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Blog Archives - 2006 Second Quarter

 

Judge Barton gets his answer - 06/30/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

Judge Barton now has an answer to his June 23, 2006 questions. The California Appeals Court ruled in the Carson City case that when any public official violates Government Code 1090 he/she spoils the whole pudding. The entire contract is void, no matter who suffers, even the innocent. Is that clear enough for you Judge Barton?

The appeals judge actually applied the law. Code 1090 means exactly what it says. If Judge Barton ignores Code 1090 he will be overthrown on appeal. And Code 1090 is not even the centerpiece of Mike Aguirre's legal argument.

Here is what I wrote on August 27, 2005, then read what I wrote on July 6, 2005, explaining how both the City Charter and State law prohibit granting "past service liabilities" (retroactive benefits): "You can’t increase the “multiplier” from 2.5% to 3% in the 25th year of a 30-year service and backdate it for 25 of those years. They created what is known as a "past service liability", which is illegal".

All that a
part altogether from the 1090 violations! So much for "hurdles that will be difficult to overcome" in
The Voice yesterday. Whose side are they on?

The law is the law no matter how much Ann Smith and Judie Italiano stomp their feet. And: Mayor Sanders is one of "the innocents". Tough Jerry.
 

 
 

Granting retroactive "benefits" is wrong. Period. - 06/29/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

Evan McLaughlin in The Voice today adopts Ann Smith's argument (he carefully referred to "attorneys in the case") and says that Aguirre's "debt-limit" argument presents "a hurdle that will be difficult to overcome". Essentially Ann Smith's argument is "everybody does it" and The Voice seem to have totally bought into it.

The Voice are pushing this notion that Aguirre's case against SDCERS will fail because it should have been brought by an individual taxpayer. McLaughlin even managed to squeeze a quote out of Pat Shea to support the idea: "It probably would have been better if it were brought on behalf of a nominal taxpayer".

The last figures published are for June 2003. God knows what it is now. As you can see "Underfunding" is only 10% of the problem. "Benefit Enhancements" and "Net Actuarial Losses" (a paper scam which "assumes" a rate of return of 8% on their investments, any shortfall being charged to us the taxpayer - with interest!) are what threatens this city with bankruptcy. And the unions call us "cheap" for not agreeing to a tax increase? On top of all that most of the "Benefit Enhancements" were
retroactive.
 

Investment Performance

6.00%

82,200,000

Underfunding by the City

10.00%

137,000,000

Use of Plan Earnings

 

12.00%

164,400,000

Net Actuarial Losses

 

31.00%

424,700,000

Benefit Enhancements

41.00%

561,700,000

 

 

 

 

$1,370,000,000

(Source: SDCERS actuary)

It does not matter how the 1996 and 2002 decisions were taken, at City Council or at SDCERS, they were simply illegal.

Not Ann Smith, not Judge Barton, not all the lawyers in Rancho Santa Fe, can disguise this basic, simple fact. And if Judge Barton rules otherwise, he will be overthrown by a jury or on appeal.
 

 
 

Just how good is this Ms. Windsor? - 06/28/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

How much heat is Jim Madaffer willing to take over Colleen Windsor?

Apparently Comical Jim told Andrew Donohue of
The Voice: "The [2006] $176,000 overage was covered by transfers of $120,000 and $26,000 from the district's infrastructure fund and PC replacement fund, respectively. An additional $30,000 had to come from additional revenue the city received above budget forecasts at the end of the year" and that for 2007 "he will use a work furlough program and "salary savings" to cover the additional unbudgeted expense in his office".

Donohue has calculated that that would "require the eight employees in his office to each take an average of $15,813 worth of unpaid leave in 2007".

Wow! Just how good is this Ms. Windsor? Or how much does she know?
 

 
 

Retroactivity - the key illegal act - 06/26/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

Hopefully Judge Barton will get clear answers to his muddled questions today. One fundamental fact should not get lost in the legal rhetoric: retroactive benefits added $500 million to the San Diego pension deficit. Now if that's not illegal, nothing is.

