Carl DeMaio’s San Diego Pension Reformers at work at Mesa College

by on September 15, 2011 · 83 comments

in Civil Rights, Politics, Popular

Jim Mahler (filming) assaulted by anti-worker petition gatherer at Mesa College, yesterday, September 14,2011.

UPDATE: Regarding the publishing of this post, please see Patty’s comment below. To gain an understanding of WHY it was published see KM’s comment for a first hand account of incidents like this, then read Gregg Robinson’s comment, The Old White Guy speaks Out.

This video documents the petition gatherer’s response to the AFT Decline to Sign team. (AFT is the American Federation of Teachers.)  The petition gatherers are working for City Councilmember Carl DeMaio and his so-called “pension reform”.

The AFT Decline to Sign team at Mesa Community College on the 14th of September was comprised of African American, White, and Latina members. What the team did and is doing at Mesa is non-violent, and from a safe distance, hold up signs that ask students not to sign anti-worker petitions. This activity is effective so it has been getting violent responses from petition gatherers for several weeks. Hence the effort to document this activity. There have been several incidents of women being pushed and threatened on our campuses and two arrests have been made. The petition gatherer in this video ran after the assault. Another petition gatherer was arrested for a similar incident later that day.

WARNING:  The following video contains violence and graphic language and are Not Safe for Work!

{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

Allthink September 15, 2011 at 8:48 am

Can we have more of an explanation please. While there is no way I support how that man acted, a camera in the face, following while repeating “So we had an assault here”, and prodding is a poor tactic and a shame this is how the man filming decided to get his story???


mr fresh September 15, 2011 at 8:50 am

the homophobic threats from the petition gathering person are…interesting. wonder if knows the guy paying his salary is gay?


RB September 15, 2011 at 8:59 am

Gee I am sure it is only me, I do fine a group of white men shoving a camera in one black man face disturbing. Also. I did see the this group chase after the individual who was trying to leave. With 20-30% unemployment among African Americans, I would think these ‘progressives’ could find someone else to gang up upon and run down.


Frank Gormlie September 15, 2011 at 12:03 pm

RB, you are confusing form with substance. This man – who assaulted the cameraman, Jim Mahler – was collecting signatures for extremist right-winger Carl DeMaio for his so-called pension reform petition. This is an anti-worker, anti-public union employee petition. As such, it is not in the interests of city workers – many of whom are African-American. Just because the assaulter was Black does not make him any less culpable than if he had been white, or some other ethnicity. Because of the high unemployment rate among African-Americans, some are tempted to take crappy jobs like DeMaio’s petition-gatherers.

And in fact, you display your own prejudices when you say a Black guy shouldn’t be criticized because he is Black. We shouldn’t criticize the Black GOP prez candidate because of the color of his skin? We shouldn’t criticize Michele Bachman because of her gender?


RB September 15, 2011 at 12:40 pm

First, it is lucky Jim didn’t shove a camera in Sean Penn’s face. heehee

I don’t object to debates and differences of opinion. I do object to aggressive behavior by all the parties in this video. Surrounding one individual with a group, especially given the history of race relations in this country, will only cause fear and a strong possibility of physical confrontation. Also, it became more apparent which side was acting aggressive, when one side attempt to leave the and other side followed to continue the conflict.


Frank Gormlie September 15, 2011 at 1:03 pm

RB, it’s tough for someone not present during an incident to be able to make conclusionary comments. I just spoke to someone who had interviewed Jim Mahler after the incident and what happened afterwards and before. The guy in the video and his petitioner partner had indeed acted aggressively to others, and one of them pushed a short Latina into a bush. We are waiting on eye-witnesses to come back and fill in the gaps.


Jeff September 15, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Frank, I agree with what you said, “it’s tough for someone not present during an incident to be able to make conclusionary comments.” Which is why I (and presumably others) have problems with this post. By posting this video with very little explanation you’re asking us to come to conclusions about what happened, even though we weren’t there and don’t have all the facts.


Frank Gormlie September 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm

Jeff, okay, it was a tough call to make whether to post this video without more facts than we had at the time. But there were sufficient facts to let the reader know the basics, as one commenter said, and I’ll quote them here: ” let’s see… the video bears the caption “Jim Mahler (filming) assaulted by anti-worker petition gatherer at Mesa College, yesterday, September 14,2011.”

By my reading, I see the “who” (“Jim Mahler” and “anti-worker petition gatherer”), the “what” (“assaulted”), the “when” (“yesterday, September 14, 2011?) and the “were” (sic) (“Mesa College”).”


Jeff September 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Yes, those are facts, but what I think is more important is what happened immediately before what’s shown in the video. (Which the original commentor asked and was not answered by the comment you just quoted)


OB Joe September 15, 2011 at 1:24 pm

Sean Penn would never have done anything like this petition-gatherer. He’s much more progressive and liberal than that.


RB September 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm

You are right Sean Penn is both liberal and progressive and would never attack a cameraman like this petitioner.
I don’t why people think they have a right to stick a camera in someones face.


Goatskull September 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Different circumstance in my opinion. That photographer assaulted by Sean Penn is a sniveling wuss.


dave rice September 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm

I still don’t get WTF Sean Penn had to do with this incident – was he at Mesa College giving advice to one party or another?


