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The lead indicators of the San Diego economy, compiled by Alan Gin of the University of San Diego, continued to rise in January, hitting 107.9 from 107.2 in December. Building permits, initial unemployment claims, stock prices, help-wanted advertising and the national economy moved in favorable directions. Consumer confidence went in an unfavorable direction.

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Comments

a2zresource Feb. 26, 2010 @ 9:59 a.m.

I am motivated by the above report to start a new business in San Diego.

Motivation to make some Internet sales also comes in the form of a $70K bill from SDG&E and Sempra Energy.

Unfortunately, I don't actually plan on hiring anybody. If I see a need to expand my fledgling software company, I'll just entertain offers from people who, like worker bees in the insurance industry, only wish to be known as independent contractors.

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 26, 2010 @ 8:05 p.m.

I'll just entertain offers from people who, like worker bees in the insurance industry, only wish to be known as independent contractors.

As long as they meet the rules to qualify as independent contractors that is the way to go.

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a2zresource Feb. 27, 2010 @ 12:44 a.m.

And as long as they do that, I don't have to withhold much of anything for them, either. Dealings with corporate lawyers have taught me well.

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 27, 2010 @ 7:44 a.m.

What you see all the time with "independent contractors" are fraudulent emplpyoers who unlawfully try classify their employees under independent contractors status when they are not even close.

That short changes the employee, and the taxpayers too. But if youre developing software, and piece meal the jobs out, with no oversight allowing the developer to work at his own pace, hours and methods then you're OK.

Once you start making and enforcing work hours and start getting involved with the supervision, then you might have a problem.

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a2zresource Feb. 27, 2010 @ 9:58 a.m.

For those interested in how to pull this off, there are a number of tests to determine if someone is really an "independent contractor", including degree of supervision as mentioned above. Other questions: Does the individual supply her or his own tools? Is the worker required to be present at the job site or can he or she complete the work elsewhere?

The up-to-date list can be found by viewing http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p15a.pdf with a careful reading to avoid IRS problems later...

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Robert Hagen Feb. 27, 2010 @ 11:30 a.m.

Independant contractor status is beneficial to the employer because it avoids alot of the overhead associated with taking on an employee. Its advantageous to the employee because there are no taxes taken out.

In my opinion, its the way to go. Think about it. You pay into unemployment over and over, then you want to collect it back. You pay into workmans comp over and over, but do you get that money back? You hope not. You pay into social security, but will you ever get it back? You'll get a paltry fraction back, if anything.

Additionally, small ball is a very real way for us to get people back to work. Resource says hes going to start a new company. If its software based, he or she is going to want an employee- I mean an independant contractor. Why? To save time, and ideally, to expand his capabilities.

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 27, 2010 @ 12:47 p.m.

Its advantageous to the employee because there are no taxes taken out.

Well, I would not call that an advantage. Those taxes not only MUST be paid, but they are doubled for IC's. And under current tax law and rules they must be paid within the quarter they are earned. If you under pay the taxes as an IC-even after making a good faith estimate- you get hit with penalties. The IC also pays not only their employee portion of payroll taxes, but also the employer portion. So the FDIC costs of 7.65% are doubled to 15.3%. Even though the taxes are not withheld, that is not really an advantage in my book because of the increased costs and the fact the taxes must be paid within 90 days at the most, 1 day at the least.

It is certainly a huge advantaeg for the employer, no doubt. The biggest advantage to the employee-IMO- would be the tax advantages becuase you would be able to potentially write off more dollars-from dollar #1. As an employee you have pretty high threshholds to get any kind of business write off.

The reason I wanted to talk about IC qualifying rules is because so many employers hire employees and try to claim they are IC's to try to get around the payroll taxes.

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Don Bauder Feb. 27, 2010 @ 12:57 p.m.

Response to post #1: That independent contractor scam is almost ubiquitous. Finally, the IRS is paying attention to it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 27, 2010 @ 12:59 p.m.

Response to post #2: That's the way to go for the employer. But maybe not the so-called independent contractor. And certainly not the IRS. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 27, 2010 @ 1:03 p.m.

Response to post #3: If you have no fear of corporate lawyers, you must be a lion tamer or killer whale trainer by occupation. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 27, 2010 @ 1:05 p.m.

Response to post #4: Yes, you might have a problem, especially since the IRS may finally be watching you. Or so it says. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 27, 2010 @ 1:07 p.m.

