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City of San Diego employees, retirees, and their families plan to rally against City Attorney Mike Aguirre at the County Democratic Central Committee meeting Tuesday evening, Jan. 8, at the State of California Building on Front Street. The employees will be hoping to block the Democrats' possible endorsement of Aguirre for his second run for office, if he decides to run. Aguirre, of course, has tried to get City employees' excessive benefits reduced because the City is in dire financial straits. The Municipal Employees Union has opposed him at every step, including in court. Normally, Democrats back labor, but Aguirre and Councilmember Donna Frye, both Democrats, have put the City's interest first. Aguirre has incurred the enmity of Big Business, Big Labor and Big Media.

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Comments

Don Bauder Jan. 12, 2008 @ 8:37 a.m.

Response to post #44: Tea has caffeine. It's bad for the system. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Jan. 8, 2008 @ 1:01 p.m.

Don Don Don... Well I guess this post was a bit biased maybe you should start a op/ed column. "Execessive Benefits"? City Employee may have opposed him, but it was the Court which has repeatedly ruled against his arguments. I'll add it was the City Executives and political leaders who offered benefits in lieu of pay raises so THEY could have the pet projects THEY WANTED. It was the City leaders who made the choice of underfunding the pension plan. The unions NEVER proposed it, and the record shows the POA SDCERS Board Member voted against it.
THEN as is NOW our City Leaders chose NOT to raise taxes and/or fees for fear of repercussions from the electorate, i.e. getting voted out of office. But they sure let the developers go wild to the point when the Fire Department is 50% understaff according to National Standards. To heck with Public Safety but lets make sure we host a National Political Convention. So when American Citizens choose to demonstrate and express themselves and their opinions while exercising their first amendment rights, an admendment that also protects freedom of the press, maybe, just maybe you should support their right of free speech. And maybe you should point your boney finger, and word processor at those who caused this mess and hold them accountable!

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Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2008 @ 2:28 p.m.

Response to post #1: FYI, my blog is like an op/ed piece. It states opinions. Those benefits are excessive, in my judgment. You have a right to argue the point, but they are absolutely excessive compared with the City's ability to pay them. Best, Don Bauder

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paul Jan. 8, 2008 @ 3:05 p.m.

One thing I never seem to hear mentioned when discussing the city pension mess, is why there is a pension in the first place. The pension for city workers is in lieu of social security. They do not pay into social security and are not entitled to social security benefits. As such, it is not fair to make an apples to apples comparison between the city pension to the pension of a private company.

That said, it is an abosolute joke that the government forces private employers to pay into the government ponzi scheme, but allows government employers to opt out and offer a real pension. I wish my company had the option of investing my 15% contribution into a real pension as well. Of course, the government being the government, they steal from the city pension. They play games during salary negotiaions so that the employees are relieved of a portion of what they should have paid in place of a raise, and then the city doesn't pay in what they promised. The unions are in collusion, cuz they know the deals are shady but pass them anyway while feathering their nests.

The fact that the unions are anti-Aguirre and anti-Frye is an abhorrent sign of just how incestuous the political relationships are in San Diego.

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Anonymous Jan. 8, 2008 @ 3:21 p.m.

The City's ability to pay it's debt hinges on three factors in my opinion. 1. City leaders who squandered city financial resources on pet projects. (The Q upgrade, Ticket Guarantees, Petco Park, 1996 RNC, Russian Eggs the list goes on an on) 2. Low taxes and fees. San Diegans pay much lower taxes and fees compared to other Cities in California and the nation but have higher cost of living. Combine this with uncontrolled development and developers who haven't covered the TRUE costs assosiated with there developments. And we have the mess were in today. Total mismanagment and lies by excutives covering the collective butts. The old saying about San Diego, biggest little town in America remains true. We've only renamed this town to Enron by Sea thanks to those who were steering this ship for the last 20 years as it ran aground.

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Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2008 @ 3:41 p.m.

Response to post #3: Yes, when the government plunders the money paid in, then appeases the unions by boosting benefits, a deficit is going to result. Someone should have figured that out. But you know San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2008 @ 3:46 p.m.

