Don’t believe the Chargers stadium propaganda, say former  councilmembers Donna Frye and Bruce Henderson.
  • Don’t believe the Chargers stadium propaganda, say former councilmembers Donna Frye and Bruce Henderson.
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Having been hornswoggled by both the Chargers and the Padres, and knowing the City is wobbling financially, San Diego voters are unlikely to approve a fat subsidy for a new Chargers stadium. But downtown overlords want the City to get diddled again. So learn from the past: make sure the preelection voter information is honest, and pay no attention to propaganda from the City, the team, the establishment, and their lackeys in the mainstream media.

That’s the advice of former councilmembers Bruce Henderson and Donna Frye, who fought to educate the public about the Chargers’ 60,000-seat guarantee and the Padres’ Petco Park con.

“San Diego likes getting snookered,” says Henderson. “But it will be difficult to snooker the voters.”

“If there were a way to shut the public out, yes, the powers-that-be could be snookered again,” says Frye. “But it’s hard to imagine a deal going through that would not require a public vote. I place a lot of faith in the public. The odds are not in favor of the sports folks.”

But last week, Mayor Jerry Sanders made the preposterous statement that San Diego’s budget woes are over, despite massive pension liabilities and infrastructure deficits. It’s a sure sign that the stadium propaganda mill is picking up steam.

Take a look at the lies and corruption that went into past Padres and Chargers deals. As Steve Erie, University of California San Diego political scientist, explains in a paper he coauthored, the old Jack Murphy Stadium was renovated for the Chargers, and the City gave the team a 60,000-per-game seat guarantee, promising to pay for the empty seats, even though past attendance records showed that level was absurd. It cost the City $36 million between 1997 and 2004 and enraged the public. So when the Padres angled for a new ballpark, “The City didn’t want to be snookered again,” says Henderson.

It hired two out-of-town consultants, both of whom were in favor of pro sports subsidies. They were charged with making a deal that was fair for both sides. But John Moores, then majority owner of the Padres, on June 18, 1998, wrote a letter to the council wailing that under the consultants’ deal “the Padres would be burdened with one of the worst deals in Major League Baseball” and could not be competitive financially or on the field.

So the council fired the consultants, went into multiple closed sessions, and gave the Padres everything they wanted. Erie points out that the $303 million subsidy the Padres wangled was 25 percent more than the average ballpark taxpayer contribution across the country.

The pigeon drop was in place. There would be a vote in late 1998. Moores stacked the team that year and it won the National League pennant. The players begged the public to vote for the ballpark. The ballot argument claimed that the deal would be revenue neutral. (It later came out that city hall had instructed bureaucrats to rig the numbers to make it appear that hotel taxes would pay for bond servicing.) A consultant study touting the ballpark ignored the “substitution effect,” the truism that subsidized stadiums don’t stimulate spending but just rearrange it.

The grand jury warned that the public had not been given adequate information and the economic projections were extremely optimistic. Disingenuously, the City delayed release of the report until the day before the election, and then the Union-Tribune chopped up and buried the story. The voting public was ignorant. After the Padres won the vote by a 60–40 margin, Moores dumped the star players, including those who had parroted the line that the team could not compete without a new stadium.

In 1998, almost everybody believed that San Diego was financially healthy. The Securities and Exchange Commission later revealed that high-ranking City officials knew of the financial difficulties in 1997, said Mark Hitchcock, who wrote a report on the fiasco while a student at the University of California Berkeley School of Law. Similarly, a study commissioned by the council concluded that City officials hid negative information to avoid interfering with the 2002 ballpark bond offering, which was sold at a staggeringly high 7.66 percent interest rate.

Scandal after scandal hit. Moores showered lavish gifts on then-councilmember Valerie Stallings, including an insider stock tip on a Moores-controlled company that brought her a nifty 267 percent profit in less than a month. San Diego law enforcement became the laughingstock of the nation’s legal community when Stallings got a wrist slap and Moores got off completely, as the then U.S. attorney said there was nothing wrong with giving money to politicians (even when that politician is providing favors in return). The records were sealed. The ballpark was delayed. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged officials with fraud for misrepresenting the City’s financial stability to bond investors. A New York Times headline called San Diego “Enron-by-the-Sea.”

The Padres did not deliver on promises they had made — such as for an office park and retail establishments near the ballpark. Moores did not arrange to build the number of hotels he had said he would. Under the original memorandum of understanding, such significant changes in plans should have sent the ballpark question back to the voters. But the Padres prevailed in court, as they did in almost every lawsuit heard by friendly and sometimes corrupt judges.

The Moores high card was to say that if he didn’t get his way, the team would be moved. That’s a standard ploy in maneuverings to get taxpayers to subsidize billionaire pro sports team owners.

