I was starting to feel better today, when I sat down to watch KUSI with my cup of coffee and cereal. Within five minutes, I got sick all over again after I watched Michael Aguirre on TV fibbing to the public yet again about his glorious victory over the SDPOA concerning our litigation. I just watched and wondered “can’t this guy ever tell the truth? How long will it be until the public realizes what a train wreck this guy is? ” I did not want to blog about the POA and our ongoing litigation with the city, but I think some truthful discussion about it is needed.

The POA has three active lawsuits being brought against the city of San Diego. They are as follows:

  • Abbe, et al. v. City of San Diego
  • SDPOA v. Aguirre, City of San Diego, et al.,
  • Aaron, et al. v. Aguirre, City of San Diego, et al.,

Abbe, et al. v. City of San Diego addresses unpaid overtime and other uncompensated time worked by POA members.  The suit includes claims for missed meal and rest periods and pre- and post-shift work done for the benefit of the city.  The claims are made for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.  

SDPOA v. Michael Aguirre, City of San Diego, et al. concerns pension underfunding and includes damages relating to the mishandling of the pension contributions by the city, and

Aaron, et al. v. Aguirre, City of San Diego, et al. seeks damages relating to the mishandling of the members pension by the city.  

This past June, the Federal District Court issued a ruling in the SDPOA case versus Aguirre and essentially stated that the claims were best decided in a state court.  As part of this ruling, the judge dismissed some of the POA federal claims.  The POA filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals and have asked the appellate court to review the decision to dismiss the claims. The case will now be reviewed in its entirety by three appellate court judges who will then rule on the specific issues raised in the appeal. The court’s ruling did not address any of the state labor law claims other than to say they had merit and should be decided in state court. 

However, if you watched Mr. Aguirre this morning on TV or read his press release he basically says the case was completely dismissed because it was “meritless” and the city stands to “recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Personally, I don’t care if Mr. Aguirre wants to hold a press conference every three hours, all I ask is that the information he presents is factual and correct. This case is not going away and the legal bills that the city council has to keep paying to defend the city in this litigation will continue to grow (I believe $3 million has been spent thus far by the city). That is why the city council is not very happy with the POA and I don’t think they should be very happy with the Aguirre either.

You see, every time Aguirre lies or misrepresents the POA litigation to the citizens of this city, he pushes the members who would consider mediating this litigation from a more reasonable stance to a harder line. Unlike the city attorney, the POA members are not accustomed to even small defeats in a court room and this tends to make our members very angry. This makes compromise and resolution of our differences that much harder and it also puts the city at greater risk. I’ll explain this further.

Judge Huff’s order from last week does say the POA will have to pay some court cost in regards to the litigation. It does not say how much or when, but when the time comes the POA will pay what the court demands and I can tell you it will not be anywhere close to what Aguirre is putting out to the public.

When the POA pays these costs, I can tell you what the members of the POA are going to want. They are going to demand that the POA Board, of which I am a part of, seek as much compensation as possible from the FLSA case as possible to make Mike Aguirre look as bad as possible. The potential liability to the city could run in excess of $100 million. Don’t believe me, then go and look at some of the settlements achieved by LAPD and CHP over FLSA violations.

I’ll conclude this blog with these thoughts. A few years ago, I voted for Michael Aguirre and the SDPOA actually endorsed him for city attorney. I have read some of his interim reports and they are impressive to say the least. However, his office is falling apart under his watch. I believe more than 100 out of the 135 attorneys budgeted for the San Diego City Attorney’s have either resigned, been fired or taken early retirement as direct result of his election and direction of this office. The loss of this many attorneys, along with their experience and knowledge, is an absolute disaster for the city. Before you vote for him again, think about whether he is a crusader for change or just an obsessive and destructive force, who only really cares about his own view on things and how he looks on TV.


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