• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

At its peak in the mid-1970s, Ratner Manufacturing, as the company came to be known, was said by San Diego Magazine to be the fifth-largest menswear maker in the country, employing 2500 people, with sales of $57 million. But the domestic garment industry was rapidly changing.

In April 1977, Foster told a crowd gathered at Ratner’s annual shareholder meeting that “the crash in the men’s leisure suit market” had been responsible for the first loss in the firm’s history, the Union-Tribune reported. The next year, the company returned to profitability, but new trade laws and the lifting of tariffs allowed foreign manufacturers to undercut the cost of goods produced in America.

With Ratner’s work force having shrunk to 500, Isaac Ratner’s heirs were worried. Along with other members of the family, Foster had taken the company private again in 1977. In 1989 he bought out his in-laws, merging Ratner Manufacturing into his Foster Investment Corp.

In 1999, one of Isaac’s grandsons, Harry Ratner, sued Foster for fraud, claiming Stan had cheated Harry out of $16 million by failing to disclose the true value of Hang Ten and Ratner Manufacturing’s lucrative real estate before he sold his interest to Foster.

In October 2000, the jury sided with Foster. “There was never anything brought before us to say he did anything illegal,” foreman Barry Hudson told the Union-Tribune. Foster called the verdict “a vindication.” His lawyer, the paper said, “attributed the company’s turnaround to Foster’s business savvy.”

By then, Foster’s personal fortune had expanded dramatically, due in major part to his interests in real estate tied to the border. In a 1991 interview with San Diego Executive Magazine, Foster said he acquired his first parcel in Chula Vista, a tomato field, in 1962, and never stopped buying.

“Through a variety of partnerships Foster has a hand in 17 industrial properties, most of them in the South Bay,” the magazine said, adding that the holdings totaled between 1 and 2 million square feet, though Foster “won’t give an exact number.” His office hallways, the story noted, were “lined with photos of his buildings.”

“Companies that take space in buildings such as Foster’s are drawn to the area for obvious reasons,” the magazine said, including “border access for businesses with Mexican ties” and “low-cost labor in the South Bay and nearby Mexico.”

“Our primary goal was to move our manufacturing facility into Mexico,” William Cleveland, vice president of Troxel Cycling, an exercise-equipment maker, told the magazine. “Then it was a question of where to locate our distribution center and offices in relation to Mexico.” Troxel leased 10,000 square feet in a Foster-owned business park, the magazine reported.

Like Foster, his future son-in-law Alan Bersin would be given great opportunity through marriage. Like Foster, he would also prosper in the realm of the border.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 15, 1946, Bersin went to public schools and received a scholarship to Harvard. Though notably short of stature, he was scrappy enough to become an All–Ivy League linebacker. One of his teammates was actor Tommy Lee Jones. Upon graduating in 1968, Bersin went to Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship.

That put him in the company of 22-year-old Bill Clinton, the future president of the United States. After Oxford, Bersin entered Yale Law, where he was Hillary Clinton’s classmate and married one of her best friends. They were later divorced, but Bersin’s personal and professional bond to Hillary grew deeper as the years progressed. Upon getting his law degree in 1974, Bersin moved west, joining the big downtown Los Angeles law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson.

In 1991, while still in L.A., Bersin met and married second wife Lisa Foster, a daughter of Stan and Pauline Foster, owners of a large local garment factory and acres of South Bay real estate, with longstanding ties to the Democratic Party and connections along the Mexican border.

In 1992, as Bill Clinton ramped up his campaign for the presidency, Alan Bersin and Lisa Foster left their home in Los Angeles and moved to San Diego. Bersin took a sabbatical from Munger Tolles, ostensibly to manage the local Clinton campaign and teach law part-time at the University of San Diego, a Catholic school financially supported by many of the city’s wealthy Democrats, including the Foster family. To many, it appeared Bersin was being groomed for power.

Four months after his inauguration as president, Clinton announced he would make Bersin U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, the country’s busiest port of entry with Mexico. Those familiar with the often-murky world of the border economy took note. “Bersin carries the carpetbagger tag,” wrote Tom Blair, a columnist for the San Diego Union. “Still a partner in an L.A. firm, he’s been here only eight months while teaching one class at USD.”

As his father-in-law had done at Ratner, Bersin shook up the U.S. Attorney’s office, firing five top prosecutors. The head of the financial institution fraud task force, Gay Hugo, who had handled the high-profile J. David Dominelli fraud case, quit her job. The Union-Tribune later reported that Hugo “was critical of Bersin as she left” but declined to elaborate.

Unlike San Diego U.S. Attorneys of the past, Bersin became a magnet for national publicity, chiefly because of his carefully cultivated association with the economically burgeoning, increasingly troubled border region. In October 1995, Attorney General Janet Reno named him “border czar,” ostensibly to run herd on Operation Gatekeeper, the Clinton Administration’s program to stem the growing torrent of illegal immigration.

The job was a public relations bonanza for both Clinton and Bersin; during Bersin’s tenure, Washington flooded the San Diego sector with Border Patrol agents, and a host of fences and expensive electronic devices were installed. Bersin boasted that illegal crossings dropped in San Diego. Reality was different. Human traffic was forced east, into the San Diego County backcountry and Imperial County, where many of the illegal crossers died of thirst and exposure. Smugglers, known as coyotes, collected ever higher fees to shepherd their desperate clients.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader

More from the web

Comments

MURPHYJUNK Nov. 18, 2009 @ 1:22 p.m.

instead of getting fired this looser gets promoted, makes one wonder what dirt he has on everyone

0

factchecker Nov. 18, 2009 @ 2:54 p.m.

While it's apparent that some in-depth investigating went on for this story, I find it interesting that some basic facts are indeed wrong. It concludes with saying that Senate Commerce Committee is doing the requisite background checks. Senate Commerce doesn't have jurisdiction over the nominee for the Commissioner of Customs though and would not be performing background checks, Senate Finance does.

