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San Diegan Alan Bersin is one of 15 appointees that President Obama today (March 27) said would be named to their posts, bypassing Senate confirmation votes. Bersin was earlier named by Obama to be commissioner of the Customs and Border Protection division of the Department of Homeland Security.The New York Times reported that one day after Congress left for spring recession, Obama, flexing his muscles, said he would bypass the Senate and install the 15. It was the first time Obama had exercised his constitutional authority to fill vacant positions by making recess appointments, said the Times. Republicans have been raising questions about Bersin's suitability for the border czar job. Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa said Bersin was answering questions about "what appeared to be conflicting information about his documentation and disclosure" of household employees. The questions were "directly relevant" to the appointment, the Times quoted Grassley as saying.

The Reader's Matt Potter has been pointing out for some time Bersin's long-time involvement in border businesses, such as a note on a Mexicali industrial park and a note on a San Ysidro travel insurance business. It's not known if Bersin still holds those notes.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 March 27, 2010 @ 11:23 p.m.

Another "appointed" gov workfare job for Bersin.

If this guy EVER had to earn his own way in the real world (a/k/a the private sector) he would not survive a single week.

He has the "appointed" gov US Attorney job, the "appointed" gov airport job, the "appointed" gov schools job, this "appointed" Border gov job and who knows how many other "appointed" gov jobs I missed.

This is how the gov operates though, you get high paying gov jobs not on merit or qualifications, but on connecttions.

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Don Bauder March 28, 2010 @ 8:09 a.m.

Response to post #1: It also helps to marry someone who is rich. Bersin did that. He has plenty of money and plenty of connections.The U-T licks his boots, too. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh March 28, 2010 @ 4:33 p.m.

It is all very simple. Based on Bersin's record of non-performance in those many previous positions, now that he holds this one there will be neither Customs enforcement nor border protection. I wonder where some of the usual GOP bashers are now that Obama has used this tactic to get his appointments through. Whenever Bush used it, they were making plenty of noise. Sauce for the goose?

Yep, the U-T will love this one, and should have to explain the double standard. Don't hold your breath.

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Don Bauder March 28, 2010 @ 4:47 p.m.

Response to post #3: It's my understanding that in this morning's story, the U-T didn't even mention the so-called conflicting information about his household help that concerned Sen. Grassley. That was in the Times story, and the U-T gets the Times wire. The U-T has always protected Bersin; it will be interesting to see if it does this time. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh March 28, 2010 @ 5:33 p.m.

I didn't even read the U-T story today; why bother? It would be a whitewash in any event.

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Don Bauder March 28, 2010 @ 6:16 p.m.

Response to post #5: The U-T might redeem itself. Let's wait to see. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh March 28, 2010 @ 9:09 p.m.

Now, having read the U-T article, I see that I was right. Not a mention of WHY Bersin's appointment was held up. The vague implication is that is was just partisan politics, GOP obstructionism, and that Bersin was in a bag with a pack of other political pawns. Expect anything different? I didn't.

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Don Bauder March 28, 2010 @ 10:11 p.m.

Response to post #7: Before passing judgment, let's see if the U-T follows up with a story on the concerns of Sen. Grassley and others. I would also like to know more about the vetting process: did the investigators find Bersin's border investments that Matt Potter has written about? Or has Bersin dumped those investments to the satisfaction of the investigators? Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell March 28, 2010 @ 11:14 p.m.

It appears that Grassley believes Bersin may be paying his household staff in cash under the table, and not forking over the payroll taxes he owes. This is very troubling if true. First, both Bersin and his wife are lawyers and should be held to the highest standard of ethical and legal conduct. Second, failing to pay these taxes could well be a crime. It is well known that most of those working for cash under the table also illegally collect welfare and unemployment benefits from the state. This is the major cause of the state's financial collapse. Grassley's concerns need to be addressed and resolved before Bersin is allowed to assume his position at Customs.

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 6:53 a.m.

Response to post #9: If Bersin is paying off household help under the table, he is unfit for any appointive post. He should face the same penalties as anyone who participates in the underground economy, especially if taxes are being dodged. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 29, 2010 @ 7:45 a.m.

Well, we need to get some SDReader detectives onto this case!

I have no idea of he is paying household help off the books, but even if he was, it was be brushed off and would not impact his appointment in any way shape or form. As for him being a lawyer (and former US Attorney for the Southern District) and getting disciplined over the matter- it would never happen because hs is connected.

I have being singing this song for years now-gov is about connections first and foremost.

I have seen the abuses run rampant in every single branch, including the federal judiciary where you would never expect it to happen-but it does. And the only ones I have ever heard say the opposite were the ones benefiting from the abuses or the ones engaging in the abuses (i.e. employees, congress, judges), who claim it is all on the level.

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SurfPuppy619 March 29, 2010 @ 7:48 a.m.

Grassley's concerns need to be addressed and resolved before Bersin is allowed to assume his position at Customs.

By Burwell

If Bersin is "appointed" during the Congress recess there is nothing anyone can do until the current term expires (don't have any idea how long that is).

