Pay Bump For Patrick
Whatever you are paying Patrick Daugherty ("Farewell, Nazi Harlot," Feature Story, December 13), it's definitely not nearly enough. Patrick is clearly a talented and very funny writer. I look forward to reading more from him.
via email So Silly...Very Entertaining
I have a belated comment on your cover story, "The Second Lives of San Diegans" (November 21). I'm a 75-year-old man, and I used computers for years in engineering to do design calculations and simulations and things of that sort, and I read this story, and there was something weird about it -- for God's sake, you know, a woman coming up with one of these so-called avatars and giving it some silly name, Pollywog. Does she have a sister named Tadpole? And another man coming up with some character called Dropsy or Topsy or something. There's just something weird and geeky about this, you know, like the phrase "Get a life!" Well, they got one.
But it finally occurred to me, these may be people who never really grew up, because I remember when I was a little boy, my brothers and I would play with toy soldiers and toy cars, and my brothers even invented these imaginary characters. I can still remember the names. There was some guy named Jan and there was another guy named Darney. And at the same time, little girls we knew were playing with dolls and toy stoves and dollhouses, and these people in your story, I think they're people who never grew up.
Another thing, in this business of buying and selling and trading virtual reality objects, or whatever they call that stuff on the computer, there was something like that that went on years ago when I was a kid, maybe in the third or fourth grade, 1940, 1941. Around Halloween, we had our health books, and I'd trace a skeleton out of the health book and cut the thing out with scissors, and some little girl would see the thing and say, "Oh, make me one of those. I'll give you a penny for it." So I'd make a skeleton for her, and some other little girl would see it and want one. So I was in the business of making skeletons. And then, at the same time, the war was coming on, and I'd make drawings of fighter planes and dogfights, combat fights between airplanes, and some little boy would say, "Make me a picture of an airplane. I'll give you a penny for that."
I still haven't finished reading this story. It's so silly. Very entertaining.
Comments from Reader Website
City Lights, Breaking News
Published December 19
Posted by Disappointed on 12/19/07, 3:01 p.m.
I'm disappointed that Mitz Lee -- a genuine "good government maven" has withdrawn from the District 5 City Council race. And I'm disappointed that Matt Potter uses that same benign description for carpetbagging Republican insider and District 5 Council candidate Carl DeMaio, who is famous for his ultra-conservative plan to privatize governmental services to citizens, using a fiction of economy and efficiency for what certainly will be profiteering at the public's expense. Carl thanks you, Matt, for the favorable portrayal, but the rest of us are bummed.
Posted by Taxpayer Advocate on 12/20/07, 6:49 a.m.
Disappointed must be a city employee or union goon. Carl DeMaio has been the city's leading taxpayer and good government advocate for years. Mitz dropped out because--unlike you--District 5 voters know Carl will be a watchdog on City Council and serve them well. Matt Potter is just stating what IS.
City Lights, by Don Bauder
Published December 19
Posted by Fred Williams on 12/19/07, 12:19 p.m.
The SEC says there was "scienter" by senior city officials in concocting the fraud that resulted in our current near-bankruptcy. Where are the prosecutions, Don? Is it because all of what you've been reporting for years is false, (why don't they sue for libel?), or is it because the system is so utterly corrupt it's become transparent and no one cares?
Reply by Don Bauder: It wasn't just the SEC making the charge. The outrageously expensive study by Kroll made the point, and studies by the city attorney were actually the best source of this information. There are prosecutions, but they seem to be going nowhere. Remember, this is San Diego. The City has a history of overlooking such thievery, and smearing those who try to uncover it.
Posted by Gimme Shelter from these crooks on 12/19/07, 2:59 p.m.
Oh come on -- is there anyone in San Diego who doesn't know [former city attorney] Gwinn won't be touched? He's got too much information on too many people...and with a DA who is conveniently Blind; it's just BAU -- business as usual.
Reply by Don Bauder: The DA is worthless and protecting Gwinn, among others.
Posted by LG on 12/19/07, 7:00 p.m.
My father worked for the city for years. He isn't getting that much in retirement. How did a deal like that get started? You are saying, if I made 50k per year and I retire. I am going to make 60k for life? Your kidding me. How is that right?
Reply by Don Bauder: You cite the tragedy of what is going on. The older retirees have modest pension and healthcare plans. It was in the last several years that the floodgates opened. First, the City stole money from the pension system to pay for the Republican convention of 1996 and other incidentals. Then to appease the workers, it promised fatter retirements. It apparently never occurred to anyone that if you dramatically lift the payouts and steal money from the pot, a deficit will result.
Posted by JF on 12/20/07, 6:58 a.m.
Don, I do agree with some of what you're saying in regards to public official's "cavalier" use of public funds, but you're way off in regards to the DROP program. I'm sure you're aware that the city doesn't put one dime of public funds into DROP, but that all of the money comes from the employee's own retirement. SDCERS is allowed to keep that money and earn interest on it. Last year, SDCERS made 11% and paid out 8%. Using the terms in Flannery's Blog (8% and 35 interest periods-8+years) that $126 million in DROP accounts earned SDCERS $11 million to help pay off the UAAL.
Reply by Don Bauder: I disagree. Check out the new report on the city attorney's website. It has a good discussion of DROP costs. Also, Donna Frye has put out a penetrating memo dealing with the topic. It is available on http://www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/cd6.
Posted by Sparky on 12/20/07, 7:40 a.m.
Don, The DROP is not paid by the City. The DROP as pointed out by JF is the retirees retirement payment placed into a seperate account. Would you feel better if I left City service at age 55 (the average age for safety) and went to work for the County; place my retirement check into my own annuity; worked for 5-8 years and then started travelling? There is no difference. Except the City capped the retirement at 90% so there would really be no reason for me to stay. I would receive 90% at age 52 after serving 30 years as a safety member. You got it wrong this time Don. The DROP is not the issue or the problem. The underfunding is!!! The increase in benefits and no adjustment in payments by employee and City. That is not the employees fault, nor the Unions. The City messed this up and did not do their due diligence.
Reply by Don Bauder: The underfunding of the pension system IS the big problem -- no question about that. But DROP is not cost-neutral by a long shot. Even the former SDCERS lawyer admitted that DROP was extraordinary among such programs. It IS double-dipping.
Posted by anton on 12/20/07, 11:10 a.m.
Want and only way = key decision makers & implementers of stripped of their hauls and jailed in 'Enron by the Sea'. Another v. good informational posting by Don Bauder. Dec. City Attorney Report re SDCERS v. good with excellent graphs showing the pension debacle. Also, any truth seekers should check out Pat Flannery's v. good info. too.
Reply by Don Bauder: Yes, the city attorney's most recent report on the pension system -- showing how close San Diego is to the financial edge -- is clear and readable, if terrifying. And I agree that Pat Flannery has an excellent blog.
Published December 19
Posted by Steve Heimoff on 12/20/07, 9:51 p.m.
Matthew, thank you for largely getting my quotes right. But my first name is Steve, not Bob. Cheers, Steve Heimoff
Posted by Lickona on 12/21/07, 8:05 a.m.
And apparently, my first name is Mud. A thousand apologies, Steve.
Diary of a Diva
Published December 19
Posted by Hil on 12/21/07, 1:49 a.m.
i may be uptight, but in my opinion everyone gets about ONE free stupid-drunk card, like maybe on their 21st bday. after that people need to learn to control themselves. i really cant respect someone who is out of control like that. i have only been tipsy/drunk a few times, it was quite lovely, and I was very careful not to get sloppy. bleh. I think people have a desire to act like infants sometimes and alcohol is the excuse.