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Last month, attorney Michael Conger filed a suit challenging the city council's 2009 placing of a cap on retiree health care benefits. The suit says that in 1982, the City decided to withdraw from Social Security. To induce employees to approve the deal, the City offered employees lifetime retiree health insurance, with the City paying the premiums. In July of last year, city council voted to put a cap of $8,800 a year on those benefits for police and blue collar workers. Conger says the workers should have had the right to vote on the matter; the City claims otherwise. Conger says that an ordinance amending the retirement system cannot be adopted without a vote of the employees affected. In effect, the cap only applies to active employees' future benefits. Current retirees' benefits aren't affected. In 2004 and 2006, Conger got big settlements after suing the City to force it to pay the right amounts into the pension system.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 July 19, 2010 @ 3:54 p.m.

I think Conger is going to win another round.......

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Don Bauder July 19, 2010 @ 4:02 p.m.

Response to post #1: Conger says, "There is no question that the City says it is out of money. But if you can't afford something, don't promise it." That's the dilemma faced by cities headed for bankruptcy. The politicians who made the promises that can't be met have moved on to higher office, are out of government, dead...whatever. Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering July 19, 2010 @ 11:42 p.m.

The City bailed out of Social Security in 1982 and the 7.65% in matching employer contribution. So what happened to all of that money over the last 28 years? That's the real question.

Then Mayor Pete Wilson and City Manager Ray Blair concocted this plan to relieve the city of the require contribution in 82. I believe it was four years later circa 1986, the federal government require all new city employees to contribute to Medicare.

There are tens in not hundreds of millions of dollars unaccounted. And that doesn't even touch the City stealing the so-called "waterfall profits" from SDCERS investments to pay retiree health care benefits.

No wonder the pension system is grossly underfunded. The City was stealing from the investment returns for years.

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Don Bauder July 20, 2010 @ 7:10 a.m.

Response to post #3: I don't know whether what you say is true. But I do know one thing: you won't be able to find out. Best, Don Bauder

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ofeliasage July 20, 2010 @ 8:48 a.m.

You guys should stop complaining cuz one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed give it a try u guys are too hard on democrats they went to college and we voted for most of these people.so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. as for obama people are just tryin to make it look like america made a mistake he has done things to help us and we had a full 8 years of a terrible president and i will be so as happy as ever when a obama fixes bush's mistakes. obama has to put up with the wo0rld judging his every move and trying to fix the mess we are in we are lucky anyone wants to be our president. STOP COMPLAINING AND GIVE HIM A BREAK. i wanna see one of yall do what he sas done. some people are just so ignorant.

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SurfPuppy619 July 20, 2010 @ 9 a.m.

. also the law has just been signed give it a try u guys are too hard on democrats they went to college and we voted for most of these people.so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. as for obama people are just tryin

My grammar skills are not the best, but, tHaNk yoU fOr nOt TYpIng liKE tHiS iN Ur ReEpLii

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Grasca July 20, 2010 @ 9:05 a.m.

Maybe the grammar skills are some literary person showing off because they can,yall. You have to love the variety of bloggers who inhabit this site.

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SurfPuppy619 July 20, 2010 @ 9:06 a.m.

The City bailed out of Social Security in 1982 and the 7.65% in matching employer contribution. So what happened to all of that money over the last 28 years? That's the real question.

Well, the City AND the employees bailed out. That was not a one way street-it needed the approval of the employees, and once again, the City pension deal is 5000% better than anything SS can provide.

In fact there is talk of raising the current retirement age for FULL SS from age 67 to age 70. So a cop working 25-30 years will get a 75%-90% pension (with 2%-3% annual COLA's) for the next 31-36 years in retirement, while a SS worker working 50 YEARS! will get $12K average (with 0%-1.2% COLA's) for 11 years in retirement.

As you can see, the numbers don't lie.

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JustWondering July 20, 2010 @ 10:31 a.m.

As usual pupster/JohnnyV/billyb you've missed the point once again. This has nothing to due with SS versus city pensions, it deals with missing tens of millions of dollars and politician who do anything to keep their elected office.

It's a very simple question and statement. When the city stopped paying the matching dollars to SS/medicare in 82 what did they do with the money? It's especially troubling since they promised lifetime healthcare to what the AARP recognizes as senior citizens. Then they stole a portion investment returns, undermining the stability of SDCERS to pay for the promised benefits.