Response to post #5: That is a very helpful post. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 27, 2010 @ 1:10 p.m.

Response to post #6: Since stimulating employment is crucial, a relaxation of independent contractor rules might help the economy. I have qualms, though. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Feb. 27, 2010 @ 1:12 p.m.

Response to post #7....the other side of the story. This is a good discussion we have going here. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Feb. 28, 2010 @ 8:43 p.m.

As Don says, the "independent contractor" scam is just that, a scam. It goes hand-in-hand with the cash-only underground economy. Many participants in that sort of activity think they are getting sway with something, and in many ways they are. But there are downsides, such as working for an employer who has no Workers Compensation insurance for those who are surely employees. Get injured? Lots of luck!

Now that I'm of that age, I talk to some folks who realize that years of participation in the underground economy meant that they reported little income to the IRS and thus paid little in self-employment tax. When they head down to the local Social Security office to file for benefits, they are saddened to learn that they will get little. All those years of hiding income by doing business in cash only, and failing to report more than a fraction of actual earnings come home to roost.

It is also obvious that many of those who did most or all of their work for cash managed to save little or nothing. So, in addition to getting a pittance from Social Security, they have no other source of retirement income. Hung out to dry, wouldn't you say? At some future date, it may be true that Social Security will not be able to meet its commitments. But it pays me monthly, and is keeping its promises. For those who thought that hiding income was a smart move, it doesn't look smart at all now.

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Don Bauder March 1, 2010 @ 7 a.m.

Response to post #15: You make excellent points. There are definite downsides to working off the books. Another one: you might get caught. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 1, 2010 @ 7:34 a.m.

It is also obvious that many of those who did most or all of their work for cash managed to save little or nothing. So, in addition to getting a pittance from Social Security, they have no other source of retirement income. Hung out to dry, wouldn't you say? At some future date, it may be true that Social Security will not be able to meet its commitments. But it pays me monthly, and is keeping its promises. For those who thought that hiding income was a smart move, it doesn't look smart at all now.

By Visduh

All very good comments Visduh.

I for one agree that most of the time IC's are in name only, not substance. The exception are jobs like real etsate brokers, who truly do make their own hours and schedules. If the state cracked down on the IC abuse with a hammer then you would not see this as prevelant as it is-and it is a huge problem IMO.

All things you just warned about I was also warned about by my parent, who said exactly the same things you said.

As for SS, there is a very serious question if people working today-like me-will ever see anything, much less what we paid into it. SS has been raising the age limits-which is now up to 67. I remember reading about 20 years ago that the average SS recepient pays in for 3 years worth of benefits-but pulls out 6 years worth of benefits. I have no idea if that still holds true today.

I am pretty PO's about how the Congress has been running SS, stealing all the money and paying back IOU's. Patrick Moynihan is by far the one I have the worst contempt for, becuase he was the one hwo "saved" SS, by doubling the payroll takes back in 82 (??), only to allow the Congress to keep doing the same thing they always had done-steal the money.

SS today, IMO, is not so much a social saftey net as it is a source of general fund revenue for the Congress to spend on any pet project they feel inclined to money spend on.

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Visduh March 1, 2010 @ 8:12 a.m.

In the 1950's my father told me that SS was a Ponzi scheme, although he wasn't familiar with the term. Back then, 55 or so years ago, there were something like 6 or 8 active workers for every SS recipient. He explained to me that such a ratio might be sustainable, but that it wasn't going to stay that way. He predicted, I remember, a day when there would be only about three active workers for each recipient, and that he doubted those three would be willing to tax themselves enough to pay for another person. By the mid-50's, Congress had already abandoned any pretense of the system being actuarially sound. Harry Byrd, the Virginia senator, had pushed hard for pay-as-you-go. "Pay-as-you-go" sounds benign, but it meant that the tax take from workers in the 50's and 60's was insufficient to finance the future revenue stream required to pay their benefits. They paid a small percentage of earnings then--3% or less--on a fairly small amount of earnings.

To make the system sound, the taxes needed to be higher, and the excess funds invested. But where to invest them? Put the funds into equities, and you had the government deciding which corporations received the largess and which did not. That was an unattractive prospect. Government bonds? Well, that's where we are now, with those IOU's from the Treasury coming due. But to pay those IOU's present and future workers must be taxed. So, the system was based on weak premises from the beginning. Now it is just another social welfare program, and will be treated as such by Congress to an increasing degree.