As part of the ballpark project, Moores got land at very low prices and sold it to developers. They built condos and hotels that have still not attracted people. Moores is selling the Padres in stages; the team is playing poorly and has one of the lowest payrolls in baseball. Attendance is worse than it was in the last several years at the stadium now named Qualcomm, where Moores said it could not survive financially. The ballpark is an annual $14 million to $22 million drain on the City. Moores raked in $700 million to $1 billion on the real estate deals, according to reliable estimates, and rode off to Houston, chuckling.

“In the history of baseball, nobody has given away as much,” says Henderson. Now the potentates want a rerun.

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Brian Peterson Feb. 29, 2012 @ 9:11 a.m.

The City likes to hire consultants who look at only one side of the equation. A more reasonable view of sports stadium subsidies is provided by Stanford economics professor Roger Noll, who spoke at the MORR (Municipal Officials for Redevelopment Reform) conference two years ago in San Jose. His conclusion: There is no net economic benefit from stadium subsidies to the municipalities who subsidize them. The lone exception: Fenway Park in Boston…which was built when, 100 years ago?

Why is Fenway a benefit? According to Noll, it has a small footprint and concessions are offsite. New stadiums have all concessions onsite. And, as this article points out, the net effect is the transfer of wealth from the locals to the team owner and players, who, for the most part, live elsewhere.

Fortunately, with the demise of redevelopment agencies, San Diego won’t have redevelopment as a funding source to offer up for the football stadium, unless the City Council and Mayor can figure out some way to sneak this onto the Successor Agency’s Enforceable Obligation Payment Schedule. This is the list of payments the City claims are obligated, based on previous Redevelopment Agency contracts. Currently, I know of at least two payments on the EOPS that are for projects that do not exist.

On Wednesday, March 7 we will be in Sacramento at the final MORR conference to celebrate the demise of redevelopment agencies. We plan to lobby the Department of Finance to investigate the payments on the San Diego EOPS. If any readers know of dubious redevelopment projects on this list, please let me know, and we will present them to the Department of Finance next Wednesday.


Don Bauder Feb. 29, 2012 @ 10:26 a.m.

You are absolutely right, Brian. We must watch city council: it may try to figure a way to sneak a stadium on to the successor list. I don't see how it can be done legally, but San Diego's city attorney and many local judges don't care if something is done legally. They only care about politics (and perhaps some unrevealed emoluments). Without redevelopment, the Chargers stadium downtown should be dead. But a lot of crooked people are trying to figure out how to skate around the law. Best, Don Bauder


clockerbob March 2, 2012 @ 8:31 a.m.

“bond offering, which was sold at a staggeringly high 7.66 percent interest rate.”

Last year the city council borrowed 100 million dollars but the interest rate was never mentioned. Do you know the interest rate on last year’s 100 million loan and what the city plans to borrow this year and if a guaranteed sales tax increase is the collateral for last years and this years borrowing.


Don Bauder March 2, 2012 @ 1:44 p.m.

Sorry, Clockerbob, I don't know the rate on that bond, but it should be on the city's website. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 March 2, 2012 @ 9:08 a.m.

But last week, Mayor Jerry Sanders made the preposterous statement that San Diego’s budget woes are over

LOL...can we tar and feather this blatant lying dirtbag???


Don Bauder March 2, 2012 @ 1:47 p.m.

Well, we know one thing, SP: it would take less tar and fewer feathers this time than it would have taken a year ago, before he went on a diet. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 March 2, 2012 @ 2:11 p.m.

Hahahahha....I know, I can no longer comment our Hiz Honor's weight.


Don Bauder March 2, 2012 @ 11:15 p.m.

Yes, SP, the mayor can no longer claim to be a big fat asset to the community. Best, Don Bauder


ImJustABill March 2, 2012 @ 9:14 a.m.

Great work as always on the topic Don.

I'm curious about whether municipalities have considered filing anti-trust suits against major sports leagues. Maybe I'm naive but it seems pretty clear to me that a big issue is that the leagues are all monopolies in their particular sport - so they can all restrict the number of teams and always entice munipalities to outbid each other for biggest taxpayer subsidy.

As far as I know only MLB has an exemption from antitrust law (but even that is a rather ancient exemption which could possibly be overturned).


SurfPuppy619 March 2, 2012 @ 10:26 a.m.

The Muni's are not going to file an anti-trut case-they're the ones in bed with MLB/NFL/pro sports.


Don Bauder March 2, 2012 @ 1:55 p.m.

Cities are in bed with the league, but cities that get abandoned at the altar could easily go to court. Hell hath no fury like a city scorned. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 2, 2012 @ 1:53 p.m.

I believe the Cleveland Browns sued or threatened to sue the league -- probably for antitrust and perhaps other things -- after the team was suddenly moved to Baltimore several years ago. The NFL then rushed in and gave Cleveland an expansion team. Recently, the NFL commissioner said that owners do not want to move more teams. If so, I think the major motivation would be fear of antitrust suits. Remember, at the time of the recent lockout, players (Drew Brees and Tom Brady were leaders in the suit, as I remember) planned to sue the league. Owners will do anything to make sure that their smelly operations and obscene profits aren't made public.. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 3, 2012 @ 7:13 p.m.

