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San Diego's alleged Ethics Commission is back to its pre-election dirty tricks. The caper is still another example of how city government and the Union-Tribune collaborate to thwart reform and keep the establishment in power. Today (May 10) the U-T printed a story saying that the commission will hold a "probable cause" hearing on whether one of city attorney Mike Aguirre's volunteers, popular blogger Pat Flannery, sent election solicitations to some city employees. Hearings on this have been going on for some time; Aguirre and Flannery agree that Aguirre knew nothing about Flannery sending out emails. "They (the commission) wanted me to pay $2500. I said no; I didn't know about it," says Aguirre. This was carried out in closed session. U-T reporter Craig Gustafson revealed that he got the information about closed session over the phone. Flannery asked if this was proper procedure. The reporter gave a puerile, blustering response: he was conducting the interview, not Flannery. The ethics commission personnel "are using the U-T as their propaganda arm" says Flannery. Commissioners "know their case will collapse; they are just trying to smear him before the election." (Commission chairman Gil Cabrera insisted to the U-T that timing was coincidental.) Because the word got out in early May, opponents can put the U-T's propaganda piece in their mailers. "They [the commission] would have brought it forward in March or April if they knew they had had a case." Stacey Fulhorst, executive director of the commission, is a former Casey Gwinn employee. Among many eyebrow-arching rulings, the commission decided that Tom Story of Sunroad, upon leaving his city post, was clear to contact former underlings, as he did on behalf of Sunroad's illegal project. But Story had been deputy planning director in charge of development from 1989 to 2000, and ex-mayor Murphy's senior policy advisor overseeing development after 2000. It was an astonishingly indefensible ruling, but typical of developer-dominated San Diego. Flannery will have more on his blog today, www.blogofsandiego.com. I tried unsuccessfully to reach Fulhorst, Gustafson and Cabrera.

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Comments

JohnnyVegas May 10, 2008 @ 10:34 p.m.

Kittle, who in his private life has enjoyed his times as a poser at the YMCA, will eventually get his just rewards for hypocrisy in all areas of his life.

I know I am going to regret asking this, but what exactly is a "poser at the YMCA"............?

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Russ Lewis May 10, 2008 @ 10:47 p.m.

Johnny, you're offering grammar and spelling instruction to Fumbler? Try throwing your pearls before swine while you're at it.

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Don Bauder May 10, 2008 @ 11:02 p.m.

Response to post #16: Yes, I have no idea what a poser at the YMCA is either. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas May 10, 2008 @ 1:09 p.m.

There is a hit piece on Mike Aguirre virtually every single day in the UT-I kid you not-every single day (or so it seems).

Don, I think it was you, were you keeping a running total on the UT hit pieces on Mike?? If so please post it up again.

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Anon92107 May 10, 2008 @ 1:46 p.m.

The U-T Editorial this morning "Lessons of Vallejo" hits a new low in Kittle's Deranged Rantitorials, especially in the last two paragraphs including this Goebbelsian class rant: "Yet when it comes time to divvy up limited resources, Democrats take care of public employees first."

Let's see now, three Republican San Diego U-T mayors in a row, Golding, Murphy and Sanders have done just exactly what this deranged rant accuses democrats of doing, or did I miss something and all three of them are just disguised as San Diego Bloodsucker Cartel controlled republican puppeticians?

You can take it from here Don.

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Don Bauder May 10, 2008 @ 1:59 p.m.

Response to post #1: I just got the word. The U-T has done more than 250 hit pieces on Aguirre since he took office. (Earlier, I guessed that it was 333, but I labeled that as a a guess.) The number 250 is astonishing, particularly since the U-T's news hole is shrinking drastically. That means that all the hit pieces are a much larger percentage of the total news offering each day. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 10, 2008 @ 2:09 p.m.

Response to post #2: I didn't read the editorial, and won't, but if it tries to make the case that only Democrats raise public employees' pay inordinately, the argument is not going to fly. There hasn't been a Democratic mayor since Maureen O'Connor left. The bureaucrats were rewarded monetarily for doing a pretzel job on statistics to make it appear that the ballpark would be self-financing. The deliberate concealing of information in bond prospectuses was another heroic bureaucratic effort that was rewarded with pay raises. There were lots more. Best, Don Bauder

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iantrowbridge1 May 10, 2008 @ 2:51 p.m.