0

qkruse Nov. 18, 2009 @ 4:17 p.m.

That there is a herd of fat cats that are going to make huge amounts of money from the development on the boarder....when has this not been true of develpment....the ones who have the interest (financial investment)are going to position themselves to be the shot callers. Perhaps they will be willing and able to see that they will make more money more quickly if they bring their considerable influence to bare and bring the narcotic/gangbanging to a rapid stop.....

0

Visduh Nov. 18, 2009 @ 7:55 p.m.

If anyone accepts that even a small portion of the conflicts of interest outlined are true, Bersin is disqualified for this appointment. There is no simple way for him to eliminate those conflicts. (Remember Cheney who sold all his Halliburton stock, yet was endlessly accused of favoring the former employer? Is this any different, other than being worse?) It is time for Bersin to withdraw his name from consideration, and for the Obama administration to insure that Bersin has no further influence on its policies. What do you want to bet that those things will happen?

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 18, 2009 @ 8:27 p.m.

instead of getting fired this looser gets promoted, makes one wonder what dirt he has on everyone

By MURPHYJUNK

Bersin is the proto typical political hack loser, who has been "gifted", aka "appointed", to more high level gov jobs than anyone I have ever seen-anyone.

He would never, ever, in a million years, make it- on his own- in the real world.

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 18, 2009 @ 8:29 p.m.

It is time for Bersin to withdraw his name from consideration, and for the Obama administration to insure that Bersin has no further influence on its policies. What do you want to bet that those things will happen?

By Visduh

The chances are slim and zero-and slim is out of town.

0

Fred Williams Nov. 18, 2009 @ 9:16 p.m.

Malin Burnham was right after all.

He scoffed that only 1% of us peasants could ever understand what goes on in these kinds of complex real estate development projects.

0

monaghan Nov. 18, 2009 @ 9:48 p.m.

Well, let's hear if it's Senate Finance or Senate Commerce that gives a green light to the President's nomination of Alan Bersin to become the head of U.S. Customs, even as Bersin stands to profit hugely from a new Border crossing at the Tijuana airport. And yes, "factchecker," it really does seem that a lot of investigative work went into this amazing piece of reportage about a guy who's been protected and literally under the radar ever since he got to town. A tour de force, Matt Potter. Thank you.

0

monaghan Nov. 18, 2009 @ 10:35 p.m.

Actually, I misspoke: Bersin stands to profit hugely from another Border real estate project described in the piece, not the one at the TJ airport. And whichever Senate Committee does the rubber-stamping, let's see if this appointment goes forward in light of these incredible conflicts of interest. I'm hoping that "slim" is not "out of town."

0

David Dodd Nov. 18, 2009 @ 11:52 p.m.

Neither country needs another border crossing. If the existing border crossings were properly run, properly maintained, and properly upgraded as necessary by the government of the United States of America, there would be no waiting to cross.

The border is so entirely mismanaged, it blows my mind every time I wait in the pedestrian line for an hour and a half to finally get to one of three inspectors on duty while three dozen others stand around and do nothing. It's pathetic. For every good government employee there, you'll find ten that don't care. Another border crossing where the same crap happens will not solve anything.

And Matt Potter, you get an A+ for research, and a C- for how you filtered it into to the story. I know it isn't easy to write something with this amount of research and keep the word count within acceptable limits, but I found myself having to go back and figure out your timelines way too often. I can't give you advice on what to do different because I'm struggling with one myself, but smoother would have been that much better and it would have framed your fantastic research much more effectively.

0

Visduh Nov. 19, 2009 @ 8:53 a.m.

I think Matt was trying to be scrupulously careful about stating the exact things revealed in his research. That makes a lengthy piece such as this one rather hard to read and follow. The other drawback is the dryness that results. Perhaps he needed to recap the points he was making in a concluding paragraph. The story started off quite engagingly, but didn't stay in that mode. Nonetheless, he has pulled the whole sordid story of Bersin and his "checkered" career together in a few pages, and all any member of the Senate would need to do is read it before asking questions.

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 19, 2009 @ 12:27 p.m.

The border is so entirely mismanaged, it blows my mind every time I wait in the pedestrian line for an hour and a half to finally get to one of three inspectors on duty while three dozen others stand around and do nothing. It's pathetic. For every good government employee there, you'll find ten that don't care.

Yes, after having worked in the gov run education system, and dealt with the local, state and federal gov at all levels for most of my adult life I can say I have had the exact same experiences.

The majority of gov employees are not very bright, or maybe just not well managed is a better way to put it. The few that are are the exception, not the rule.

0

calreb1 Nov. 19, 2009 @ 7:45 p.m.

Thanks Matt for a story brimming with unsupported allegations. Let's see,Bersin makes legal political contributions. Strike 1. He has legal business interests that he has unfailingly disclosed in accordance with federal law. Strike 2. He is a friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Strike 3. He is a friend of our Governor and his wife. Tossed out of the game for conduct unbecoming.

The truth is you cite no legal or regulatory authority to support your insinuations. You do not cite any experts or reliable, credible sources that support your conclusions. Just more indiscriminate red meat for readers of the Onion-Tribute.

Matt, you work for a pulp publication that draws its income from boob implantation and penile augmentation ads.This slice of yellow press is distributed free throughout the County for the intelligentsia to enjoy. Don't take yourself or your pulp press seriously. Few people do.

0

Fred Williams Nov. 19, 2009 @ 9:31 p.m.

Calreb1, hiding behind a pseudonym, first claims that Matt makes unsubstantiated allegations and lists how Bersin has complied with the disclosure requirements.

Then he makes himself (it could only be a male) look really stupid by conflating the Reader with the UT.

He then goes on to attack the advertisements in the publication.

Uh huh.

Guess that makes everything a-okay now, huh? I'm so happy to see there's no possible problem and that we can all go back to ignoring what our so-called leaders do to augment their private interests while serving in a public office.