Neither Judge Barton, nor any other judge, can rule that the granting of retroactive employment benefits is legal "labor negotiations". Yet that is exactly what the City and its unions agreed to: retroactive benefits in return for pension underfunding. Not even the all-powerful city unions could "negotiate" what is simply
illegal.

I hope Mike is making that clear today. To me, the granting of retroactive benefits has always been the key illegal act. No City Council can change previous years' budgets.

And as for Judge Barton's scruples about some retirees "suffering", he needs to read
California's case law e.g. "whoever deals with a municipality is bound to know the extent of its powers". The city unions' case is a bit like buying the Brooklyn Bridge and going to court to enforce the contract. Good luck with that one Ann Smith.
 

 
 

Jim Madaffer is now San Diego's "Comical Ali" - 06/25/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

San Diego has its own "Comical Ali" - Jim Madaffer.
 
 

Remember "Comical Ali"? He was Saddam Hussein's "Information Minister".

Here are some of Ali's more "comical" quotes:
"They are not in Baghdad.  They are not in control of any airport.  I tell you this.  It is all a lie.  They lie.  It is a Hollywood movie.  You do not believe them." And: "Their infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad. Be assured, Baghdad is safe, protected."

Now read "Comical Jim's" letter in today's U-T where he asserts his absolute right as the elected representative for District 7 to decide "how best to allocate resources for the greatest good of the community". Like "Comical Ali" telling us that our Marines are committing mass suicide before the walls of Baghdad, our own "Comical Jim" wants us to believe that hiring Colleen Windsor is "essential for the greatest good of the community". He even outdoes Ali by asserting that by hiring Windsor "I am making a long-term investment that will benefit future generations".

Are we really as simple-minded as Madaffer thinks we are? Sometimes I wonder.

The truth of the matter is that Madaffer is covering for his old friend Dick Murphy. Ms. Windsor knows too much about both of them. Her price for silence is a good job with the city. If Madaffer is forced to fire her the local tabloids will have a field day.
 

 
 

Scott Peters is a disgrace to public office - 06/24/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

If you doubt that Scott Peters is the puppet of the city unions consider his declaration to Judge Barton in the City vs. SDCERS case. He has sworn to the court that Mike Aguirre lacks City Council authority to represent the City in this case when the contrary was clearly established at a public session of City Council on Tuesday August 9, 2005. On that date nobody on the City Council, including Peters who was present, challenged Assistant City Attorney Les Girard's important announcement.

This is what appears in the minutes: "
CITY ATTORNEY COMMENT: Assistant City Attorney Les Girard announced that last week in Closed Session by a unanimous vote with Districts 2 and 8 and the Mayor vacant, the City Council authorized the City Attorney to pursue a modified cross complaint in the action SDCERS versus City of San Diego and City Attorney Michael Aguirre. In addition, the Council by the same unanimous vote with Districts 2 and 8 and the Mayor vacant, authorized the filing of two cases against potential plaintiffs with regard to recovering of monies for professional services related to the pension issues."

The archived video link to this crucial
Aug 09, 2005
announcement has mysteriously vanished! Try it! The video of the meetings immediately prior to and immediately after that date are still there, as are all meetings going back to May 2004. This is tampering with public records. The city unions have a long reach!

Peters had his chance to challenge the City Attorney's announcement - on the day it was made. Now, under orders from his union bosses, he is trying to back peddle by effectively accusing
Assistant City Attorney Les Girard
of lying.

Whatever the outcome of this important case, Peters is not fit to serve as any city's Council President. He is a disgrace to public office and the legal profession. He is nothing more than a hired gun for the city unions. And whoever has tampered with the video archives, is no better. It is time we took our city back from these people.
 

 
 

Peyton Place by the sea? - San Diego - 06/22/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

This Madaffer/Windsor story just will not go away. Today the U-T actually did an editorial on it. But they completely missed the point! The point is not who should be paying her salary, but what is Madaffer doing hiring her in the first place?

Matt Potter's
story of how this Colleen Windsor, an ex TV news reporter, edged out Elena Christiano, an ex TV news writer, to became Mayor Murphy's press secretary, is a must-read even though it appeared in the Reader back on June 27, 2002.