The City has been cooking the books for years just so a handful of politician, the ones who contribute the least to their retirement and vest the soonest, could line their own pockets.

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Don Bauder July 20, 2010 @ 11:55 a.m.

Response to post #5: Obama has made some mistakes (naming Geithner, Summers for two), but overall he is preferable to ANY Republican, particularly the nitwits he ran against, McCain and Palin. Best, Don Bauder

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laplayaheritage July 20, 2010 @ 1:57 p.m.

Ordinance O-17770 approved by the City Council on May 26, 1992 was specifically made to create a new system of bifurcated payments of retiree healthcare benefits between safety employees and non-safety employees within Municipal Code Section 24.1102e on Page 3 linked below. "General members granted CERS benefits by this section shall not, pursuant to Section 24.1201 and 24.1202, be eligible for City-sponsored Group Health Insurance for retirees."

http://docs.sandiego.gov/municode/MuniCodeChapter02/Ch02Art04Division11.pdf

The Bifurcated lifetime benefits for safety versus non-safety employees is normal. The last thing David Wescoe tried to pull before he left San Diego is to retroactively change the Municipal Code to give non-safety retiree lifetime healthcare benefits because he said a technical mistake was made in 1992.

https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B_fHftxFXFhyYTdmMTVjODAtYjAzZC00ZWE0LTgyYjMtNDg4YWJkYTRjZDVj&hl=en

David Wescoe and the Unions tried to slip a change to the Municipal Code without evidence, and to bypass a public vote that would be required to change the Municipal Code to retroactively give lifetime healthcare benefit to non-safety workers, without a source of funding and without taxpayer approval to increase the public's debt.

Please watch the video link below at Start Time: 2 Hours and 1 minute to End Time: 3 Hours and 21 Minutes, and the backup documentation linked above.

http://granicus.sandiego.gov/ASX.php?view_id=3&clip_id=3572&r=43a0ab95ea5f015d591a6deab6c20b25&xp=n&intro=1&sn=granicus.sandiego.gov&SESS1=3cb0cc9117d833fa5d9fa8e117cf3fe4&sn=granicus.sandiego.gov

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SurfPuppy619 July 20, 2010 @ 4:49 p.m.

As usual pupster/JohnnyV/billyb you've missed the point once again. This has nothing to due with SS versus city pensions, it deals with missing tens of millions of dollars and politician who do anything to keep their elected office.

Hey, the truth can be painful.

The City did bail out of SS, but that is NOT "[That's] the real question." as you posted.

That is just part of the question/s.

IMO the "REAL question" is why did the SD pension system AGREE to allow the underfunding??????????????????????

I won't hold my breath while you try to answer that one.....(it is a rhetorical question, the reason is because you didn't care about the system's health, but were greedy).

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JustWondering July 20, 2010 @ 10:06 p.m.

No Johnny, as you know SDCERS follows the plan sponsor's i.e. the city's documents. Those documents are the Charter and the corresponding ordinances. In addition, SDCERS and its Board are fiduciaries with, what some have illustrated, are duties that conflict with each other from time to time. But, as you also know, the California Supreme Court recently ruled there was no conflict of interest when they acted. So why bring it up again?

I can't count the number of times you've said, it's not over until the supreme court rules. Well my fried, they have, and, as you've pointed out repeatedly it's now settled law!

The truth is City Management, and its political leaders didn't care and citizens didn't care either. Our only local newspaper, the SDUT, the one with first amendment right AND responsibility to keep and eye on government didn't care and was asleep at the switch for years.

You cannot spin, nor change the facts, City leaders proposed leaving Social Security, they created DROP too. Then they approved it and codified it into the muni code and the SDCERS plan documents.

City Management also defined the "waterfall" as a surplus portion of SDCERS' investment profits. Profits to be used for the pay-as-you-go method funding healthcare benefits.

But honest people know there are no such thing as profits in a pension system. But no one cared back then because everyone was making money. But the good times ended and the malfeasance by the City leaders was brought into the light. The IRS ruled and the City acknowledged its retiree healthcare funding scheme was illegal. And as we know, the city hasn't repaid what they stole over all those years.