Response to post #4: Yes, City resources were squandered on the projects you mentioned, and several others including the NTC/Liberty Station giveaway. There is no reason that developers have to have subsidies for their projects. Whatever happened to the free enterprise that's touted by an establishment that is laughing all the way to the bank? There is no reason developers should not be forced to do all the infrastructure work that they promised to do. San Diego should curtail residential development sharply while rebuilding its rotting infrastructure. But that won't happen because the developers own the pols. Sunroad was example number one. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 8, 2008 @ 8:40 p.m.

Well, the infamous Billy Bob Henry, aka Johnny Vegas, is now in the house.

Sdblogger appears to be a welfare queen Fire Fighter, one of the ones who are gaining the MOST from the scam pensions. #1, the Courts have NOT ruled yet Sdblogger, because there is NO ruling until it is final, all of Mike’s pension cases are at the trial level or are on appeal, so your assertion that the Courts have ruled against him are 100% false. As to sdbloggers patently false statement that City workers gave up PAY RAISES for benefits, well, sdblogger fails to state that those pay raises were actually deferred, so when they did come around they were double and triple the normal raises-so the City welfare queens in truth lost nothing. Look at PD’s recent contract of 9.5% over two years, or TWICE as much as a normal pay raise. Like I said, anything taken away is given back in the following years.

Next, as to the claim that City leaders are responsible for the pension mess, not true. The pension board members had a FIDUCIARY DUTY to make sure the plan was fully funded, the unon leaders BREACHED that duty (to their members and the public) by allowing the under funding-or a quid pro quo scam, and that is why the pension leaders are UNDER INDICTMENT RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

To Paul who states that the City workers get a pension because they do into pay into social security. The City OPTED out, and they opted out because SS is like a Yugo and the City pension is like a Rolls Royce (that is driven on gold plated roads), paid for by the poor and middle class. City pensions were NEVER meant to support anyone, they are a SUPPLEMENT, but today we have City workers retiring at age 50 (that is 60% LESS than the FULL retirement age for SS which is 67) making more than when they worked.

OK, that is my opinion, and I am sticking to it….

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Anonymous Jan. 8, 2008 @ 10:34 p.m.

Ah yes, BBH, twister of logic. To begin with, city pensions were absolutely meant to support the retiree. From the Municipal Code 24.0100 "The purpose of this article is to recognize a public obligation to City employees for their long service in public employment by making provision for retirement compensation." Social Security, on the other hand, was intended to be supplemental. That's why city employees pay in roughly double the payroll percentage that folks enrolled in Social Security pay in.

Note how BBH uses the earliest possible retirement age for city workers and the latest possible retirement age for SS recipients. Why don't we look at the averages. The average city safety employee (who retires earlier than a general employee) retires at age 57. According the the Social Security Administration, the average American retires at age 62. So, once again, BBH is stretching the truth.

BBH whines about the PD getting 9% (Not the 9.5% he quotes). He says that's twice as much as the average yearly raise. Um, it was stretched out over 2 years. Do the math. The 9% that the cops got didn't even make up for the takeaways from the previous three years. That doesn't include the health care takeaways because some cops did OK with that.

BBH, you're entitled to your opinion about city pay and pensions, but you'd be a lot more credible if you actually told the truth rather than these wild exaggerations. Isn't that how you lawyer types do it? Find one hole in a story and use that to blow someone's entire credibility? Well, I found about a half dozen holes in your few short paragraphs.

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2008 @ 7:26 a.m.

Response to post #7: Yugo and Rolls Royce. Excellent analogy. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2008 @ 2:09 p.m.

Response to post # 14: You and Billy Bob Henry can sure throw the statistics around. Do you suppose either would be interested in running for president of the U.S.? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2008 @ 7:31 a.m.

Response to post #8:Many argue that the City employees' retirement and healthcare benefits are not too generous. I disagree, and so does BBH, aka JohnnyVegas. But think of it this way: if a near-bankrupt City can't afford to pay these benefits, they are by nature excessive. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2008 @ 7:47 a.m.

Response to post #32: It is a shame that the Voice has become an establishment mouthpiece, no better than the U-T. I had some hopes in the beginning, but when I saw who was on the Voice board I became suspicious. If you see its donor list, you realize what has happened: as a so-called non-profit, it needed funds, and the only way to get the loot was to sell out, a la KPBS and the U-T. As to the Voice's attack on the Reader: since we whack others, we must expect others to whack us. Indeed, my job is generating controversy. I have no problem with what was said about me. However, that Reader piece was pathetically off-base in so many areas: 1. claiming Matt Potter, the best document digger I have ever seen, is lethargic; 2. saying editor-publisher Jim Holman has little interest in the editorial product; 3. criticizing Holman's use of personal funds in his religious life. These were laughably fallacious criticisms. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2008 @ 5:38 p.m.

