Mercy Baron 5:30 p.m., May 28
Whistleblower Shipione Heads to Harvard
Diann Shipione, the former member of the City pension board who exposed the frailty of San Diego finances and the dishonesty of pension information provided by the government, has been admitted to the Harvard Kennedy School Masters Program in Public Administration. She starts July 21 and graduates in 2010. In 2002, she warned city council that a sharp increase in pension benefits combined with a decrease in pension funding would drive the City off the financial cliff. She was ignored -- and ridiculed. In 2003, she challenged the veracity of a $500 million sewer bond offering. The City ultimately canceled the offering and was forced to confess in 2004 that prospectus information had been misleading, and the City was in deep fiscal trouble because of the problems she had pointed out. But the smears continued; there was even a plot to put her under citizens' arrest. There were several investigations of the egregious irregularities. Studies by Kroll Inc., the city attorney, and the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that Shipione was right. Her husband, attorney Pat Shea, will accompany her to Cambridge, although he will return to San Diego once a month for meetings and the like. Shea got both an MBA and law degree from Harvard in 1975. He ran for mayor in 2005, stating that the City should go into bankruptcy. That view may ultimately prevail, too.