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The city council's audit committee today (January 28) was provided the City audit report of governmental and business-type activities for the year ended June 30, 2005. The auditor, Macias Gini & O'Connell, reported "significant deficiencies" in internal control over financial reporting. The deficiencies could "adversely affect the City's ability to record, process, summarize, and report financial data," said the firm. Among the weaknesses: preparation of the annual financial statement, pension accounting, risk management, procurement, accounts receivable, and information technology. The firm noted that prior to the issuance of the report, the City had hired new financial personnel and changed procedures. There has been some progress, but "many more improvements need to be made to financial reporting controls," said the firm.

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Comments

Anon92107 Jan. 29, 2008 @ 4:47 a.m.

The latest “2005 Audit” certifies our worst concerns about the future for San Diego as long as it remains in the corrupt, slimy hands of U-T establishment controlled puppeticians.

And, at the national level the best that can be said about Bush’s State of the Union last night is that it was his last, but one thing is for certain, X & Y generations shall be paying the “bills” produced by Bush and U-T corruption for many decades to come.

Times are changing faster than ever before Don. I would have voted for McCain in 2000 and never did for Bush. Sadly, McCain represents Eisenhower’s gravest concerns about the military-industrial complex’s control over America. Far too many American Heroes and Patriot have died because of the M-I manifest destiny in Korea, Viet Nam and now Iraq proving Ike was right far too many times.

Now if we can just shut the door on the Clinton era along with the Bush era and the U-T era, maybe we have a chance. But as I said, times are changing faster than ever before and it’s harder than ever to forecast the future for America and San Diego politically, economically and socially the way things are today with all of our government, judicial, business, scientific, academic, religious and other institutions having failed so disastrously so far into this new century.

That’s why it is so important for the X & Y generations to take the ball out of the slimy hands of corrupt and failed politics of the 20th century and run with it themselves while there are still opportunities to maintain an acceptable quality of life in America and San Diego left to take advantage of.

Otherwise X & Y shall find out what happened to the Anasazi peoples the hard way if we continue to allow our failed institutions to control their destiny. San Diego is too close to desertification already to waste any more extremely valuable time and opportunities, and increasingly limited resources perpetuating corrupt and failed Washington, Sacramento and San Diego politics of the 20th century.

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Don Bauder Jan. 29, 2008 @ 9:28 a.m.

Response to post of 4:47 a.m.: Eisenhower was certainly prescient in that speech. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 29, 2008 @ 10:13 a.m.

BK now, should have done it 3 years ago.

We are under water and always will be.

This article proves it is NOT going to be getting better (anytime soon anyway).

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Anon92107 Jan. 29, 2008 @ 1:10 p.m.

Response to JohnnyVegas 10:13 a.m., Jan 29: The paramount imperative to begin making things get better in San Diego politics is to vote against all U-T "Ballot Recommendations" candidates.

The U-T has presided over the decline and fall of San Diego for far too many decades with imperious impunity that never takes responsibility or accepts accountability for their criminal acts against the citizens of San Diego.

This is why "it is NOT going to be getting better" until the X & Y generations realize they had better take matters into their own hands to overcome the failures of all the previous generations that did nothing to stop San Diego from going to hell with the U-T leading the lemmings over the cliff.

The future is now up to X & Yers who must never trust any generation that came before their generations ever again.

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Don Bauder Jan. 29, 2008 @ 4:54 p.m.

Response to post of 10:13 a.m.: It shows that the City hasn't improved significantly yet. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 29, 2008 @ 4:56 p.m.

Response to post of 1:10 p.m.: It is definitely true that things will not get better until the younger generations take matters into their own hands. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 29, 2008 @ 6:27 p.m.

If the fed lowers the inetrest rate AGAIN, it won't matter.

The dollar will be worthless.

It is close to worthless against other currancy right now.

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Don Bauder Jan. 29, 2008 @ 6:34 p.m.

Response to post of 6:27 p.m.: The consensus is for the Fed to go down 50 basis points tomorrow (Wed.), then leave the door open for coming down more. Both the Fed and the federal government want to stimulate the economy by getting consumers to go even more deeply into debt and buy. That is exactly the wrong medicine for the long run. So is lower interest rates. We're giving a hair of the dog to alcoholics. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 Jan. 30, 2008 @ 5:06 a.m.