Response to post #38: We'll need a lot of luck. Pluck won't carry us. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 9, 2008 @ 8:15 a.m.

Ex-city union leader Italiano loses retirement package

By Jennifer Vigil STAFF WRITER

January 9, 2008

SAN DIEGO – Pension system officials have cut off the entire retirement package of a former San Diego union president who received a perk that the Internal Revenue Service determined was improper. <<<<<

Oh-oh....Judie is in TROUBLE........ Let me shed a crocodile tear, she has been terminated out of a $70K pension while she is still the Unions General Manager....she must be part of the infamous DROP scam.

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 9, 2008 @ 8:36 a.m.

sdblogger

January 8, 2008 at 10:34 p.m. Ah yes, BBH, twister of logic. To begin with, city pensions were absolutely meant to support the retiree. From the Municipal Code 24.0100 "The purpose of this article is to recognize a public obligation to City employees for their long service in public employment by making provision for retirement compensation.">>sdblogger

January 8, 2008 at 10:34 p.m.

That's why city employees pay in roughly double the payroll percentage that folks enrolled in Social Security pay in.>>

Note how BBH uses the earliest possible retirement age for city workers and the latest possible retirement age for SS recipients.<<<


EARLIEST possible retirement age for FULL pension benefits at City= age 50.

EARLIEST possible retirement age for FULL pension benefits at SS= 67.

62 is the EARLIEST you can retire in SS, but you get a VERY REDUCED pension benefit, at City you get FULL benefits at age 50-big difference there JF (you're Jim Fowler are you not?). So City retire at age 50 getting 90% of highest years wages, while private sector retires at age 62 getting 15% of highest years wages.

Come on JF, this is like taking CANDY from a baby (or at least from a HS educated City worker).

sdblogger, I must admit, you are a good advocate for the scams, but they are ending, either by political choice or by BK, one or the other. And I think in many ways this same scenario will play out across every gov agency in CA if a recession hits, which I predict it will.

Just yesterday Arnold talked about raising taxes to fund Fire, he used the infamous "fee" lingo, but whatever the case, when you cannot pay for BASIC services out of the general fund you have BIG problems, and CA has been having these problems the last 25 years.

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2008 @ 10:23 a.m.

Response to post #12: I have to agree that the odds of a national recession are rising, inching above 50 percent. The odds of a San Diego recession are going on 90 percent now, and the area may already be in recession. The odds of a recession in California would be higher than the national odds. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Jan. 9, 2008 @ 10:53 a.m.

BBH, wrote, "WRONG, the City pensions was NEVER meant to support a welfare queen, it was to REPLACE social security, so it is SUPPLEMENTAL...". Interesting, given that SDCERS was formed in 1927, a decade before Social Security.

Remember, as non-safety employees, the DCAs pay less into the retirement system. Safety employees pay more. Yes, the city pays "pickup" in lieu of giving pay raises. Frankly, I'm pushing the union hard to eliminate pickup and replace it with a like pay raise -- just to keep things transparent. In fact, I'd be OK with that being the only financial part of the contract this year. Replace the 7% pickup with a 7% pay raise. Apples for apples, right? Are you smart enough to figure out why the city doesn't want to do that?

The city's pickup was 10%. It's since dropped to 7%. Less for executives. I think theirs is 2%. We still pay Medicare, so the number you were looking for was 6.2%, not 7.65%. My out of pocket is just about the same as if I were paying into SS. The city contributes a like amount on my behalf, plus (supposedly) it's share.

Let's see, retirement age. Yes.. safety employees (well, except the 75% who are cops) can retire at 90% at age 50. The only problem with your theory is that almost no one is actually hired at that age. The average hire age is 27, leading to the average retirement age of 57. Either way you look at it, you're trying to prove your example with the edges of the bell curve. Possibilities rather than realities.