Yep. Calrep1, you sure did tell off Matt Potter. I'm sure he's shivering in a dark corner someplace, tears rolling down his cheeks, gulping down cheap wine and smoking heroic amounts of crack.

Or maybe we could make another stab at it...San Diego is a cess pool of corruption, and Matt Potter is one of the few who both has the skills and cares enough to try to expose some of the hidden machinations.

(BTW: Since I read the Reader online, I don't have the pleasure of seeing those boob implantation ads nearly enough...is there some way the Reader can display those advertisements more prominently on its website?)

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 19, 2009 @ 10:03 p.m.

Thanks Matt for a story brimming with unsupported allegations. Let's see,Bersin makes legal political contributions. Strike 1. He has legal business interests that he has unfailingly disclosed in accordance with federal law. Strike 2. He is a friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Strike 3. He is a friend of our Governor and his wife. Tossed out of the game for conduct unbecoming.

The truth is you cite no legal or regulatory authority to support your insinuations. You do not cite any experts or reliable, credible sources that support your conclusions. .

By calreb1

Hey Alan...Oppsss..... I mean "calreb1", how about this cite;

YOU HAVE NEVER IN YOUR LIFE GOTTEN A JOB ON YOUR OWN, BASED ON MERIT!

Is that enough of a "cite" for you Alan???????? You loser hack.

0

calreb1 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 7:17 a.m.

Surf Puppy: Who in the world is Alan? As for competing, I came from a professional, enlisted military family. Worked my way through college on menial jobs and scholarships. I competed with hundreds of applicant to obtain employment with the Navy for 31 years, competing for promotions to the management level. That's what the right wing used to call "following the American dream" of being upward.

Fred_Williams:Hiding behind a pseudonym? Bloggers almost uniformly use "handles". So do conservative posters visduh, refried gringo, and Murphyjunk-but that's okay because they are arch conservative attack dogs.

Credible, reputable journalists don't rely on boob ads, penis ads and medical marijuana ads to generate their incomes. Readers respect credible newspapers and news magazines enough to buy them, not pick them up at some drop-off around town. The reviews are great but the rest-garbage.

0

Visduh Nov. 20, 2009 @ 8:01 a.m.

Gee, calreb1, I've been called arch conservative, and that's OK by me. But an "attack dog", never before. After all these months/years of trying, I finally graduated to that level. Made my day, calreb1!

0

calreb1 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 8:15 a.m.

Good comment. My sincere apology to you.

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 8:35 a.m.

Surf Puppy: Who in the world is Alan?

By calreb1

You're Alan calreb1-Alan Bersin.

Please post under yoru real name if you're going to lie about/puff yourself!

0

Ponzi Nov. 20, 2009 @ 9:19 a.m.

“…Credible, reputable journalists don't rely on boob ads, penis ads and medical marijuana ads to generate their incomes. Readers respect credible newspapers and news magazines enough to buy them, not pick them up at some drop-off around town….”

What an ignorant remark. You obviously have no education in, or concept of, marketing.

Plastic surgery and cosmetic enhancement ads are more appropriate in periodicals and weekly publications. Paying a daily, like the SDUT (especially with their astronomical inch-column rates) would be foolish.

You will find just as much cosmetic surgery and vanity ads in San Diego Magazine.

I could go about trashing the San Diego U-T by claiming they pander and promote charlatans and get rich quick schemes like the full page ads for Robert Allen, all the fake “estate sale” ads, or promote violence with the full page Del Mar Fairgrounds Gun Show ads, or vice with all the gambling ads from the plethora of gambling casinos.

Nothing is worse than ignorant people trying to sound wise.

0

Fred Williams Nov. 20, 2009 @ 9:38 a.m.

Calreb1, are you seriously suggesting that there's no sniff of corruption or insider dealing in this story? If so, come out and say it.

Otherwise, it seems you just don't like the writer and the publication, and otherwise have nothing to offer but rather amusing observations on the advertisers.

Best,

Fred

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 10:34 a.m.

Calreb1/Alan is never going to recover from that written beat down!

0

Russ Lewis Nov. 20, 2009 @ 12:53 p.m.

Puppy, since you know everything, why don't you finally tell me what I do for a living, you self-inflated windbag.

(#16) "Readers respect credible newspapers and news magazines enough to buy them, not pick them up at some drop-off around town." No newspaper supports itself with subscription sales, Calreb1; real life doesn't work that way. Advertising is the newspaper's life blood.

0

Visduh Nov. 20, 2009 @ 2:21 p.m.

Just had another thought about calreb1. He admits to being a career Navy employee, which I assume means he was a civil service employee. After over 30 years of a cushy federal job, we cannot but expect that he has a much different outlook on such things as political appointees, corruption, grabbing what you can when you can, and has a "look the other way" view of the foibles and failings of federal agencies.

As to his blending the U-T and the Reader into bedfellows or at least fellow travelers, I'm really almost speechless. Anyone who has followed those two publications would know they have remarkably little in common.

A final point: calreb1 claims that Matt has no basis for his claims. Count on it, he does! Several of the things he covers are buttressed by quotes. Property ownership records are public, as are the identities of corporations and statutory partnerships. Those can be researched readily, and on-line. If he has libeled Bersin, you can be sure that Bersin will demand a retraction/file a lawsuit. Want to make a bet on that ever happening?

0

calreb1 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 3:27 p.m.

Beat down, Surf Puppy? Give you my name? What, so you can harass my family and I? Haven't you observed that bloggers rarely provide their actual names? Why do you think they retain their names to themselves? Right, they are all craven cowards. I notice you also use a handle, or did your Hippie parents hang that name on you during the Age of Aquarius? Right, working 30 years for the US Navy is a shameful way to earn a living, just like working for the US Attorney or the Border Patrol Homeland Defense, ATF, US Marshalls, FBI, Departments of Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, etc., etc., is disgaceful. You're clever, all right. Just like my Jack Russell who's full of tricks. As for your employment, let me guess: self employed expert.