Anti-trust is essentially dead. Let's prop up the body, insert some electronics, and turn the sucker loose.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 6:57 a.m.

I don't think antitrust is dead, but it is certainly moribund -- in the U.S., at least. And I don't think it's even high on the list of the reformers. Best, Don Bauder


David Dodd March 3, 2012 @ 9:46 p.m.

"After the Padres won the vote by a 60–40 margin, Moores dumped the star players, including those who had parroted the line that the team could not compete without a new stadium."

Those "star players" were free agents that were purchased, not home-grown talent, I just wrote about this a couple of days ago. Moores wasn't Werner. Those "star players" (that were swept by the Yankees, by the way) weren't dumped, they were simply not re-signed, successful baseball teams do NOT field teams full of free agents, it isn't sustainable. I'm guessing that Moores finally learned that somewhere along the way.

San Diego can blame John Moores for many things and thank him for others (his donations to this city are conspicuously absent here) so far as the Padres are concerned. In his political maneuvering, he was very much encouraged by the San Diego politicians in power at the time. In his ownership of the Padres, his biggest mistake was in letting the farm system go to hell. But there were, in fact, very positive events as owner of the team, and as a public figure in the city of San Diego as well.

And nowhere anywhere is there any mention about how Frye voted concerning any of this, it would be revealing to know. It would be quite awesome of you to post her complete voting record here so far as any stadium issue was concerned. No one is innocent, Don. Not Donna Frye, she enabled a lot of what you rail against here. And it can be argued that in his effort to save the dumb citizens of San Diego from themselves, Henderson actually cost them more money in the long term.


David Dodd March 3, 2012 @ 11:24 p.m.

I'll do my part, but you have to be more specific about the specifics. I laid out a lot here. Not out of any disrespect of Mr. Bauder, he knows I'm a fanboy. But let me know what specifics you require and I'll try and provide some.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 7:41 a.m.

I love that line "specifics about the specifics," Refried. You should be in politics -- specifically, in those Republican debates. Best, Don Bauder


David Dodd March 4, 2012 @ 2:44 p.m.

I'm not a Republican, Don, that would present a problem. Of course, that doesn't stop Ron Paul. I'm the last person anyone would want in politics. I don't know how to lie.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 5:02 p.m.

Yes, refried, if you can't tell whoppers, you are disqualified for political office. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 7:40 a.m.

Specifics are coming below. Best, Don Bauder


Fred Williams March 3, 2012 @ 11:50 p.m.

John Moores should be in prison.

  • Bribery of public officials
  • Theft of public public property
  • Securities fraud

These are just off the top of my head. Don could add to the list.

What did he do in return for San Diego? After all, every San Diego resident is obliged to pay off his ballpark for the next twenty years or so.

Henderson was valiant in his efforts to prevent this financial flim-flam artist from breaking even the very generous deal he already had...and was blocked at every turn by the public officials in Moores' pocket.

Jack McGrory in particular, former city manager who went to work for Moores (and still works for Moores' JMI), pulled levers with his buddies in government and in the media to push Moores' ugly agenda and vilify anyone who dared oppose it.

Refried, I was there. I was involved in the anti-Prop C campaign efforts, underfunded and fractious as it was. With the ringers, as you point out a bunch of free agents brought in for the sole purpose of giving Moores a huge electoral advantage and sold after the vote, and the collusion of all levels of government (except the gagged grand jury) and media, this was the biggest and most damaging fraud in San Diego history.

Moores belongs in jail.


David Dodd March 4, 2012 @ 12:02 a.m.

Prison? So Scripps, the Zoo, SDSU count for crap? Come on Fred. Prison? How about Fyre's voting record here? No one is offering that record. Moores isn't some innocent, but neither is Frye. Throw him into jail then you have to throw her in there as well.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 7:43 a.m.

For years, Donna Frye was the only one on the council fighting for the people, and fighting against the downtown overlords hogging money for corporate welfare projects. I can't imagine what you mean. Best, Don Bauder


David Dodd March 4, 2012 @ 2:52 p.m.

Frye did not always vote against stadium issues. As with Henderson, I do not question her love and loyalty toward the City of San Diego. But she was a politician, and often voted as one.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 5:05 p.m.

I can't remember her voting for team owners on any issue, but you may be right, refried. But Donna was less like a politician than anyone San Diego has seen in years. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 7:19 a.m.

I am glad you mentioned Jack McGrory, Fred. Yes, much of the blame belongs with him, and Henderson knows that. As city manager, McGrory steered the scam through and then went to work for the scamsters. In 1999, the Padres announced the hiring of McGrory as executive VP and chief operating officer. His mission: implement the Padres' ballpark and redevelopment plans. Incidentally, you will find this in other cities, too: a key city employee who engineered the deal goes to work for the team. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 March 4, 2012 @ 12:20 a.m.

