Wednesday, May 30, 2007 | Last week, the San Diego County Taxpayer’s Association (SDCTA) smugly and self-importantly announced its finalists for the 2007 Golden Fleece Award. One of the finalists was the San Diego County Retirement Association (SDCERA) because of SDCERA’s attempt to force the recusal of County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who sits on both the County Board of Supervisors and also the SDCERA Board, on matters relating to a poorly though out and inept poison pill proposal that she had authored as a County Supervisor regarding SDCERA’s health care structure. To set the record straight, I would like to nominate my own awards in response to SDCTA’s finalist choices:

Most Transparent (Yet Trivial) Connivance of the Year — Supervisor Dianne Jacob for allowing her chief of staff, Geoff Patnoe to serve on one of SDCTA’s committees. In fact, his name is right on the SDCTA’s awards banquet information brochure along with Lani Lutar, SDCTA’s president. Who knows how many hours (at taxpayer’s expense) Patnoe and by extension, Jacob, spent using their cozy relationship with SDCTA to wrangle a Golden Fleece nomination for SDCERA on such a trivial matter so that they could exact some sort of revenge for the public humiliation that Jacob got with her incompetent handling of the retiree health care issue. Yes, this is what we are paying our taxes for, citizens of San Diego County — so that some two-bit politicians can play their silly games.

Panderer of the Year Award — SDCTA and Lani Lutar, its president, for their willful failure to look at the facts regarding the SDCERA conflict of trust issue and allowing their better judgment to be overridden by a cozy relationship with Jacob’s office. If one were to actually examine the judge’s opinion regarding SDCERA’s attempts to force Jacobs to recuse herself, it is clear that the judge only ruled that SDCERA did not have the authority to force Jacob’s recusal. The judge did not rule on whether Jacobs had a conflict of interest, so SDCTA’s account of the issue is incomplete and misleading to say the least. If SDCTA is going to ever meet its lofty goals of serving the public through integrity and accountability, perhaps it should strive to achieve these goals with its own internal affairs before it decides to launch attacks on others. Perhaps SDCTA should look into the $1200 car allowance that each county supervisor is allowed each month and, yes, this amount is included in calculating their retirement benefits? Where’s SDCTA’s outrage at that?

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