0

PistolPete Nov. 20, 2009 @ 3:33 p.m.

With the exception of our armed fores, everything else you mentioned, needs to be disbanded.

0

calreb1 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 3:45 p.m.

Hey Fred Williams: I think you can see from reading comments why I, like most bloggers, use a handle. Anyway, I appreciated your comments.

No doubt in all those border businesses and corporations there is corruption, particularly South of the Border. I agree with you. That doen't in itself prove anything about Mr. Bersin's ethics and conduct.

To my best recollection, I don't have any past knowledge concerning Matt Potter. I don't remember ever reading any other story of his. I read the reviews of all types in the Reader which are interesting and useful. I have read other articles but find them typically long, dull and poorly edited.

What I look for is the reputation of the publication and the track record of the writer. I look to citations and sources so that I might verify claims asserted in the article. Sorry, but those factors are all conspicuously absent in the article, including the publication's reputation (lightweight) and and the writer's reputation, unknown to me other that I see his writing appearing in the lower end of journalism.

Thanks Fred.

0

David Dodd Nov. 20, 2009 @ 3:46 p.m.

calreb1: All of Potter's allegations are well-supported. Bersin's dealings in government have always straddled his business interests. The very places he proposes new border crossings are in locations that he or his cronies would profit from their holdings. The fact that you refuse to believe that is suspicious to many of the others who have responded to your comments.

Working for the government is not shameful in and of itself, but your biased claim that Bersin has not involved himself in repeated conflicts of interest might have people conclude that - assuming you are not directly involved - perhaps working for the government has jaded you in some way. It would be similar to an ex-cop denying the fact that police brutality sometimes occurs.

I stand by the opinion that neither the U.S. nor Mexico needs more border crossings. The U.S. (and Mexico to some extent) simply needs to run the crossings properly and to upgrade and expand them appropriately. This does not happen, in part, because corrupt politicians keep pressing for new facilities that would only serve to create financial gain for themselves or for their friends.

My full name, in case you wish to foolishly harass my family and me (note, it isn't my family and I, it's my family and me), is David Alton Dodd.

0

calreb1 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 4:21 p.m.

Refried Gringo, Friend: I have no idea whatsoever whether Bersin has involved himself in the actions alleged or refrained from such conduct. I am not alleging that Bersin is chaste, guilty or innnocent of the alleged conduct. I am critical of Mr. Potter for making such sweeping charges, disparaging a very large number of private and public figures, without documenting the bases of his claims. I don't accept broad, controversial claims simply because the writer says it's so. I believe that it's not unfair to demand that a writer making such allegations has a burden of providing readers enough proof, not opinion, and documentation so that readers can verify the claims. That isn't much to demand of a journalist.

0

Visduh Nov. 20, 2009 @ 4:30 p.m.

calreb1 just keeps coming up with astounding comments. He says he has no recollection of Matt Potter, nor remembers reading any story of his. Matt has been doing investigative reporting in The Reader for years, and has written some of the most important stories that have appeared. One can only conclude that calreb1 has not been seeing The Reader much or, more likely, at all.

Yeah, I use a handle, just as he does. But I write letters to the editor of more traditional publications and I sign my name. Never have I asked for anonymity in such a situation. In the immoral words (oops, immorTal) of Ken Noonan, the now retired superintendent of the Oceanside schools, "There are some seriously wacked-out people out there." One never knows when a blog or story comment will set one of them off. That kind of trouble I don't need. That is what a handle avoids.

0

calreb1 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 4:37 p.m.

Hey dummy-I read real journalism and there's plenty out there, excluding The Reader. I don't know Potter from Adam.

0

PistolPete Nov. 20, 2009 @ 5:02 p.m.

I'm dead serious, calreb. Most large government agencies are ill-equiped to deal with the real world. We have border patrol stationed up to 500 miles from the border. Why? The border is just that-the border. Not 500 miles from it. Are we in Nazi Germany? Why should ANYONE have to prove who they are inside the United States? A sovereign country, I might add. And this has NOTHING to do with the immigration debate whatsoever. If I'm an hour away from the border, still in the U.S., why should I have to prove I'm an American citizen. All Homeland Security is doing is pissing people like me off who question when the NWO actually will come? It's almost as if they are trying to soften Americans to their future borders. And don't get me started on those alphabet soup moron motherf***ers either. A dead FBI agent is my wet dream!!!

0

Visduh Nov. 20, 2009 @ 5:18 p.m.

Gee, Pistol Pete, this joker has got you back to your unprintable name-calling. I'd admired the way your cleaned up your language! calreb1 says he doesn't know Matt Potter from Adam, but he can belittle Matt as though he does.

0

PistolPete Nov. 20, 2009 @ 5:47 p.m.

Sorry Visduh. Me and the govmint don't jibe too well. There's crooked politicians and crime in the streets... ;-D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wb41-jqiyE&feature=related

0

David Dodd Nov. 20, 2009 @ 5:49 p.m.

calreb1: Perhaps if you went back and read the article and pointed out precisely that which you question concerning Potter's research, it would be easier to convince your detractors that you might have a point. Journalists do not list their sources unless there is a possible question as to whether or not statements are facts. In other words, where statements are matters of public record, the journalist needs not indicate where the statement was discovered.

For example, everything Potter wrote about Elorduy is fact. I can find references to it in both English and Spanish, and I live here in Baja and remember much of his lobbying for more crossings. In other cases where the research was more obscure and possibly somewhat controversial, Potter cites his source. Even though it is still a matter of public record, Potter saves us from wondering where it came from by quoting it.

I once wrote for a newspaper, and so did at least one other person in here in the comments section that can name himself if he chooses. My point is, journalistically, the content in this article seems appropriate to me. So far as the Reader goes, it's a quirky mix of journalism and non-journalism. Potter has been with the Reader for quite some time, and I've read both styles from him. The main reason you won't read this stuff in the U-T is simply because the U-T is politically aligned. The Reader is not.

0

calreb1 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 5:55 p.m.