This action by the ethics commission against Aguirre reeks of politics by Sanders' office where the only people left put politics before the public interest every day of the week. Whether Steve Francis follows up his words with actions, Sanders and his administration has to go.

You can contrast the Ethics Commission's groundless attack on Aquirre and their unfounded investigation of Cory Briggs, an environmental lawyer with the commission's claim that everything to do with Sainz's profane letter; his provision of I.P. addresses of City Attorney office computers, including the retaliatory firing of assistant CEO, Rick Reynolds, and its subsequent coverup was good and dandy.

Commission Chairman Gil Cabrera said "the timing of the June election is coincidental" to the Aquirre case. Really? He has been cloned from Cooley, Godward, Kronish LLP who have given $2, 880 to reelect Sanders. He knows how to play politics.

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Don Bauder May 10, 2008 @ 5:24 p.m.

Response to post #5: Since making the post, I reached Cabrera and Gustafson. Cabrera says the commission would not have given out closed session information over the phone, other than the fact that there will be a hearing. Gustafson said the same thing. The question, however, is why this matter was announced in early May, a month before the election, when the hearing is not until July 25. Cabrera continues to insist it is not politics. He will have a chance to comment on that many times. Gustafson admits to telling Flannery, "I am asking the questions," but only, he insists, after Flannery kept asking him questions. Flannery does say he asked the reporter questions -- something that is quite permissible, and should not merit a bullying response, at least if the reporter knows how to get information. I have heard about the Cory Briggs matter and agree that it is also political. There are more big questions: is the purported ethics commission looking into Sainz's attempt to get IP addresses in the city attorney's office? What about Scott Peters? He has his web site on Voice of San Diego, which goes to city employees. Shouldn's that be investigated, if the commission is to remain consistent? Who filed the Aguirre complaint with the ethics commission? Did the ethics commission leak it to the U-T? Best, Don Bauder

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iantrowbridge1 May 10, 2008 @ 5:30 p.m.

This action by the ethics commission against Aguirre reeks of politics by Sanders' office where the only people left put politics before the public interest every day of the week.

But Andy Donohue wrote a prescient piece in the Voice last June on Froman's and Torell's principled resignations from the Sanders' circus.

See it here: www.voiceofsandiego.org/articles/2007... fromanfollow061807.txt

Here are some quotes:

Even the little bird Sparrow got it right when he said:

"And I think she got pushed by the political people,I think with the election coming up, the political people are going to be in even greater control than they are now."

Froman's counterparts at the other end of the Mayor's Office have a reputation for a cutthroat brand of politic.

To handle his political organization, Sanders brought in two veterans from former Mayor Susan Golding's office, Kris Michell as director of community and legislative affairs and Fred Sainz as communications director.

When he was hired in 2005, former Auditor John Torell promised the City Council he'd stay on for between three and five years to help revamp a financial-reporting structure that had left the city the target of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation.

But in January, Torell left the Mayor's Office after less than two years on the job, saying the office favored spin over substance.

Now Michell and Sainz are going for the jugular in an attempt to save their own jobs and draw attention away from their own disgraceful ethical behavior. I wonder how many more people they will try to trash in the next few weeks?

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JohnnyVegas May 10, 2008 @ 5:51 p.m.

Now Michell and Sainz are going for the jugular in an attempt to save their own jobs and draw attention away from their own disgraceful ethical behavior.

Sainz has a new nickname from me...The "F-Bomb King"!

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Anon92107 May 12, 2008 @ 2:46 a.m.

Response to post #28:

As you said "So many of the editorials, columns and purported news stories are so predictable that it isn't worth reading them." which is most certainly a major reason that thinking people are terminating their newspaper subscriptions.

This is especially troubling since our education system is in extremis and democracy needs thinking people to make it work.

So the consequence is as Bill Moyers said "We have fallen under the spell of money, faction, and fear, and the great American experience in creating a different future together has been subjugated to individual cunning in the pursuit of wealth and power ---.” which has provided you with a lifetime of investigative reporting as American Democracy becomes ever more threatened by the corrupt and the braindead.