Response to dbauder 6:34 p.m., Jan 29:

JohnnyVegas was right when he said "This article proves it is NOT going to be getting better" as the U-T era of corruption continues without end while X & Y generations stay so far in debt with usurious interest rates that they are forced into even more bankruptcies and defaults while jobs throughout the home building industry continue to disappear along with all the jobs being exported out of America by both political parties.

One wonders how much longer X & Yers will even be able to buy the products advertised in The Reader under these conditions, including the corruption and usurious interest rates that are stealing their money and destroying their jobs!

The fact is that usurious interest rates are heading us for depression already with out of control food, fuel and other rising prices together with increasing losses of jobs and benefits.

God Help X & Yers.

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 30, 2008 @ 10:54 a.m.

Hey, we have news on the pension front from OC.

They are going to war with the public pension fund-Mike should sit on the sidelines and see how this shapes up-and if it looks like it could win file his own suit using this cause of action.

www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-pensions30jan30,1,363419.story

O.C. to sue to reduce pensions

Supervisors hope to save millions by repealing part of an agreement reached with deputies.

After months of legal preparation, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to file a lawsuit seeking to repeal part of their pension agreement with sheriff's deputies, saying the county cannot afford the expense.

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JF Jan. 30, 2008 @ 12:18 p.m.

First off, it's stuff like the audits and corporate welfare that's ruining this city. That and the low tax base.

Here's the problem with applying the OC lawsuit here. Even if they prevail the percentages here aren't the same. The increase in the safety retirement in SD has been minimal compared to that in OC.

Twenty years ago, the pension system here paid 2.5% at 50 and 2.77% at 55. In 1996, the formula was changed to 2.9999% at 55. Then in 2000 it was changed to 3% at 50. With the number of retirements since then, most everyone currently in the FD has been paying the actuarially required rates for at least 12 years now, and close to it for 20. The average safety employee retires at 57, so basically the increase has been .23% in all that time. Less than 10%.

Keep this in mind -- the 3% at 50 was the city's settlement to a lawsuit. Basically, the city was going to lose a case that said that our OT should be counted in our top one year. To avoid that, the city gave us 3% at 50. If you take that away, you'll need to renegotiate that ruling and will likely need to pay retirements based on salary PLUS OT. Good luck planning for that.

Oh, and there was no cap before, so folks retired at 110% or more. Now we're capped at 90%. So sorry, the increase in retirement percentage hasn't been the cause of the deficit.

Once again, we always pay our part... it's the city who doesn't pay theirs, hence part of the problems with the audits.

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Anon92107 Jan. 30, 2008 @ 12:53 p.m.

San Diego police and firemen deserve the highest pay and benefits of any other city in America just for protecting San Diegans from the consequences of corrupt mayors whose personal larceny has put the lives of our police and firemen and all citizens at even greater risk. Golding, Murphy and Sanders are totally responsible, along with their U-T puppeteers, for the excessively hellacious loss of life and property in the 2003 and 2007 Firestorms, and for betraying and putting our fire and police in greater Harm's Way than they should have been.

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Anonymous Jan. 30, 2008 @ 1:37 p.m.

Anon92107, I am confused.

You argue that SDPD and fire deserve the highest pay for protecting us from the larceny of city officials such as the former long-time police chief (and now mayor) and the fire captain who heads the firefighters union (and was indicted for his role in the pension debacle and had his special perks revoked by the IRS)???

There is something disturbingly bassackwards to argue we need to pay policeman and fireman top wages to protect us from police chiefs and fire chiefs?????

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JF Jan. 30, 2008 @ 5:15 p.m.

sdblogger, Consider that the pension increases are the least of the city's problems as I wrote above. While I don't agree with everything Saathoff has done, so far the state's (and thus the feds) case doesn't seem to be moving all that well.

The bigger problem is the chronic underfunding of the FD and PD because of various deals by various mayors. There are less firefighters downtown now than there were in 1970, yet there are many more residents and more highrises. The FD had 36 stations to protect 750K people in 1976 and now has 46 to protect 1.5 million. The other day I heard a truck company dispatched first due to Harbor Island for a reported high rise fire.... from North Park. Pretty darn good response time there, no?

