Sunday, May 9, 2010

Time Away from Writing

I want to thank "Just Wondering" for taking up the slack and writing a couple of posts for me while I was away. I appreciate the comments from people asking about the blog and when I would post again. Trying to write on a regular basis had taken on a life of its own. In all honesty I felt myself becoming caustic and so negative, the writing was no longer an outlet for frustration or anger but a vise to in some way justify my rants. I have such little time left before I fully retire, I did not want to leave with the label "Disgruntled" and decided to take a break and re-think what I was trying to accomplish.

I have tried to write informative pieces, pointing out differing views of what the mainstream press was feeding the public. I tried in some way to shed light on the actions of elected politicians and their complete disregard for honest, ethical practices. I tried to ensure my pieces were factual and accurate and at the same time provide information allowing others to form their own opinions.

Management and those at city hall were not fans of my writing. But many who worked for the city began to send me ideas for stories and information on the actions of management and the politicians. I said what many would think but feared saying out loud. I said things that I knew to be true and many did not want said. But I began to struggle with saying what I wanted to say at the same time saying it in a manner that would not be offensive. My first couple of rants on this blog were edited after posting to remove inappropriate language and personal attacks on individuals. This was done in an attempt to lend credibility to the content and message as well as not to offend those who may read my blog. I was having trouble doing that more and more.

Sometimes what is important changes as we move through life. What is important in my life has changed and I struggle to make sense of it all. As I do this, I will try and write more often. My next post will deal with Prop D, followed by one about the City Attorney's interpretation of "Substantially Equal" and his ill-advised law suit aimed at SDCERS regarding this issue. I am also planning an election rant about the candidates and other initiatives. My time working for this City and the department is fast coming to an end and I want the end to be in some way a positive memory and not one that might be described as disgruntled. I still very much enjoy what I do and would prefer to finish my career right where I am. This may not happen but if given a choice that would be my wish.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there.


Terry said...

I disagree with you Sparky. Correcting falsehoods and misrepresentations, shedding light on factual occurrences, reporting corrupt and lying politicians and pointing out the overall dishonesty of San Diego's City Government is not being disgruntled. You are not vindictive, hateful or a liar. You've taken your own time to research and write factual, accurate, and insightful pieces on the blatant malfeasants’ that permeates San Diego's city government. Your Blogs have been honest, which is the most important aspect of any writer when reporting information to the public. Your frustration in the City's corrupt, stupid, lying, self-serving, and unethical approach, in dealing with budgetary shortfalls, employees, safety and the residents is not being disgruntled, it is being a caring resident, employee, voter and Diogenes of what is right and how things should be. You've fully acknowledged the budgetary crisis of the City, put forward logical solutions to solving some of the problems, while at the same time pointing out the lies and misrepresentations of the City's politicians, the influence of the rich downtown powerbrokers and the puppet City administrators. This is not being "disgruntled," this is caring about the City, its residents and employees, in the face of a bunch of the unethical, lying and selfish bastards who run the City. So for the sake of us honest little people please continue to be the person you are, and the voice of integrity.

Just Wondering said...

Thanks for the nod, like others I appreciate the research and analysis. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.
In the meantime, a few thoughts....

Mining for "Goldsmith"

Investment returns according to the SDCERS Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports or CAFRs for each fiscal year ending June 30th.
2000 = 9.53%
2001 = 14.93%

2002 = -0.45%
2003 = -2.48%

2004 = 20.21%
2005 = 10.80%
2006 = 12.70%
2007 = 16.50%

2008 = -4.66%
2009 = -19.20%
The CAFRs shows SDCERS investment returns are still growing despite a worldwide meltdown. SDCERS is in the top 2% of public pension funds with its investment returns. In six out of the last ten years, SDCERS OUT PERFORMED, that's right OUT PERFORMED the actuarial assumption of either 8 or 7.75 percent.

For ignorant who complain about the assumed rate of return of 8 or 7.75%. They don't understand what this means to the City. If you hear them spout off you need to educate them.

If the actuary lowers the assume rate of return then the City MUST PAY MORE, not less. Less investment return, means more capital investment.

Let me explain, SDCERS like ALL pension plans relies on LONG TERM investment returns to pay the majority of the pension obligations. As you read above SDCERS met and exceeded the assumed rate in many years.

SUNDAY's UT editorial misleads everyone when it says, "This big gap is why the city must pay a record $231.7 million in its actuarially required contribution to the pension system on July 1."

To his credit, the City Attorney opined the employees are NOT responsible for the City Management and their purposeful underfunding or MISMANAGEMENT of the system, not once, but TWICE.

So you can let the public know if they want to pay MORE principle by lowering the actuarial rate of return that's fine.

Additionally, point out Mr. Goldsmith has no real answers about how SDCERS is suppose to treat investment gains under HIS interpretation of the Charter.

It seems only fair if substantially equal according to Mr. Goldsmith means employees share the risks, shouldn't they also share the rewards?

And, if we use the last ten years as a barometer and SDCERS' rating in the top 2% of all public pension funds the City has done much better over normal time horizons of 30 to 40 years.

Finally, after four years of Aguirre, Goldsmith ran for office PROMISING to leave the politics out of his legal work. Those promises have been repeatedly broken. He has offered three politically charged opinions about the pension system since taking over as City Attorney. All three have failed the smell test. First he argued the DROP program was illegal because it never received a "majority" vote from ALL members, not just ones who chose to vote. Using his logic no one or any issue being voted on would be elected or decided. In a free society you are free not to voice your opinion or not cast a vote. But for some reason, (politics) Mr. Goldsmith wanted you believe otherwise.

Then he told us it's OK to push the DROP entry age back to 55 without a vote as required by Charter Section 143. He's wrong again and for political reasons he wants to interpret the Charter to make him and his office look good.

Finally he said it's OK to push the minimum retirement age for police officers back to 55 from its negotiated through meet and confer and memorialized in five Memoranda of Understanding or more commonly know as a contracts. Yes , this is another Charter issue and constitutionally protected contact as well.

Goldsmith been ALL wrong but the UT just goes on propping up this guy.

ALL of these issues are politically motivated to sway opinion his way, nothing more but costing the taxpayers a bundle because the City is obligated to PAY BOTH SIDES of the issue when it sues SDCERS.

So, i'm just wondering, is he practicing law like his predecessor Mike Aguirre or running to become San Diego's next Mayor?