Friday, August 21, 2009

Lifeguards leave MEA for Teamsters

Lifeguards Vote to Leave MEA
Voice of San Diego

The city of San Diego lifeguards voted today to leave the Municipal Employees Association and join The International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The vote completes a more than five-month long push to remove the lone public safety agency from the mostly white-collar MEA.

Lifeguards wanted more say in their affairs, said Ed Harris, a lifeguard sergeant who pushed for the change.

"We want to sit down at the table," Harris said. "Under the Teamsters model, they don't go to the city without the lifeguards being there."

Harris is also a plaintiff in a lawsuit against former MEA head Judie Italiano, who the MEA refered for investigation to the district attorney for personal use of union credit cards. In his suit, Harris contends Italiano misused union funds.

"Both the lawsuit and the move to leave MEA were for a desire to get better representation," Harris said.

The vote splits lifeguards into separate supervisor and rank-and-file bargaining units.

Scott Chadwick, the city's labor relations manager, acknowledged today's results and said he planned to brief Mayor Jerry Sanders within the next couple days.

The contract MEA negotiated on behalf of the lifeguards could continue for up to two years, Chadwick said, but the city now is obliged to negotiate with lifeguards again. Chadwick said it was "too early to tell" if there would be changes.

"We look forward to working with the Teamsters and representatives of the lifeguards," Chadwick said.

The lifeguards' supervisory unit voted 14-5 in favor of joining the Teamsters, and the rank and file voted 37-28.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

San Diego Ethics Commission will hold hearing on CCDC's Nancy Graham

No wonder Mayor Jerry Sanders refuses to reappoint Gil Cabrera to the Ethics Commission. Cabrera is actually investigating!

Case of CCDC's Graham set for ethics hearing
Commission also fines lobbyists
By Craig Gustafson
Union-Tribune Staff Writer
August 13, 2009

Nancy Graham:
Position: Former CCDC president
Tenure: Hired at CCDC in December 2005, resigned in July 2008
Salary: Was paid $248,000
Background: Lawyer; former partner in N-K Ventures LLC, which was involved in the development of urban in-fill projects; former mayor of West Palm Beach, Fla. Faced conflict-of-interest charges due to her development ties.

The San Diego Ethics Commission on Thursday called for a special hearing against former Centre City Development Corp. president Nancy Graham over conflict-of-interest issues.

The commission generally reaches settlements with its investigation targets before reaching the hearing stage that Graham's case has now reached.

The investigation began a year ago, shortly after Graham resigned from the nonprofit city agency amid criticism over undisclosed business ties to developers Related Cos. and Lennar Corp. Both had business before the agency.

The probe focuses on her relationship with Lennar, which was one of several developers trying to build a 1,929-room Marriott hotel at Ballpark Village, just east of Petco Park. Lennar eventually pulled out of the project, but not before Graham became involved.

At issue is the Florida development business Graham owned with her former husband. Their company partnered with Related and Lennar on a Florida condo project, which netted the couple's company more than $7 million before expenses and taxes. Graham never reported income from the venture on her San Diego economic-interest forms.

Graham's lawyer, former District Attorney Paul Pfingst, said the dispute with the Ethics Commission is whether Graham should have participated in decisions about the hotel project when Lennar was still involved in it.

“We believe her connection to Lennar is very, very tenuous,” he said. “No one has ever claimed that Nancy Graham has profited in any way from the actions that she took.”

The commission does not discuss or release details of its investigations until they are completed.

A probable-cause hearing – which has only occurred twice in the panel's eight-year history – has been set Nov. 6 to examine the evidence in Graham's case. It is closed to the public unless Graham asks for it to be opened. After reviewing the evidence, the commission would decide whether to dismiss the case or move forward with a second hearing, after which a fine could be levied.

Graham pleaded no contest earlier this year to a separate misdemeanor charge of failing to disclose financial interests on a form that city officials fill out annually. That had to do with her connection to the Florida arm of Related, which won a $409 million urban-renewal project from CCDC in 2007.

In other action, the commission levied $5,200 in fines against 19 registered lobbyists who failed to disclose their activities in a timely fashion. New lobbying laws went into effect Jan. 1, 2008, and the fines show that some are struggling to adjust to broad disclosures of their activities and fundraising.

Among those fined were Ace Parking and Gerding Edlen, the Portland, Ore.-based firm heading up the proposal for a new City Hall complex. They received fines of $700 and $400, respectively.

Commissioner Gil Cabrera said those fined represent a fraction of the city's more than 500 registered lobbyists.

“Overall, though, I think that we should be happy with the number of disclosures that are coming out,” Cabrera said.

The panel also cited the International Association of Firefighters for failing to timely report $25,000 in radio advertising it paid for on behalf of Jan Goldsmith in his successful bid to unseat City Attorney Michael Aguirre. The group was required to report the expense within 24 hours because it was so close to the Nov. 4 election, but didn't disclose it until a week later. The fine was $1,500.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The scapegoats for the San Diego pension fraud are still being prosecuted

UPDATE: All defendants except Ron Saathoff dismissed in January 2010 by California Supreme Court.


These people are not angels, but they most certainly did not act alone in the billion dollar San Diego pension scheme.

So why are they alone in being prosecuted?

Because Bonnie Dumanis, our District Attorney, doesn't like to pick on the truly powerful.

Cathy Lexin, Ronald Lee Saathoff, John Anthony Torres, Mary Elizabeth Vattimo, Teresa Aja Webster, Sharon Kay Wilkinson

Charge: Conflict Of Interest - Specified Officials
Court No.: CD190930
Prosecutor: Stephen Robinson

Synopsis: Six former and current members of the San Diego City Employee Retirement System Board of Trustees are charged with felony conflict of interst following an 11-month investigation. The defendants are Ronald L. Saathoff, John A. Torres, Sharon K. Wilkinson, Cathy Lexin, Mary Vattimo and Terri A. Webster. Each has been charged with felony counts of Government Code 1090. On July 11, 2002 The SDCERS Board of Trustees voted to approve and accept an amended version of a City of San Diego proposal which deferred a percentage of City of San Diego employer contributions and avoided the City's obligation to make a balloon payment to SDCERS as negotiated under the terms of a prior City agreement. The amended proposal included a negotiated enhanced retirement benefits agreement between the City of San Diego and three of the City of San Diego Employee bargaining unions. These unions included the San Diego Fire Fighter's Local 145; Municipal Employees Association; and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 127. Each of the trustees named in this criminal action voted in favor of this proposal and personally benefited as a result of their involvement with the amended proposal.
Custody Status: Warrant issued

Next Court Date: Further Proceedings, Oct 23 2009 9:00AM, Department 26, San Diego Superior Court, Central Division, County Courthouse