Pistolpete: Have a great weekend. Enjoy football.

0

PistolPete Nov. 20, 2009 @ 6:01 p.m.

Thanks calreb. You have a good one as well. You have to understand that most Reader readers such as myself are pretty harmless. Would I ever kill a cop or someone I don't like? Not unless I was defending myself. Would I like to see more cops/government agents murdered? You betcha. Why throw my life down the s***ter when there's always someone willing to do it for you? We argue ALOT on these boards but to me, it's like a good crossword puzzle. The open exchange of ideas, however offensive they may be, is the last refuge of freedom...

0

calreb1 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 6:07 p.m.

Viduh: I also send letters to Editors, with my name and other info requested by the publisher. I read The Reader but the various reviews, not any investigative writing or some of the other off the cuff writing one finds in the paper. I occasionally read the UT and LA Times, mostly for sports. I do most of my political reading in news magazines and on the net.I watch broadcast news but MSNBC and FOX are not my style. Have an enjoyable weekend.

0

calreb1 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 6:19 p.m.

Thanks Pistol.

Refried: I appreciate your comments. I realize journalists generally don't document, which in all honesty is why I fundamentally distrust journalists of all types. A reader should not be expected to independently validate a sweeping story replete with manifold charges like the Bersin article. Historians cite and document but most journalists don't. That's why I consider the reputation of the publication and writer. Perhaps in retro my primary criticism is for taking on too much in one published article. Maybe he plans follow ups. As I told Visduh, I read the LA Times and UT, mostly for sports. Have a great weekend and I enjoyed exchanging with you. Best, John.

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 7:25 p.m.

Puppy, since you know everything, why don't you finally tell me what I do for a living, you self-inflated windbag.

By russl

Burger King counter person! You untrained circus chimp!

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 7:28 p.m.

I notice you also use a handle, or did your Hippie parents hang that name on you during the Age of Aquarius?

By calreb1

You made me cry........

You and russl need to hook up, and maybe between the two of you there might be a few onces of brain cells.

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 7:30 p.m.

calreb1 just keeps coming up with astounding comments. He says he has no recollection of Matt Potter, nor remembers reading any story of his. Matt has been doing investigative reporting in The Reader for years, and has written some of the most important stories that have appeared. One can only conclude that calreb1 has not been seeing The Reader much or, more likely, at all.

Or that calreb1 is Alan and has the intelligence of a rock.

0

calreb1 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 7:46 p.m.

Surf Puppy-You want my name? It's RumplestiltskinPiedPiperLittleThreeBearsYellowbrickRoadWicked WitchoftheWestDon'tMessWithTejas IgnatiusXavierKennedy NixonBushTheElderReaganLBJBushTheFup, III.

Be careful. If you say that name backwards, Giant Winged Gorillas will swoop down, snatch you up and deliver you to Lucifer at the Gates of Hades, whereupon you will be fed to the Hounds of Hell and you bones reduced to dust on burning rocks and brimstone.Your sould will then be cursed to serve as the right wing of Lucifer for eternity. Take care and have a good weekend.

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 20, 2009 @ 9:46 p.m.

Surf Puppy-You want my name? It's RumplestiltskinPiedPiperLittleThreeBearsYellowbrickRoadWicked WitchoftheWestDon'tMessWithTejas IgnatiusXavierKennedy NixonBushTheElderReaganLBJBushTheFup, III.

Hahahahaha...yes Petey, that was a good one (from ALAN!)....

Relax Alan, it's just the internet.

0

PistolPete Nov. 20, 2009 @ 9:48 p.m.

Sorry SP, I'm not playin' favorites. Bush the Fup was pretty funny though.

0

Russ Lewis Nov. 21, 2009 @ 1 a.m.

(#41) SurfPussy, you FAIL. You blew it. You pretend to know facts about complete strangers, and when they call you on it, you don't have to goods to back it up. I gave you a chance (many times), but you just made yourself look like a dumbs***. (And people hire you as a lawyer?) Pick a new screen name and start over.

By the way, I'd be a little bit impressed with you if you could scrape up "a few onces [sic] of brain cells" and learn to spell and punctuate worth a damn. You know, like a trained chimp.

0

calreb1 Nov. 21, 2009 @ 7:48 a.m.

What's your specialty Surf Puppy? If you indeed are a lawyer, you undoubtedly believe in the presumption of innocence. Thus, you understand my objections to a one sided, undocumented investigative report, one that acts as prosecutor, judge and jury. I'm certainly relaxed, trust you are too. By the way, look closely and you'll find my name-and it's not Alan, surprise.I'm genuine in wishing you a good weekend.

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 21, 2009 @ 9:29 a.m.

(#41) SurfPussy, you FAIL. You blew it. You pretend to know facts about complete strangers, and when they call you on it, you don't have to goods to back it up. I gave you a chance (many times), but you just made yourself look like a dumbs***. (And people hire you as a lawyer?) Pick a new screen name and start over.

By russl

LOL...russle the Burger King man has a whopper meltdown!

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 21, 2009 @ 9:30 a.m.

By the way, look closely and you'll find my name-and it's not Alan,

By calreb1

What ever you say Alan!

0

Russ Lewis Nov. 21, 2009 @ 12:28 p.m.

Guess what, SurfPussy? You're wrong. You don't know s***, and you proved it again. Just admit it and people might begin to respect you.

Learn to write or find a secretary who can do it for you.

0

Russ Lewis Nov. 21, 2009 @ 12:59 p.m.

Leave it to Fumber to come up with a good epithet. Really, who else?

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 21, 2009 @ 2:42 p.m.

Guess what, SurfPussy? You're wrong. You don't know s***, and you proved it again. Just admit it and people might begin to respect you.

Learn to write or find a secretary who can do it for you.

By russl

Hey russl, errr.....I mean "Burger Boy"-I'll take mine with EXTRA pickles....now hope to it Juinior!

0

Duhbya Nov. 21, 2009 @ 5:08 p.m.

