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Monday, December 06, 2010 11:15 AM

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders' "Radical Idea" to Cut Costs; Is Sanders a Hero or a Liar?

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Jerry Sanders, the mayor of San Diego claims to have a "radical" ideas to reduce city expenditures. Inquiring minds have a couple of questions. The first question is: Just how radical is the plan? The second question is: Just how big of a liar is Jerry Sanders?

Let's start the discussion with a look at Pension-Squeezed Cities May Turn to San Diego’s ‘Radical Idea’

Cities from New York to San Jose, California, facing almost $400 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, will be watching what San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders calls his “radical idea” to cut costs.

After voters in the eighth most-populous U.S. city rejected a half-cent sales tax increase to balance the budget Nov. 2, Sanders is pushing to eliminate pension plans for new city employees, offering 401(k)-like savings accounts instead.

“We’re all going to have to get realistic,” Sanders, a 60-year-old Republican, said in a telephone interview. “The private sector went through this. Government will have to relook at how we do stuff as well.”

Sanders’s defined-contribution plan would apply to civilian employees in the city of 1.3 million. Police and firefighters would not be eligible, because lower benefits might hurt recruiting, he said.
That's Radical?

The deeper in that article you read, the less radical it gets. You want radical? Start talking bankruptcy. While I commend elimination of public pension plans, it is beyond absurd to use the term "radical" for any plan that exempts police and firefighters.

Moreover, the excuse "lower benefits might hurt recruiting" is pathetic. In fact, it's a blatant lie proving Sanders is beholden to public unions.

Lies Don't Stop There

It would be bad enough if the lies stopped there. But they don't.

Please consider SD Mayor Lied About Critical Need for Prop D Sales Tax

Was Mayor Sanders Lying About Critical Need for Prop D Sales Tax? Short answer -- HELL YES!

It was just three weeks ago that San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders was running carefully orchestrated "town hall meetings" around the city -- threatening citizens with death and destruction if we did not approve Prop D -- the city sales tax increase. Fortunately in an epic battel, the measure lost by an awesome 62%-38% marign.

The frowny faced police chief and fire chief each dutifully stood before audiences and announced inevitable dramatic personnel and service cutbacks if the sales tax didn't pass. Doomsday was upon us.

[See article for list of cuts Sanders said he would have to make]

[Proposition D Went down in flames 62% to 38%]

Today the mayor sends out a press release (included below) cheerily announcing numerous solutions to close the budget deficit -- and NO MENTION OF PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL CUTS, or indeed of any of the threatened cuts. Somehow the deadly unsolvable city budget deficit of three weeks ago is quite solvable after all!

There is no delicate way to say this -- given the short time frame to come up with these solutions, it is quite clear that Mayor Jerry Sanders knowingly lied to the public to frighten voters into supporting higher taxes.

Not that the Sanders solutions will solve the problem. His reforms are too tepid, and don't deal with the dramatically growing deficit problem. Carl DeMaio's comprehensive plan offers much better, more fundamental reforms.

It's clear that Mayor Sanders knew all along that the life-threatening service cuts (and resulting deaths) were cynical fabrications. Why does anyone still respect this man?
Who Backed Proposition D

Let's dig a little deeper with a look at Who funded the pro and con Proposition D campaigns?
The election results — Proposition D was rejected by 62 percent of voters — continue a pattern of labor unions losing city ballot initiatives over the past decade, a period in which public anger over guaranteed pensions for public workers has reached a crescendo.

Sales tax supporters, including Mayor Jerry Sanders, say the results are more a reflection of the public’s anti-tax mood in the middle of a rough economy than an indication that labor’s influence at City Hall is wilting.

“I don’t think it shows labor’s weak,” Sanders said. “Going out for a tax increase at any time is difficult and going out right now is especially difficult. ... This was kind of a lightning rod ballot initiative.”

Proposition D opponents, including Councilman Carl DeMaio, say voters are wising up after years of city leaders giving away generous pension benefits to union workers. DeMaio said San Diegans are willing to pay higher taxes but only after the city fixes its beleaguered pension system.

Proposition D supporters spent more than $500,000, with most of the money coming from city employee unions. Opponents spent more than $320,000 with significant contributions from restaurants, car dealers, developers and the Lincoln Club, a pro-business group.
Donations for Prop D

The article notes the following donations.

  • City Firefighters Union - $153,800
  • San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council - $50,600
  • City Police Union - $52,000
  • Municipal Employees Association - $50,000
  • AFSCME - $28,2000

I have a problem with taxpayer dollars going to public unions who are supposed to be public servants, using my tax dollars to campaign for still higher tax dollars.

Someone needs to stop this insanity. I propose not only to eliminate collective bargaining but to outlaw public unions altogether on the grounds no one watches out for the public interest.

If you want to talk "radical", that's radical.

Sanders Claims to be a Republican

In calling for increased sales taxes to bail out public unions, Mayor Sanders proves he is in bed with the police and fire unions. Sanders is not only a liar, but the wimpiest Republican on the face of the earth, a total disgrace to the Republican party.

City Councilmember Carl DeMaio's Plan

Those looking for genuine reform can amazingly enough find it right on a city Councilmember's home page. Councilmember Carl DeMaio has a very nice website appropriately named "Clean Up City Hall"

Please consider DeMaio's “Roadmap to Recovery” Plan that Balances City’s Budget and Reforms Pension System.
SAN DIEGO –City Councilmember Carl DeMaio today unveiled a comprehensive five-year financial recovery plan that balances the city’s budget and restructures long-term city finances to eliminate the city’s structural budget deficit.

“To fix the city’s financial problems and safeguard our neighborhood services, we must embrace new approaches in city government,” noted DeMaio.

Titled the “Roadmap to Recovery,” DeMaio’s plan borrows some elements of the bankruptcy process – with the imposition of a five year mandatory spending caps, reorganizing city operations, and restructuring several significant liabilities facing the city.

The centerpiece of DeMaio’s plan is a heavy dose of pension reforms – including a freeze on “pensionable pay,” creation of several more affordable pension options, and requiring city employees to share in increased costs and investment risks in the pension system.

DeMaio noted that fixing the city’s financial problems will require several tough, but necessary adjustments in city labor contracts.
There are many elements to the plan. Please click on the preceding link and give it a look.

Click here for a nice Roadmap to Recovery Slideshow.

Note: If the document load with the wrong orientation. Click once on the document then, click on "Rotate Clockwise".

If you wish to see still more details please see the Full Copy of Roadmap to Recovery. That PDF is 89 pages.

I salute Councilmember Carl DeMaio and his Roadmap to Recovery for San Diego. He offers a genuine proposal, one that may work.

Other cities are in far too much trouble for anything but bankruptcy to work.

It's possible San Diego is in a state-of-no-return as well, but at least DeMaio offers some genuine alternatives. Meanwhile, Jerry Sanders offers nothing but lies, hoping to buy more votes from the police and fire unions.

If you live in San Diego, please support Carl DeMaio should he ever decide to take on Sanders and run for mayor. His plan shows he would be a capable mayor, deserving of your vote.

Email Sanders

If you live in San Diego, please forward this post to your friends and neighbors. You may also wish to Email JerrySanders@sandiego.gov to let him know just what you think.

It's time for genuine reform for public unions and their untenable pension plans.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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