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Some follow-up on my column Friday:

  • First off, Bill Sheffler, who just finished his term (and was not reappointed) on the board of trustees of the city’s pension system has written a scorcher of a letterabout why he went to the board meeting Friday and called what they were doing “stupid and dangerous.” He writes that the board of trustees has no business considering proposals that would limit the amount of money the system collects from the city to ensure it can pay the pensions of those who have earned them.

    Key passage:

    If the choice is bankruptcy, or increasing plan underfunding for several more years, then the best outcome for the membership, and the security of benefits already earned is bankruptcy. 

    Meanwhile, the new members of the city’s pension board appear to be settling in. Richard Tartre, who was appointed not long ago, has found himself unable to believe that the city can pay for the employee pensions it has promised. Here were his comments Friday when the board heard how it could allow the city to underfund its pension:

    It appears to me that regardless of whether or not we were to take an aggressive stance in this or maintain status quo, what the city faces is unsustainable — that is, a percentage of payroll dedicated to funding this. Some substantial things have to happen at the plan sponsor level in order to sustain this CERS fund. I think that that’s an important thing to understand — that regardless of what we do there’s a major funding issue, and it’s unsustainable. … If we cut all our things, and then we’ve got a 20 percent annual return, no problem. But under a realistic investment return scenario, there’s a major plan sponsor problem.

  • The Mayor’s Office sent word Friday that his honor — the master of difficult budget situations — was to be on Fox News Saturday morning at 9:50 a.m. to talk about the state budget mess. I didn’t get the chance to hear it but I assumed he advised the troubled state leaders they should just find money from a previously unknown location, build a massive new library, promote scores of firefighters to a newly created — yet unjustified — position and then underfund everyone’s pension.

    Oh yes, and then, go on Fox News to chastise the federal government for its budget woes.

  • You might have heard me sing the praises of the new Morning Report. I think it’s one of the best things we’ve done (as far as delivering the news goes). As of this writing, we have 5,253 subscribers and they are coming at a rapid clip. I am so enthused that I promised my staff that when we hit 10,000, I will paddle on a stand-up board across the San Diego Bay. And I will do this wearing a Scooby Doo costume. Yes, theScooby Doo costume.

    Yes, I’m an attention seeker. But I do have dignity and that can only be sold for a price. Yes, 10,000 subscribers to this excellent public service is worth it.

    In all seriousness, Randy Dotinga, who writes it most days, does an excellent job mixing humor and a conversational tone with a summary of what we’ve produced for the day. It helps you keep up even if you don’t have all the time to invest in our stories right at that moment. You can follow these very important narratives and let us convince you to dig deeper.

    So, do your part to see me paddle across the bay dressed up as a cartoon dog and sign up here.

SCOTT LEWIS

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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