OK, Mayor Jerry Sanders has put out two really joke-worthy press releases the last two days.

I was going to let the first one pass, as I have a lot on my plate these days, but then I got the second one.

It reads like this:

I am pleased to announce that San Diego has been named the 7th best Fitness-Walking City of the 100 largest American cities by Prevention magazine.  Prevention magazine and the American Podiatric Medical Association teamed up to study the walkability of 100 of the country’s most populated cities.

So San Diego is the seventh-best “fitness-walking” city in the country.

You know they’re digging for positive things to say at the Mayor’s Office when they put out announcements that the city is rated the seventh-best city to walk by Prevention magazine.

After all, we were No. 7. Yes, that’s better than, say, No. 52. But it’s still seventh place. Henderson, Nev. was No. 6.

And let’s take this a little further. The Chargers were, arguably, the seventh-best team in the National Football League last year.

And their coach got fired!

Here were the factors:

  • % of pop that walks for exercise
  • Use of mass transit
  • Parks per square mile
  • Points of interest per square mile
  • Avg winter/summer temperatures
  • % of athletic shoe buyers

Should we really be proud that, grading on these scales, San Diego couldn’t beat Henderson, NV?

Again, who cares, right? My pique mainly comes from the mayor’s press release yesterday. He’s showing a dangerous tendency to, like his predecessors, try to paint lipstick on portly little pigs.

Hoping to tout how far along this path of reform he’s brought us, Sanders issued a statement:

Back in August, I unveiled my implementation plan for reform of the City’s finances. The centerpiece of my reform plan was the implementation of all 121 remediation actions recommended in the Kroll report. I’m pleased to report that we’re making very good progress in moving forward on these actions.

So what were his three top accomplishments in that regard? Let’s start with No. 1.

Oversight Monitor — The appointment of an Independent Monitor was a significant accomplishment as it will assist the City in compliance with SEC requirements and monitoring of the City’s Kroll remediation efforts.

Accomplishment? I suppose. They got someone to take a job that will pay $4 million over the next three years. Nice, good work. Oh, and, it was a requirement of the city’s settlement with the SEC.

No. 2:

Audit Committee — The City has implemented the Mayor’s interim Audit Committee plan. An Audit Committee has been established and is in operation.

This was imposed by the City Council and it’s completely different than what the mayor and Kroll envisioned. There is nothing to indicate — at all — that it is “interim” other than the vague promise that the mayor has made that he will try to change the city’s charter through a vote of the people in the next several years.

No. 3:

Budgeting/Forecasting Items — A number of items have been completed in this area including the issuance of the City’s first five-year financial plan; publication of the 2007 budget by month and department; a final budget to actual comparison for the 2006 budget.

OK, this is a three-parter. The city’s first five-year plan, like I’ve said repeatedly, is a great document. But it’s no “plan.” Again, it’s a pretty good accounting of the city’s many debts and liabilities along with a promise to pay them. But it is no plan to pay them.

It’s like saying me saying I have a plan to pay credit card debt. What’s my plan? Well, here’s my debt and I’m going to pay it off. That’s not a plan. A plan would be one that actually showed where I was going to find the money to pay off my credit card debt — what am I going to cut from my budget, where am I going to get more revenue.

Where’s the beef?

Now, as to the final two parts, the mayor’s budget for this year was an incomprehensible monster that took two supplements to complete. And last thing it can be said to have successfully done is compare itself to the year before. It just doesn’t do that.

SCOTT LEWIS

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