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 30, 2008 @ 6:12 p.m.

JF, those numbers you cited are completely 100% bogus.

As are your contentions that these multi million dollar pensions at age 50 for the GED and HS educated are not a cause of our financial problems. No even to mention that they are not deserved.

There is NO excuse for allowing HS educated gov workers to get multi million dollar pensions at age 50-zero, nada, none.

No one in America gets that except public employees, and it is going to stop, and yes, Mike should keep an eye on OC's lawsuit.

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JF Jan. 30, 2008 @ 9:08 p.m.

Sorry Johnny, but my numbers are spot on. Please define what you mean by "bogus" and show us how they're bogus -- with documentation.

While you're at it, why don't you discuss the ramifications of the Ventura case and how that would affect the City of San Diego.

NO excuse for government workers getting a multi million dollar pension, eh? Well... there's people walking and breathing today because of my actions. Maybe you should ask them.

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 30, 2008 @ 11:52 p.m.

JF, using the typical welfare queen line..."I saved your life so I deserve millions"...sure you did, and sure you dp.

The pension numbers you cited are baloney, and you know it.

As for the Venture case-don't have a clue as to what you're talking about without a name or cite, but it makes no difference because the OC pension lawsuit is novel, as in it is breaing new ground-and no prior case will be precedent for it, so your Ventura case is useless.

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Anon92107 Jan. 31, 2008 @ 4:44 a.m.

Response to sdblogger 1:37 p.m., Jan 30:

It is the people at the top, fire, police and union chiefs, and mayors who are corrupt.

The most tragic fact of life in San Diego is that fire and police personnel are placed in Harm's Way to protect us every day and have to risk their lives even more because of the corruption of their leaders who steal city funds for their own wealth and have constantly refused to provide fire and policemen with the resources they need to protect us and themselves.

The 2003 and 2007 firestorms were the worst case scenarios proving that corrupt chiefs and mayors caused excessive deaths, property damage and injury to citizens along with fire and policemen because corrupt city leaders refused to back Chief Bowman's recommendations and forced him to quit because he was the one honest leader in San Diego.

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JF Jan. 31, 2008 @ 8:47 a.m.

Sure Johnny, my numbers are "baloney". So prove it. Should be easy, no? Go ahead, prove my retirement factors are wrong.

Let's see, I'm referring to Corbett vs City Employee's Retirement System. Here's a few quotes from that judgement:

"Generally, plaintiffs alleged that retirement benefits paid by SDCERS as a result of employment by THE CITY had not been properly calculated in light of the California Supreme Court's August 1997 decision in Ventura County Sheriffs Association v. Board of Retirement of Ventura County."

"In Ventura the California Supreme Court ruled that the Retirement Board in that case was required to classify certain payments made by the County of Ventura to its employees over and above their basic salaries as "compensation earnable" and to include those payments in "final compensation" used to calculate the amount of monthly pension benefits payable to the retired employees under the County Employees' Retirement Law of 1937 ("CERL"), Government Code Section 31450, er seq." That means overtime, Johnny.

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JF Jan. 31, 2008 @ 8:50 a.m.

Then there's the settlement, "If you are employed by THE CITY at any time on or after July 1,2000, and are classified as a Lifeguard or a Safety Member of SDCERS, you will be allowed, as a vested benefit, to make an election at the time of your retirement between the following two choices for the calculation of your retirement benefit (with the exception of the Supplemental COLA adjustment and the Annual Supplemental Benefit (the "13th check")): 1. Your Retirement Calculation Factor will be increased from 2.5% (2.2% for Lifeguards) at age 50 to 3.0% at age 50 and all subsequent years; or 2. Your retirement benefit will be calculated on the basis of the Retirement Calculation Factors in effect on June 30,2000, and your retirement benefit (with the exclusion of the Supplemental COLA adjustment and the annual Supplemental Benefit (the " 13' l8 check")) so computed will be increased by ten per cent (10%)."

Johnny, that's where and when the 3% at 50 comes from. Note it says "vested benefit". Now I guess we could roll that back and include OT in our retirements if you'd like.... Oh, and that pretty much verifies my dates and figures doesn't it.