"By the way, look closely and you'll find my name-and it's not Alan,

By calreb1"

You: Be Carl ?

Cal Erb ?

B.C. Earl?

C.L. Bear ?

L. Brace ?

Le Crab ?

0

Visduh Nov. 21, 2009 @ 5:24 p.m.

Surfpuppy619 is capable of excellent grammar and flawless spelling. Yet he often errs with both while doing these postings. Hey, maybe he's in a hurry, or maybe he's enjoyed his cocktail hour too much. Both factors can degrade ones performance. I'd suggest an up-to-date internet link that has some sort of spell checker, at the very least.

Oh, I don't give a rat's a** who calreb1 is. He's already drawn too much attention to himself.

0

David Dodd Nov. 21, 2009 @ 5:25 p.m.

Duhbya, his name is John. And John is entitled to his opinion. As are we all.

0

SDaniels Nov. 21, 2009 @ 6:26 p.m.

re: #58: Visduh confessed:

"Hey, maybe he's in a hurry, or maybe he's enjoyed his cocktail hour too much. Both factors can degrade ones performance."

Poor Visduh. You know, there are drugs to help ;)

0

Visduh Nov. 21, 2009 @ 6:57 p.m.

Just say no (to drugs.) It is best not to get into political discussions while one is either emotional, or having indulged. So, SD, there are drugs to help what?

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 21, 2009 @ 7:04 p.m.

I'd suggest an up-to-date internet link that has some sort of spell checker, at the very least.

By Visduh

Yeah Firefox has the spell check option, unfortunately I use IE, and as far as I know it has no spell check.

As for calreb1 being Alan Bersin, I always make those types comments when someone comes on and backstops a loser (which Alan is)- most of the time being sacastic, but sometimes very serious because it is obviouse from the posts the person is the one who is the subject of the blog.

As for russl and his moron comments, I don't really care what he thinks of my comments-he is an idiot.

0

Russ Lewis Nov. 21, 2009 @ 7:12 p.m.

"Hey russl, errr.....I mean 'Burger Boy'-I'll take mine with EXTRA pickles....now hope to it Juinior!"

Can't help you there, SpermPuppy. I work in the typesetting industry, so maybe I can give you some spelling lessons once I "hope to it."

Oh, uh, you said I'm a confirmed "trough feeder"; by that I guess you mean a public employee, right? Well, you're a dumbs, SurfPussy. You don't know s, you make wild, false accusations at others (as a good lawyer should), and when someone calls you on it, insteading of supporting your claims, you respond with more bulls*** accusations. And misspell it all. I'd call you "Burger Boy," but the folks at the burger joint are probably better educated. (Why can't I spar with a man of learning and erudition, like Fumber?)

0

Fred Williams Nov. 21, 2009 @ 7:40 p.m.

SurfP, I've met Bersin a few times. I can guarantee you that Calreb1 is not him.

Russl, where is our buddy fumber when we need him? I feel so skinny when he's not reminding me that I'm HUMONGOUS.

Back to the subject at hand:

Matt Potter is described by his colleagues as THE "document man". He has a reputation for diving into stacks and piles of papers, finding the pearls and bringing them up to the surface.

He's been doing it for what? Twenty years? More?

I think if he says he's got the documentation for his facts, he's worthy of trust.

Of course how he arranges and presents those facts to the readers is perhaps different from how you would do so.

If so, then it's your responsibility to present these facts differently. I think there's no doubt that Bersin owns properties affected by his decisions, and he's disclosed them. He also is part of the gang that runs this town -- mostly in its own interests. That's clear.

But it could be presented more innocently. He's just a poor boy working his way up in the world, taking the opportunities along the way.

Unfortunately, from long experience in San Diego, we know that the self-interested insiders are never satisfied, always wanting more of the public's money while manipulating the media to make themselves look good.

Since I already agree with Matt, I don't object to his presentation of the facts. If you don't agree with our conclusions (Calreb1, I'm talking to you!) then present your version.

Then we'd have something to discuss. But impuning Matt Potter's work as a journalist won't really fly. His reputation is not in doubt.

Bersin's reputation, however, is very much in doubt. I'm glad Matt has brought some of these details to light.

Best,

Fred "Humongous Sack of Lard" Williams

0

calreb1 Nov. 21, 2009 @ 8:20 p.m.

The notion that readers must conduct their own investigations and disprove the findings of any writer is utterly ridiculous.The writer, not readers, bears the burden of establishing the credibility of his writing.

The writer in this instance apparently has spent a career writing for a pulp magazine, at least if comments above are accurate. That provides room to question his article barring independent substantiation of his claim and reputation by proven, credible journalists. The writer may be the intellectual heroe of some of you, but that doesn't bar others from being skeptical.

I'll apologize humbly to all of you if the article wins Potter a Pulitzer Prize. In the meantime, I'll wait to learn if the mainstream press picks up his story and, if they do, see what they have to say on the subject. In the meantime, I don't accept Potter's word alone as dispositve on the subject. Have fun all. regardless of how you believe.

0

Fred Williams Nov. 21, 2009 @ 8:24 p.m.

Calreb1

I'm not saying Matt Potter never ever makes a mistake. But you've admitted you've never read anything else by him.

So before you dismiss him as a hack, have a quick look at his work:

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/stories/

0

Russ Lewis Nov. 21, 2009 @ 8:40 p.m.

Fred, in Fumber's absence, let me assure you that you are one humongous barf sack, smegma container, and stinking pile of fecal flakes. I'm sure Fumber himself will be back soon from the library after absorbing the knowledge there, and he'll administer wheatgrass enemas to both of us.

0

Fred Williams Nov. 21, 2009 @ 8:54 p.m.

Russl, I can feel the love...or is that wheatgrass trickling down my leg?

I wish Fumber would get together with Matt Potter. Imagine the articles they'd write together:

"Documents found in the basement of city hall show that in December of 2005 a HUMONGOUS deushe-bag chewing piece of raw fecal matter paid a private consultant $206,000 from the general fund to compile a worthless piece of dog dookie smothered in wet panty waste."

