that point of view, system attorney Elaine Reagan. Read her presentation here!

Goldsmith, however, was not convinced. In an interview last week, Goldsmith said he planned to hear the retirement system's position out, but didn't seem convinced.
The system was interpreting the charter, Goldsmith said, "very narrowly" and could be shutting off the city's ability to negotiate higher employee contributions to the pension fund.
"That's not [SDCERS'] role," Goldsmith said. "That's destructive and they ought not do that."
The charter, he added, does not prohibit city employees from paying investment losses. "There is nothing specifically that says investment losses are the risk -- or the underlying assumptions -- are the risk of the city," he said.

Goldsmith said he planned to take as much as "several months" before determining his opinion on the issue. That opinion might not be public because there could be a lawsuit.

Goldsmith said he planned to take as much as "several months" before determining his opinion on the issue. That opinion might not be public because there could be a lawsuit.