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Couple of points for the weekend:
- So I got a ton of e-mails from police officers about the column Thursday advocating a series of pay raises for police officers in exchange for an increase in the retirement age from 50 years old to 55. I thought it was a good idea (not mine) and I hoped, and was happy to see, that most cops I heard from took it like I meant it: as an attempt at a constructive discourse.
But this supportive e-mail, from a spouse, was unique:
I would agree with your plan. My husband is a police officer and I am really hoping he does not retire at 50 — he will drive me crazy with boredom. However, he might not survive until 50 if we do not improve the recruitment and retention program at the police department.
The one issue that is not mentioned is the impact on officer safety and the families of these officers. My husband works 3rd shift in a high crime area, and due to the officer shortage, he usually rides alone. That means that he does not have a partner during a number of his shifts. He has been hurt on the job twice in the last six months during altercations and foot chases. Not severely, but bad enough to scare me. You are correct, they should get more take-home pay. However, I would rather see the raise happen to improve the conditions at the police department, increase officer safety, and provide the city with adequate protection.
If my husband wanted to get rich, he would have selected a different career. He does it for more altruistic reasons than money. Officers are leaving because they can get paid considerably more in other communities to work in a safer, less busy area. I respect that my husband loves his job and he is dedicated to the community that he serves. I love this community too. However, I love my family more and for that reason, we need to find a solution. He can retire at 55, if he is still around.
She asked me to keep her name private.
- Jeff Jordon, an officer and board member of the police officers union, will be hosting the Café Monday. I’m sure he has some thoughts on all of this.
- There’s been a lot of talk about California’s potential early presidential primary. I’ve been all over this story because of the potential effects it might have on local elections. After all, if they move the whole primary from June 2008 to February 2008, you will start to see candidates for mayor, city attorney and City Council begin their campaigns, well, now.
But as we’ve discovered, it appears that the legislators don’t want to move the whole primary to February, just the presidential primary. That would make us go to the polls three, yes, three, times in 2008. But it also might allow termed out members of the Assembly and state Senate to stay in office a little longer. Here is my interview with Assemblyman George Plescia, another with state Sen. Christine Kehoe and another with Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña on the subject.
The U-T Thursday weighed in on the matter with an editorial, but it’s not exactly clear whether the U-T editorial board actually supports splitting the primary, moving the presidential vote up to February and leaving the local elections in June. And it seems odd that the paper still, apparently, hasn’t put its reporters on the story.
Again this is a big deal because if Legislators do want to move California’s presidential primary to February and actually give voters here a chance to see and hear from the candidates hoping to be nominated by their parties to run for president, then it seems like the cost-effective way to do it would be to move the entire primary to February, which would also include the elections for local offices.
Here’s a great update on the story with it’s national implications. Everyone seems to want the presidential primary to move up, and, as The New York Times pointed out with this story and illustrative graphic, a February California primary would, indeed, have a massive effect on the presidential candidates.
But no local candidate can seriously consider a run for office less than a year in advance. At least I don’t think any non-multi-millionaire could mount a campaign in less than a year. If you’re a politico and you think otherwise, shoot me an e-mail and I’ll post it.
Back to the point: There are a lot of intriguing questions hanging around the city and county right now. Who’s going to run for mayor? Will anyone try to challenge the big guy for a city’s top spot? Steve Francis? Jim “Put Solar Panels On Top Of Your Hats” Bell?
Who’s going to run for city attorney? Will Mike Aguirre run again? Will anyone run against him? Scott Peters? Alan “I Could Be Making Lots Of Bucks In A Different Job But I Came Back To San Diego For A Reason” Bersin? Chris Morris? Who’s going to run in the city’s District 1, which will be an open seat along with three other spots?
Will Pam Slater-Price run for her county supervisor seat again? If not, who will? Her press dude John Weil? Brian “Remember How Awesome I Was During The Fire?” Maienschien? Jim Madaffer? Dan “I’m Way Taller Than You” McAllister? Nah, he’s got a couple of more years in his spot doesn’t he?
If California does decide to move its whole primary up, we will know the answers to these questions sooner than you might think — as in a few weeks. But, say some of these people, and the dozens of others out there mulling a run for local office, don’t make up their mind for a while. If the Legislature dilly dallies on a decision about what to do, a lot of people could be suddenly caught off guard if they decided to move the whole primary to February.
That’s what I think anyway. Have a nice weekend.