SS was a deceptive program when it was enacted, and its expansion has made it more deceptive all the time. "Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive." I suspect that your figure that the typical recipient pays for half as many years of benefits as he/she receives is, if anything, more lopsided now than 20 years ago, despite the start age moving from 65 to 66 to 67.

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SurfPuppy619 March 1, 2010 @ 12:22 p.m.

Yeah, the old SS contribtion was 3.2% (+/-). Then Patrick Moynihan "saved" SS, he doubled (100% increase) that rate. As I recall this was 1982.

When SS gets "saved" again in the not too distant future, I predict the rate will go jump up another 50% (9%+/-), and the retirement age will be boosted to 70, maybe even 72.

Games the Congress plays, with the poor and middle class as pawns getting shafted.

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Don Bauder March 1, 2010 @ 2:15 p.m.

Response to post #17: I believe you are right that people continue to pull out more than they put in, but I don't know the ratio. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh March 1, 2010 @ 2:24 p.m.

You are quite correct to point out that SS can be taken starting at age 62. I'm well aware of that, because it is what I decided to do a while back. I was referring to the regular or "full" benefit eligibility age that is now 66 and set to go to 67. And it is true that waiting to 70 does boost the monthly benefit even higher.

And you are quite correct that SS was intended as a supplement to one's own provision for retirement income, whether from one's employer or by savings or accumulating property. Back around 1970, there were a great many folks retiring at 65 with nothing much in the way of savings, and only a SS check to plan on. San Diego was quite the retirement mecca then, and the inflation of the 70's was a rude awakening to many of those unfortunates who found it necessary to seek charity or welfare benefits. Where did they ever get the idea that SS was enough to provide full support for an elderly person?

In the UK, they have their Old Age Pension, and anyone is eligible for it upon reaching 65. But it is partially need based, so if you have some property, savings or investments, your weekly payment is reduced. For many of the Brits, it is just enough for survival. They, who look to government for all their needs, have a different attitude toward support.

Nobody should look to SS as more than a part of their retirement income, but many will find it is all they have. That is partially due to those who make no provision, other than wishful thinking, for having a decent retirement, and partially due to assuming that employers will provide retirement venues, and having them let you down.

It might also be noted that most 401(k) plans, even if utilized all through one's work life, will not provide an adequate retirement income stream. Those were intended as a supplement to more conventional defined-benefit plans, not as a replacement for them. In other words, a savings plan with one or two sweeteners--such as an employer match. Now corporate America is bailing out massively on its DB plans, and leaving its workers with only a 401(k) plan. Those who need most to be in those plans often opt out, or cannot afford to participate.

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Don Bauder March 1, 2010 @ 2:29 p.m.

Response to post #20: The warnings on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are real. The benefits are likely to run out. But how many people care about their grandchildren? In that sense, there are similarities with global warming. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 1, 2010 @ 2:46 p.m.

Anyway, people need to realize that SS was meant as a supplement, not as your entire retirement.

If you do not make enough money to fund your own retyirement-and with that average American making $33K that is pretty much the majority- then SS is all you have. . . . I read in the LAT a few days ago that the McCourts, the owners of the Dodgers, haven't paid state or federal taxes for the last five years. ============ Because they are charging off the majority of their living expenses as bunsiess expenses, and with a net worth of a billion dollars the McCourts have hundreds of companies, some with huge losses that can be carried forward indefinitely and written off until the losses are used up-try doing that as an individual (hint, you can't). But some of their tax write offs are in actuality just deferments, like depreciation.

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SurfPuppy619 March 1, 2010 @ 7:26 p.m.

BTW surfpuppy, where do you get your figure of $33k for an average

I cannot recall where I got it, a study somewhere and it stuck in my head.

The McCourts were certainly charging off their living exepenses on the business acconunts, even if they dont say so-I don't know a single person of wealth who does not do that.

Here is Jamie McCourts MONTHLY spending;

Jamie submitted an expense declaration with the court in her quest for $988,845:

  • Expenses for Holmby Hills home - $202,715
  • Expenses for L.A. home - $9,007
  • Expenses for Malibu home - $151,054
  • Expenses for other Malibu home - $88,106
  • Expenses for Cape Cod house - $93,279
  • Expenses for Willowbend house (we don't even know where that is) - $5,048
  • Expenses for Vail house - $7,784
  • Expenses for Cabo house - $2,53

Now that is some serious spending.