Potter asked himself: "How did the 36-year-old Cristiano, who had never before worked for an elected official -- let alone in the high-profile position of press secretary to mayor of America's sixth-largest city -- get her job at city hall?" That's why he phoned and interviewed her (after she was eased out of course).

Christiano made a veiled reference to her "personal" relationship with John Kern and with Charles Steinberg of the Padres (she and Steinberg even owned a condo together while she worked for Murphy!). Is this a glimpse into "Peyton-Place-by-the-sea"?

After you have labored through Matt's lengthy account of Christiano's (self-described) sordid life with a series of powerful and abusive men, you have to wonder what in the world was she doing in Mayor Murphy's office? Working under John Kern?

She told Matt how she went from "waitressing at Seau's, barely surviving on welfare ... to a job with the "Pad Squad," cheerleaders for the San Diego Padres, where she met Padres executive Charles Steinberg, whom she now calls "my mentor and dear, dear friend."

She goes on to tell how while with the "Pad Squad" she was also a news writer for Channel 39, the local NBC affiliate, and how she became officially involved with The Padres: "Then I went to writing for them [Padres] and producing ballpark-related promotional things  ........ my position with the Padres allowed me to have good working knowledge of the ballpark situation, so that was helpful." Matt thought: "Whether by coincidence or not, the end of Cristiano's tenure at city hall came just as the Padres and the city were able to reach a final legal agreement to sell the bonds needed to build the new ballpark".

Was Christiano Moore's Mata Hari in the Mayor's Office? Dumped when no longer useful? Is Windsor another Mata Hari? If so, for whom? "Redevelopment" is a dark and murky world on which Windsor seems to have become an expert while working for Murphy. Time to do another story Matt? Well maybe not yet, you'll probably have to wait until she too gets dumped before she spills her guts to you over the telephone.

Meanwhile Colleen is in the news (a dangerous place to be Colleen) and showing signs of being every bit as fascinating in her relationship with powerful men as was her predecessor, Elena Christiano. Remember: if they'll do it with you, they'll do it to you.

Daniel Strumpf at City Beat got into the
Colleen Windsor story pretty heavily at the time Madaffer hired her last year and even got into a little spat with KUSI's Doug Curlee who sided with Windsor and Madaffer, as Dan describes in this followup story
.

On a personal note, I watched (in fascination, for two years) how this same Colleen Windsor managed a phony Sister City project with a development company in Ireland, not with a city, not with an elected body of any kind, for her boss Dick Murphy. And she did it right out of the Mayor's Office, even using that high office as the official address of the 501(c)3 company incorporating this so-called sister city organization!

That shady little project came unstuck and still reflects badly on Murphy's reputation. Its exposure may even have played a part in his resignation. Windsor's management of it may bode ill for whatever project she is now managing for her new boss, Madaffer.

Stay tuned, film at eleven.
 

 
 

Mel Shapiro, a real watchdog - 06/21/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

If you do nothing else today listen to Mel Shapiro (my hero) deliver his 5 minutes public comment before the City Council yesterday. Go to Item 332, 6 hrs 20 mins in. Mel is a real watchdog. Like Shipione, he asks the right questions. U-T take note.
 

 
 

Voting for the 2007 Budget was an illegal act - 06/21/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

Diann Shipione's June 5, 2006 full response to the Audit Committee's inquiry ends with: "Questions for the Audit Committee".

It occurs to me that these questions are exactly the right questions to ask the City Council. Diann has informed them that (in her opinion) the final adoption of the 2007 budget (paying only $162 million into the pension fund) amounted to an illegal borrowing from the SDCERS Pension Trust.

Back in 2002 Donna Frye wisely listened to Ms. Shipione's warnings and cast the sole dissenting vote against MP-II. Again, wisely, Donna cast the sole dissenting vote on May 30th 2006 saying that in her opinion the 2007 budget was underfunding the pension system. Unlike the other Councilors, clear thinking Donna does not need expensive defense lawyers at taxpayers' expense.