And it can be argued that in his effort to save the dumb citizens of San Diego from themselves, Henderson actually cost them more money in the long term

No way can you make that argument refried. Everything Henderson said was true, and if he had succeeded in stopping that Petco Park scam this City would be HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars in LESS debt.

Henderson is a contracts lawyer and he is the ONLY person in an elected position who ever had the brain power to point out the scams.........


David Dodd March 4, 2012 @ 1:28 a.m.

I'm not attempting to disprove Henderson's intentions as a good and true pal of what's in the best interest of San Diego people in general. I asked a question, and if you were honest you would answer it properly. He cost San Diego Taxpayers well over $100,000.00, by filing the lawsuits. Tell me I'm wrong, SP.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 7:36 a.m.

Yes, I will tell you that you are wrong. You say Henderson cost the city $100,000. I don't know that this is true, but suppose it is. And just put $100,000 next to $300 million, plus another $14 million to $22 million per year. Also, because of Henderson's suits, the City under former Mayor Dick Murphy was able to negotiate with the Padres a much lower contribution -- almost $100 million. There originally was a $225 million cap on the total contribution of the City, but it authorized $290 million worth of bonds. The net result was the City only issued $175 million in bonds. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 7:27 a.m.

So true, SurfPup. Henderson, who understands contracts, saw how the City was getting fleeced. He did what a good citizen would do. Incidentally, this is happening, and has happened, in other cities. One that is particularly interesting now is St. Louis. When that city built a stadium for the former LA Rams, there was a tricky insertion dropped inconspicuously into the contract that the stadium had to be kept state-of-the-art or the team could move again. Now St. Louis faces the possibility that, after all that money it threw at the Rams, it could lose them -- back to where they came from. A second city is Cincinnati. The Reds and, in particular, the Bengals fleeced Hamilton County, which is now hurting. The team lawyers just laugh and point to the contract: a deal is a deal, they say. Of course, the Chargers are trying to break their promise to stay in Mission Valley, pointing to the contract. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 7:12 a.m.

Donna Frye was not in office for parts of the Chargers/Padres controversy. We discussed that when I interviewed her. But when in office, and these matters came up, she regularly voted against the fat subsidies for the sports team owners. By no means did Henderson, by going to court to fight the scams, cost San Diegans more in the long run. That was the song sung by the hapless former city attorney Casey Gwinn. If you add up the $300 million subsidy to the Padres, plus the current annual drain on the ballpark, the cost of contesting Henderson's suits doesn't even come remotely close. Yes, I did not mention Moores's charitable donations, which I regard rather cynically because he was, after all, trying to get that $300 million-plus from the City. But in this column I didn't mention the $650 million-plus of Peregrine stock that he sold before the scandal hit, either. Best, Don Bauder


Fred Williams March 3, 2012 @ 11:53 p.m.

Rip me off with a ball park Give me corporate pork Buy me a mayor and council seat After the vote our team always gets beat

'Cause it's fraud, fraud, fraud economics Taxpayers lose It's a shame!

Then it's one, two, three billion lost At the old shell game


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 7:49 a.m.

Fred, you are a genius -- a poet, a songwriter, and one who uses his creative talents to put the spotlight on civic cozeners. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 4, 2012 @ 1:24 p.m.

I'll second that! Sounds like an Occupy theme song for showing how many people don't buy the dissembly.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 2:58 p.m.

Occupy should move on Petco Park right after it moves on Sempra/SDGE. Best, Don Bauder


anniej March 6, 2012 @ 8:51 p.m.

the folks down in the south bay have been looking for a theme song to sing at the sweetwater board meetings (since they don't listen when we talk we were thinking if we sang to them it might raise their interest - NOT) , by gosh, i think i just found us one.


JustWondering March 4, 2012 @ 8 a.m.

Yikes! Poor Jack Norworth is spinning in his grave reading Fred's rewritten chorus. While I suppose it's creative in this context, cause Fred is a creative guy, it's shameful to be messin with some true Americana.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 3 p.m.

Well, when I was in college, and drank, we sang T.S. Eliot's "Wasteland" to the tune of "Onward, Christian Soldiers." Now there was heresy -- two examples of it. Best, Don Bauder


David Dodd March 4, 2012 @ 4:03 p.m.

YOU drank in COLLEGE? Now there's some prime-time copy right there ;)


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 4:30 p.m.

Yes, my family drank, and I went to the University of Wisconsin. It is well nigh impossible to go to that institution without drinking. But I quit completely almost 40 years ago. At Wisconsin, a graduation requirement is to be able to pour beer with aplomb. I still do that for my drinking friends. (Almost all my friends drink.) Best, Don Bauder


ImJustABill March 4, 2012 @ 11:17 a.m.