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JohnnyVegas May 10, 2008 @ 8:28 p.m.

johhny vegass get a life your killing yourself just to vomit in public..! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Fumbler, your is a pronoun for POSSESSION

You're is short for you are............learn it junior.

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

Response to post #7: Good, thoughtful observations. I am told (but admittedly haven't checked) that Ronne Froman is not listed among Sanders's contributors. Most insiders I have discussed it with say she left because she couldn't stand the politics. There is no substance to the Sanders approach to government -- just the politics of Sainz and Michell. Everything is smoke and mirrors. Torell had the same complaints. I will have more on that. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 10, 2008 @ 9:12 p.m.

Response to post #8: Johnny, I can think of equally apt nicknames for Sainz, but there is no way I can state them here, even with liberal use of ****s. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 10, 2008 @ 9:17 p.m.

Response to post #9: There have been some blowhards prowling the White House in the last decade and a half. Not all held elected or appointed positions. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 10, 2008 @ 9:19 p.m.

Response to post #10: Where was fumber when Sainz made those egregious misspellings? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 10, 2008 @ 10:52 p.m.

Response to post #15: I assume, then, that the so-called ethics commission refused to investigate Sainz's attempt to get the IP addresses of those in the city attorney's office. This was the shockingly unethical activity that caused Rick Reynolds to protest, and led to his firing for not being a team player. If the purported ethics commission were going to investigate anything, this would be it. Hopefully, the lawsuit by Reynolds will shed light on this shabby activity. Glad to get confirmation that Froman has not, indeed, given money to Sanders. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 10, 2008 @ 11:04 p.m.

Response to post #16: Russl is the expert on the English language -- and on many other things, too. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas May 11, 2008 @ 8:11 a.m.

Johnny, you're offering grammar and spelling instruction to Fumbler? Try throwing your pearls before swine while you're at it.

I am not offering spelling lessons, just grammar.

Yes, my spelling is pretty bad, only because I do not have Fire Fox, which has a built in spell checker for blogging, so I miss many typos. But no biggie there......

But my grammar is perfect! (or close to it).

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Burwell May 11, 2008 @ 9:26 a.m.

Craig Gustafson may belong to the wealthy, socially prominent, and politically connected Gustafson family in San Diego of furniture store fame. He may well be biased against Mike Aguirre because of his family background and his writing may lack objectivity. He may well be a wealthy guy with a trust fund who went into journalism simply because he was bored and had nothing to do.

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Don Bauder May 11, 2008 @ 10:23 a.m.

Response to post #21: I don't think there are many people following this blog who judge posts on the basis of spelling or grammar. Best, Don Bauder

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iantrowbridge1 May 10, 2008 @ 9:57 p.m.

Using the sortable electronic filing system that the City clerk's office has set up, it is easy using the advanced sorting function to find that Ronnie Froman has not contributed to any candidate this election cycle including Sanders. Liz Maland, city clerk and Bonnie Stone elections expert in the office have made it easy to follow the money sitting at home. A search just takes a couple of minutes. They should be congratulated for setting up the best system in the state.

For me, since I filed the ethics complaint against Sanders, Michell, Sainz and other senior managers, the failure of the Ethics Commission to even investigate my allegations in the Sainz/Kittle case including the retaliatory firing of Reynolds and subsequent cover up is an egregious example of how the Sanders' political storm troopers protect themselves and their own.

The Aguirre/ Flannery case is a counter example of how Sanders' political attack dogs attempt to destroy their perceived enemies enlisting the help of the hired hands at the U/T where Kittle must give seminars on yellow journalism.

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Don Bauder May 11, 2008 @ 10:34 a.m.