The 2007 budget undoubtedly DID underfund the City's pension fund, therefore its adoption was an illegal act. Hiding behind actuaries will not save the individual Councilors who knowingly committed that illegal act on May 30th 2006.

Here are Diann's questions:

"QUESTIONS FOR THE AUDIT COMMITTEE:

Finally, I have the following questions, which would be helpful for the Audit Committee to clearly answer:

1.      Is it ok to calculate pension contributions based on assumptions that are negotiated in settlements by parties who do not have as their primary objective the correct funding of the pension system; but rather have their own economic interests in mind?   Is it ok to balance the budget by incurring debt to the pension system (my emphasis)?

3.      Is it ok to defer annual required pension contributions into the future? If so, how many years or decades may the City defer payments? May the City intentionally underfund for an indefinite period of time?

4.      May the City take contribution holidays to the pension system when payments are delayed one or more years?

5.      May the City make deficient contributions with a balloon payment owed in the future? If so, how many years may the City defer the balloon payment?

6.      Can the City receive a loan from the Pension System? If so, what is the maximum amount? What is the maximum time frame for repayment for the loan?

7.      Is it ok for the Council to rely on the SDCERS actuary for the calculation of the annual required contribution even if questions exist regarding the fact that the calculated contribution amount is deficient and underfunds?

8.      Should the City hire an actuary to determine the appropriate calculations if there are questions regarding the reliability and motives of SDCERS and its actuary?

9.      What other payments may the City defer indefinitely into the future besides the pension contribution?

10.  Is it ok for the City to create debt with no known source of revenue for funding? If so, what is the maximum amount of debt that may be created this way? Is the amount unlimited?

11.  What are the standards of disclosure for the City Council when it knowingly and intentionally underfunds the pension system?

Respectfully,
Diann Shipione
Former SDCERS Trustee"
 

 
 

Nancy "R2-D2" Graham - 06/20/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

This line in today's report by U-T staff writer Dani Dodge regarding developer Doug Manchester's plans for our city's iconic bay front project: "The plans will be presented at a June 28 board meeting of the Centre City Development Corp., the city's downtown planning agency" speaks volumes about how this city is governed.

What continues to amaze me is that there is so little public outrage about the fact that these plans will not be presented to the City Council but to an unelected body called the CCDC, headed by the developers' faithful little robot Nancy "R2-D2" Graham, the unelected mayor of downtown. So far our "watchdog newspaper" has treated this state of affairs as perfectly normal. I think this self-styled "watchdog newspaper" needs a watchdog - which is one of the reasons I write this blog.

If you think we should be concerned about the power of unelected people such as Nancy
"R2-D2" Graham, write: letters@uniontrib.com
 

 
 

Aguirre is preparing for his date with Judge Barton on Monday - 06/20/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

To paraphrase Nixon "when you grab them by the wallet their hearts and minds soon follow". Former City Manager Jack McGrory knew how that works. "Greed happened" in 1996 and in 2002, no doubt about that. Now Mike Aguirre has a date with Judge Barton on Monday and is hyping his side of this sordid story. That is why yesterday we got to hear the 1996 tape of  how McGrory "grabbed them by the wallet". It is all part of Mike's strategy. Good. After all he represents us.

Jennifer Vigil Phil Mickelson;
attorney Bob Rose, who represents former pension board member John Torres. Rose not surprisingly suggested an alternative topic for an Aguirre press conference: Mike dropping Torres and the other city employees from his suit before Judge Barton on Monday. Fair enough Jennifer and Bob.

But then for further "balance" Vigil reported a Rebecca Wilson, retirement system spokeswoman: “There was no conscious effort to keep the tapes from him .... I mean, they're public record.” That's right Rebecca, they are public record. But Mike had to practically steal them from the pension board who fought like tigers to keep them from him. Remember their desperate attempts to cover everything under attorney-client privilege? And how Mike had to forcibly "appropriate" dozens of boxes of "public records" from city officials offices? Good for Mike. He knew those tapes were a smoking gun and that they wanted to keep them under wraps.