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2008 @ 3:41 p.m.

Response to post of 10:54 p.m.: Financially, Orange County must make this move. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2008 @ 3:42 p.m.

Response to post of 12:54 p.m.: The situations in San Diego and Orange County are not identical. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2008 @ 3:39 p.m.

Response to post of 6:34 p.m.: It's more a matter of excessive debt than usurious rates. How can 3 percent be considered usurious? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2008 @ 3:44 p.m.

Response to post of 1253 p.m.: How does a firefighter protect a city from a corrupt mayor? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2008 @ 3:46 p.m.

Response to post of 1:37 p.m.: Maybe a firefighter can hose down larceny. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2008 @ 3:49 p.m.

Response to post of 5:15 p.m.: The pols and bureaucrats did the underfunding, and appeased the unions by offering even more generous benefits. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2008 @ 3:51 p.m.

Response to post of 6:12 p.m.: Only people with job-related disabilities so severe that they can't take a desk job should be able to retire at 50. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2008 @ 3:53 p.m.

Response to post of 9:08 p.m.: Let's not let emotions run the argument. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2008 @ 3:55 p.m.

Response to post of 11: 52 p.m.: The Ventura case is worth discussing. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2008 @ 3:58 p.m.

Response to post of 4:44 a.m.: City officials did not follow recommendations of the commissions following the 2003 fire, then took bows at the 2007 fire, and people seemed to swallow it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 31, 2008 @ 3:59 p.m.

Response to posts of 8:47 and 8:50 p.m. Ventura deserves an airing, and you are contributing. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Feb. 1, 2008 @ 8:06 a.m.

Johnny, OK, how about this: http://healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/3750/ Here's the first line of the story, "Cincinnati—University of Cincinnati (UC) environmental health researchers have determined that firefighters are significantly more likely to develop four different types of cancer than workers in other fields."

"UC epidemiologists found that half the studied cancers—including testicular, prostate, skin, brain, rectum, stomach and colon cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma and malignant melanoma—were associated with firefighting to varying levels of increased risk."

When are you going to realize that I do my absolute best to only write what I absolutely know and can back up. If I can't back something up, I'll write, "I think" of "the best I can recall" or some other disclaimer.

Oh, and I never said we die at a younger rate because I haven't found a study to prove that. Now if one considers the higher incidence of cancer, one might surmise that...

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JF Feb. 1, 2008 @ 8:30 a.m.

Johnny, did you ever,just for an instant, consider that SD is having cash flow problems for more reasons than just the pension?

Employees are not the ones who fudged the audits. That kept (and keeps) the city out of the short term bond market. My understanding is that (and note, I'm not 100% sure here) the city took out short term bonds to run operations until state tax money rolled in. It cannot do that now. That presents a huge cash flow problem for the city, none of which is the employees' fault. Obviously, some employees were involved in that, but most of them are gone now.

The pension system is about 54% funded with investment gains, not tax dollars. Since the city didn't put in their share of the money, it's pretty darn tough to make investment gains. One of the reasons that it's costing so much now is that the Gleason settlement requires the city to put in more now to make up what they didn't put in earlier. That will eventually go away.

As to my statement that switching from SDCERS to SS will save 5%, I was wrong. It will save 6.2%. I was guesstimating (as I freely admitted) the 5%. I was close. Look at page 51 of the 2005 SDCERS CAFR, available at sdcers.org. It gives the weighted total of the normal cost, i.e. the percentage of salary that the city must pay. That figure is 12.42% of payroll. Since SS would cost 6.2%, the difference (or savings) is 6.22%.

Note that since 2005, POSC and the DROP have ended for new hires. That should make the rate of contribution, and thus the savings, go down.

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JohnnyVegas Feb. 1, 2008 @ 8:40 a.m.

The UC-led team analyzed information on 110,000 firefighters, most of them full-time, white male workers, from 32 previously published scientific studies to determine the comprehensive health effects and correlating cancer risks of their profession.<<<

Not a valid study, they were using other peoples studies for their own, and that is what we refer to in the legal world as "hearsay", and it is inherently unreliable, and not admitted.