Response to post #22: I know nothing about Craig Gustafson's background and do not know him, to my knowledge. I will repeat what I have said before: you often cannot blame a U-T reporter for the bias of a story. The reporters report to editors who take direction from the editor in chief, who in turn takes orders from David Copley. When the paper is out to get someone by foul means, the message filters down and anybody defying the unspoken dictate is likely to get on the hit list, and therefore eventually get the axe, particularly in today's financially fragile environment. Honest journalism goes out the window. Don't believe what you read about Aguirre, Frye, and Francis in the U-T. Also, when you read a story about Jerry Sanders, Prop C, the development industry, and downtown establishment, assume that the bad news is being concealed. And don't assume the reporter is to blame. Best, Don Bauder

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paul May 11, 2008 @ 11:11 a.m.

Don,

I have not heard a peep out of Fromman since she left the mayors staff. Have you tried to contact her? Do you know any other reporters who have tried? I am wondering whether she has actively refused to discuss her time with the mayor, whether she merely avoids interviews, or whether it is simply that nobody has asked (for whatever reason). I wonder if there will come a point in time that she will candidly discuss her time on the mayors staff, including the treatment of her and the top people she brought in (such as Reynolds).

It may be that she will speak in glowing terms of Sanders and his staff (i.e. she could lie through her teeth), but to date I have not read anywhere that the questions have even been put to her.

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Don Bauder May 12, 2008 @ 6:05 a.m.

Response to post #29: This is clearly a greed-obsessed period for the U.S. and much of the world. These things run in cycles. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 May 12, 2008 @ 12:23 p.m.

Response to post #30:

Actually I was thinking that future historians, should we survive long enough, will consider naming the Clinton and Bush years as Sodom and Gomorrah II in Washington at least.

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Anon92107 May 11, 2008 @ 12:02 p.m.

Response to post #4: “I didn't read the editorial, and won't” means you lose out on part of the continuing decline and fall of the San Diego Union-Tribune editors who appear to be using Gobbelsian elements of style as their last resort.

In his new book “Moyers on Democracy” reviewed by The Nation editor Art Winslow in the L.A. Times Book Review this morning, Moyers testifies: “Democracy in America is a series of narrow escapes, and we may be running out of luck --- We have fallen under the spell of money, faction, and fear, and the great American experience in creating a different future together has been subjugated to individual cunning in the pursuit of wealth and power ---.”

Further, in the context of our discussion, Moyers concludes of the Fourth Estate that by “no stretch of the imagination can we say the dominant institutions of today’s media are guardians of democracy” which Winslow says "reminds us that it is proximity to reality, not to power that should matter in reporting ---."

Considering the role of Der Sturmer in the overthrow of German democracy, the U-T seems to be using them as a role model. Their Bloodsucker cartel control of our judicial and legislative branches in San Diego along with their cover-ups of their “Ballot Recommendations” thugs who are looting our treasury make it appear that we are relearning history the hard way.

The 2008 elections become all the more important.

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Don Bauder May 11, 2008 @ 1:31 p.m.

Response to post #25: I haven't tried to reach her, even after breaking the story of her joining General Atomics, but others on the Reader have tried. I assume others in San Diego media have tried to reach her unsuccessfully. See my column this week about another ex-Sanders aide who left. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 11, 2008 @ 1:34 p.m.

Response to post #26: I do read the U-T every day, but didn't read that particular piece because I thought it wouldn't be worth my time: it was obvious what was going to be in it. So many of the editorials, columns and purported news stories are so predictable that it isn't worth reading them. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas May 12, 2008 @ 10:45 p.m.

Clinton pardoned Mark Rich, and Rich was a wanted fugitive by the DOJ. Big time fugitive.

He pardoned him for money and because Rich's former wife was good friends with the Clintons. Clinton also pardoned a major drug deal who was the son of a big LA campaign contributor.

These scams will always stain his presidency. Always.

It is really sickening to see how they tried to claim these pardons were on the merits too, yet any 3rd grader could see through that garbage.

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Don Bauder May 12, 2008 @ 1 p.m.

Response to post #31: I think Bill Clinton's sexual adventures are peccadillos -- not worth a tenth of the coverage they get. But his monetary activities -- gathering money from big-time crooks, pardoning bandits on the last day of his presidency -- deserve much media coverage. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 May 13, 2008 @ 3:42 a.m.

Republican politicians in San Diego and Washington have proven to have no ethics, and the issue for the rest of us to resolve can the democrats really do any better?