As for him dropping his case against Bob Rose's client and others, read
Jennifer's report when Mike filed it back in July last year. Perhaps Mike has decided to clear the underbrush around his central case against the City and rely on what Vigil described (last July) as "a separate criminal case being pursued by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis charges Lexin, Saathoff, Torres, Webster, Wilkinson and Mary Vattimo, a former board member, with felony conflicts of interest". Felonies! Mike's was just a civil case. Have you noticed Bonnie Dumanis' teeth lately? Mike is a pussy cat compared to our ambitious female District Attorney. Now she's got teeth.

I am glad that Mike has let (relatively newcomer) City Auditor John Torell off the hook who is not among those charged by Dumanis. Aguirre had included the City Auditor because he wanted the court to order him to stop paying the disputed 1996 and 2002 benefits into the pension system until the court ruled on their legality. Torell demurred.

So now we await the only opinion that matters: that of Judge Barton.
 

 
 

Is sweetheart bond financing part of the giveaways? - 06/16/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

San Diego deserves its "Enron by the sea" moniker. Insider financial manipulators are still at it while the city's occupants are lulled to sleep by the soothing omissions of its one and only daily newspaper. Like a city crier announcing: "3:00 A.M. and all's well" while the city burns, U-T staff writer Matt Hall  reported the issuance of a $100 million bond yesterday as if it were "June 16, 2006 in San Diego and all's well".

Quoting a city spokesperson he reported: "the bonds were sold with yields of 7.125 percent. They were bought by four or five unnamed investors who are expected to finalize their deals in a few days" and that "Sanders described the rate as “real good,” while City Council President Scott Peters called it “pretty good”".

As a California licensed mortgage broker I can get just about anybody a 30 year fixed mortgage today for approximately 6.5%. Mortgage Banking companies daily inundate my fax machine with solicitations for my mortgage origination business. Those companies are eager to risk their investor's money on my eBuyRealty.com clients, who only have their job income and their overpriced homes as collateral.

Now look at what the city has to offer: a higher interest rate, better collateral and tax free status! Here is what I wrote on 12/17/05: "
Auditor John Torell disappears into a black hole" (I am still awaiting an explanation from him).

For background on this (smelly) $152 million B of A deal read the following blogs:
"How do you "restructure"  a bad loan? - 10/21/05",  "Somebody at City Hall made a lot of money today - 10/24/05", "City finances are a strange thing to be sure - 10/26/05" and "Oh Lord it's hard to be patient - 11/03/05".

Why is nobody in the press asking the questions I asked John Torell? I would urge Matt Hall to listen and watch city staffer
Dennis Kahlie's presentation before the City Council on October 24, 2005. It is Item 200 "Restructuring of Sewer System Interim Financing" and starts at 1:12 mins. He clearly stated he was able to get "3% money" from B of A  which he characterized as "not bad". Matt Hall on behalf of the U-T should ask for that settlement statement, as I did. Perhaps he will have better luck.

Why are we now paying 7.125% or was the October, 2005 B of A deal phony and unnecessary? If so, city staffers like Kahlie were willing accomplices. If not, they should be asked to please explain, starting with full disclosure of the B of A deal.
 

 
 

Bankruptcy? Bring it on! - 06/09/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

Reaction to what will probably become known as the 2006 "McGuigan Settlement", signed yesterday by Sanders, Peters and Aguirre on behalf of the City and Michael Conger on behalf of plaintiff William McGuigan, is not in yet but I will stick my neck out and predict that the unions will not be pleased, that Ann Smith will not be amused.

It seems to me that in item 9 Aguirre has succeeded in binding all pension beneficiaries to desist from all further claims of under funding. I wonder if Ann Smith will protest that little item before the City Council when it comes before them for final approval.

Now that Conger, that insatiable Rancho Santa Fe "claims" attorney, has extracted another big fat fee from the City and will no longer be snapping at Aguirre's heels, Mike can concentrate on his fight to roll back the illegal pension benefits.

Who knows, maybe Conger will join him. There will be rich pickings for private attorneys if it turns out, as many believe, that some Council members conspired with SDCERS to approve illegal pension benefits. Conger may extract a few more Rancho Santa Fe mortgage payments from the City - he seems to have made a career out of it.