Allow me to make one other little point about SS that you conveniently have forgotten while you're ranting. The non-working spouse of a Social Security recipient also gets a benefit. Not so for city workers. From the SS website, "The family benefit is generally limited to 150% to 180% of your retirement benefit." The average SS recipient gets about 40% of their income replaced by SS. (Again, according to the SSA) Multiply that by 150% and you get... 60%. Multiply by 180% and you get 72%. A married safety employee who joins at the average age of 27 and who has a non-working spouse will get 69% at what you claim is the "full retirement age" of 50. Is there an age discrepancy? Absolutely. But... we pay more into the system. And... SS is going broke too. What percentage would folks have to pay into SS to actually keep it afloat?

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Anonymous Jan. 9, 2008 @ 10:54 a.m.

BBH, you say the "scams" are ending by political choice. As I've said many times, I'm against any of the various deals that are money losers. That's why I didn't buy service credits. Obviously, I have a financial stake in seeing the city stay afloat. But using political choice rather than financial analysis to end benefits, especially when the city is having trouble attracting employees, is insane.

Bottom line? You say we should return all employees to SS only. The city is paying the same 11%-13% share that I am. So the city would save a whole 5%-7% of payroll on safety employees -- less for the more numerous general employees. (13%-6.2%=6.8%) And you'd have 67 year olds trying to fight fires.

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Anon92107 Jan. 9, 2008 @ 12:51 p.m.

Response to: “Aguirre ----- has tried to get City employees' excessive benefits reduced because the City is in dire financial straits. The Municipal Employees Union has opposed him at every step, including in court. ---- Aguirre and Councilmember Donna Frye, both Democrats, have put the City's interest first. Aguirre has incurred the enmity of Big Business, Big Labor and Big Media.”

Don, that pretty well summarizes the Faustian bargain (made or done for present gain without regard for future cost or consequences) the City employees have made with the U-T establishment to condemn Aguirre. All want Aguirre out for the reasons you have stated in many of your columns, and that makes the Draconian consequences of excessive deaths and property destruction plus placing lives of heroic fire and police personnel at unconscionable risk a criminal act except that they are granted impunity by corrupt San Diego politicians and judges themselves.

Corruption has reigned supreme in San Diego for far too long and the consequences we are experiencing today are beyond outrageous. Corrupt establishment politicians like Sanders, Dumanis and Hedgecock plus corrupt judges like Murphy and Greer have sold out San Diego citizens for far too long. So today the U-T establishment controllers still pillage the public treasury with impunity while also controlling Sign On San Diego, KPBS, Voice of San Diego and Envision San Diego with their financial and political domination. Together they are the most threatening cabal against the safety of the citizens of San Diego in our history.

The Reader is the only media that champions all San Diego citizens from the corrupt who are all too easy to identify because they condemn Aguirre.

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Anonymous Jan. 9, 2008 @ 1:29 p.m.

Hey BBH the Courts have ruled, I think Judge Barton would disagree with your twisted analysis. Aguirre has lost in both the superior and appellate courts. If he choses to appeal futher the Supreme Court will rule against him too. Simple put, he's an average politician who carefully spins the information he sends to the public, but his record in courts of law is a much better gauage, as Judges hold him to higher standard and he can't get away with misrepresenations. Should the Democratic Party endorse him for reelection they do so ONLY to tow the party line, nothing else. If he wins reelection their self-serving partly line interests will cause more damage than good during his final four year term as CA.

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Anonymous Jan. 9, 2008 @ 1:33 p.m.

I work for the County at the Admin. building collecting taxes and processing them. You would not believe the number of people around here who make $70,000+/annually and I am not including benefits! We are busy 2-3 months a year and the rest of the time we do busy work, the whole office could easily be outsourced saving millions! We do go to alot of meeting though, time cards? I think they have them in the real world, but not here. Sad but True

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2008 @ 2:11 p.m.

Response to post #15: You're a City employee, and you admit to having a stake in seeing the City stay solvent. This is a noble position. I hope you spread among your peers. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2008 @ 2:51 p.m.

Response to post #16: Earlier, I disagreed that it was a Faustian bargain, but now I see your point. San Diego has suffered from decades of deals with the devil. Now, the devil is trying to assassinate anyone who wants to stop the trend. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2008 @ 2:53 p.m.

