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In a short political campaign, such as the current mayoral race, voters don't have time to check preposterous statements or to get into critical but complex issues.

Example: Candidate Nathan Fletcher has been caught in a video telling voters that the city's pension obligations will recede over time. This is simply not true.

"Nathan Fletcher either lied, was misinformed by the city unions backing him, or Fletcher actually thinks the city's pension paymetns are decreasing with time, and all the new-found money can be reinvested in neighborhood infrastructure," says activist Katheryn Rhodes.

Candidate Mike Aguirre also points out that Fletcher's statement is not true; pension costs are rising every year.

Former mayor Jerry Sanders has an ad promoting Kevin Faulconer. Sanders claims that under his administration, a billion dollars was saved on pensions, and that can go back into the neighborhoods.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," says Aguirre. Sanders claimed he was balancing budgets, but what he was doing was ignoring maintenance, infrastructure, and critical services such as fire. The city still has a structural deficit, says Aguirre.

In the past three years, San Diego has spent more on pensions than it has on firefighting. The city's $8 billion unfunded pension deficit costs San Diegans almost $4500 per household per year, says Aguirre.

All this adds up to something that no candidate has come out and said: San Diegans cannot have improved infrastructure — roads, sewers, water, etc. — and, at the same time, giveaway programs such as the convention-center expansion and subsidized Chargers stadium. With the huge pension deficit, the money isn't there.

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Brian_T_Peterson_DVM Oct. 24, 2013 @ 8:21 a.m.

During Sanders’ term the City recovered $50 million that could go back to paying for neighborhood upkeep, but that was because Governor Brown killed redevelopment. Fletcher/Faulconer/Sanders, however, did everything they could to keep the redevelopment/corporate welfare/drain on City finances alive. Aguirre is the only one of the top mayoral candidates to fully comprehend the problems with redevelopment, and he tried to block the transfer of redevelopment funds from Grantville to downtown. Based on track record, if the state should resurrect some form of redevelopment, don’t be surprised if Fletcher/Faulconer try to funnel this money to downtown interests.

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2013 @ 8:43 a.m.

Brian: You are absolutely right. The big worry is that the legislature will reinstate redevelopment under another name. And you can be certain that Fletcher/Faulconer will then try to steer that money to corporate welfare projects downtown. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Oct. 24, 2013 @ 8:44 a.m.

Well said, Brian. Aguirre has my vote as well.

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2013 @ 8:53 a.m.

aardvark: Aguirre is the only one who understands -- or at least has the guts to reveal -- the perilous state of San Diego finances. I just wish he would come out and say that the City cannot afford the convention center expansion and a subsidy for a Chargers stadium.

Any money left over after pension payments should go to the infrastructure, which has a $1 billion deficit or more. I am quite sure Aguirre knows that, but is saying that he wants to leave it up to the voters as a way to avoid annoying powerful political blocs in the vote. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Oct. 24, 2013 @ 10:55 a.m.

Don: The article makes reference to a statement by Aguirre that the pension fund is underfunded by $8 billion. Even including unfunded lifetime medical care for retired city employees, could it possibly be that high?

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2013 @ 2:57 p.m.

aardvark: Yes, the unfunded deficit is $8 billion. If you really want to stay up all night pacing the floor, read about the unfunded deficit of governments and corporations in the U.S. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Oct. 24, 2013 @ 3:36 p.m.

Don: Isn't that amount in the trillions of dollars?

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2013 @ 6:34 p.m.

aardvark: The cumulative unfunded pension liabilities of states -- just states -- is $2.8 trillion, according to a Congressional study. Then consider cities' unfunded liabilities and those of private sector companies and you are talking real money. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Oct. 24, 2013 @ 6:45 p.m.

Don: $8 billion in unfunded liabilities for San Diego is more than enough real money for me.

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Visduh Oct. 24, 2013 @ 10:12 a.m.

Just a few years ago, the Mill ran a piece on San Diego's deferred infrastructural maintenance. As I recall it said there was between a half billion and a billion dollars worth. So, even that paper, never noted for digging out the real dirt of local politics, was attempting to be honest. But now, it drinks the Sanders Kool-Aid about how the budget is balanced and the pension "problem" is either solved or under control. The whoppers go unchallenged in that medium, and I'm sure at the local TV stations. Voters hear little truth about the actual situation.

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aardvark Oct. 24, 2013 @ 10:58 a.m.

Visduh: Wasn't Sanders' home street repaved in the last year or two of his last term as mayor? If so, at least someone's street isn't growing grass and weeds between the cracks in the pavement after each (infrequent) rainstorm. I know mine is.

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Visduh Oct. 24, 2013 @ 11:38 a.m.

It would be remarkable if that street wasn't redone, not that it was repaved. Just what part of the city is that?

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aardvark Oct. 24, 2013 @ 11:45 a.m.

Visduh: If I recall, I believe Sanders lives somewhere in Kensington.

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2013 @ 12:25 p.m.

aardvark: Yes, Sanders lives in Kensington. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2013 @ 12:22 p.m.

Visduh: If this incident happened -- and I for one can't confirm it -- it would not be remarkable. It would be business as usual. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2013 @ 11:57 a.m.

aardvark: I believe I have heard that. One of the classic cases was reported in my column of Jan. 12, 2006. Bob Kittle, then the U-T's head editorial writer, and Scott Peters, then a councilman, met at a breakfast. Peters had an op-ed piece he wanted printed. Kittle wanted telephone poles removed from near his house and something done about speeding traffic on his street.

The op-ed got printed. The poles came down and the traffic problem was mitigated. Peters shortly came in for a pre-election interview and got the U-T's hearty endorsement.

The quid pro quo arrangements are probably even worse today. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 24, 2013 @ 11:37 a.m.

Visduh: This is the tragedy of San Diego voter information. The mainstream media have relationships with one another. A televsion station, for example, will be told what a newspaper intends to print the next day; it's that bad. So one point of view blankets the county, unless you read or see the websites of the Reader, or other non-mainstream publications. The Filner lynching was a classic case of this.

The infrastructure deficit is probably over $1 billion. The UT knows it, but wants taxpayers to support a Chargers stadium and the convention center expansion. If the figure gets printed in the UT, it will be buried. The newspaper knows there is not the money for these corporate welfare projects, but will conceal that.

Best, Don Bauder

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