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Visduh March 29, 2010 @ 9:01 a.m.

Based on the explanations of these appointments that I've seen to date, they are good until the current Congress adjourns. This Congress was elected in 2008, seated itself in early January, 2009, and will be replaced in January 2011. If all that is the case, then Bersin now holds the job, and will keep it until early next year with no more congressional scrutiny.

As far as under the table payments of household help go, they have derailed more than one cabinet level appointment in recent years. Anyone hoping for a high-level position in government must know that pay practices will be looked at closely. I doubt that Bersin is now doing anything illegal on that front. The question is how much, if any, he did in the past. And yes, he and his lawyer wife should know better, and be held to the highest standard.

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SurfPuppy619 March 29, 2010 @ 10:50 a.m.

It's pretty easy to remember. Members of the House are elected to 2yr terms. So each January following the November midterms, Congress is reseated. So the first session of the 112th Congress will begin in January of 2011. ================== Thanks, now I have it down.

I wasn't sure how the recess appointments actually worked.

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SurfPuppy619 March 29, 2010 @ 10:50 a.m.

I read Bush II made 170 and Clinton 140.

Just hearsay from the papers.

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David Dodd March 29, 2010 @ 10:56 a.m.

"It is well known that most of those working for cash under the table also illegally collect welfare and unemployment benefits from the state."

Burwell, illegals can't claim welfare, nor unemployment, we've been through this before. Unless they have false identification, they can't claim anything except through whatever program pays them for breeding children in the U.S. Most illegals are paid under the table because they are undocumented.

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 12:06 p.m.

Response to post #11: Some of the biggest abuses are in the judiciary. Your cynicism about our system is justified. I agree that someone should get to the bottom of this one. If the former U.S. attorney in SD, not to mention head of the schools, paid domestic help off the books, it was not only a violation -- it was stupid. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 12:11 p.m.

Response to post #12: As long as investigators don't toss the evidence in the ash can -- often done in government -- and resume the probe once the the lid is off, then this should wind up OK. I just hope the media don't bury or ignore it. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 12:13 p.m.

Response to post #13: I would tend to agree that any violations were probably in the past. On the other hand, hubris mounts and mounts and..... Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 12:17 p.m.

Response to post #14: Good point on McCain. Politicians, for the most part, are professional liars. I hear statements every day that cause me to say to my wife, "Could you stand being a politician, and tell lies like that all day long?" Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 12:19 p.m.

Response to post #15: You got it from two sources. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 12:21 p.m.

Response to post #16: It's common practice in Washington. In today's hyper-friction, it will probably be even more common. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 12:23 p.m.

Response to post #17: Must we go through this again? Best, Don Bauder

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paul March 29, 2010 @ 1:26 p.m.

Response to Don, powet #18:

Don said: "Some of the biggest abuses are in the judiciary. ... If the former U.S. attorney in SD, not to mention head of the schools, paid domestic help off the books, it was not only a violation -- it was stupid."

Don't forget that Bersin's wife is a Superior Court judge, so they really have all the bases covered in this.

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SurfPuppy619 March 29, 2010 @ 4:25 p.m.

Don't forget that Bersin's wife is a Superior Court judge, so they really have all the bases covered in this.

LOL....it never stops.

Like I said, the judges will be the FIRST ones to talk through their hat, usually with some speech from the bench about how our;

"judicial system is the best in the wprld"

while denying basic constitutional rights to favor the side they like........ have seen it time and time again-usually favoring gov or money at the expense of the poor and middle class.

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Burwell March 29, 2010 @ 6:35 p.m.

Burwell, illegals can't claim welfare, nor unemployment, we've been through this before.

This is not true. Illegals who have US born children are eligible to receive WIC payments, welfare, food stamps, and Section 8 housing subsidies.

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David Dodd March 29, 2010 @ 7:50 p.m.

27: You'll note where I excepted this condition if you had bothered to read my entire comment (#17). Otherwise, illegals cannot receive these benefits. You said, "It is well known that..." and no, apparently it isn't.

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 10:29 p.m.

Response to post #25: I am interested in where this goes. It appears that other SD media are not looking at this one, but I don't see SD TV and just skim the U-T and Voice. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 10:31 p.m.

Response to post #26: San Diego's judiciary definitely favors the downtown business establishment. One can see it all the time. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell March 29, 2010 @ 10:31 p.m.

You'll note where I excepted this condition if you had bothered to read my entire comment (#17). Otherwise, illegals cannot receive these benefits. You said, "It is well known that..." and no, apparently it isn't.

Unfortunately, these benefits amount more than half of the state's annual budget. The Federal government only funds 5 years' worth of welfare benefits for each recipient. Unlike Texas and most other states, California taxpayers pick up 100% of the tab after the 5 years runs out. Welfare recipients in Texas, Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona, etc. move to California in droves after their 5 years are up in the home state. This is why California has 1/3 of the nation's welfare caseload and is going broke to pay for it. Tax the wealthy? The state is going to have to take everything the wealthy own in order to pay the tab for these freeloaders who have descended on the state like a horde of locust to strip it bare.

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 10:34 p.m.

