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The water rate increase that passed city council by 6-2 yesterday (Jan. 24) may be a secret ploy to divert money to cover pension obligations, says Mike Aguirre, former city attorney. The City's most recent fiscal year ended in June of 2010 and the audit has not even been started, he says. "The mayor promised an audit of the water department in 2007, and that is more than 3 years past due," says Aguirre. "Is there a connection between not getting the audits done and the City increasing water rates to pay pension expenses?" he asks. He suspects the water rate hike is being diverted to pension payments. Councilmember Carl DeMaio, one of two members (along with Marti Emerald) to oppose the increase, points out that bill have risen 67% since 2007, far more than the price of water. He says that the City promised in 2007 to install safeguards and efficiencies to protect San Diego from rate increase. These safeguards included performance and special financial audits.

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Comments

Visduh Jan. 25, 2011 @ 9:06 a.m.

If all of those increased rates since 2007 had been used to fund a major catch-up of repairs and system upgrades, that would have been one thing. So far there is little indication of any large effort to make up for decades of deferred maintenance of either the water system or the sewers. Since the city cannot just raise taxes willy-nilly ("as needed") it has to boost its revenue somewhere. A series of twice-a-year single-digit percentage boosts in water rates doesn't get the attention that some sort of tax boost would get. (Think of the fate of Prop D.)

But to answer the question at hand, of course much or all of this boost will go to pensions. And KFC Sanders is not going to commission an audit that will report the sad picture and reveal his chicanery while he is in office.

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Don Bauder Jan. 25, 2011 @ 9:16 a.m.

You have it right. The water rate hike is a substitution for Prop. D's failure. And an audit will be a long time coming. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Jan. 25, 2011 @ 11:57 a.m.

I woudl LOVE to know what the water rate was in 1995, before the pension increases were granted. I will bet water has gone up 400%-500% in those 15 years.

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Don Bauder Jan. 25, 2011 @ 3:42 p.m.

If they have gone up 67% since 2007, 400-500% in 15 years is possible. But I don't know the answer. Best, Don Bauder

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nan shartel Jan. 25, 2011 @ 11:58 a.m.

how many ways can they move money from one pocket to another???

voting seem a waste of time in nearly all instances...as i said in my last comment...Viva La Revolution

is there any way to get the kind of people into government who see thru this process and could block this kind of chicanery

voting doesn't seem to be the answer!!!

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Don Bauder Jan. 25, 2011 @ 3:45 p.m.

San Diego had a couple of politicians who wanted to do something about the chicanery: one, Mike Aguirre, was smeared by the UT and then lost re-election decisively; the second, Donna Frye, was belittled by mainstream media and was then termed out. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Jan. 25, 2011 @ 7:53 p.m.

This will give you some history on water rates. http://www.mwdh2o.com/mwdh2o/pages/finance/finance_02.html#94

By the way, did anyone realize that Jerry Sanders is one of the biggest liars that San Diego has ever had as mayor? He's a tool of the establishment and if someone digs deep enough, they will find enough to have him indicted. The problem is his cohort Bonnie Dumanis refuses to listen to the people with evidence.

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Don Bauder Jan. 25, 2011 @ 10:05 p.m.

Dumanis won't go after anybody connected with the establishment. She wants to be mayor and would be a Sanders clone -- as you describe Sanders. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Jan. 25, 2011 @ 9:16 p.m.

Horrifying as it may seem, Sanders' cohort Bahnee D may very well succeed him as mayor. If she does, she will be even worse than Sanders, a bigger liar and a total tool of the establishment. Yes, there are pols out there who are even worse than Sanders. She's one of those.

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Don Bauder Jan. 25, 2011 @ 10:09 p.m.

You took the words out of my mouth, as you can see in my prior post. She is the most political and least effective DA in San Diego history, but could be elected mayor. Sigh. Best, Don Bauder

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johnsd Jan. 25, 2011 @ 11:05 p.m.

The more we hand over to government, the less freedom we have and the more opportunity we give our "public servants" to featherbed their positions. Government bureaucracies, just as bureaucracies in private industry, have a self-preservation bias. Without external pressures, such as caused by competitors in the marketplace, bureaucracies will come up with every reason and justification for why they are necessary. There is virtually no competition, other than a well-informed and vigilant electorate, to the public bureaucracies. Their "management" has a conflict-of-interest in making the public-sector bureaucracies efficient. We just pay and pay. Perhaps bankruptcy/insolvency will begin to reduce this exploitation of the public.

On a slightly different topic, who exactly is the "establishment?" Is it developers (who), the UT, public employee union leadership, the permanent city staff, elected officials, etc.? The word is used by many here and I would like to have a better understanding. Particularly names, organizations or companies.

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Visduh Jan. 26, 2011 @ 9:19 a.m.

Yes, the establishment is just about the way you described it. Another pressure group is the building trades unions which, although far weaker than they were a generation ago, still gets a big chunk of the construction work when any public project goes up.

Perhaps Don can elaborate on the topic.

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Don Bauder Jan. 26, 2011 @ 11:18 a.m.

Yes, both public and private sector bureaucracies' major aim is to keep themselves going. Agreed. Second: who makes up the establishment? It's the San Diego overlords: the lawyers, accountants, real estate moguls, bankers, members of groups such as the San Diego County Regional Economic Development Corp. who run the city and county and make sure that decisions are made to enhance the QUANTITY of life -- and only their own lives. They are all for growth at all costs -- growth that lines their own pockets. The activists outside the establishment are the ones promoting the QUALITY of life, including the environment, parks, schools, etc. The former has much more power, in part because it controls the mainstream media. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Jan. 27, 2011 @ 6:36 a.m.

Ugh. She’s back, the backroom corruption coordinator herself, the elusive Kris Michell.

“It is an economic engine for the entire region, so while there’s a neighborhood component to it, the real benefit of having a strong downtown is what it gives back to other neighborhoods.”

Actually having a "strong downtown" is what lines a few privileged people’s pockets you liar Kris Mitchell.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jan/26/downtown-partnership-flexing-its-lobbying-muscle/

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Don Bauder Jan. 27, 2011 @ 8:17 a.m.

I agree with you. That statement by Michell is utter bilge water. The shining downtown lines the pockets of a few -- all of whom pay her salary. The shining downtown does not repair potholes, provide police and fire protection in the neighborhoods, provide infrastructure or maintenance elsewhere in the city. She is just telling the fibs that she is paid to tell -- just as she did when she was with the mayor. Best, Don Bauder

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