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JF Jan. 31, 2008 @ 6:47 p.m.

Don, in response to your post of 3:51 today, I'm sure you're aware that firefighters have a much, much higher cancer rate than private citizens. I'm sure you're also aware that a cancer diagnosis is presumed to be job related for firefighters because of the increased risk. However, that presumption ends five years after retirement. By pushing back retirement, you'll see a huge increase in worker's comp claims not only from cancer but from the actual physical trauma of doing the job. I'm betting that the worker's comp and disability retirement costs will offset any cost savings of a later retirement. There's a reason you can retire from the military after 20 years and there's a reason why firefighters can retire at 50.

Remember that switching from the current system to a Social Security only system only saves about 5% of payroll. How much do you think you're going to save?

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JohnnyVegas Jan. 31, 2008 @ 8:19 p.m.

Don, in response to your post of 3:51 today, I'm sure you're aware that firefighters have a much, much higher cancer rate than private citizens.


I don't buy this JF, please post to recent and legitimate study backing this up. You also make the claim the PD AND FD BOTH die at a much younger rate-again, I don't buy it for 1 second. It is just a scam to pad your benefits.

Remember that switching from the current system to a Social Security only system only saves about 5% of payroll.<<<


Again, this is just pure nonsense. If this were true San Diego would NOT be insolvent, which is a cash flow bankruptcy. We do not have enough income to pay our expenses/bills. Hence the great Pesnion Obligation Bonds ("POB"). POB's should be outlawed, and in a way the OC pension case is making that very argument. You cannot push todays obligations onto tomorrows taxpayer. And if you actually BELIEVE your comments then I think you need far more help than we can give here.

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JohnnyVegas Feb. 1, 2008 @ 8:47 a.m.

Oh, and I never said we die at a younger rate because I haven't found a study to prove that. Now if one considers the higher incidence of cancer, one might surmise that...

By JF 8:06 a.m., Feb 1, 2008 > Report it


Actually JF, you and your PD cronies make that BS claim all the time (Straight from the horses mouth);

" Studies indicate that firefighters and police officers lose a substantial amount of time off their lifespan due to stresses, exposures and physical impairment (thus lessening the liability to the retirement system). "

https://sdfire.org/index.cfm?Section=1&pagenum=74&titles=0

Caught in another welfare queen lie. I thought you said you never make that claim????

You claim you "die sooner" and therefor should be able to retire at age 50-and I call you and your buddies on it everytime.

There is no study that can confirm it becuase it is untrue-just another talking point from the SDFD.

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JF Feb. 1, 2008 @ 8:56 a.m.

Johnny, it is a valid study, based on the scientific work of many other studies. No matter what I say, you're going to say, "Nuh uh". It's pretty damn childish.

From the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 50, Issue 5, pages 339-334: "Firefighting was associated with testicular cancer (odds ratio = 1.54, 95% confidence interval: 1.18-2.02), melanoma (1.50, 1.33-1.70), brain cancer (1.35, 1.06-1.72), esophageal cancer (1.48, 1.14-1.91), and prostate cancer (1.22, 1.12-1.33)."

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JF Feb. 1, 2008 @ 9:24 a.m.

How about this?

From the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 17, Issue 4, pages 493-504: "Excess mortality from leukemia (SMR = 503, n = 3) and multiple myeloma (SMR = 989, n = 2) was observed among fire fighters with 30 years or more fire combat duty. Lung cancer mortality was elevated (SMR = 177, n = 18) among fire fighters 65 years old or older. We also analyzed the data by considering fire fighters at risk only after 30 years from first exposure. In this analysis, a trend of increasing risk with increasing exposure was observed for diseases of the circulatory system. For this cause of death, fire fighters with 30 years or more fire combat duty had a relative risk of 1.84 compared to those with less than 15 years of fire combat duty."

In a nutshell, the longer you work as a firefighter, the higher your risk goes.

You're confusing me with the union. I'm not on the union board, I often disagree with what the union does, but I still fight for firefighters. You haven't yet, nor will you see me claim that. Again, I haven't found a citation, so I won't claim that firefighters die younger.

However, my claim that firefighters have a higher incidence of cancer is absolutely valid.

