Morning Report: Pension Strategy Raises Doubts on Pension Board - Voice of San Diego

Morning Report

Morning Report: Pension Strategy Raises Doubts on Pension Board

Two-person fire crews do what they’re meant to do, the airport’s “smell test” for cab drivers, DeMaio courts women and tips to end the junk mail deluge.

San Diego County pension system board members were skeptical on Thursday when they were told by consultants that the system’s new, some say risky, investing strategy was no cause for alarm. Recent media reports have claimed the county’s system has “dialed up the risk” and has “gone all in at the pension casino.”

“None of these headlines are true,” claimed the pension system’s CEO. Ari Bloomekatz reported on the pension board’s skepticism over the rosy claims — some members want to reign in risk and impose more oversight. Aside from the audience member caught napping, it was an unusually firey meeting, Bloomekatz writes.

More Responders, Faster Response

For years, residents of Encanto who have called 911 to report an emergency have waited an exceptionally long time for emergency crews to arrive. Some people thought that adding more firefighters to the neighborhood would solve the problem, but not everyone was convinced. This year, the city tried doing it; they budgeted for two more firefighters to the neighborhood.

Liam Dillon reported on the shocking findings: More firefighters in a neighborhood means faster response times. “Sometimes solutions to problems are as easy as they seem,” Dillon writes. Even so, the next most needy neighborhood on the map, which is in City Heights, still needs a new fire station but there’s no plan in sight to make one happen.

Job Description: Sniff Cab Drivers

If you jump into a taxi cab at an airport, while you may not necessarily agree with the determination, there’s a good chance that taxi has passed a smell test. A literal smell test, Megan Burks reports, where an official uses his own nose to sniff around the cab. But inspectors aren’t just checking for “Foul Interior Odors,” they’re also checking for really, really bad body odor on the part of the driver.

“It’s demeaning and it is borderline racist, I believe,” said an organizer for the United Taxi Workers of San Diego.

The inspectors claim that violations for body odor only happen in extreme cases.

Junk Mail + Elbow Grease = No Junk Mail

La Jollan John Berol noticed our Scott Lewis bemoaning the loads of junk mail he receives and wrote in with some helpful tips on ending the deluge. “For the record, anyone can opt out of receiving junk mail,” Berol notes. But you have to do it manually, and for each publication you want to stop receiving.

• Inside our mailbag was another note from San Diegan Donna Boyle, who thinks all the talk about finding a new site for a Chargers stadium doesn’t make any sense. Keep it at the Qualcomm site, she writes. And about the polluted groundwater? “Well, clean the mess up and charge whoever was responsible.”

DeMaio Courts Women, Slams Chamber

Candidate Carl DeMaio announced Thursday he wants to expand access to birth control, expand time-off guarantees for workers and guarantee equal pay for women. “It’s time for [the Republican Party] to become more inclusive, more positive and reach out to all communities,” DeMaio said, according to U-T San Diego. His opponent, incumbent Rep. Scott Peters, touted his own endorsement from Planned Parenthood as proof of his commitment to women’s issues.

On Thursday, in response to the DeMaio campaign’s accusation that “the U.S. Chamber is a big organization with ties to special interests,” the Chamber’s political director wrote a series of tweets claiming DeMaio had sought its endorsement but had failed to garner any support. The U.S. Chamber endorsed Peters on Wednesday.

• Meanwhile, The Daily Transcript notes that the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce is staying on the sidelines in the 52nd District race.

News Nibbles

• Carol Kim, candidate for City Council in District 6, proposed raising police salaries by 20 percent. (Times of San Diego)

• Local company Isis Pharmaceuticals won’t be changing its unfortunate name just yet. (KPBS)

• Fast-food workers demonstrated in support of a higher minimum wage Thursday. (KPBS)

• California Highway Patrol is recommending charges against Steve-0 of “Jackass” fame, who defaced a traffic sign, putting the word “SUCKS” next to “Sea World.” (NBC 7)

• A driver who plowed his car through a crowd of people during Comic-Con has sued San Diego Police, blaming them for not preventing the crowd from forming. (NBC 7)

• Another San Diego day, another giant water main bursting and wreaking havoc (and wasting 1.6 million gallons of water). (U-T)

• Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, needs nearly 100,000 people to verify their immigration status or risk losing their health benefits. (U-T)

• If your name is on this list, San Diego County is just going to confiscate all the money they owe you after Monday. (Times of San Diego)

• Andrew Kay, a pioneer in the development of early computers, and Daniel Jackson, a beloved jazz musician, both passed away this week.

The Right Thing

A common sight at our sandy beaches during the summer are behatted wanderers, scouring the sand with a strange-looking instrument that is meant to detect buried metal objects. You figure these folks are looking for lost treasures they can claim for themselves, but that wasn’t the case with Dennis Coppock. Earlier this summer, he saw a Craigslist posting from a frantic tourist pleading for help in finding her wedding ring, which had fallen off at the beach.

Coppock easily found the ring with his metal detector, but the tourist was already gone, the U-T reports. He contacted her through her Craigslist ad and managed to return the ring via postal mail. ““It’s just the right thing to do,” he said.

Seth Hall is a local writer and technologist. You can email him at voice@s3th.com or follow him on Twitter: @loteck.

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