Heck johnny even you the endless naysayer acknowledge in comment #1 "I think Conger is going to win another round......." and Don acknowledged a "promise" made by the City [leaders]. Which takes us back to 1982 when the City made the promise to employees to get them to agree to leave social security. What happened to money it wasn't paying, the matching 7.65%, over the past 28 years?

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Don Bauder July 20, 2010 @ 10:40 p.m.

Response to post #6: It's just James Joyce prose. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 20, 2010 @ 10:42 p.m.

Response to post #7: It's called stream of consciousness. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 20, 2010 @ 10:44 p.m.

Response to post #8: And if those superior returns are set in cement, as some claim....well, we'll here from you again, SurfPup. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 20, 2010 @ 10:47 p.m.

OOPS. I meant hear, not here, in post above. Mea maxima culpa. Humbly, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 20, 2010 @ 10:48 p.m.

Response to post #9: I thought SP would stir JW. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 20, 2010 @ 10:50 p.m.

Response to post #11: You can't slip one by the Sleuth of Point Loma. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 20, 2010 @ 10:52 p.m.

Response to post #12: And SP's riposte was inevitable, too. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 20, 2010 @ 10:53 p.m.

In addition, SDCERS and its Board are fiduciaries

Yes they are fiduciaries , and they violated their fiduciary duty (BIG time) by allowing the city to underfund the pension system in exchange for a quid pro quo bribe of higher pension payments, higher pension payments that were neither worked for nor earned, but were in fact a gift of public funds to make the quid pro quo bribe work.

I say we sue the pants off the pension board who violated their fiduciary duty.......but in any event the taxpayer should not be on the hook for any short fall given the board members violations of their fiduciary duty to keep the pension fund solvent.

You KNOW I am right on this, and no JW spin will change those basic facts.

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Don Bauder July 20, 2010 @ 10:57 p.m.

Response to post #13: We're back to the original question: what happens when stupid or corrupt politicians and bureaucrats make promises that, as the years go by and conditions change, can't be met? Does the law just throw up its hands and say the entire city has to suffer grievously because those old, fanciful promises can't be met? Judges will have to decide this one. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 20, 2010 @ 10:58 p.m.

The truth is City Management, and its political leaders didn't care and citizens didn't care either.

The TAXPAYERS (aka "citizens") didn't care JW?????

Are you for real??? Did you poll them personally, all 1.3 million San Diego Citizens??... or are you stretching the truth just a wee bit????

I know I cared, and everyone I know cared. I also know I didn't vote YES for that retro active pension give away of a gift......

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JustWondering July 21, 2010 @ 8:26 a.m.

No surfpupsters you didn't care! No one needed to poll them then or now...

Did you write letters to the editor in 1982 warning the San Diegans of the debt they'd be responsible to pay years later?

What about 1996 or 2002 did you or any other citizens protest the underfunding? No.

Where was the SDUT back then? It held the role of government watch dog? Where was scam san diego then? Where were the op/ed pieces when Golding/McGrory planned MP1, proposed and carried it out?

What about the three year trial period for DROP, it was the City leaders who DID not do the required studies. And, as a matter of fact have drug their feet on those studies still, some 14 years later.

Me thinks the SDUT and the Copley family was more interested in seeing Golding a US Senator then worrying about the financial health of the city it believed was populated by sheep.

Then city leaders did it again in 2002 when pension safety net floor was breeched, the city leaders concocted a second underfunding to hide their malfeasance. I don't recall hearing your voice of protest.

You call it a retroactive gift, but the State AG, who may be governor again soon, has filed a friend of the court brief in the Orange County case making its way up the appellate chain now. He believes it's not a gift.

You say they, the SDCERS Board failed in their fiduciary duties. The Supreme Court of California disagrees with your legal conclusion and dismissed ALL conflict charges, except against Saathoff, and Bonnie has declined further action.

But you keep on avoiding my question..what did the city do with matching dollars they did not send to SS for last 28 years? And since they were fully aware of their promise to pay for retiree healthcare, why didn't they do it?

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 10:29 a.m.

Response to post #23: It may not be a matter of San Diegans not CARING. It may be a matter that they were not properly INFORMED by a kept media. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 10:37 a.m.