Clearly Moores is a criminal - his most egregious (sp?) crimes were the securities fraud at Peregrine but the bribery was illegal too.

This really isn't even debatable - you can easily google or wikipedia the Peregrine case and the only conceivable scenario in which Moores is innocent is that as CEO he was totally and completely unaware of anything that was happening at his company.

We have a justice system which for many good reason often times allows an obviously guilty man to go free but that doesn't mean that an informed voter can't make a reasonable assessment that the man is a criminal when the voter is asked to make decisions about how money is to be spent.


Twister March 4, 2012 @ 1:29 p.m.

There's a problem. Votes for common sense are meaningless because they are so uncommon. The ONLY way to get through the goon-lines is to organize OUTSIDE of the stadia. Citizens in EXILE! A wedge formation with a very sharp, single-issue point. Then, a thousand points of right . . .


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 3:06 p.m.

Give those instructions to the Occupy folks. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 4, 2012 @ 10:04 p.m.


I should add that the OCCUPY folks have exactly the right idea--to resist the concentration of power with the diffusion of power.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 3:05 p.m.

I wrote a lot about that Peregrine case, both for the U-T and for the Reader. Moores DID know about many of the things going on. No question. Yet he escaped in the criminal cases and also the civil cases, although he ultimately paid his part of the $55 million coughed up by board members as a result of civil suits. Nice deal: dump $650 million of stock before the crash, only pay out part of a $55 million settlement. I'm tempted to say that's just another example of San Diego justice, but I have a strong suspicion the word came down from Washington D.C. on this one. Best, Don Bauder


ImJustABill March 4, 2012 @ 12:45 p.m.

Moores is not a good man.

Giving away millions of dollars after stealing hundreds of millions doesn't make someone a good person.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 3:08 p.m.

Moores gave away millions BEFORE he raked in the loot on both ballpark district and bailing out of Peregrine stock before it collapsed in fraud. The millions he gave away were grease to get his ballpark deal. Best, Don Bauder


David Dodd March 4, 2012 @ 4:28 p.m.

The millions he gave away were enabled by tax laws that encourage that sort of behavior. Feel free to go after the men. I would rather go after the governments. Men are corruptible. Governments corrupt them.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 5:09 p.m.

Men corrupt governments far more often than governments corrupt men. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 March 4, 2012 @ 5:17 p.m.

Watch this, David Stockman from the Raygun years- 100% ON THE MONEY (skip to 5:30)


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 10:26 p.m.

Anybody who doesn't yet realize that Wall Street controls Washington D.C. should not go out on the streets without a bodyguard. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 4, 2012 @ 10 p.m.

Don't forget the women.

I will cite you and this date as the author when I use this quote.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 10:28 p.m.

Yes, Twister, I thought twice before using "men" in that statement. However, "men" can be neutral, rather like "mankind" or simply "people." Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 5, 2012 @ 2:18 p.m.

I, the bob-war of irony, concur.

That it occurs to us to think twice is an indictment of our wimpiness in the face of nitpickery. M'self included.

Male or female, it is the politically correct who are incorrect, and we should stand on that 'till hell freezes over or clear evidence, not some haywire opinion pins us to the absurdity-wall.



Don Bauder March 5, 2012 @ 6 p.m.

Ah, wimpiness in the face of nitpickery. I once coined a word: nitpwicked. That's being nitpicked by a nitwit. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 6, 2012 @ 5:27 p.m.


And about the laughable lassitude of lickey-lacky loos . . .

Good shot, Don.


David Dodd March 5, 2012 @ 2:33 a.m.

Please. You are talking with someone who intentionally uses the term "humankind" rather than "humanity". I completely trust that my record as a writer supports my efforts at eliminating sexual bias and discrimination. Read my stuff, I paint that clearly on everything my brush touches. I have to. I have daughters that depend on it.


David Dodd March 5, 2012 @ 2:52 a.m.

And I trust that Bauder feels the same way. I can go out on a limb here and predict that we could both plant our tongues in our cheeks and proclaim that some of our best friends are females. But I've never read a Bauder column that implies any sort of chauvinism.


Don Bauder March 5, 2012 @ 7:06 a.m.

How could I have sexual bias? My wife has a PhD in a rigorous scientific field, plant ecology, from just about the best university you can get such a degree, UC-Davis. She got the degree while we were raising two boys. I have merely a Master's in journalism. My mother was the brains of our family: she went through school, from first grade through college, without ever having a grade lower than A, except in gymnasium. Oh yes: she marched in women's suffrage demonstrations and was president of her League of Women Voters. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 5, 2012 @ 2:20 p.m.

But would you want your son to marry one?


Don Bauder March 5, 2012 @ 5:56 p.m.

Would I want one of my sons to marry a woman who was active in the suffrage movement? No, because those women are now more than 100 years old, and my sons are in their 40s. However, one son is married to a young lady with a Master's from UC-Berkeley and another Master's from the London School of Economics. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 March 5, 2012 @ 3:18 p.m.