0

calreb1 Nov. 21, 2009 @ 9:28 p.m.

Fred-I certainly don't concur with Comment 67.

I respect that you're giving out the straight stuff. I can see that Potter has written a lot of articles about local issues. He's a veteran of local wars, I agree. Thanks for showing me that.

I would respectfully distinguish here that the subject article has implications that are both national and international in scope. The subject is does not involve a down home SD problem only.

The stakes involve not only Alan Bersin, but also the direction of the fight against narco wars, policy on illegal immigration (which is vastly more than an SD issue only), the internal political and security struggles within Mexico, and critical developing relations between the US and Mexico.

Potter has bitten off a huge chunk and made some rather pointed observations, findings and conclusions. In short, this time he plays where the big boys of journalism play. Nothing wrong with that, but readers are justified if they elect to await further developments before buying Potter's story on its own. Which is my choice.

Not only is Bersin's public standing put in question, but many other public and private figures as well. That to me is high stakes play, worthy of skeptical analysis pending the reaction, if any, by the larger national press to the assertions of a small, pulp publisher in SD.

You and other commenters have given me significnt points to consider. I appreciate your effort.

I know how tempting it is for myself and other readers to play attack. I respectfully suggest that, when the issue is openly high stakes, more fruitful consideration is needed beyond the fun of quipping and attacking. This comment isn't for you, Fred. John

0

Duhbya Nov. 22, 2009 @ 6:19 a.m.

Re #59: "Duhbya, his name is John. And John is entitled to his opinion. As are we all.

By refriedgringo 5:25 p.m., Nov 21, 2009"

Thanks, I missed that. And I concur.

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 22, 2009 @ 8:51 a.m.

I'd call you "Burger Boy," but the folks at the burger joint are probably better educated. (Why can't I spar with a man of learning and erudition, like Fumber?)

By russl

Hey "GED Boy". aka "Burger Boy" russl, it is hard for me to have a war of wits sparring match with someone like you who is unarmed!

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 22, 2009 @ 8:53 a.m.

Oh, uh, you said I'm a confirmed "trough feeder"; by that I guess you mean a public employee, right?

By russl

Thanks for reminding me Burger Boy, you're a "trough feeder" too!

Of course there is not too much difference between the burger counter boy and the gov trough feeder, now is there?

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 22, 2009 @ 11 a.m.

Nor the semiliterate shyster.

By russl

Nor the GED educated firewhiner.

0

Russ Lewis Nov. 22, 2009 @ 11:17 a.m.

"GED educated" would by hyphenated, Mr. Harvard-educated lawyer. It's a compound modifier that precedes the noun that it modifies, but I wouldn't expect a semiliterate "lawyer" to know the finer points or even basic points of written English. Generally speaking, this is the domain of the educated.

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 22, 2009 @ 11:19 a.m.

"GED educated" would by hyphenated, Mr. Harvard-educated lawyer. It's a compound modifier that precedes the noun that it modifies, but I wouldn't expect a semiliterate "lawyer" to know the finer points or even basic points of written English. Generally speaking, this is the domain of the educated.

By russl

Says who Mr Burger Boy-your "spell checker".

LOL...another nugget of gold from the trough feeder.

0

calreb1 Nov. 22, 2009 @ 11:39 a.m.

To all: You might look at an article titled "A US DRUG FOE WHO WAS SEEN AS INCORRUPTIBLE" at the bottom of the first page of today's "Los Angeles Times", a story about a retired Arizona US Customs Official (who apparently worked outside Bersin's jurisdiction) recently indicted as a product of reports from some of his former informants. Who knows the truth of that contropversy, but the story indicates what a yawning black hole the Mexican Narco Wars are for US law enforcement offcials. The US Attorney for that jurisdiction certainly has a thankless task ahead, prosecuting a formerly high-reputation law officer because informants, who may be criminals, provided reports against him.

0

Russ Lewis Nov. 22, 2009 @ 11:57 a.m.

"Says who Mr Burger Boy-your 'spell checker'."

That's four punctuation mistakes in one sentence -- another nugget of gold from the semi-educated. You're on a roll.

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 22, 2009 @ 11:58 a.m.

That's four punctuation mistakes in one sentence -- another nugget of gold from the semi-educated. You're on a roll.

By russl 11

Is that ALL you have Burger boy- five punctuation mistakes in one sentence.

More nuggets of gold from the GED educated firewhiner apologist!

0

Russ Lewis Nov. 22, 2009 @ 12:07 p.m.

It's "GED-educated." Give it up. You're too stupid to learn, apparently. Oh, and just call me "Bruger Boy."

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 22, 2009 @ 12:09 p.m.

It's "GED-educated." Give it up. You're too stupid to learn, apparently. Oh, and just call me "Bruger Boy."

By russl

Ohhhh.....Burger Boy called me "stupid" now.

I'm crying again!

Hey stoopid, is that ALL you got?????? LOL!

0

Fred Williams Nov. 22, 2009 @ 6:56 p.m.

Re: #77

Yes, war tends to corrupt, and the drug war corrupts absolutely.

It's not Mexico's fault. It our fault.

We elected religious-right fanatics into our government. Instead of using common sense and science to promote new intelligent policies to address drug abuse, they declared "WAR".

The result has been nothing but a disaster. A disaster for the 800,000+ arrested every year for simple possession of a plant. A disaster for the government and people of Mexico. A disaster for our budget as we spend upwards of $40 Billion each year on this war on ourselves.

Worst of all has been the steady erosion of our constitutional rights under this "WAR". The fourth amendment is basically gone. So long as the cops use the drug war excuse, they can do whatever they like with impunity. Same for prosecutors who have absolute immunity...even when they commit serious crimes in an effort to jail the innocent.