Response to post #23: There is no question that everybody -- pols, bureaucrats, media -- didn't see the cataclysm coming from 1996 forward. We all screwed up. But this confession doesn't address the current problem: what do we do now with the City technically insolvent? You seem to think the promises that could never be kept should now be honored even though the entire population will suffer. I don't think that is realistic. Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering July 21, 2010 @ 10:57 a.m.

Technically insolvent? How so, the City continues to pay its bills.

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David Dodd July 21, 2010 @ 11:31 a.m.

Um.

Post #5 is spam.

Just pointing it out so the Admin can remove the account when Admin gets a chance.

Carry on.

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SurfPuppy619 July 21, 2010 @ 12:16 p.m.

Technically insolvent? How so, the City continues to pay its bills.

You are like a kid who says he is not overdrawn b/c his checking acount still has money in it when there are tens of thousands in outstanding checks waiting to be cashed.

The city does NOT have enough money to pays it's bills, or did you not know we have, a what, 150 million dollar hole in the budget, and that hole grows bigger every year going forward, $250 million next year!

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SanDiegoParrothead July 21, 2010 @ 12:58 p.m.

In July of last year, city council voted to put a cap of $8,800 a year on those benefits for police and blue collar workers

=========================================================

Hey city worker scum

Welcome to the real world.

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 2:31 p.m.

Response to post #27: If it is paying its bills, it is only because it is ignoring all the necessary spending that makes a city livable: infrastructure, maintenance, street repair, water and sewer, libraries, etc. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 2:32 p.m.

Response to post #28: Spam? I thought it was James Joyce. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 2:34 p.m.

Response to post #29: And those deficits are covered through phony accounting and other dubious moves. The city has a chronic, structural deficit. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 2:38 p.m.

Response to post #30: I'm afraid San Diego, and most of the U.S., has become like the banana republics. At the top are the extremely rich (maybe 1 or 2%) The next 10% are well off. Government employees are very well off. Then come the rest of workers, ailing. Best, Don Bauder

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Founder July 21, 2010 @ 2:41 p.m.

I believe that the City of San Diego will soon declare Bankruptcy, so that all the City Councilmembers and the Mayor can put all this "mess" behind them and happily (for them) start the same old ball rolling again, because they know what is BE$T for them!

Our last great hope is for the City is that the IBA will kick some butt and "help" our Leaders do what's right for SD; but with BOTH a new library and stadium in the near future I'm beginning to wonder if they really have any say! If we are not careful San Diego will be owned lock, stock and barrel by the Chinese very soon...

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Founder July 21, 2010 @ 2:51 p.m.

Response to post #34: I agree with your Banana Republic image! I also believe that SD will start having the same types problems those Countries are now experiencing, and maybe then, the Ultra Rich in San Diego will wonder what's happening to "their" San Diego!

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laplayaheritage July 21, 2010 @ 3:53 p.m.

Taxpayers have to make sure that a secret negotiation is not made in Closed Session in order to bypass voters and not fight the Unions. All these issues should be decided.

Any agreement to change Municipal Code 24.1102e requires a public vote in order to allow public debt without a source of funding.

As David Wescoe stated at the public meeting,

The Audit on the Pension system requires MC 24.1102e to be change, and the issue of lifetime health benefits for non-safety workers be finalized. The Unions are just suing first.

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 4:07 p.m.

Response to post #35: I don't think that bankruptcy is coming soon, but I believe it is coming. The City simply cannot afford to put into the pension system what it is obligated to put in over the next five years or so. It can't be done. It continues to defer maintenance and infrastructural spending, cut back on fire protection, drop library hours, etc. And juggle the books. At some point, the citizenry won't be able to take it any longer. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 4:12 p.m.

Response to post #36: I'm not sure the Beautiful People will even notice, as long as they can still have their glittering parties. But the downtown business establishment will notice when, finally, the people realize that redevelopment is being used to construct legacy buildings that are not needed (such as a football stadium for a billionaire owner), and demand reform. Hopefully, the councilmembers who have given succor to this thievery, such as Kevin Faulconer, will be taken out and given a good thrashing, metaphorically. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 4:16 p.m.

