Dear Readers: I am a firm believer that local issues and races should be the primary focus for us Tea Party types. So, I have been following the San Diego Mayor’s race closely: The primary for that office will be held on June 5th of this year, and the cast of characters is fascinating. And as many of you know, the Shrine is joined by many of my fellow SLOBs in supporting Carl DeMaio.
So, when Horemheb took a call yesterday afternoon saying that Carl was at our local Albertsons to meet San Diegans, answer questions, and introduce himself to potential voters, this intrepid citizen reporter grabbed her camera and went over to meet the man. It was a compelling experience, which strengthens my support even farther. I would like to share what happened with you!
As Horemheb was taking the Young Prince and myself out to the movies that afternoon, I had to race out the door and could only spend about 20 minutes on site. I had hoped to personally thank Carl for his push-back on the foul radio ads that ran recently, which falsely tie signing petition signing to identity theft.Most Californians recognize that our ability to directly bring matters to the ballot via petitions helps maintain our liberties from the corrupt and power-hungry politicos in Sacramento. These ads, funded by public employee union leaders who want to maintain their perks and privilege, were the finest example of loathsome, cynical villainy that I have seen in some years. And coming during the Obama Administration…well, that is quite an achievement!!!
I sped over to the local Albertsons, to find Carl behind the petition signature table — right next to the Girl Scout cookie booth. As I walked-up, camera out and notebook poised, I think Carl’s aides sensed I was not the average petition signer. So, one of them came over, and asked about my interest. I mentioned I worked closely with Dawn Wildman and Sarah Bond of the SoCal Tax Revolt Coalition. I indicated that our group doesn’t endorse candidates, but I appreciated his taxpayer-first approach on finance and budgets, and was impressed that he came to meet people most directly. I asked if mayoral candidates actually meeting with citizens one-on-one like this was a common practice.
“No, meeting people directly is not often done,” explained the aide. “All the other candidates have sent out volunteers to gather signatures. Carl wanted to connect more directly with San Diegans, and most people who have come out appreciate this effort.”
However, it seems that Carl didn’t just meet supporters during this process — union leadership seems to have directed members to challenge Carl on his pension reform ideas. Shockingly, it seems unions feel entitled to platinum pension perks no matter the state of the city’s fiscal circumstances. One of these members was at Albertsons, arguing with Carl that his pension reform ideas were “wrong-headed”.
Impressively, Carl was extremely polite during the entire discourse — as well as extremely informative. It this time vile attacks based on bold-faced lies, such civilized dialog was quite refreshing and a testament to the adult approach so often lacking in today’s politics.
The union member insisted the entire pension problem could be solved by minor fixes. As Carl noted: “This is not something can be solved by going around the edges. The real solution means going to the core of the problem. The City of San Diego cannot have a budget that, at its center, is funded by a Ponzi Scheme.”
During this chat, I overheard the union member complain that he would lose all he paid into the system and its interest. In fact, his entire focus was on all HE would lose. Never mind all the tax dollars we other San Diegans are losing, paying for his benefits while we try to maintain our 401-Ks. Never mind the fact that he is only putting into the fiscal system a mere fraction of the monies that the full benefit package he will eventually receive is worth. Greece tried that approach; I will let you be the judge of what happens when you drain the wealth-producers of enough wealth to satisfy politically-connect bureaucrats:
That’s the new view of public service, people!
Any fair-minded citizen would consider Carl’s reforms highly rational and quite reasonable. Here are just some of the highly sensible ideas Carl presents:
End pension “spiking” and cap “pensionable pay.”
Carl has proposed specific reforms that will end pension “spiking” by excluding supplemental payouts from being calculated into long-term pension formulas. Presently, some city employees receive “add-ons” and “specialty pays” on top of their base salary. These extra pay amounts are then used in addition to base salary when calculating lifelong pension benefits. Reforming pensionable pay in this manner can save taxpayers up to $250 million in five years alone.
Reform the double-dipping pension programs.
On top of the overly generous pension benefits that city employees receive, city employees have the option to draw even higher retirement payouts at the taxpayers’ expense. The opportunities for double dipping must end, as a matter of both fairness to the San Diego taxpayers who could never imagine such generous benefits through their own jobs, and as a matter of financial common sense at a time when the city must make choices to resolve the budget deficit.
Require city employees to pay their full and fair share of the cost of their pension benefits.
Carl believes that city employees should share the cost of their retirement benefits with the taxpayers. This means splitting the contribution into the pension system equally with the city. The City Charter expressly requires employee payments be “substantially equal” to the payments that the city makes into the system with tax dollars. Carl proposes ending the city’s practice of providing “offsets” to the employee contributions, which increase the city’s costs.
Any reasonable person can see that these reforms are right and just. For example, how is hiking up your pay shortly before retirement to up the level of pension payout honorable? How does that serve the public? Finally, how can such an attitude of entitlement co-exist with a true sense of real “public service”. San Diegans want their public employees to be fairly paid for work that is well done. Carl’s fixes go to the core of many “cheats” that have been allowed to exist for too ling.
Furthermore, Carl assured the union member he would get back all he paid into the system, with the ability to put it into a private pension plan that could be far more lucrative and profitable then relying on pension programs directed by the politically connected for the benefit of the politically connected.
While I was waiting to meet Carl, I connected with another petition signer: S., who overheard I was a Democrat. He came over and introduced himself, as he was delighted to meet another “Democrat for DeMaio”.
“I am supporting Carl, because he is doing things the right way,” noted S. “This is not about Democrats or Republicans, but about San Diegans. It seems to me, he is the only one who gets it.”
Like myself, S. noted that a healthy economy with fiscally responsible budgets inherently leads to more personal liberty on social issues. S. said: “The more I earn, and the more I am able to keep, the more I have to spend to support issues that are important to me. Carl’s ideas for San Diego help taxpayers like myself in so many great ways.”
At last, I was able to meet Carl, briefly introduce myself, and thank him for his push-back on that odious union radio ad. He and I both concurred that he would be a big target of the unions, and that he recognized how key that the support of informed taxpayers and wealth-creators in San Diego and the entire southern California region would be to his campaign.
As I am fond of saying:
While I was researching the background for my post today, I came across a Twitter account that I want to share:
It seems that fiscal sanity is an issue that truly crosses party lines. Stay tuned!