In recent years, San Diego’s municipal struggles have grabbed the national spotlight. Reporters from all over parachute in when we have indictments, resignations, reports and other attention-grabbing stuff. The Economist even reported on Mayor Dick Murphy’s resignation.
It looks like they might be kind of bored with San Diego by now. The Los Angeles Times, which has two reporters here, didn’t even write on the SEC’s findings yesterday that the city had committed securities fraud by not revealing the gravity of its financial condition.
But, The New York Times did do a piece, focusing on the fact that the settlement was the first SEC sanction against a municipality in the new era of massive government pension debts.
The story featured a cameo from former audit committee consultant Lynn Turner, the former SEC official whose group of private consultants conducted an 18-month investigation into City Hall that cost $20.3 million in taxpayer funds.
Turner wasn’t pleased with the SEC settlement.
“No one’s being held accountable,” said Lynn E. Turner, a former chief accountant for the S.E.C. “Doesn’t it send a message to government officials that they can live on the edge?”
However, the SEC said in interviews and in a statement that its investigation into individuals was ongoing. One SEC official told me in an interview that while it was not typical to separate individuals from an entity when bringing sanctions, the commission had decided to do so in this case because of remediation steps taken by the city.
And the Wall Street Journal also did a small piece (subscription required). They also noted that they blame the Republican National Convention and the Super Bowl for some of the city’s money problems:
The Wall Street Journal chronicled San Diego’s financial woes in a page-one story in 2005, saying the city suffered a cash crunch in 1996 after hosting the Republican National Convention and bidding to host the Super Bowl, among other expenses.