Response to post #37: But how do you find out that secret deals are being made? Secrecy is deeply inculcated in the San Diego political culture. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 21, 2010 @ 4:18 p.m.

Hey city worker scum

Welcome to the real world.

By SanDiegoParrothead 12

Finally, some back up!

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JustWondering July 21, 2010 @ 4:19 p.m.

Founder makes an interesting point in the comment above. The city has just approved a new library, wants a new City Hall, appears to be supporting a new Charger Stadium downtown, and hopes to expand its convention center to keep Comic Con coming to town.

If the City is technically insolvent as you claim, who in their right "business" mind would want to enter into these contracts worth hundreds of millions?

Who would want to risk a municipal receiver deciding what they would be paid if the city did file for bankruptcy?

Yet the movers and shakers and with our ample Mayor says there's no problem other than old Malin Burnham, who once again in today's VOSD, "We need a new City Hall," said real estate mogul Malin Burnham, who ruffled feathers in October when he argued that 99 percent of voters wouldn't understand the argument for the new building."

"Scott Maloni, chairman of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, estimated a successful campaign would have to cost between $300,000 and $1 million, depending if there's organized opposition to the project."

300K to one million sure would fix a lot of pot holes.

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SurfPuppy619 July 21, 2010 @ 4:25 p.m.

It continues to defer maintenance and infrastructural spending, cut back on fire protection, drop library hours, etc.

We have already seen that the muni services usually covered by the muni, such as library access, community pools, parks, beaches-these have ALL been cut back to bare bones funding and pretty soon librabries will only be open two days a week, from 10 AM to 2 PM, pools will be shut down completely (due to "budget cuts"), parks will be left to rot and not maintained, and the beaches will never be kept up-in fact we have seen ALL of these things happen already (beach fire rings gone, libraries w/limited hours, pools shut down, parks getting maintained less) and the ONLY thing we will have is an over paid fire and police dept's. That is all we will have, and the service will be lousy and the costs sky high-like it is right now-but it will get worse.

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SurfPuppy619 July 21, 2010 @ 4:28 p.m.

Founder makes an interesting point in the comment above. The city has just approved a new library, wants a new City Hall, appears to be supporting a new Charger Stadium downtown, and hopes to expand its convention center to keep Comic Con coming to town.

If the City is technically insolvent as you claim, who in their right "business" mind would want to enter into these contracts worth hundreds of millions?

Well, your first mistake was thinking our elected leaders are in their "right mind", they are not.

Carl DeMaio and Donna frye are the ONLY two who are speaking out against these white elephants. Carl is demanding a PUBLIC vote on these issues. Finally someone giving the average Joe who pays for this BS a right to voice their opinion.

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 7:50 p.m.

Response to post #41: I thought you would approve of that pejorative. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 7:53 p.m.

Response to post #42: I said the City is technically insolvent but I never said that the supporters of these corporate welfare projects are in their right minds. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 7:55 p.m.

Response to posst #43: I do think it is safe to say that things will get worse -- and not just in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder July 21, 2010 @ 7:57 p.m.

Response to post #44: Sherri Lightner might wind up on the right side of these issues. She voted against the library. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 21, 2010 @ 8:18 p.m.

The U.S. A. and California is entering the next great depression.

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Don Bauder July 22, 2010 @ 8:04 a.m.

Response to post #49: Possibly, but I think the most likely course will be several years of extremely slow growth. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 July 22, 2010 @ 8:17 a.m.

Possibly, but I think the most likely course will be several years of extremely slow growth.

What we have setting in right now (today) is, IMO, deflation from job declines in the private sector.

The loss of jobs, as in working class, middle class, decent wages, American, jobs, is leading to stagnant spending, causing deflation.

As long as the economic job losses continue we will continue to see deflationary signs..........we are in big trouble.

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Don Bauder July 22, 2010 @ 12:57 p.m.

Response to post #51: The Fed believes it is fighting deflation with zero interest rates (to the big banks), and with quantitative easing -- the massive purchase of intermediate and long term paper to bring interest rates down. The zero rates may be propping up the stock market to some degree, but are punishing savers, thus exacerbating the problems on Main Street. It is difficult to get a loan, even though bank reserves have been fattened as a result of the zero rates. But that's OK: if there were brisk lending, inflation would soar. Best, Don Bauder

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