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Don Bauder March 1, 2010 @ 9:55 p.m.

Response to post #25: As Leona Helmsley said, "Only the little people pay taxes." Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 1, 2010 @ 9:58 p.m.

Response to post #26: The really important question is whether the battle between the couple will hurt the Dodgers this upcoming season. Maybe it will give a leg up to the Padres, going through the same process. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 1, 2010 @ 10:02 p.m.

Response to post #27: The excessively generous entitlements in Europe and Asia are still another problem the world faces. And, of course, the same is true of the U.S. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 1, 2010 @ 10:04 p.m.

Response to post #28: I count eight homes. I don't even think people should get mortgage deductions for second homes. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 1, 2010 @ 10:07 p.m.

Response to post #29: I hope that watching the Dodgers on the field is as entertaining as reading about their owners' expenses. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 2, 2010 @ 6:46 a.m.

How many people with that kind of money who talk to you about their tax returns. I'm just curious.

Lots and lots :)

The expesnes from Jamie McCourt were pulled off of the TMZ website, which had earlier published a report that the McCourts-as a married couple- had monthly expenses in the $2 million range.

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SurfPuppy619 March 2, 2010 @ 6:50 a.m.

I hope that watching the Dodgers on the field is as entertaining as reading about their owners' expenses.

The McCourts, like Ron Burkle, tried to have their PUBLIC family law case sealed from the public. And like Burkle, they failed.

And this is the reason why-they have to lay out all of their financial details for the public to see.

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Don Bauder March 2, 2010 @ 7:26 a.m.

Response to post #35: The poor lady is hurting. Her lawyer probably claims she is a bag lady. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 2, 2010 @ 7:30 a.m.

Response to post #36: My wife and I have been married 48 years. I feel sorry for all those divorce lawyers who have not made a penny off us. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 2, 2010 @ 7:34 a.m.

Response to post #37: Because of lobbying power, I doubt that the deduction on second home mortgage interest will ever be removed. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 2, 2010 @ 7:36 a.m.

Response to post #38: Pardon me while I gag. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 2, 2010 @ 7:38 a.m.

Response to post #39: Maybe the info will motivate the masses to storm the Bastille. It's about time. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 2, 2010 @ 10:12 p.m.

Response to post #45: The Dodgers have had such a colorful history, beginning in their Brooklyn days. Were they named after Dickens's artful dodger? Best, Don Bauder

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MondoGrapes March 3, 2010 @ 9:25 a.m.

re: post 46

I don't think so. I'm almost certain the name was a shortening of Trolley-Dodgers. Brooklyn was chock full of them back in those days.

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Visduh March 3, 2010 @ 10:04 a.m.

I think MondoGrapes is correct. The old Dodgers venue in Brooklyn--Ebbets Field (?)--was served by many streetcars. Out in front, you might have to cross several other streetcar tracks if you arrived by streetcar, hence, "dodge" the other streetcars.

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Don Bauder March 3, 2010 @ 10:49 a.m.

Response to post #47: I'll bet that's something we could look up. Meanwhile, if you are correct (and I don't doubt that you are), then I suspect the only professional sports team that is named after a literary figure would be the Baltimore Ravens, named after Poe's classic poem. Can anybody think of another pro sports team moniker with a literary reference? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 3, 2010 @ 10:51 a.m.

Response to post #48: I think you both have it nailed. But I will make an effort to find out. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 3, 2010 @ 11 a.m.

NOTE: MondoGrapes and Visduh are absolutely right. In 1890, when the team started in the National League, the name was the Bridegrooms because seven players had gotten married around 1888. Soon, the name became the Trolley Dodgers because of the complex maze of trolleys that people had to negotiate to get to the park. Then it was shortened to Dodgers. Incidentally, the team won the pennant in 1890, its first year in the league. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 3, 2010 @ 6:04 p.m.

Are you serious. I mean you actually took what tmz put on their website as the facts?

TMZ took those numbers directly off of the declarations submitted by Jamie McCourt, straight out of the public court room file/records clerk.

Those are the facts.

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SurfPuppy619 March 3, 2010 @ 6:06 p.m.

The old Dodgers venue in Brooklyn--Ebbets Field (?)--was served by many streetcars. Out in front, you might have to cross several other streetcar tracks if you arrived by streetcar, hence, "dodge" the other streetcars.

