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Kevin Dayton

Rare Exposure of a Union Backroom Deal: Former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders Surrenders to Former Top Union Official Lorena Gonzalez

Since 2009, the City of San Diego has been planning a major expansion of its downtown convention center. It is expected to cost $520 million, or more than $1 billion if interest payments to bond investors are included in the total cost.

The city’s downtown business and civic leaders are eager to expand the convention center to maintain trade shows such as Comic-Con and attract new trade shows.

That eagerness presented the devious union leaders of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council with an opportunity to establish themselves as the chief opponents and obstacles to the proposed project. Opposition could be withdrawn – for a price.

After exploiting the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and filing a lawsuit to challenge the financing plan, unions were able to obtain several economic and political benefits through the office of former Mayor Jerry Sanders. In exchange for these payoffs, the unions withdraw their obstacles and committed to end their opposition and support the convention center expansion.

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Erica Holloway

Pension Reform Initiative | Publicly Popular, Judicially Jacked

The Californian initiative process pains me.

Great idea on paper, but in reality – we’ve allowed idle lawmakers to relinquish responsibilities to the public, which supposedly hired them for the job.

Yet, even when voters “decide” (measure proponents love to say that), it’s rarely the end of the discussion.

Days, weeks or months later, a psuedo-lamaker legislates from the bench and we’re back where we started with just a dash more bitterness.

It’s a wonder voters show up at all anymore.

In good old San Diego, there’s an epic battle playing out over an initiative that’s got all the makings of a daytime drama.

The initiative proposes reforming the City’s guaranteed pension system and replacing it with a 401(k)-style plan for “most” new hires.

Basically, the so-called “comprehensive pension reform” eliminates pensions in favor of 401(k)s for all new hires but police officers (one of the proponents, Mayor Jerry Sanders, is a former police chief) and proposes a five-year hold on current employee salaries used to calculate future pensions.

A… Read More

Erica Holloway

Young Guns Take Aim

Seems the young guns got it going on.

In just 25 days of the first reporting period for the 2012 San Diego mayor’s race, two young Republican candidates blew doors on the established competition with more than $300,000 cash on hand. Early predictors felt sure the mayoral primary would be a $1 million race. At this rate, we might be looking at $1.5 million.

Late yesterday, it was reported that Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher raised $320,000 between June 5 and June 30, with a $1,000 personal contribution. San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio tipped the scales at $274,000, which he matched dollar-for-dollar for a grand total of $545,000. By contract, current Mayor Jerry Sander’s candidate, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, raised $157,000, which included a $10,000 personal loan.

Accounting for… Read More