The use of confidential informants, something Radley Balko has documented extensively, has corrupted our justice system. So has the militarization of our police. They've adopted an "us versus them" mentality where they see the citizens as the enemy.

http://www.theagitator.com/category/drug-informants/

http://www.theagitator.com/category/paramilitary-police-raids/

When I see someone like Alan Bersin stepping into this environment, I have little faith that he's not going to be part of the problem. Solutions would hurt his career prospects. Drug warriors only have incentives for further ramping up this idiot "WAR", and if they ever try to inject common sense they'll be gone.

So expect more of the same stupidity, waste, greed, and corruption with Bersin on the job. He does as he's told by his owners, who delight in profiting on the miseries of others.

0

PistolPete Nov. 22, 2009 @ 7:55 p.m.

calreb1-I don't have time to read that article right now but I'll never forget the words that Sonny Crocket once said on an episode of Miami Vice:"It's hard to tell the players without a scorecard."

Fred is so correct it's not even a laughing matter. Our government is too eager to go to WAR. War on Drugs. War on Poverty. War on Terrorism. Secretly, there are also wars on freedom. If you had a cushy government job, wouldn't you corrupt yourself to keep it? I know I would. I'm a human and that's what humans do.

0

Fred Williams Nov. 22, 2009 @ 7:56 p.m.

...and we can all trust Fumber's opinion, because when it comes to stupid he's an expert.

0

JF Nov. 22, 2009 @ 8:12 p.m.

Relax Alan, it's just the internet

Guess that explains why you're sending me threatening emails, doesn't it Johnny.

0

magicsfive Nov. 22, 2009 @ 9:33 p.m.

by calreb: "Matt, you work for a pulp publication that draws its income from boob implantation and penile augmentation ads.This slice of yellow press is distributed free throughout the County for the intelligentsia to enjoy. Don't take yourself or your pulp press seriously. Few people do." ================================= why do you keep coming back, then??

0

SurfPuppy619 Nov. 22, 2009 @ 9:44 p.m.

why do you keep coming back, then??

By magicsfive

I am going with "penile augmentation ads"!

Now me, I keep coming back for the "boob implantation ...augmentation ads"!

0

David Dodd Nov. 22, 2009 @ 10:01 p.m.

Some great writers wrote for publications that were not considered as upscale. Bukowski wrote for the underground Los Angeles paper "Open City" (not to be confused with the newer and not-so-underground publication with the same name out of New York). Ben Franklin and Samuel Clemens wrote what was considered to be pornography in their day (you won't find this on wiki, don't bother, but it's true). Presuming that I am lucky enough to be considered as a successful novelist someday, nothing would make me happier than to read a reference of any kind that I was once published in the San Diego Reader.

Penile augmentation and boob implantation ads and all.

0

magicsfive Nov. 22, 2009 @ 10:13 p.m.

lol surfpup you're probably right. and refried...you WILL be a successful novelist and i will have ALL your books. autographed, of course ;)

0

David Dodd Nov. 22, 2009 @ 10:21 p.m.

Magics, I'll even advertise on this site when I get a release date, and I'll offer anyone a signed copy. If I'm lucky enough to sell twenty thousand books and signing each one helps the cause, then I'll sign twenty thousand books.

0

SDaniels Nov. 23, 2009 @ 2:42 a.m.

re: #86 and 87: Trust me guys, it is better to keep it on the threads. Don't IM each other, and don't give out email, either. You're both intelligent enough to--and often do-- conduct rational debate that just happens to also be informative and intellectually profitable to others here. Don't descend to gutter level. ;)

re: #90: Right on. Look at Baudelaire's "Spleen," or Whitman's or Cocteau's many small press endeavors. The list goes on.

re: #92: I'd like to reserve an advance copy of your latest.

0

JF Nov. 23, 2009 @ 7 a.m.

Like I said funny boy-try me.

So let me get this straight. After all of our banter back and forth, you suddenly get upset when I accuse you of parroting the same thing over and over. So you email me threatening the same fate as Keith Jones and say, "You're next". Who the heck is Keith Jones? And why would I suffer his fate?

And SD, Johnny doesn't have my personal email. He IM'd me via the site.

0

monaghan Nov. 23, 2009 @ 12:58 p.m.

This colloquy could be Exhibit A on the perils of internet blogging. It briefly makes me long for the heavy puritanical right-wing editorial hand at the old Union-Tribune Letters page. (Just kidding.) But really, one could wish for more literate, subject-oriented defenders of Matt Potter's work and the San Diego Reader.

Who CARES who "calreb1" is? His posts are designed to discredit Matt Potter as an investigative reporter and the Reader as an independent alternative newspaper. This, in the wake of the Reader's publishing Potter's well-researched and deeply troubling story about Alan Bersin's financial interests here at the Mexican border, just as Bersin is nominated for vetting by Congress as a suitable head of U.S. Customs. Potter lays out Bersin's political trajectory -- personal and familial financial contributions that directly led to political access and appointments, and Bersin's continuing personal financial interests in Border-area development projects with partners like local businessman Malin Burnham. Reporters from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and our own Union-Tribune have all swallowed Bersin's press packet Kool-Aid. No one but Matt Potter at the San Diego Reader has EVER has shown us the extent of Bersin's private "enterprise" or the extent of his present conflicts of interest as he seeks yet another public-payroll job.

0

Fred Williams Nov. 23, 2009 @ 8:07 p.m.

Monaghan, I've tried to be a literate and subject-oriented defender of Matt Potter's work. I've been involved in San Diego politics over two decades now, and I find Matt's investigations very revealing.

As you say, it's vital that someone in D.C. injest something other than the press-packet Kool-Aid about golden boy Bersin.

But not one of our cowardly San Diego congressional delegates would dare lift a finger against Bersin. His friends and backers are stronger than any mere congressman. They know what would happen in retaliation.

Matt Potter isn't afraid to state the plain facts as he finds them. I'm glad the Reader continues to publish is work, and only hope he finds an even larger audience online. Maybe someone in D.C. is reading this article too...

0

Sign in to comment