My mother was the brains of our family: she went through school, from first grade through college, without ever having a grade lower than A

And back then an "A" was an "A"!

Today grade inflation has diluted the value of a 4.0 average.

At Harvard Law Shcool 91% of the graduates graduate with "Honors". Same with Stanford.


Don Bauder March 5, 2012 @ 5:51 p.m.

Oh yes. Grade inflation is well night ubiquitous. It's particularly in evidence at the Ivy League schools. I hadn't heard that more than 90% of Harvard and Stanford law school grads are given honors. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 March 5, 2012 @ 11:14 p.m.

Yep-100% TRUE, both law schools are notorious for grade inflation.

I have heard grade inflation is not as bad on the undergraduate level at Harvard. Stanford is a different story- they do not give out D's or F's. They just do not assign them. And I have never known anyone at Stanford to get a C.

Here is a famous study about grade inflation at Duke;


Don Bauder March 6, 2012 @ 7:16 a.m.

Grade inflation is another manifestation of the greed that grips our society. Best, Don Bauder


nokomisjeff March 6, 2012 @ 7:20 a.m.

When I was in grad school at Northwestern, in my department they typically gave an A, B, or an F. I never saw a "C" being given. If you had an average below 3.0, you were automatically put on academic probation. Other grad schools used this same formula of the A,B, or F and I gamed the system as an undergrad, stuffing as many grad school courses as I could in my undergrad schedule. I ended up adding .35 to my GPA just by taking grad courses. I don't know if many schools let undergraduates take grad courses anymore. When my son was at Yale, his department strongly discouraged undergrads taking 500 level courses or above. Friends that went to Harvard say that the economics department will allow undergrads to take graduate courses, but that's the only department that I know will allow this practice. Grade inflation might be a reality, but in a school like Harvard or Yale, when you have a college class with a couple hundred valedictorians, and a couple hundred with perfect SAT scores, and a couple hundred more straight A students, undoubtedly the grades should trend higher.


SurfPuppy619 March 6, 2012 @ 8:36 a.m.

The valedictorian reference at Harvard and Stanford may be legit-because it only applies to one person PER SCHOOL, but the test scores and grades are not legit. We know grade inflation is rampant, especially at private K-12 schools. We know the SAT and similar tests can all be gamed to the extent that the rich can afford private tutoring and classes, as well as unlimited study time, which virtually no poor or middle class American has access to. Everyone I knew in HS and college worked part time, and it always affected study time-especially me who worked at UPS and had to work my PT job FT during December when I had finals and had to do both-study and work a FT job. You have to study for the tests, but when you have superstar coaches the difference is immense. My sister is married to a multi millionaire and their children ALL have a private college admissions "coach". And last, there are MANY "legacy" admissions at ALL of the ivy league schools. GW Bush, who had a "C" average was admitted into the Harvard Business School, so the claim they only allow in the best is not accurate. I have no idea what the legacy % is, but it has to be high.


Don Bauder March 6, 2012 @ 9:29 a.m.

Yes, there are a lot of valedictorians, but there are a lot of legacies that got in because of political pull or daddy's donations. George W. Bush, for example. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 March 6, 2012 @ 10:38 a.m.

DONATIONS!!! I will tell you what my sisters admissions "coach" told them, he can get any kid into ANY school with a $125K athletic scholarship donation to the school. Make that donation and it is a done deal no matter what your grades and test scores are. There is NO doubt in my mnd that is 100% true.


Don Bauder March 7, 2012 @ 7:23 a.m.

It does not surprise me, SP. Best, Don Bauder


nokomisjeff March 7, 2012 @ 4:20 a.m.

According to the Harvard crimson, the legacy population is around 13%. SAT average is 2070 compared to a SAT average of 1710 at UCSD. Valedictorians and Salutatorians make up 37% of Harvard's student body. Interesting link here.


Don Bauder March 7, 2012 @ 7:30 a.m.

Yes, but 13% is pretty high. Plus, I have run across more crooks and crackpots with Harvard MBAs than I can count. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 5, 2012 @ 7:01 a.m.

Elimination of sexual bias is one of the most important social trends of the day. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 5, 2012 @ 3:43 p.m.

Again, I agree. But elimination of sexual differences ain't particularly high on my list.


Don Bauder March 5, 2012 @ 5:49 p.m.

Nobody that I know wants to eliminate the DIFFERENCES between the sexes. Hooray for those differences. What we want to eliminate is the discrimination. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 6, 2012 @ 4:48 p.m.

For some, the phenomenon is subtle, for others, they just don't see it, but for still others, a feminization of men and the masculinization of women (and I don't mean homo- and heterosexual stuff) is clearly a feature that walks and quacks like a trend. Like "metrosexual" men who buy perfume etc. and fall for Guzzi ads, etc. and women who, instead of apply the unique features of their sex (e.g. nurturing, intuition, perception) in business, they adopt the predatory, linear blinders of the men who preceded them.