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Don Bauder Feb. 1, 2008 @ 10:36 a.m.

Responses to posts re University of Cincinnati cancer data: Interesting. Who paid for study? Has there been a study that rebuts this one? Many jobs have occupational health risks. Should society pick up the tab? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 1, 2008 @ 10:39 a.m.

Response to post of 8:30 a.m.: You are right. The pension woes aren't the only factors dragging San Diego into possible bankruptcy. Corporate welfare is a major factor, too, to name just one. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas Feb. 1, 2008 @ 11:05 a.m.

Response to post of 8:30 a.m.: You are right. The pension woes aren't the only factors dragging San Diego into possible bankruptcy. Corporate welfare is a major factor, too, to name just one. Best, Don Bauder


Yes, agreed. I put as much blame on Charger/Padre/Developer/Corporate welfare as with what is going on with the pensions.

Plenty of blame to go around in this City.

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Don Bauder Feb. 1, 2008 @ 3:02 p.m.

Response to post of 11:05 a.m.: San Diego doesn't need more residential real estate development. It desperately needs repair of the rotting infrastructure. But it gets the housing development because developers own the politicians. The city has its priorities backasswards, and that is why it is going backwards. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Feb. 1, 2008 @ 3:37 p.m.

I saw a comment by someone elsewhere along the lines of, "Why are we putting the interests of those who don't live here yet in front of the interests of those who do." Excellent observation.

I think all of us can agree that politicians pandering to the sports empires, developers, other politicians, etc. is a huge piece of the pie. After all, wasn't some of the pension deal linked to Golding's desire to host the RNC?

I'll be the first to admit that some portions of the pension deals have hurt the city. But they're not the only parts. Frankly, I get sick of hearing about "greedy welfare queens" when employee compensation packages are really only a small portion of the problem.

If politicians made the above named parties pay their fair share, the city would have plenty of money and the pension problems would be a non-issue.

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JohnnyVegas Feb. 2, 2008 @ 5:56 p.m.

Bottom line, you (as in all gov employees) do not deserve to "retire" at age 50, or engage in any of the other abuses.

If it were up to me I would FORCE everyone-as in gov employees- into Social Security.

As far as the rhetoric, I do it to stir the pot so to speak.

I am the spoon that gets these issues front and center. And getting guys like you, Jeff Jordan and the others to meltdown gives me a little bit of a chuckle.

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JF Feb. 2, 2008 @ 6:31 p.m.

Um, Johnny, so what's going to happen when you "force" everyone into SS.... and the city is still broke and can't pay that either? Remember, the savings is only so much from the retirement system. The $160 million that the city paid last year included a huge chunk of Corbett settlement money. Even if you saved half of what was left, you'd save, what, $50 million? That's not enough to staff the FD fully, no less fix Balboa park, fix the roads, etc. The mayor estimated that the city has $3 billion in deferred maintenance, was it?

So what's your plan for that? And how do you intend to staff the FD with no retirement plan?

The problem with your rhetoric is that it gives me an opportunity to dig up documented proof that you're wrong on so many counts... and that certainly doesn't help your case.

Oh, and sorry... but you don't get me to meltdown. I've been to more disasters than you can shake a stick at. I've got a little more composure than to freak out over your BS.

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JohnnyVegas Feb. 1, 2008 @ 5:13 p.m.

Come on JF, I'm the only one that uses the "welfare queen" line......it's my trademark comment.....LOL....

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JF Feb. 2, 2008 @ 8:18 a.m.

"Origin

The first attributed use of the term "welfare queen" is by Ronald Reagan in 1976 during a campaign:" ("'Welfare Queen' Becomes Issue in Reagan Campaign", New York Times, 1976-02-15, pp. 51. )

Maybe you're Reagan reincarnated. Imagine that, Johnny Vegas a Republican. Go get 'em, Gipper.

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JohnnyVegas Feb. 2, 2008 @ 9:37 a.m.

JF-I have never been a Republican-ever. You just assume these types of things because I speak my mind on fiscal issues that are very serious-and they affect public employment

I was a registered Democrat until recently, when Lou Dobbs convinced me to become an independant.

And that is what I am, an independant. I am a member of both the ACLU and the NRA. I am a fiscal conservative and moderate to liberal on social issues.