Judie Italiano, now that she has extracted her own promise from the current SDCERS board to uphold her "presidential benefit", made part of the infamous MPII deal in November 2002, will probably stay in the background and let Ann Smith duke it out with Aguirre in court. Italiano has always let others do her dirty work for her. She was smart enough not to go on the SDCERS board herself, for example.

It may be that she is ultimately relying on the bankruptcy court to protect her "presidential benefit". If so, she is mistaken. A bankruptcy judge would vigorously question all outstanding claims against the City. The quickest way to prove the merits of Aguirre's legal position would be to go before a bankruptcy judge.
 

 
 

Is there Valium in the water? - 06/08/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

Why did I and so many others spend countless hours  working on Donna Frye’s campaign last year when even if she had won the mayor’s race she would be powerless to influence what will be built on the 14.7 acre Navy Broadway Complex, often referred to as San Diego's front door, where our equivalent of the Sydney Opera House should be built? Or maybe that's why we worked on Donna's campaign.

In any case guess who gets to decide what will be built there: a bunch of developers' lackeys called the CCDC.

If this is not another flagrant case of corporate welfare, then I don’t know what is. Like Corky McMillan at “Liberty Station” Doug Manchester now gets to build a mega complex of his choosing on our city’s front door. He can do it because our elected City Council continues to declare this 14.7 acres, the most prime land in America, blighted! What is the matter with us? Is there Valium in the water?

Now read
today’s UT report blithely telling us that Manchester Financial Group officials presented the designs yesterday to the real estate committee of the redevelopment agency”.  And who did the UT reporter call for comment? Not anybody on the City Council! He called Hal Sadler who said “I think what you're seeing is a work in process”. And who is Hal Sadler? Former Chairman of CCDC now working for Doug Manchester (not that he wasn’t working for him while he was CCDC chairman). What an incestuous little group they are.

Nancy Graham, our unelected Downtown Mayor, fresh from Jeb Bush's Florida, heads up the agency that will decide San Diego’s answer to Sydney’s Opera House. 

And if the only newspaper you read is the UT, it will all seem perfectly normal to you.
 

 
 

Do they think we have forgotten? - 06/07/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

This memorable 2001 piece in The Reader tells the story of the de la Fuente case better than I can. It tells so much about how San Diego was misgoverned under successive Republican giveaway administrations. Thank you Matt Potter.

Can you imagine the skullduggery that would still be going on if termed-out establishment fixer Casey Gwinn was succeeded by his protégé Leslie Devaney?

The de la Fuente "award" was only one of many city giveaways engineered by City Attorney Casey Gwinn with a wink and a nod. The Liberty Station giveaway was one of the most outrageous in American history. It would be hard to find an equal anywhere across the country. It was signed by Gwinn and has yet to be investigated.

No wonder the City Attorney's Office is so contentious, it is where most of the skullduggery took place. That is why it was so coveted by the corrupt establishment.

Let's hope
yesterday's decision by a state appeals court overturning developer Roque De La Fuente's $100 million "award" is the beginning of the end of corporate welfare in San Diego. Let's roll back the illegal pension benefits to the unions and strip the McMillan Co. of its ill-gotten billions at Liberty Station. That would be a good start.
 

 
 

It's time the media got it right about Aguirre and the pension - 06/06/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

Mike Aguirre's  response to Sunday's U-T editorial  only raises more questions. Why did the U-T not report that Aguirre had "filed documents asking the court to deny relief on the grounds that the McGuigan litigation had already been resolved in an earlier case" despite the fact that Mike sent them copies?

Did he also send copies to the Voice and if so why did they not report it? If Mike had not mentioned it in his letter we would not have known about it. Is the Voice now trying to outdo the U-T in slamming Aguirre?
Scott Lewis today called for "
more taxes, a big real estate auction or massive service cuts"! That's the union line!

Mike seems to be the only one around here who makes any sense. It is time both the U-T and the Voice understood one simple truth: it was individual employees who committed the illegal acts, not the city. The problem of course is that most of those individuals were city union members, their illegal acts benefited the city unions and the sycophant city media will not lay a glove on the all-powerful city unions.