Response to post #17: You have a lot of faith in the fairness of San Diego courts. I believe you should delve more deeply into that topic. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2008 @ 2:55 p.m.

Response to post #18: Congratulations for a very honest post. I wish more people knew of that situation. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Jan. 9, 2008 @ 3:15 p.m.

Response to #18:

We all know how it works in both the City and County administrations.

Once you're in, you stay in, and as long as you don't rock the boat you'll advance regardless of your competence or productivity. In addition to the Rolls Royce pension you have job security like a dog has fleas. The pay is also not bad at all when you consider how many holidays and perks you get.

With the Faustian bargain we find ourselves in, it's time to exorcise our demons and confess our sins rather than covering them up. For all Aguirre's faults, (and they are legion), he's exposing the lies rather than ignoring them.

(yet another sdblogger)

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Anonymous Jan. 9, 2008 @ 3:39 p.m.

So in your opinion just who plays the role of the Devil in the San Diego Melodrama? And what is Devil offering?

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Anonymous Jan. 9, 2008 @ 3:39 p.m.

So Don you changed your mind. In your opinion just who plays the role of the Devil in the San Diego Melodrama? And what is Devil offering?

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 9, 2008 @ 6:12 p.m.

Anonymous / sdblogger

January 9, 2008 at 10:53 a.m. BBH, wrote, "WRONG, the City pensions was NEVER meant to support a welfare queen, it was to REPLACE social security, so it is SUPPLEMENTAL...". Interesting, given that SDCERS was formed in 1927, a decade before Social Security.

Remember, as non-safety employees, the DCAs pay less into the retirement


The City of San Diego >OPTED OUT< of Social Security in 1980 (not 1927), so I have busted yet another welfare queen lie.

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 9, 2008 @ 6:16 p.m.

Remember, as non-safety employees, the DCAs pay less into the retirement system. Safety employees pay more. Yes, the city pays "pickup" in lieu of giving pay raises.


Now they do not get benefits "in lieu" of pay raises, because the RAISES are jacked up the following year-just look to SDPD and their 9% raise over 2 years-or twice the normal increase, so they actually picked up a 4 year raise to make up for the years when they did not get a raise.

SDFD is tryingto pullt he same scam right now.

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Anonymous Jan. 9, 2008 @ 7:28 p.m.

BBH wrote:

The City of San Diego >OPTED OUT< of Social Security in 1980 (not 1927), so I have busted yet another welfare queen lie.

Yeah, so? How does the city opting out of SS equate SS being replaced by SDCERS? What was the increase in city employee benefits then? Answer -- SS was removed AND benefits cut at the same time.

So what exactly is a "normal increase", given that all raises are negotiated? SDPD had at least a 3% decrease in pickup and no raises for the previous 3 years. So that "jacked up" raise works out to 1.2% over 5 years. Plus many members had increased health care costs. Meanwhile, firefighters are making less than they were 3 years ago... a net loss of over 1%/year.

Dude, your definition of "welfare queen lie" and the "busting" thereof is seriously warped. You claim to be a teacher and an attorney, but write like a 20 year old. What gives?

Have you figured out yet why I'd rather pay my full retirement amount and have the money as regular pay instead?

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Anon92107 Jan. 10, 2008 @ 3:29 a.m.

Response to post #31: Don, nothing confirms that Aguirre and you are correct more than a rally against Aguirre at a Democratic Committee meeting by deadwood employees who spend all their time sucking up to the corrupt U-T establishment instead of serving the people of San Diego.

The thing that confirms your integrity even more are the constant anti-Aguirre rants by U-T Editorial Board, plus attacks by the U-T establishment’s Voice of San Diego subsidiary against the both of you.

And then the priceless announcement of the week is: “Pension system officials have cut off the entire retirement package of a former San Diego union president who received a perk that the Internal Revenue Service determined was improper” validates your investigative reporting as expected.

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Anon92107 Jan. 10, 2008 @ 1:06 p.m.

Response to post #33: Most interesting thing about this scenario is the macabre dance that too many democrats do with republicans because of their joint fear of Aguirre who has the political disease of integrity.

To explain that, it has been my observation for far too many years that a paramount reason the U-T republican establishment has been so outrageously successful at robbing San Diego taxpayers is that brain-dead democrats make it too easy for them. This applies at the national and state levels also.