Response to post #27: We will have this discussion again, apparently. That's not bad at all: there is always a lot of good information coming forth. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder March 29, 2010 @ 10:35 p.m.

Response to post #28: If you don't mind, I would like to see this get back to Bersin. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 March 29, 2010 @ 11:29 p.m.

Bersin = well connected clown.

Nothing more to say-well, except what I have always said, he is the most well connected trust funder I have ever seen-ever.

No one has been gifted more gov workfare than good old Alan Bersin. He is the poster child for nepotism/cronyism that runs so rampant in gov empoyment.

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Don Bauder March 30, 2010 @ 6:59 a.m.

Response to post #34: He will get all those government retirements and won't even need them, having married a rich lass. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh March 30, 2010 @ 10:07 a.m.

It was so sad to see Bersin in the school supe's job. That school district had many, many shortcomings to deal with. The U-T backed him to the hilt, with even old Neil Morgan wailing "Why won't they just go along with him?" It was pathetic. His earliest steps at "reform" alienated a group he really needed if he was to make true improvement, and that was the mid-level administration. He fired some school principals, and nobody could figure any rhyme or reason for those he sacked. Then he brought in some carpetbagger upper-level administrators, of whom one in particular galled all the stakeholders. But, hey, he had no clue how to run a school district (or anything else for that matter) and had to hire some guns to do it. They did, but in the process provoked outright war with the teachers, radicalizing many of them who had been studiously non-political previously. And that meant the teachers union dug in its heels and fought him to a draw. He was hired to "lead" the district, and instead came in and bullied it into outright rebellion. It needed, and still needs leadership, something that has been sorely lacking on Normal Street for decades.

For the San Diego Unified district his tenure as the head honcho was a total loss, just at a time when some real reform through cooperation was needed.

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Don Bauder March 30, 2010 @ 1:32 p.m.

Response to post #36: I agree with your interpretation on Bersin's total failure as schools chief, and I think that is the consensus of those in the know. I never thought he was a good U.S. attorney, either. There was so much white collar crime in evidence during his tenure, but he turned his back on it and concentrated on the border -- just as Washington desired. I don't know whether he did well at the airport. I know some who think his incumbency there was a disaster, too. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh March 31, 2010 @ 10:37 a.m.

Don, In case you were wondering if the U-T would make some mention of the reasons for this appointment being held up in the Senate, I think you can now conclude that it will not. Today's edition (March 31) has an editorial on the topic of recess appointments and the Bersin issue. The editorial makes no mention of there being any merit to the holdup, instead describing Bersin as "a highly capable administrator with a history of public service at the local, state and federal level." LOL

Oh, the paper claims to dislike recess appointments, but in this case is excusing the use because the holdup was due to "partisan gridlock, petty gamesmanship and stall tactics . . ." As I said before, don't hold your breath waiting for truth from the U-T when it involves its sacred cows, such as Bersin.

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Don Bauder March 31, 2010 @ 12:55 p.m.

Response to post #38: Yes, I saw that editorial. Enough to make one gag. And no mention of why Grassley wanted to hold up the nomination (alleged "conflicting information" on domestic help). I don't know if the paper has mentioned Grassley's statement in a subsequent news story, however. It was not mentioned in the first news story. I tried to contact Grassley's office this morning but have not heard back. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell March 31, 2010 @ 10:51 p.m.

Response to post #36: I agree with your interpretation on Bersin's total failure as schools chief, and I think that is the consensus of those in the know.

The real estate developers installed Bersin as schools chief in a plot to rape the district's land holdings. Bersin was supposed to relocate certain schools to high rise structures located on postage stamp size lots, enabling existing schools to be razed for private development. The crown jewel in this plot was the huge piece of land located at Park and Normal, where district headquarters is located. Bersin wanted to sell this site to developers and use the money to either build or lease a new high rise headquarters at the site of the old General Dynamics complex in Kearny Mesa, next to Montgomery Field. The developers salivate like Pavlov's dog at the thought of getting their filthy hands on Park and Normal.

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Don Bauder April 1, 2010 @ 7:58 a.m.

Response to post #41: Unfortunately, your interpretation is accurate. Bersin was a tool of real estate developers, as most San Diego politicians and bureaucrats are. It was clear from the outset that developers wanted that land and Bersin was their appointed procurer. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister April 11, 2010 @ 8:06 p.m.

Don:

You could probably get regular readers of the UT and others to double-scan the UT and other media according to a formula you set up, thus increasing your potency. Unfortunately, I can't volunteer, but will try to alert you to items that seem relevant. Perhaps you could interest the Reader in setting up things like box-scores for politicians and power-brokers (and perhaps even whistle-blowers?) so that the relevant facts on continuing issues are not dispersed and difficult to keep up with? You could openly ask for volunteers and set up a screening system to minimize the load on your shoulders . . .

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a2zresource April 11, 2010 @ 9:29 p.m.

Bersin = well-connected U-T sacred cow?

Maybe this was the recess appointment that kept the Senate "focused" on health care until it passed like gas after breaded jumbo shrimp and hot mustard...

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