It’s looking more and more like local Republicans’ plan to shift most new city of San Diego employees 401(k)s instead of pensions is not just about fixing San Diego’s budget mess.

“Are you ready to make San Diego the Wisconsin of the West?” City Councilman Carl DeMaio asked a crowd Monday evening at a local Republican Party event, according to an account on conservative website SDRostra.Com.

DeMaio’s comments, of course, referred to the recent protracted battle over collective bargaining rights for public employees in Wisconsin. America’s Dairyland became the center of the ideological fight between conservatives and liberals over public employee unions.


Support Independent Journalism in San Diego Today

 Learn more about member benefits

That the local debate over public sector 401(k)s would turn toward larger ideology also could explain why boosters here keep calling their proposed June 2012 ballot measure a “national model” for pension reform.

Keep this idea in mind as the campaign moves forward: How much of the ballot measure is about cost savings and shifting investment risk and how much is about trying to brand San Diego with a national reputation for busting public employees? Certainly, that’s a different status than being known as Enron By The Sea because of your shoddy finances.

Already, the 401(k) proposal has attracted broad media attention, most recently in Bloomberg Businessweek through an article written by the same reporter who authored the book on San Diego’s pension scandal.

Please contact Liam Dillon directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663 and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/dillonliam.

    This article relates to: Election, Government, News

    Written by Liam Dillon

    Liam Dillon is senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He leads VOSD’s investigations and writes about how regular people interact with local government. What should he write about next? Please contact him directly at liam.dillon@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5663.

    28 comments
    William Waugaman
    William Waugaman subscriber

    Tim, when was the last time you saw a 0311 infantryman working a second career after 20+ years? Most of the folks that get to pull such duty are those who have low impact or supporting jobs. I am a combined arms officer, and will tell you that the rate of injury for my field (armor) is high and many who retire after 20 years do NOT have the ability to work a second field.

    The_Gunny
    The_Gunny

    Tim, when was the last time you saw a 0311 infantryman working a second career after 20+ years? Most of the folks that get to pull such duty are those who have low impact or supporting jobs. I am a combined arms officer, and will tell you that the rate of injury for my field (armor) is high and many who retire after 20 years do NOT have the ability to work a second field.

    I-Chuan Chen
    I-Chuan Chen subscriber

    Salaries still look exorbitant without looking into the details. Hopefully, we can hire more firefighters in the future, reduce overtime pay and reduce overall costs.

    mr chen
    mr chen

    Salaries still look exorbitant without looking into the details. Hopefully, we can hire more firefighters in the future, reduce overtime pay and reduce overall costs.

    Philip Ellsworth
    Philip Ellsworth subscriber

    ed to retire too. But remember YOU also get social security starting at age 62 or when you chose to retire after that. Police Officers and Firefighters do not, so essentially your retirement plus social security is like you having a second job. Im not complaining here, I just trying to get you to understand the ends and out's of this whole mess and to open your close mind or show you another explaination that perhaps your not seeing or overlooking.

    pcell61
    pcell61

    ed to retire too. But remember YOU also get social security starting at age 62 or when you chose to retire after that. Police Officers and Firefighters do not, so essentially your retirement plus social security is like you having a second job. Im not complaining here, I just trying to get you to understand the ends and out's of this whole mess and to open your close mind or show you another explaination that perhaps your not seeing or overlooking.

    mary slupe
    mary slupe subscriber

    and there are some good ways to conserve water...right now we are spending a lot of money transporting water a long distance....then it has to be chemically treated.....desalization plants powered by alternative energy sources...waves, solar, wind are a good cost effective alternative

    m slupe
    m slupe

    and there are some good ways to conserve water...right now we are spending a lot of money transporting water a long distance....then it has to be chemically treated.....desalization plants powered by alternative energy sources...waves, solar, wind are a good cost effective alternative

    I-Chuan Chen
    I-Chuan Chen subscriber

    But I agree with you on all the monolithic buildings (library, stadium, city hall, etc) we're gifting to the development community. Complete corruption and a total lack of respect to taxpayer money.

    mr chen
    mr chen

    But I agree with you on all the monolithic buildings (library, stadium, city hall, etc) we're gifting to the development community. Complete corruption and a total lack of respect to taxpayer money.

    John H Borja
    John H Borja subscriber

    Yes. And by the way, did you stay in school?

    kidscoach
    kidscoach

    Yes. And by the way, did you stay in school?