You may find that odd, but I am basically what many people are today-middle of the road-tired of the two party system. Not an extremist on either side.

If you were a Ross Perot supporter in 92-before he dropped out- then you know how I feel.

And I voted for Obama in the recent primary and will again in the Presidential election.

So just because I want to stop the pension give aways do NOT assume I am some sort of hard core right wing Arthur Laffer or Bill O'Reilly.

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JF Feb. 2, 2008 @ 9:58 a.m.

LOL, Johnny, I know that. I was speaking tongue in cheek. That's why I said, "Imagine that...". I was using irony.

Frankly, I think if you were to compare our two political ideologies you'd find that we're very much alike. That's interesting, because it's a fairly odd combination.

Obviously I have a large stake in the city's financial future. It affects me personally a whole lot more than it affects you. I've spoken out at union meetings many times against moves that I believe are foolhardy. In these pages, I've written that I'm against POSC under cost, that I'm against presidential retirement perks, etc.

However, I feel that many of the parts of our retirement system that you rail against are simply not as large a problem as you make them out to be. Remember that a large portion of today's pension bill is due to the Corbett settlement, requiring the city to pay more to make up what it didn't pay. And remember that the pension is only one portion of this city's ills. Again, if city leaders were doing their part the pension system would be a non-issue because there would be plenty of money to cover it.

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JF Feb. 1, 2008 @ 7:23 p.m.

Really? And I thought Ronald Reagan coined that one. Gipper is that you?

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JohnnyVegas Feb. 1, 2008 @ 7:56 p.m.

Nope, that is my registered trademark line.

I invented it.

But, even if Reagan did use it,and I do not concede that, that was 25 years ago buddy. This is today/

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JF Feb. 2, 2008 @ 8:43 a.m.

Don, at 10:36 yesterday morning, you wrote, "Many jobs have occupational health risks. Should society pick up the tab?"

When that occupational health risk is incurred in the best interest of society, then yes, society should pay for it.

As an example, society (the VA) pays for the care of soldiers injured in service to the country. They receive health care and retirement.

Here's another interesting article. http://inquirer.philly.com/specials/2000/fire/ More than 200 emergency workers were at this one fire in 1978. Almost 50 have contracted serious illnesses, with 28 dying. Standards are stricter now, but we still come in contact with unknown chemicals all the time.

During the recent fires, I was directly downwind from two large garages that were burning. We're talking 10-12 car garages -- barns, really. What was in those? I don't know. But my face was black and greasy the next day. And I've had a cough ever since. You do the math. Oh, and the family home is still standing.

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Don Bauder Feb. 4, 2008 @ 10:01 a.m.

Response to post #49: I agree it is society's responsibility to take care of wounded soldiers, although there are a lot of abuses of retired military people who have never served in battle getting excessive TLC for free. But should the policeman who sat at a desk his entire career get special obesity pay when he retires? These are interesting things to discuss.Best, Don Bauder

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JF Feb. 4, 2008 @ 1:53 p.m.

Don, I'm all in favor of all public safety officials (firefighters and cops) taking an annual fitness test. But like anything else, that costs money up front and the city would rather pay the disability. Are you willing to pay a disability retirement to anyone who can no longer pass the entry physical exam regardless of age? Elderly cops and firefighters should still be required to do the same job as the youngsters, no?

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Don Bauder Feb. 6, 2008 @ 7:38 p.m.

Response to post #55: When people get too old to be in the front lines, they should get a desk job. They shouldn't be paid to retire at age 50. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Feb. 8, 2008 @ 5:38 p.m.

Don, The FD only has about 11 chief officers in desk jobs. There are about half that many captains. That's it. So where do you propose putting the other 800 people? There used to be a number of "light duty" positions funded to allow infirm folks to recover or retire, but those don't exist anymore. Should we create 800 new city jobs, with pay and benefits, just to accommodate older firefighters?

Remember, the age 50 retirement is funded by an actuarially determined rate designed to allow retirement at 50.

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Don Bauder Feb. 9, 2008 @ 11:17 a.m.