I do not "blame" the women. They have had to use some considerable guile to smash glass ceilings and maneuver various gauntlets skillfully, but in the process lost their inherent natures to a large extent. Women have filled some yawning gaps that men have abandoned (Elizabeth Warren, for example) without selling out, so on balance, I figure we will be better off when women hit at least 52% of the Congress and business . . . hell, even the military/industrial and commercial complex. Now, answer me THIS! Are corporations female or male? Or are they not persons after all? Why doesn't the "Supremes" Court go on tour?


SurfPuppy619 March 6, 2012 @ 8:11 p.m.

Now, answer me THIS! Are corporations female or male? Or are they not persons after all?

LOL..they are "metro-sexual"!


Don Bauder March 6, 2012 @ 8:15 p.m.

I'll have to think about that, SP: right now, I would say corporations are as rapacious as males. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 6, 2012 @ 8:20 p.m.

Women have become tougher as they have risen to the top of corporations. But throughout history, there have been some nasty women. Men may commit 90% of the violent crimes, and we've been more predatory and violent throughout history, but hell hath no fury like a woman scorned...or sometimes a woman with a lot of power. Best, Don Bauder


ImJustABill March 5, 2012 @ 11:44 a.m.

I would agree that those in government - who are expected to represent the PUBLIC interest - may be worse than those in private industry who are expected to represent PRIVATE private interests.


Don Bauder March 5, 2012 @ 12:49 p.m.

Again, I say that private interests corrupting government is far more common than the other way around. But I also feel that private organizations, particularly companies, should NOT be representing only private interests. They should also be standing up for public interests. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 March 5, 2012 @ 3:15 p.m.

60.I would agree that those in government - who are expected to represent the PUBLIC interest - may be worse than those in private industry

On the national level Big Business is the problem, on the local and state level it is public unions, and they are BOTH major problems.


Don Bauder March 5, 2012 @ 5:45 p.m.

Some of the public unions are a huge problem at the state and local level, but I do not think they are anywhere near as big a source of corruption as the private sector. The subject of this column has been the corruption surrounding the Chargers and Padres deals; basically, the forces behind that corruption were private sector actors, although government was also corrupt, and an enabler. Best, Don Bauder


aardvark March 4, 2012 @ 6:07 p.m.

Don, I see that your name came up on the UT website recently, and you were scolded severely by one particular individual stating that you had absolutely no idea what you were talking about in regards to Petco Park. After I stopped laughing, I decided to not respond to his post (there were several, actually). In all seriousness, I appreciate your coverage of the debacle that is Petco Park, and the next, larger one involving the new Chargers Stadium.


Don Bauder March 4, 2012 @ 10:30 p.m.

Thanks for telling me about the notoriety. Normally, the U-T doesn't use my name unless someone is excoriating me. I love it. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 6, 2012 @ 5:01 p.m.

The problems of both the government and the private "sectors" is people and the cultures that people make up, not the abstractions that make up the institutions (like corporations). The trend, however, continues in an unfortunate slide that can be laid at the feet of the individuals involved--who think that "gaming" the system is SOP.

After all, the genesis of the concept of "incorporation" (exclusion would be more accurate) was to evade responsibility.


Don Bauder March 6, 2012 @ 8:23 p.m.

Yes, the corporate structure itself, along with the latter-day mutations such as limited liability corporations, were set up to evade accountability. And companies are evading accountability a little bit more every day. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 7, 2012 @ 6:38 a.m.

I guess oz not in Kans-as anymore. What's all this yellow stuff, and where does it lead?

Let the Red Queen RULE!


Don Bauder March 7, 2012 @ 7:25 a.m.

Today's wizards are in the accounting and law professions. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 6, 2012 @ 5:10 p.m.

Now, back to the RAMPANT DISHONESTY in educational institutions. Picking up where SP left off at (SurfPuppy619 10:38 a.m., Mar 6, 2012), what credibility can a degree have that is purchased, and how does this affect those who actually develop real skills and the ability to think?


Don Bauder March 6, 2012 @ 8:27 p.m.

Of course, the ability to think is not necessarily a road to the top in many if not most corporations. What you need to succeed is the ability to understand the arecane language of a company -- to know when yes means no and no means yes, to know when you are told not to do something that you are being told to do it. You don't have to wink; you have figured out the code. That's the road to the top. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 7, 2012 @ 6:34 a.m.

But hey, dude . . . we're talkin' the MOST INTELLIGENT people in existence here. Surly THEY are not subject to the same pressures that distort the rest of us?


Don Bauder March 7, 2012 @ 7:22 a.m.

I don't think you find the most intelligent people in existence in corporations. Mozart would not have joined IBM's training program, or succeeded in it. Bach was too prickly and too much a perfectionist for Procter & Gamble's "we all love each other" mentality. Beethoven's personal slovenliness would have gotten him kicked out of GE's training program quickly. The one exception is American composer Charles Ives; he made a fortune in, and was a pioneer in, the insurance business. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 7, 2012 @ 8:20 a.m.