    Mike Stein
    Mike Stein subscriber

    Go ahead and put this initiative on the ballot. First we will vote it down. Second, we will vote out all of the Republicans who voted for it! This will be a great way to get Democrats to the polls!

    sdcares
    sdcares

    Go ahead and put this initiative on the ballot. First we will vote it down. Second, we will vote out all of the Republicans who voted for it! This will be a great way to get Democrats to the polls!

    dana deima
    dana deima subscriber

    Castaneda, you may be right but that is one heck of a wedge issue. Couldn't he come up with something other than a WI comparison?

    TheChristianslade
    TheChristianslade

    Castaneda, you may be right but that is one heck of a wedge issue. Couldn't he come up with something other than a WI comparison?

    Robert Hampton
    Robert Hampton subscriber

    Sounds like Tim has some envy issues.

    Robert Castaneda
    Robert Castaneda subscriber

    This election (and the issues debated if a legitimate Democrat gets into the race) in the city of San Diego is both long overdue and necessary. The battle lines are drawn, and to his political credit, DeMaio has drawn them. Practitioners call that political stratagem formulating a "wedge issue." Smart. One question for Carl and the Republican fiscal stalwarts that are sure to support him: If your house were to catch on fire with you in it - God forbid - who are you going to call? The San Diego Republican Central Committee?

    Castaneda
    Castaneda

    This election (and the issues debated if a legitimate Democrat gets into the race) in the city of San Diego is both long overdue and necessary. The battle lines are drawn, and to his political credit, DeMaio has drawn them. Practitioners call that political stratagem formulating a "wedge issue." Smart. One question for Carl and the Republican fiscal stalwarts that are sure to support him: If your house were to catch on fire with you in it - God forbid - who are you going to call? The San Diego Republican Central Committee?

    timothy villalobos
    timothy villalobos subscriber

    But that is where cops and firefighters should be just like the military. Cops and firefighters shouldn't be expected to retire at age 50 with full retirement. Just like the military, they can go back to work in another field until 65, then collect full retirement.

    tim19620
    tim19620

    But that is where cops and firefighters should be just like the military. Cops and firefighters shouldn't be expected to retire at age 50 with full retirement. Just like the military, they can go back to work in another field until 65, then collect full retirement.

    timothy villalobos
    timothy villalobos subscriber

    So why should gov't workers retire at 50 or 55 years of age when the rest of us have to wait until we are 65 or more? Those of us in the private sector have to wait until we are 65 or older. Most gov't workers can retire at 50 or 55. They should be put on a par with the rest of us and not get any retirement until 65. Yes, that will mean they can put in 20 or 30 years in and NOT retire. So what? We have to work for twice that number of years before we can retire. So the same should apply to them.

    tim19620
    tim19620

    So why should gov't workers retire at 50 or 55 years of age when the rest of us have to wait until we are 65 or more? Those of us in the private sector have to wait until we are 65 or older. Most gov't workers can retire at 50 or 55. They should be put on a par with the rest of us and not get any retirement until 65. Yes, that will mean they can put in 20 or 30 years in and NOT retire. So what? We have to work for twice that number of years before we can retire. So the same should apply to them.

    dana deima
    dana deima subscriber

    Wow, is DeMaio for real? The WI debacle is just getting of the ground. There's no telling where it will all lead; Senators getting recalled, court justice election results in a perennial state of 'who really go the most votes?' polarized politics for years to come...DeMaio may have shot himself in the foot real good. I'm glad he has said that. Now, we know exactly where he stands. Who wants to start his recall?

    TheChristianslade
    TheChristianslade

    Wow, is DeMaio for real? The WI debacle is just getting of the ground. There's no telling where it will all lead; Senators getting recalled, court justice election results in a perennial state of 'who really go the most votes?' polarized politics for years to come...DeMaio may have shot himself in the foot real good. I'm glad he has said that. Now, we know exactly where he stands. Who wants to start his recall?

    Mike McGhee
    Mike McGhee subscriber

    So where does it all end? With our military who also risk their lives on a daily basis? At what point does the public realize that elimination of comparative pension plans is bad for all middle class american workers. A lowering tide lowers all ships....

    Stopthespin
    Stopthespin

    So where does it all end? With our military who also risk their lives on a daily basis? At what point does the public realize that elimination of comparative pension plans is bad for all middle class american workers. A lowering tide lowers all ships....