The Morning Report
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you need to take on the day.

But …

  • Those Marines were at it again. They again, decided not to donate their property – this time not for a new airport, but (at the corner of Interstate 15 and Route 52) not for a new Charger stadium. What are they thinking? Are we at war or something?
  • We were able to have a press conference about yet another (is this the fourth?) Chargers task force, this one a joint powers authority made up of several government agencies, not (yet) including National City or Chula Vista, the cities most capable of turning a stadium trick at this point. I predict that the effort to park this on someone else’s turf will only result in this being parked on our (city of San Diego) doorstep at the end. Hope I’m wrong. I hate always being right.
  • Aguirre got a paddling again by the U-T Ed. Board for not agreeing to submit to the mayor’s “ethics audit” program. This is the one where any employee can “anonymously” turn in an “I’m so unhappy” slip to the mayor’s office. Then there would be investigations and, well, you know. No room for mischief there. I particularly like the “anonymous” element of all that. Really speaks to honesty and commitment. The anonymous thing would never be used for political advantage, would it? Nah! So, Aguirre said no. His employees are required to report all unethical conduct, with their names on it. They don’t, they get fired. Which is a better system for the public? The U-T likes the mayor’s system.
  • We found out that San Diego folks’ average life expectancy has now jumped to 79 years. For city pension and health care guarantees, this means the city will be responsible for payments for about 24 years of monthly retirement benefits, on average, if a city employee retires at 55 (safety can retire at 50 so that would be 29 years of guaranteed retirement and health care payments). Those retirement benefits get a 2 percent COLA increase every year, so those multi-billion retirement deficits also need to be back filled to support a 60 percent increase in the obligation to each city retiree over their expected retirement life. I didn’t see the Kroll’s answer for that part of the problem (or the mayor’s, or the City Council’s or the U-T’s).
  • The U-T Ed. Board has weighed in on the federal sewage waiver for the Point Loma sewage plant with another “we don’t do the hard work in San Diego” position. They argue that if we are required to do what we are legally obligated to do it will cost us “another” billion (notice how small the word “billion” is becoming?) which is not fair to the public. Oddly, the idea of taxpayers’ paying the admittedly illegal multi-billion dollar pension deficit is more “fair” from their view. Go figure.

Steve Bilson recounts:

Like it or not, the City entered into a deal with the US EPA in 1994 whereby the City took $54 million in federal bucks to help build the North City Water Reclamation Plant in exchange for a promise to reuse a large percentage of that reclaimed water. Like it or not, the federal Ocean Pollution Reduction Act also requires the city to reuse a lot of that reclaimed water. The penalty for not satisfying those water reuse mandates is upgrading the Pt. Loma sewer treatment plant to the tune of $1 billion.

We took the money; we made the promises; we lied. Now we want to be relieved of our promises but keep the money. Anything sound familiar in any of this?

It seems that most of our reclaimed water (which costs us $5,200 per acre foot vs. $475 per fresh water acre foot) is simply dumped into the ocean, which really doesn’t meet our “use” requirement with the EPA. If we instituted a system to require reclaimed water for irrigation and industrial purposes we would meet the EPA requirements and not have to play the San Diego “we’re too dumb” card again. We’d save money, (not be in Dutch with at least one federal regulatory agency – that would be a switch) and do good works for the environment besides.

There are other alternatives to the “we’re too dumb” argument, if we want to grow up about it.

PAT SHEA

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