Uhhh, I thought this was about educational institutions . . . and the self-perpetuated myths that their denizens inflate. There comes that go**amn balloon again . . .

Sam Johnson once corrected a "high-class" woman at a fancy supper who said to him, "Sir, you smell!" "You smell," said Johnson, "I stink!"

It is it more virtuous to stink actually or "virtually?"


Don Bauder March 7, 2012 @ 7:28 a.m.

In corporate hiring, a purchased degree could be even better than an earned one. The grad with a purchased degree has important connections. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 6, 2012 @ 5:23 p.m.

How is it that institutions of learning (even "higher" learning), deemed to contain the smartest people in the world, measure (or mismeasure?) the worth of individuals by reducing their assessment to the simplest arithmetic, then, not satisfied that that is simple enough, translate that into categories at the level of infants' toy blocks?

It seems that the practice of hanging the mark of Cain or Abel around the necks of young people that have the power to empower or decimate their future lives is not only ignorant, but sadistic.

I have known good people, competent people, intelligent people, yea, Ph.D's so darkly aware of this fraud that they doubted their worth. Others who have become seriously ill.

Why do we continue to insist that the institutions are clothed in raiment of golden thread when they are naked and their potency a pumped-up balloon. Why can't we manage to prick this inflated condomundrum?


Don Bauder March 6, 2012 @ 8:29 p.m.

Those who prick the balloons and prick the conundrums are known as pr**ks in their organizations. Best, Don Bauder


David Dodd March 6, 2012 @ 11:32 p.m.

Now let's be honest here. You're just blaming the man with the sharpest needle ;)


Don Bauder March 7, 2012 @ 7:34 a.m.

Or woman with the sharpest needle, refried. Remember, this is an anti-sexist colloquy. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 7, 2012 @ 6:30 a.m.

I've gotta reform. I've gotta stop king around. It only produces ricochets. Diverts attention from the pcking point, no matter how pointed.


Don Bauder March 7, 2012 @ 7:36 a.m.

I assume you mean plucking point, Twister. That's a subject for guitarists. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 7, 2012 @ 8:33 a.m.

I hope y'all don't mind if I defeat your right rightful far right left margins by this device,* and/or that the Reader geniuses don't kick me out for getting around their f a v o ri t e

feature . . . here.

That Harvard would have as its claim to fame specializing in producing (MBA should be MBS--after all, they claim that business is a "science," no?) generalists who could miraculously run any business, thus kicking out those who started as janitors and knew the business from bottom to top is one of the best cases for avoiding ivy I know of. A friend of mine got her Ph.D. (in another subject) and was hired by them as an assistant professor. 'Twasn't long before she moved to a "smaller" institution.

*Re: dbauder 7:30 a.m., Mar 7, 2012


Twister March 8, 2012 @ 9:11 a.m.

If I wanted a "CEO," I would recruit a fry-cook from a busy cafe, not an MBA.


Don Bauder March 7, 2012 @ 11:42 a.m.

Smaller in size, Twister, or smaller in stature? Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 7, 2012 @ 8:06 p.m.

I hope you're not talking about something like Bridgepoint and some of its fellow for-profit mills. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 8, 2012 @ 9:09 a.m.

"Stature" is the hang-up here. EARNED stature, not promoted. Boston College.


Don Bauder March 7, 2012 @ 11:43 a.m.

The older I get, the fewer hairy types I know, Duhbya. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 7, 2012 @ 4 p.m.

Whatever hirsutes you best, I reckon. But just what do you mean by "hairy?"


Don Bauder March 7, 2012 @ 8:06 p.m.

Twister: I guess I meant to say, "The older I get, the more harried types I know." Best, Don Bauder


Duhbya March 9, 2012 @ 7:12 a.m.

A.K.A. Herr Rasierer?

This has been a hair-raising experience.


Don Bauder March 8, 2012 @ 3:24 p.m.

Get yourself an electric raiser. I will leave it to you to figure out how it's used. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 8, 2012 @ 9:40 p.m.

If you do, you will soon find yourself razin' the raisin raiser. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 9, 2012 @ 8:03 a.m.

I'll see that, bro, and raise you reason.


Don Bauder March 9, 2012 @ 9:56 a.m.

I never bet against reason. Best, Don Bauder


Twister March 19, 2012 @ 9:44 p.m.

"It is said that every people has the Government it deserves. It is more to the point that every Government has the electorate it deserves; for the orators of the front bench can edify or debauch an ignorant electorate at will. Thus our democracy moves in a vicious circle of reciprocal worthiness and unworthiness." --George Bernard Shaw


Don Bauder March 20, 2012 @ 9:54 p.m.

The press plays a role in the debauching of the ignorant electorate. Best, Don Bauder


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