Ken Harrison 1:30 p.m., Dec. 6
Is City Council Cerebrally Bankrupt?
Sometimes you have to wonder about San Diego's city council and its mainstream media. On Tuesday (March 23) Councilmember Marti Emerald complained that a newsletter, Bottom Line/Personal, which covers both finance and romance, had quoted an analyst telling people to sell municipal bonds of cities such as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and San Diego that are vulnerable to Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Other councilmembers seemed aghast that any publication could print such a thing. The council wants the newsletter to retract the statement. First, why should any publication retract a statement that is made by an analyst it is quoting? Analysts have a right to express opinions about any kind of bonds, especially muni bonds of cities like San Diego that have had to confess their fiscal sins publicly. But most importantly, much bigger media outlets than Bottom Line/Personal have discussed the topic of a possible bankruptcy for San Diego. On Feb. 18 of this year, none other than the Wall Street Journal did a story on Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy. Said the story, "In San Diego, political leaders have faced outside pressure to file for Chapter 9 as a way to get around benefits packages for public workers. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has publicly dismissed the idea." But the Union-Tribune said in a story today (March 24) that talk of bankruptcy "ended when [City Attorney Jan] Goldsmith defeated former City Attorney Mike Aguirre in the November 2008 election." Huh? Such talk has NOT ceased among financially sophisticated media and observers that can see how San Diego continues to cook its books and refuses to face its excessive employee benefits. Will the council ask the Wall Street Journal for a retraction? It hasn't asked the Reader for one. This blog quoted the Journal the day its story came out Feb. 18.