Response to post #57: Of course not. They could be given desk jobs elsewhere in government, or accept much lower retirement pay. Or work longer. There are a lot of people doing heavy labor who are in their 70s. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Feb. 9, 2008 @ 2:51 p.m.

There are also a lot of people in their 70's who are dead. Remember, by employing a person until 70, the city is assuming liability for any cancer, heart, lung, etc. problems until 5 years after retirement.

There aren't 800 empty jobs anywhere in government. And again, the retirement is paid for... that's why firefighters pay 16% into their retirement instead of 6.2% into SS.

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Don Bauder Feb. 9, 2008 @ 3:24 p.m.

Response to post #59: Actuarially, the City would probably be money ahead working the firefighters until they are 65 or 70, even if payments would have to be made. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Feb. 9, 2008 @ 5:17 p.m.

I highly doubt that, Don. If you lengthen the term of employment, you reduce the amount that has to be put in each year.

Remember, I have never failed to make my retirement payment. The city has.

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Don Bauder Feb. 9, 2008 @ 9:10 p.m.

Response to post #61: In any case, the city has to revise the terms with its firefighters so that promises made in the past -- that can no longer be afforded -- can be altered. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Feb. 9, 2008 @ 9:55 p.m.

See, that's the basic rub here Don. "No longer afforded" There are two side to not being able to afford things. The first is to cut expenses in the form of benefits. That's the quick and short-sighted fix. You and others are advocating things like having firefighters work until 70. You've obviously never done my job. Perhaps you'll go volunteer as a firefighter in your small town in Colorado. You're just over 70, no? You should be fine.

According to the 2005 SDCERS CAFR, the average payment to SDCERS (minus SPSP) is about 12%. You're only going to save 6% of salary by switching everyone to SS. You're also going to be completely unable to retain safety workers, but apparently you don't mind paying to train new folks every year. Back to my point, saving 6% of payroll simply isn't going to save this city. That's not going to provide the extra $90 million that the FD needs annually, no less fund the $3 billion in deferred maintenance. Where do you propose finding that extra money? You and others have fallen into the trap of going after employees as the low hanging fruit. Sorry, but our benefits are a very small piece of the pie.

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JF Feb. 10, 2008 @ 10:27 a.m.

So why do I see you only attacking one small part of the solution?

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Don Bauder Feb. 10, 2008 @ 7:49 a.m.

Response to post #63: Excessive pay and benefits are only part of the problem, as all of us have said for years. The big problem is that the pension fund was raided so the money could be used elsewhere (mainly corporate welfare), and then the excessive remuneration and benefits were promised to mollify employees. Meanwhile, a broke city rots. (See Balboa Park.) Everybody will have to make some sacrifices, and that includes employees and taxpayers. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Feb. 10, 2008 @ 8:28 a.m.

Don, I have made sacrifices. I haven't received a pay raise in almost four years now. I've had the cost of my health care benefits rise $5000 in that time as well. Show me a taxpayer who's made that kind of sacrifice.

Sorry Don, no one wants to speak the tax word, but it's going to have to happen. I still haven't seen your analysis of "The Bottom Line" by CPI, though you said it deserved, "looking in to". San Diegans pay much less in taxes, and get less of that back from the state than any other major city.

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Don Bauder Feb. 10, 2008 @ 10:13 a.m.

Response to post #65: San Diegans pay low taxes and suffer from a rotting infrastructure and poor services. Worse, the city is teetering on the financial edge. Donna Frye, Pat Shea and Mike Aguirre have tried to wake people up. However, San Diegans are living in a dream world. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 10, 2008 @ 4:44 p.m.

Response to post #67: Maybe you are only paying attention to what I write about excessive salary and benefits. I write plenty about the rest of the equation. Best, Don Bauder

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JF Feb. 10, 2008 @ 5:19 p.m.

I have yet to see you write an article stating that San Diegans need to pay more taxes.

That'd be a good City Lights article for you. Review the percentage of taxes that SD gets back from the state and compare the tax rates of San Diego and the other largest cities in CA. Steve Francis' think tank did a bit on the taxes coming back to the city and CPI has their piece. Combine them and let us know where the city stands.

Healing SD requires many things. One small part is changing some employee benefits. One larger part is changing corporate welfare. And... one part is bringing in more income.

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