Bill Clinton is such a scumbag that his moral and ethical failures made the difference that put Bush into the White House in 2000. Again, voters still didn’t trust the democrats in 2004 so they re-elected Bush and the republicans have now proven that they have produced the worst president in American history.

Meanwhile in America’s Third World City of San Diego republicans have now produced the three worst mayors in our history. The Ethics Commission is one of the worst jokes ever produced against the people of San Diego, so the republicans in San Diego and Washington have now proven to have no ethics at all.

The question we have to figure out is can democrat politicians do better in this age of decline and fall corruption that Clinton, Bush, Sanders and all of San Diego’s democratic and republican representatives and senators in Washington have failed in so far?

So far, the current democratic presidential campaign has not given us any reason for hope, while the republicans have produced a throwaway candidate. And San Diego continues to sink into the U-T cesspool where ethics is defined by antonyms.

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Don Bauder May 13, 2008 @ 2:22 p.m.

Response to post #33: Marc Rich, an international commodities trader, fled the U.S. in the 1980s. Clinton's pardoning of him was inexcusable. How remunerative it was for Bill Clinton will probably never be learned. When dealing with someone who does his business through offshore banks, it's difficult if not impossible to follow a money trail. Best, Don Bauder

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JF May 13, 2008 @ 7:36 p.m.

Anon, which three mayors were the worst? Some claim Wilson was the best. Others claim that he was monkeying with property tax rates and got caught with his pants down by Prop 13. Wilson was also the father of the now infamous SPSP program.

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Anon92107 May 14, 2008 @ 2:12 a.m.

Response to post #36:

It appears that as of the election in West Virginia yesterday we have one more problem rearing it's most ugly head in democratic politics in addition to republican politics, as portrayed in "Saturday Night Live's" message From Hillary Clinton: "I Have No Ethical Standards"

So in context with this blog "Purported Ethics Commission Pulls Another Slimy One. This Is So Blatant It Could Backfire" we can only hope that slimy ethics begin to backfire big time during this election.

Most sadly, it appears that hate is alive and well and metastasizing throughout American politics from the San Diego Union-Tribune establishment to both political parties in Washington DC.

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Don Bauder May 14, 2008 @ 6:41 a.m.

Response to post #36: I would like to hear more about your interpretation of Pete Wilson's incumbency. You might add CCDC in your analysis. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 14, 2008 @ 8:08 a.m.

Response to post #37: Are you sure Anon92107 is a "she?" Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 14, 2008 @ 8:12 a.m.

Response to post #38: Racial hatred is certainly escalating, and the West Virginia primary is an example. Incidentally, poorly-educated voters are now being called "low information voters." Hmmm. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 14, 2008 @ 11:38 a.m.

Response to post #42: Is it treatable with wheat grass? That's tough medicine, I have heard. Best, Don Bauder

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Anon92107 May 15, 2008 @ 2:05 p.m.

Response to post #41:

Most unfortunately Don, the fact that political ethics are most certainly at an all time low must be that that there are far too many well educated "low information voters" also.

Our American education system is in extremis as documented in the latest CALIFORNIA alumni magazine article:

"Wrong Trajectory - America is losing its higher education advantage, with enormous repercussions." by John Aubrey Douglass http://alumni.berkeley.edu/california/200805/freespeech.asp

As documented on your Blog, worst case examples are the rhetoric and actions of Bob Kittle, Mayor Sanders and fumber. They appear to hold frequent meetings in some intellectual black hole somewhere.

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JF May 17, 2008 @ 6:29 p.m.

Sorry Don, I missed your earlier comment with all the bits about wheatgrass.

It's my understanding that Wilson was monkeying with the property tax rates to benefit his Republican buddies. I have no idea how one would go about researching that. But I'll bet you do.

I actually think that SPSP is a good idea as it saves the city money vs. SS. Yet, at the same time employees have the choice to make more than they would in SS. One interesting note is that the Cato Institute holds up SPSP as an award winning program.

There have been allegations about most of the San Diego mayors. There was the taxi scandal (Curran?), etc. Who was the cleanest?

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Don Bauder May 17, 2008 @ 11:21 p.m.