Keep it up Mike. The fact remains that at least half of the $1.4 billion pension deficit consists of illegally granted benefits. Those benefits have to be rolled back before anything else happens. There is no way the good people of this city will agree to either "
more taxes, a big real estate auction or massive service cuts" to pay for illegal benefits, no matter how often Ann Smith stomps her petulant foot at the Council podium or no matter how much our 
morally bankrupt media don't get it.
 

 
 

The Union-Tribune keeps up its rant against Aguirre - 06/04/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

The real meat of today's U-T rant against Mike Aguirre is captured in this quote: "The only way the arrangement will work is if Aguirre gets out of the way and allows the outside counsel to do his job without interference from the City Attorney's Office."

The U-T would like all this city's legal affairs handled by "outside counsel", "without interference from the City Attorney's Office." They just don't like Aguirre. They had become accustomed to having a compliant (Republican) City Attorney, now they say the problem is Mike's temperament. Maybe the problem is that Mike is a Democrat (and a good one at that), maybe the U-T just doesn't like the Democratic temperament.

If they really cared about this city they would be writing editorials protesting the hiring of private attorneys at taxpayer expense defending rogue city employees who sold our city down the river for personal gain. Aguirre's sin is that he wants to insulate the city from the criminal activities of a few individuals. Mike wants to shield us while the U-T wants us to pay up on illegal promises. Who has the best interest of this city at heart?
 

 
 

Downtown San Diego is no longer part of San Diego City - 06/03/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

You may have read this article by U-T staff reporter Janette Steele, but did you notice anything disturbing about it? I did. It makes the coup d'etat that has occurred downtown seem perfectly normal. Private parks! Private fire stations!

Ms. Steele writes "The city's Redevelopment Agency will float $109 million in bonds to pay for downtown parks, affordable-housing projects, fire stations and a dozen other types of amenities in the city center." She finishes: "Nancy Graham, president of the Centre City Development Corp., said four new downtown parks are in the works and her agency is poised to start architectural drawings for one or more new fire stations."

An unelected "Downtown Mayor" (this
Nancy Graham whom I don't remember voting for) has more power than Mayor Sanders. Yet Sanders has lauded this usurpation of his powers. Government by redevelopment agencies is perfectly proper as far as the U-T and Jerry Sanders are concerned, so long as it serves the Republican ideology.

Republicans pride themselves on being anti-government and "pro business" - in reality pro big business. Under the auspices of CCDC San Diego's downtown real estate developers are now building their own fire stations! Why do we need city government when real estate developers can run their "redevelopment areas" as their own private fiefdoms? On our tax dollars! For all practical purposes downtown San Diego is no longer part of San Diego city. And that's the way the U-T and Sanders want it?
 

 
 

What is Scott Peters afraid of? - 05/16/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

Yesterday, a well-known hit man for the Municipal Employee's Association, attorney Dan Coffee acting under the sickening protection of Council President Scott Peters (who himself owes his Council Presidency position to MEA sponsorship) demeaned the decorum of City Hall by engaging in a lengthy and disgusting personal rant against our elected City Attorney Mike Aguirre.

Why? Because Peters and his MEA friends are in mortal dread of the growing wrath of the people over the rape of the city's pension fund. Peters even allowed Howard Guess, well known to him as an MEA member and fierce opponent of Aguirre, to masquerade as an Aguirre supporter so that Peters could allocate 15 more minutes to those opposing Aguirre. Now that's dirty pool and Aguirre called him on it.

Yesterdays' rants coordinated by Peters clearly indicates how desperately some Council Members fear the growing success of Aguirre's pursuit of pension illegalities.

The election of Mike Aguirre deprived the MEA and their Council friends (a devil's brew if ever there was one) of a compliant City Attorney. Previous holders of that Office such as Casey Gwinn not only facilitated the MEA in raping the City by ignoring the illegal pension benefits but by signing off on the billion dollar giveaway to developer Corky McMillan and "negotiating" the notorious Chargers' ticket guarantee.