Their meeting with the committee must have looked like the zombie scene from “Night of the Living Dead” where staggering employees met with The Potato Heads.

After all, it is the County Democratic Central Committee that elected our “Three Stooges” Congresswoman Davis and Senators Feinstein and Boxer to represent us in Washington, only to have them demonstrate the consequences of their representation at San Diego’s new the quadrennial Firestorms which provide them with photo-ops, most certainly a phyrric decline and fall scenario reminiscent of that of the Roman Empire.

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2008 @ 1:45 p.m.

Response to post # 35: Yes, in both the City and County, the bootlickers get the gravy and those who warn of reality get the boot. If you read the account of how the City told lies in its bond prospectuses, this message comes through loud and clear. Anyone who sounded a warning did so at his or her own risk. The juiciest pay and retirement packages went to those who looked the other way when corruption was right in front of their eyes. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2008 @ 8:13 p.m.

Response to posts #25 and 26: Here are some of the devils: the real estate developers who own the pols; the pols who enjoy being owned; the City and County workers who enjoy excessive benefits and pay, as several people on this blog have testified; the unions that protect these overindulged employees; the mayor who won't crack down on the unions, continuing to hand them excessive pay and bennies; the mainstream media who won't dig into any of this -- in fact, who cover it up. There are more devils. These are just a few. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2008 @ 8:18 p.m.

Response to post #24: Aguirre has faults. We all do. But compare his faults with the faults of his predecessors, who sat there and applauded while developers fleeced the city, sports teams did the same, the City told lies in its bond filings, councilmembers and bureaucrats got away with murder. Now THOSE are faults. Best, Don Bauder

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Anonymous Jan. 10, 2008 @ 1:32 p.m.

I retired from the city, what i saw was advancment for the alickers and those who knew and said what was going on were never promoted, actually they were harrassed. Well now I just hope that the city stay aflot.

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Don Bauder Jan. 10, 2008 @ 1:41 p.m.

Response to post #34: Aguirre is not only fighting Big Business, Big Labor, and Big Media, he is fighting crooked Republicans and dumb Democrats. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Jan. 10, 2008 @ 2:04 p.m.

Response to post #36: That settles that.

Now it's up to The Reader, San Diego's only Newspaper-Internet champion to inform and incite San Diegans to save ourselves from ourselves before the 2008 election.

Good Luck.

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Anon92107 Jan. 11, 2008 @ 4:19 a.m.

Response to post #39: How about publishing an updated version of the Declaration of Independence for the citizens of San Diego to Fight Back with to restore our unalienable rights of safety, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in San Diego once again because the U-T Establishment has become so destructive of those ends with their perpetrations of insufferable evils?

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Don Bauder Jan. 11, 2008 @ 8:07 a.m.

Response to post #40. How about another tea party? Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Jan. 11, 2008 @ 12:50 p.m.

Response to post #41: Don, violence cannot be considered as a response even though U-T Establishment theft of taxpayer money caused excessive firestorm deaths, risk to fire and police personnel and property losses.

Interesting how the U-T Editorial Board style looks like a cross between Dur Sturmer during WWII and the British Tory Royal Gazette during the Revolutionary War.

Are you sure the excellent Reader journalists can't come up with a new version of Declaration of Independence for San Diegans to rally behind to save ourselves now that the U-T Firestorms have proven that our life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are threatened once again?

San Diego desperately needs some modern version of the press to carry on the tradition of the American Fourth Estate during the Revolutionary War.

Thank God we still have military, fire and police personnel who carry on the traditions of Heroism and Patriotism from the Revolutionary War.

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Don Bauder Jan. 11, 2008 @ 8:51 p.m.

Response to post #42: OK, if we can't have violence, how about simply a tea? Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Jan. 12, 2008 @ 2:26 a.m.

You're right again Don, what we really need is to restore the Spirit of We The People that existed during the period when our Founding Fathers and We The People fought for and built the United States of America.

Actually, the last time We did have the Spirit of 1776 was WWII, and some of those heroes and patriots still live on. God Bless them, we owe them for every opportunity they fought and died for and passed on to us, and for every good thing we haven't destroyed yet today.

We don't even fight for ourselves anymore, and a cup of tea while watching and doing nothing about the decline and fall will give us just what we deserve.

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