Let's get a few things straight right here and now. I am a dyed in the wool conservative. I believe that City Government needs to cut expenses wherever it can. I also believe in sound management practices to avoid the surprises that happen unplanned. That means planning for the water system to fail in thirty years (arbitrary number of years because I don't know how long they really last) and a replacement plan to get them before they fail. It means replacing City vehicles after a reasonable number of miles, and working to ge the best deals when we buy anything. It means using the least expensive way to get the jobs done properly, and planning for the future to avoid over extending the budget. So that's it - my completely unrealistic view of how to run a city.

Here's how it really works. The people of the city have to elect a City council and a Mayor. All the people running for these positions start out with great intentions and a desire to make it wonderful. The problem begins when a constituant of a City Council member asks for a favor in the neighborhood. The Council Member thinks he or she is helping, and asks for just a few dollars to help out the neighborhood, and the downward spiral begins. Pretty soon the Mayor has someone ask for a favor that's more than just a few bucks, but may be a "good deal" for the city if you explain it just right (Spin). Pretty soon there are so many little and large expenses for those special interest people, that some of the regular expenses get put aside, because they can't possibly have all these expenses next year. Meanwhile, the folks looking for the special favors become more bold and more greedy, and they tell their friends how easy it is to get something from the city. Now the big special interest groups start showing up, and they spice things up by donating, no strings attached, to the campaign funds of the Mayor and Council Members. All of a sudden there's no money left for general maintenance at all, and the city starts to have problems. The City Council trys to figure out how to pay for everything, and they see a savings account - maybe the employee pension fund? - they can borrow from to make their expenses. They'll make up for it next year, because there can't possibly be that many requests next year. Then the special interests get really aggressive, because they, of course, are making millions on the little favors they ask, so they up the ante, and start taking the City Council members or the Mayor on trips to show them how great their ideas are, and the city begins to run out of money. The Council struggles to make their commitments. As the city goes broke, the special interests don't want to lose their gravy train, so they step up their contributions, junkets, and, to call it like it is, their payoffs, and they realize that the Mayor and Council won't get re-elected unless they find a way to get the people of the city to focus their anger on another villain, so they blame the city workers and the pension deficit caused by the council stealing their money.

If this all sounds familiar, it's all happened here in San Diego, and in many other cities. Oh sure - we've had the added problem of having some really terrible Mayors - seriously - a Mayor forced to resign happens in most cities once in a millenium, and it happened here twice in 25 years. San Diego also had a few amazingly terrible decisions, like the Ticket Guarantee from Susan Golding.

Just remember one thing about all of this - Bad Mayors on the take, City Council Members paid off by business people, and billions stolen from their own city workers to pay for the projects for special interests - It's All About The Money!


auntsandiegospeaks Feb. 11, 2010 @ 9:04 a.m.

It is all about the money. Like ignoring the longstanding problem of homelessness in our fair City, while continuing to discuss a possible downtown football stadium, a brand new City Hall, and more empty condo buildings. When I moved to San Diego, I asked myself, why am I moving to a City that just elected a convicted felon (Roger Hedgecock)! Right now we have a Do Nothing City Council, ignoring problems and putting bandaids on great big open wounds.


gerbear Feb. 11, 2010 @ 10:07 p.m.

Bravo Dave Magown...you hit the nail on the head...Jerry Sanders is a corrupt politician....his campaign promise of not receiving a paycheck was a lie..he's double dipping taking his ex-police chief salary along with a full mayors salary and now he and city counsel want an additional 15% payraise while laying off city employees....these politians have the citizen of San Diego fooled...or is it the citizens fail to really educate themselves as to whats really happening....or is they don't want to know the truth....the truth is city employees haven't had a pay raise in 5 years...current employees are forced to take 52 hrs of work furlough time along with a 6% pay cut...the truth is..city employees do not get great retirement benefits....some 35 years ago..they city decided it didn't want to pay into social security or medicare for its employees...the city opted out agreeing witht he federal government to supply a retirement plan and health care for it's employees. Unlike the general public that get to collect social security and medicare at age 65...city employees do not....again because the city made that decision...not the employees...the employees had no choice. CITIZEN PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELF TO THE TRUTH!!!!! GOD BLESS


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