— Now, this is probably not true in other cities, but our chamber of commerce likes to help, uh, as many times as possible, ignore the free-market system and engage in corporate socialism. Where we, you know, I always say that if Winston Churchill were the mayor of San Diego, he would have said, "Never have so many given to so few," instead of the other way around. And it's true! What happened in this particular case is, the mayor folded. They changed the deal right at the last minute so that the City had to take on the financial burden of the bonds for the baseball park. And the owner got to walk away with the 26 square blocks...that were supposed to be used to build the hotels, and to do with them what he pleased. So the City paid for the ballpark, the owner put a little bit of money into the ballpark, relatively speaking, and walked away with 26 square blocks of downtown San Diego. As I said, I don't know much about redevelopment...but I think that's all you need to know.

The reason I'm so impressed with Chris is that I think he's actually been figuring this thing out, and he's been helping me out during the lunch here. I just wish we could bring him down here to San Diego and that what he has is contagious...because I want to talk about something even, you know, a little broader than the wonderful story I just told you. Because there's something that we have to figure out: Why are you all willing to make all of the personal sacrifices you've had to make in order to participate in this issue, to be involved in this issue, to contribute for nothing, actually to give up your resources, give up your time, to try to make it a better situation for your communities, and for our state, and for the objectives and goals of government? Why are you willing to do those selfless acts, while at the same time our misguided brothers and sisters see government in such a different way? They see it as an opportunity to use the tools for the general welfare for their selfish purposes.

Now, I don't, at one point that struggle has been the eternal struggle in the United States, from the time that George Washington was sworn into office. I mean, think about this...the National Bank was given all of the deposits of the federal government. The National Bank was a private bank and lent out the money to private corporate and special interests, and whatever profit on interest was made, the private bank owners got that money. In other words, we paid and allowed the recipients of all the federal money to make a ton of money for the burden of keeping our money in their bank! And that's what Andrew Jackson stood up and stopped. And put an end to it! And all those people just like, you know, just think if we would have been alive back then, we would have been part of that group that trashed the White House when he got nominated. 'Cause I do see some ruffians out there. I know them, and I've watched them operate, in their guerrilla ways of waging war. But my point is that that goes back to the struggle over the National Bank.

Fast-forward to the time of the Depression. And when everybody was flat on their back, and the economy was reeling and the banks were closing...the business community came to Washington and embraced Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. And the moment that stability was restored, they were back at it again. Vilifying him, and uh, vilifying him and what he stood for. As soon as the country was back functional at a level that was much better than the Depression that he had inherited. My point is that this is a constant struggle. So we should understand it as such. But our objective is really very simple. We want to use the power of government to work on common problems to advance the general welfare. And nothing more. And right now what we have is, we have an irrational system.

Let me tell you, in San Diego, where we are right now, in order to paint a picture of where you don't want to get. We have not...we have just finished our 2003 audit, of our, I should say, the audit of our 2003 financial statements. Isn't that great? Let's see, that leaves 2004, '05, and '06. Everybody else is already at '06. We're closing in quick! Now, in order to get our 2003 audit done, we spent not $800,000, which is what the original contract was for, but $8 million on the auditor. And in addition to that, we had to hire two outside firms. One to conduct the first $6 million cover-up -- for $2 million they would have found something wrong, for $6 [million] they said everything was okay. That was followed up by a second major-league cover-up by the former chairman of the SEC, Arthur Levitt, and that cost us $20 million! All a scandal!

Every day when I go to work to try to represent the interests of the people of San Diego, I am confronted all day long either with the consequences of these catastrophic financial mistakes of the past or the effort to thwart any honest resolution and curtailment and reform of how we do business. And it is, it is, in audit terms, they call that whole area "internal controls." We have no internal controls. Internal controls means that you have an attitude at the top that everybody is supposed to comply with the law and the rules and regulations. Okay?

So, now, I don't know if that's the case in Sacramento, but I get a sense sometimes that Sacramento, that they play financial games with the budget. I don't want to go too far out on a limb on that! So in other words, you know, and I wish I had a blackboard here, because my sense of it is that we're like the size of a very small, a pea, here in San Diego. A little, tiny, multibillion-dollar deficit in our pension plans due to financial shenanigans, and then, up here in Sacramento, you've got a gigantic, massive bowl of pension deficit that no one's even acknowledging, or at least they're getting to. Now what does that basically mean? And this is the thing that I told the police officers and the firemen in the audience. To create benefits that you have no money to pay for is a fiction, and you're never going to receive those benefits.

More from SDReader

Comments

Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close