I never knew that! Thanks for the background info.

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SurfPuppy619 March 3, 2010 @ 6:08 p.m.

The team was known alternatively as the Bridegrooms, Grooms, Superbas(after a traveling acrobatic troupe popular at the time) Robins, and Trolley Dodgers before officially becoming the Dodgers in 1933.

I would have stuck with the "Superbras" myself.

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Don Bauder March 3, 2010 @ 6:44 p.m.

Response to post #52: I would still prefer the Artful Dodgers. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 3, 2010 @ 6:47 p.m.

Response to post #53: There is only one thing important about such "facts": as a result of the domestic donnybrooks, will the team crumble next year, permitting the Padres to ride to the top? Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 3, 2010 @ 6:48 p.m.

Response to post #54: You could have looked it up on google. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 3, 2010 @ 6:50 p.m.

Response to post #55: You are putting one too many letter "r"s in there. Dirty old man. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 4, 2010 @ 9:10 a.m.

You are putting one too many letter "r"s in there. Dirty old man.

Oh....I misread it!

I am going to have to make a switch to the Trolly Dodgers!

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Don Bauder March 4, 2010 @ 11:17 a.m.

Response to post #60: Misread it? Pants on fire! Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 4, 2010 @ 11:20 a.m.

Response to posts #63 and #64: Are you a divorce lawyer? Your attention to detail is admirable. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 4, 2010 @ 11:22 a.m.

Response to post #65: Divorce lawyer? History buff? Dodgers history buff? Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd March 4, 2010 @ 1:25 p.m.

67: I agree with Don, you do possess a great aptitude toward small details. I grew up in L.A. Vin's golden voice is part of my childhood. I stopped being a fan when the O'Malley's sold the team. I think that the Piazza trade was the last day I bled Dodger blue. I now bleed Padre camouflage.

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Don Bauder March 4, 2010 @ 1:32 p.m.

Response to post #67: If you follow the Giants, have you read the book on Willie Mays? I have read reviews, but there are too many economics/financial crime books that I have not yet read. Willie will have to sit. Best, Don Bauder

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David Dodd March 4, 2010 @ 2:31 p.m.

So do I, maninthemirror. I've often said that Vin's voice was at least as familiar to me growing up as was the voice of my own father. I had it lucky in L.A., to grow up with a little AM radio under the covers, listening to Chick Hearn call the Laker's games and Vin Scully paint me a picture of Dodger Stadium. And the L.A. Herald-Examiner to read! Then I come down here and I'm stuck with Ted, (UGH!), and the U-T (Double-Ugh!). But Andy Masur was a great hire, I think he's totally capable of becomming a great radio voice. Now all we need is a good newspaper.

I had a ball signed by the entire Dodgers team back in the early '60's, but it was stolen about a decade ago. Sandy, Don, Walter, Pee-Wee, Gil, they were all on it. I hope you find a team to bleed for soon, I love the game.

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Don Bauder March 5, 2010 @ 7:36 a.m.

Response to post #70: I think that's the name. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 5, 2010 @ 7:38 a.m.

Response to post #71: How does one autograph a pizza? Oh, Piazza. Sorry. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 5, 2010 @ 7:42 a.m.

Response to post #72: If the Herald-Examiner was so great, how come it went under several decades before other newspapers started to fall? Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 5, 2010 @ 4:37 p.m.

The LA Times has always been my favorite paper. I was extremely disappointed when they closed down the San Diego office and didn't cover local news anymore-though I have always continued to read it over the UT.

I remember when the LA Times broke the SDPD parking ticket scandel back in the 80's, where Kolander and his cronies were fixing parking tickets for all their friends/family/cronies. They were publicly humiliated. I don't think the UT would have ever gone after a sitting SDPD Chief even if they had the scoop.

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Don Bauder March 6, 2010 @ 6:25 a.m.

Response to post #76: Copley Press picked up a couple of top-flight journalists from the Herald-Examiner during this period -- S.A. (Dick) Desick, for one. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 6, 2010 @ 6:29 a.m.

Response to post #77: Oh, lord no. The Copley Press would never have gone after that story, particularly since some of its own employees were having parking and driving tickets fixed on a regular basis. There are numerous stories that the U-T won't touch today, even under new ownership. Best, Don Bauder

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