Response to posty #44: Yes, a low of the low information voters may be well educated, alas. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2008 @ 11:24 p.m.

Response to post #45: 1. Fumber has been talking about wheat grass for ages. It apparently tastes awful but some think it has curative powers; 2. Maureen O'Connor was the cleanest, at least in my years in San Diego, which began in 1973. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2008 @ 11:26 p.m.

Response to poste #46: "left wing vomit doodie?" Fumber, you get more creative every day. But people shouldn't read you before a meal. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 17, 2008 @ 11:27 p.m.

Response to post #47: Fumber, your fascination with the bathroom and bodily functions is in itself quite fascinating. Best, Don Bauder

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JF May 18, 2008 @ 6:47 a.m.

I don't disagree about O'Connor, but even she had her Faberge eggs. Meanwhile when I was hired by the city around then, we were using fire engines and fire hose older than I was. That's my point in all of this. Infrastructure and employees have been ignored by San Diego mayors since the dawn of time. It's finally reaching a head. Though I don't agree with each and every bit of employee compensation, I don't blame employees for getting what they could. It took a long time to get SD into this state of disrepair and we're not going to get out overnight. Employees have worked to help the situation. Virtually no one else has.

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Don Bauder May 18, 2008 @ 8:08 a.m.

Response to post #52: I don't think anybody argues that the infrastructure is in good shape. Yes, fire equipment is not up to standards, particularly for a city so fire-prone. Ditto for police equipment, sewers, water, etc. Best, Don Bauder

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JF May 18, 2008 @ 2:39 p.m.

So I guess here's the question, Don. If you were running for mayor in SD what would your platform be? How would you "save the city"?

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JF May 19, 2008 @ 6:15 a.m.

You forgot paying for trash pickup.

I don't disagree with you about many facets of your plan. But you're only going to get so much from employees. Either of the pension plans currently being discussed will only save $25 million when fully implemented. Meanwhile, the city fathers spent that last year on the Balboa Theater renovation. As Dylan said, "It ain't me, babe... no, no, no it ain't me."

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Don Bauder May 18, 2008 @ 9:38 p.m.

Response to post #54: My platform would assure that I would have no chance to get elected. First, I would say that bankruptcy is a certainty unless the city can get its house in order. First, it must slash expenses: pay and fringes of city workers must come down. This could be accomplished by threatening bankruptcy and telling the workers that they either bargain with the city, or a BK judge will make the cuts. Corporate welfare would be slashed at every opportunity. There would be no more subsidies for real estate developers. CCDC would be abolished. The "strong mayor" concept would go back on the ballot and hopefully repealed. Some tough decisions would have to be made -- say, committing to desalination and toilet-to-tap. Then there would have to be a plan to restore the infrastructure. It would involve floating of bonds, and would almost certainly involve higher taxes, beginning with the T.O.T. Have I offended everybody yet? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 19, 2008 @ 6:46 a.m.

Response to post #56: San Diego has to have tougher programs than the pension plans now being discussed. Incidentally, public sectors all around the U.S., such as the state of Illinois, have pension woes similar to San Diego's. The private sector has them, too -- G.M. being only one example. You may be interested in reading my column that comes out later this week. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 19, 2008 @ 9:53 a.m.

Response to post #58: I am honored to have my prose put on that site. Best, Don Bauder

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JohnnyVegas May 19, 2008 @ 3:25 p.m.

Don, that is actually a GREAT plan for cleaning up the Cities financial mess.

Only thing I did NOT agree on was the TOT tax. But you know what-if you could roll back both pay, and especially pensions, of the City employees, I would go along with a TOT tax.

But not trash, we already pay for that in our property bill.

BTW-did you see the UT's website this afternoon, former SD Clowncilman Mike Gotch has died. My feelings towards Gotch have been vented here before so I will not repeat them during this time.

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Don Bauder May 19, 2008 @ 7:27 p.m.

Response to post #60: Good, Johnny: show respect for the decedent. The TOT in San Diego is much lower than it is in comparable Western cities. The tax should be raised and the proceeds used to put money in the pension pot and help fund infrastructure. But the City will need more than TOT proceeds. Other taxes may have to go up. Best, Don Bauder

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