So rather than being offended by yesterday's coordinated rants I am encouraged that Mike Aguirre's fight against greed is starting to bite.

It seems to me that Peters for one is feeling the heat. If an American icon like Congressman "Duke" Cunningham can go to the pokey, mere City Council Members are clearly vulnerable. If Scott Peters has no consciousness of guilt why is he resisting Aguirre's request for a deposition regarding his involvement in the pension problem? Why will Peters not sit down with our City Attorney and help him in his enquiries? To me such behavior has all the hallmarks of consciousness of guilt.
 

 
 

And the cover-up goes on - 05/10/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

Anybody who watched ITEM-S403: "Authorization of Funding for Audit Committee and Related Entities" on Monday, May 8th 2006, can be left with no doubt that our City Council again voted to pay Kroll & Co for their ignominious part in the ongoing cover-up of the massive fraud committed on the people of this city in the granting of illegal pension benefits to certain City Council Members and their city union backers.

Tony Dahlberg of Kroll & Co admitted spending four hours with KPMG last week, presumably to set it all up. Jim Madaffer (was he at that meeting?) then led off for the City by helping Dahlberg establish an escape hatch from ever issuing a report.

All Dahlberg needs between now and mid June (the fake deadline for issuing a report) is something "completely unanticipated". That is the setup.

It should pose no problem for KPMG to come up with something "completely unanticipated" as the last thing they want to do is to ever issue a 2003 audit report let alone defend it. Aguirre gave a hint as to to how they will oblige Kroll by telling us how John Tyrrell, our City Auditor, told him how KPMG are currently asking questions which would normally be asked at the beginning or the middle of the audit - for 2003!

These guys have no intention of ever issuing a 2003 audit and the Council knows it.

Monday's piece of theatre was purely for the cameras, ably choreographed by Jim Madaffer. Yet our media reported the whole sorry charade as if it were for real.
 

 
 

We elected Mike Aguirre, not Bob Kittle - 05/08/06

 
 

by Pat Flannery

Our City Attorney, the one we elected, does not need the City Council's permission to do his job - to enforce civil law. Does our Police Chief require the Council's  permission to arrest a City Councilor if he or she robs a bank? Just as the Police Chief's job is to enforce criminal law, the City Attorney's job is to enforce civil law. Those charged with either get their day in court to defend themselves.

By resisting Aguirre's right to file a civil lawsuit against them Peters, Murphy et al are resisting the law itself. Their actions correspond exactly to a robber resisting arrest.

Our one daily newspaper persists in characterizing this battle as a personal slogging match between Mike Aguirre and members of the City Council. This is not a personal battle. This goes to the very core of our democratic system.

Our democratic system rests on three great pillars: (1) that sovereignty is vested in "We the People", not in any higher power; (2) that we are "a government of laws not of men"; (3) that the will of the majority always prevails, i.e. "majority rule".

But can a majority always be right? Is there some innate wisdom in numbers? The answer of course is that a majority is not always right. It is only presumed to be right, based on a further presumption that decisions are made by a well informed people. This last presumption is the very core of our democratic system.

My point is that without a well informed people democracy cannot work.

Now look at what is happening in our city. Our only daily newspaper is actually feeding us MISINFORMATION.

Don't take my word for it, read our
City Attorney's letter to that newspaper last Saturday, May 6th 2006
where he accuses them of "undermining the litigation that would eliminate the illegal pension benefits that threaten to bankrupt the city". He further accuses them of seeking to "shut the door on the very litigation and investigation that would protect taxpayers by stopping the payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal pension benefits".

Bob Kittle, the presumed author of that May 5th 2006 editorial attack on Aguirre, knows very well that "public release of transcripts involving pending litigation could prejudice the city's case" (to quote Aguirre). The awesome reality is that that is exactly what Kittle wants! To muddy the waters surrounding Aguirre's civil case.

When the editorial board of our only daily newspaper persistently attacks our elected City Attorney (to protect its own wealthy friends) our democracy itself is under attack. This should only make the rest of us ordinary citizens all the more determined to get to the bottom of whatever it is our "ruling class" and their "newspaper" are hiding from us.
 

 

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