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More than 70 percent of lifeguards have signed a petition to leave the Municipal Employees Union and affiliate with the Teamsters, according to Ed Harris, a lifeguard who is working on organization issues. The lifeguards went to the City's labor relations office yesterday (April 1), but there has been no decision. The lifeguards want the mayor and council to authorize a representation vote. The issue is now being reviewed by the city attorney's office. "Lifeguards have clearly shown that they have a separate community of interest from the MEA membership," says Harris, and lawyers consider such status important for such a move. Lifeguards are the only safety employees within MEA, says Harris. Most of the MEA membership is white collar. In more than 30 years, only seven lifeguards have made it to a full retirement from the City, although some have moved on to other departments, says Harris. One of the lifeguards' major beefs is Judie Italiano, president for 20 years and now general manager of the MEA. Interim Report #28 of March 3, 2008 by former City Attorney Mike Aguirre described how Italiano ran up $20,000 of charges on the union's credit card. Union records show that she spent $100,000 of the union's money on such things as gambling casino trips, hotels, and clothing. One of Italiano's direct relatives heads Integrated Labor Solutions, an insurance operation that got two loans from the MEA. "We don't believe the MEA is being fiscally responsible with our dues," says Harris. Scott Chadwick, the City's labor relations manager, could not be reached for comment.

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Comments

Grasca May 7, 2009 @ 5:43 p.m.

Why didn't the DA charge Ms. Italiano with conversion and fraud? Her act in and of itself (using MEA credit card for personal items) is criminal. It doesn't matter if she paid the card back with interest according to attorneys I have consulted on the matter. Carolyn Smith and Nancy Graham and Judie equals the sisterhood of shame.

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SurfPuppy619 April 2, 2009 @ 6:53 p.m.

Union records show that she spent $100,000 of the union's money on such things as gambling casino trips, hotels, and clothing.

Someone should direct Judie to this case filed Monday;

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-union1-2009apr01,0,2515561.story

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Don Bauder April 2, 2009 @ 9:17 p.m.

Response to post #1: Yes, that is an interesting case. Judie should read it. Best, Don Bauder

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catlade April 2, 2009 @ 10:43 p.m.

Don: Please do an article about the San Diego dental community and their charges. Recently got two quotes for dental implants: $11,500 (entire mouth) and $19,750 (1/2 mouth), both just implants no caps, crowns or bridges. What's a middle income person with $1,500 in annual dental insurance to do?

Thanks!

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Don Bauder April 3, 2009 @ 7:57 a.m.

Response to post #3: Good idea. The last time I looked into the San Diego dental scene -- more than 20 years ago -- the county had a surfeit of dentists, but high prices. I concluded that San Diego was either overdentisted or undertoothed. With a large number of dentists, price competition should drive charges down. But at that time, it didn't seem to be happening. Maybe it's still the same. Best, Don Bauder

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Edharris April 3, 2009 @ 10:06 a.m.

Don,

The most important point is the Lifeguards want the right to vote. We are working through the system and following council policy. The Guards want to be able to choose who represents them. They want to do this through a fair democratic process. We are asking the CIty to allow that to happen. We are not asking the City to put us in Teamsters or keep us in MEA. We are asking for a basic right. THE RIGHT TO VOTE.

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Don Bauder April 3, 2009 @ 1:34 p.m.

Response to post #5: The blog item said clearly that the lifeguards want the mayor and council to authorize a vote on the matter. Your point is well taken. Best, Don Bauder

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SDNative1958 April 5, 2009 @ 9:15 a.m.

Like catlade, above, I too have been flummoxed by the ridiculous prices charged for dental services in this town, despite my having insurance as well. It amazes me that I can walk into Kaiser and have major surgery and 2 days bed rest in their hospital for a (then) $5.00 co-pay, yet I'd better make sure I have plenty of cash on hand for a tooth-cleaning visit to the dentist as they eat up the alloted yearly insurance in no time.

You may be interested to know of the services provided in our neighbor to the South. I have close friends who have gone into Mexico for dental work as well as vanity surgeries, and have reported top-notch results for rock-bottom prices. I don't know if I'm allowed to put an email address for me in this venue, but if you want me to put you in touch with some satisfied customers, give a shout to dextermorgan@me.com, and I'll get back to you.

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Don Bauder April 5, 2009 @ 3:14 p.m.

Response to post #7: I have read about dental services in Mexico. I would be very careful. There have been some real problems with medical services there. Best, Don Bauder

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SDNative1958 April 6, 2009 @ 11:12 a.m.

Quite understandable, Mr. Bauder. I would never offer up a recommendation unless it came from reliable, 1st person close-friend sources.

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Don Bauder April 6, 2009 @ 11:43 a.m.

Response to post #9: That's good. Best, Don Bauder

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