The Morning Report
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If she finishes her term as district attorney, Bonnie Dumanis will be eligible for an annual pension of almost a quarter million dollars. And that’s not all: she’s running for mayor of San Diego, and if she wins and sticks around for eight years, that’ll boost her yearly pension over the $300,000 mark.
She says she won’t take a city pension and goes a bit further, saying it’s not right for workers to make more in pension than they did in salary.
Why does her future pension matter? “Dumanis will be forced to come up with a plan to deal with the city’s pension costs,” Liam Dillon writes. “As she does that, her own pension provides a stark reminder of how high public employee pensions could rise under the current systems and how tomorrow’s workers are being asked to pay the price.”
So does her big pension mean she feels uncomfortable about dealing with the pension issue? Nope: she says her job experience means “no one can do it better than I can.”
Self-Help Guru Convicted in Deaths
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An Arizona jury has convicted Carlsbad-based self-help guru James Arthur Ray of three counts of negligent homicide in connection with the sweat lodge deaths during a seminar near Sedona, the AP reports.
Cut Pay Gooses Legislature into Action
State legislators, who make $95,291 a year plus $142 in per diem expenses, are up in arms that their pay has been halted due to the lack of an approved balanced budget, the LAT reports. “I now have to explain to my wife and daughter that we won’t be able to pay the bills because a politician chose to grandstand at our expense,” one complains. But the pay kerfuffle seems to have pushed the legislature into action: Democratic leaders are now back in talks with the governor, who’s still getting paid.
Why that’s Highway Robbery! Um, Not Really
Local politicians of all stripes have been screaming about the governor’s push to pull money out of the taxpayer-funded urban renewal programs known as redevelopment. But that’s hardly robbery, declares commentator Scott Lewis, since the money will still be spent on government, just somewhere else: “When the mayor cut library hours, nobody said he held a gun to the libraries’ heads and say he was taking money away. He just said it was a tough cut, sorry. And that’s what the state’s doing right now.”
Pete Wilson Still Wants to Be a Player
You know you’ve been in politics for a long time when you’ve actually got your own statue and you’re not even dead yet. Such is the case with former mayor, former U.S. senator, former governor and former presidential candidate Pete Wilson, whose statue stands at Horton Plaza.
Well, he’s back: he’s endorsed Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, a fellow Republican, for mayor.
The election is almost a year away, and few voters are paying attention now. Wilson hasn’t been a political player for some time and many younger voters presumably don’t know who he is or remember the struggles he encountered over his support for the anti-immigrant Prop. 187. But the endorsement game is important with so many candidates, since a powerful early profile could knock weaker rivals out of the race early on.
Wilson, by the way, mentions that “the phrase ‘America’s Finest City’ was more than a slogan” when he was mayor. The motto appeared during Wilson’s administration but actually President Nixon deserves some of the credit. His post-scandal pullout of the Republican National Convention from San Diego prompted the slogan’s creation.
At least one commenter on conservative blog sdrostra.com is no fan of Wilson, blaming him for the city’s pension mess. If you’re following the city’s ongoing pension woes, we’ve posted links to several recent news stories about pension battles statewide and nationally.
• In Atlanta, a city councilwoman says pension costs are “a huge liability that is sucking the life out of this city.” Sound familiar? Also, the WSJ reports that the Bay Area’s Marin County has boosted the retirement age of new government workers by six years. It’s now up to — get this, folks who expect to be forced to work forever — 61.
It’s Like I Have a Twin
Can you think of anyone in the news lately — not including politicians — who might fit the following diagnosis? “Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Anxiety Disorder … Opioid Dependence Disorder, Anabolic Steroid Abuse, Personality Disorder … (antisocial and narcissistic features), and Severe Migraine Headaches.”
It’s a physician’s analysis of Barry Minkow, the teen financial whiz kid who was exposed as a Ponzi scheme fraudster, went to prison, left prison, resurrected his reputation by becoming a fraud detective, and served as pastor at a San Diego church.
His days of redemption are over. Earlier this year he pleaded guilty to federal charges regarding his claims about a Florida company and will be sentenced next month. Now, a state court has ruled that he owes $583 million to the company.
According to FOXBusiness, the physician wrote in court papers that Minkow “should be strongly encouraged to distance himself from positions of authority, control, and persuasion of others including voluntary positions in business and the clergy.” “Um. It’s a bit late for that, doctor,” the news article says.
So Minkow is out of a local job. But overall, San Diego’s employment rate is up, new statistics say.
Frye on Mayoral Hopefuls, Including a Bully
Former Councilwoman and almost-mayor Donna Frye is gone from office but nowhere near forgotten. CityBeat checks in with the City Hall maverick to find that she hasn’t ruled out a mayoral bid, and she finds Assemblyman/mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher to be charming, notwithstanding his messy surprise last year.
She also engages in some smack talk, saying Councilman/mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio is a bully. “I don’t believe that people that think everybody else is wrong but themselves make good mayors.”
Oh shoot. I’d make a terrible mayor then. Oh wait, everyone is wrong except me! So she’s wrong, and I’d be great. Whew. Carry on.