Goatskull September 15, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Sean Peen doesn’t have anything to do with this. I think RB simply posted that to point out that people will become hostile when there’s a camera with in a few feet pointed at them and following them.


dave rice September 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Well that kind of kills the conservative argument in favor of Big Brother-esque monitoring of everyone at every time that goes something along the line of “people are more likely to behave if they know they’re being watched.” Maybe instead we should assume that people that know they’re being watched are more likely to commit criminal acts of violence…


Goatskull September 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Well I’m just pointing out what I’m assuming RB’s point was. Think of it this way. What would you do if you’re collecting signatures to get an issue on the ballot and some right wing media outlet if getting in your face with a camera? If it were me I suppose I’d be a little smarter than this guy in that I don’t want to be caught on camera and then later wicked off to jail, but I may still be rather hostile. In the case of this guy, he’s probably trying to get signatures just so he can pay his rent so he’s being REALLY hostile towards anyone trying to stop him or stop people from signing the petition. That doesn’t make assaulting the camera person right, but chances are he figures he as nothing to lose.


Marilyn Steber September 15, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Perhaps the writer was thinking of Sagan Penn? I’m so confused!


jettyboy September 15, 2011 at 9:35 am

Who, what, when, were etc. before the video would make a huge difference in understanding what this is all about. just sayin’


It's all there September 15, 2011 at 9:47 am

jettyboy says: “Who, what, when, were etc. before the video would make a huge difference in understanding what this is all about. ”

Hmmm, let’s see… the video bears the caption “Jim Mahler (filming) assaulted by anti-worker petition gatherer at Mesa College, yesterday, September 14,2011.”

By my reading, I see the “who” (“Jim Mahler” and “anti-worker petition gatherer”), the “what” (“assaulted”), the “when” (“yesterday, September 14, 2011”) and the “were” (sic) (“Mesa College”).

Just sayin’


OBtruth September 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm

LOL…. who in their right mind chases after the perpetrator after they have been assaulted?

These guys are college professors?


Frank Gormlie September 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

First, thank god there’s people out there like these college professors, who are standing up to Carl Demaio and his minions. Second, they didn’t “chase” the guy, they followed him to the parking lot by walking.

Have to ask OBtruth, truthfully, what would you have done? Go home, hide and nurse your pride? These are political activists – one of whom was just assaulted. They were not intimidated by the guys actions.


RB September 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

After studying and working at several universities, college professors are not were you go to find common sense. One minute they will explain how to split an atom or sequence DNA, and next minute they can’t decide on how to buy a car or who to marry.


OB Joe September 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Okay RB, I won’t make fun of your spelling error just after you made fun of college professors. But are you serious with your nonsense “one minute they will blah blah blah”? You are f*cking insane, man, with shit like this: “college professors are not were (sic) you go to find common sense” Obviously you didn’t get much out of college, did you? Too bad, maybe you should return.


RB September 15, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Go ahead and make fun of my spelling, I am not sensitive about it. Did you know you can have dyslexia, be a poor speller, slow reader and still succeed in college in math and science.


thinking out loud September 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm

stick to the issue…limit the personal remarks would be so much better like they teach in kollege.


Mike September 15, 2011 at 9:44 am

“Justify my dick in your mouth”……an instant classic.


RB September 15, 2011 at 11:55 am

Made all the better by the Professor’s lightening quick response of “Yeah, OK”.


mr fresh September 15, 2011 at 2:38 pm

could be the the new “don’t tase me, bro”


Seth September 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Upon further review, it is actually “testify my d–k in your mouth.”

Which might even be funnier, when you get down to it… lol.


dave rice September 16, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I’m thinking the only testimony someone would be able to give with my dick in their mouth would be “Mmmf! Mmmf-oommmf-mmmf!”

Sorry, my onomatopoeia skills are kind of limited in this particular endeavor…


Jeff September 15, 2011 at 9:47 am

I too would like to hear what happened before this clip. Also, did they follow through with calling the police to report an assault as they can be heard saying they are going to do in the video? If so what came about from that?


MaoTzu September 15, 2011 at 9:56 am

So how about a little follow up were the police called and what happened?


Allthink September 15, 2011 at 10:43 am

I’m Glad that my lack of perceiving any substance regarding this story is shared.


Dave Maass September 15, 2011 at 11:19 am

The older man with the pulled back hair is Gregg Robinson, professor at Grossmont


JEC September 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Your Point?


Seth September 15, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Without the full context of this, the only conclusion I can reach is… LMAO.


editordude September 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm

We will have more info on the background and foreground of this video later today. Most of the people involved are out there trying to counter extremist DeMaio’s anti-worker efforts.


editordude September 15, 2011 at 12:51 pm

We have now added more information about what the video shows and about the background to the story. We’ve also included links in the story to other posts about the “pension reform” efforts and Carl DeMaio.


Jeff September 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Thanks for posting more info, but to me it seems like something is still being left out of the explanation of what happened right before this video starts. You say, “What the team did and is doing at Mesa is non-violent, and from a safe distance, hold up signs that ask students not to sign anti-worker petitions.”

I don’t know how you define “safe distance” but at the start of the video the person filming seems pretty close to the petition gatherer. It’s also obvious they’re not just “holding signs” they’re talking with others and reacting to what the petition gatherer is saying.

I’m certainly not defending the petition gatherer’s actions, but I think it would help your cause if you didn’t sugar coat the exchange between him and the people filming.


Seth September 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Two thoughts, now that it has been a little clarified. Are these people paid by the number of signatures they get? If so, there’s your problem right there.

Second, whatever happened before or after, the video is pretty detrimental to their cause. In fact, they look like complete jackasses who are the antagonists here.


doug porter September 15, 2011 at 2:35 pm

yes, they are being paid $7 per signature. some of them have been trucked in from out of town. and more than a few have been arrested for: assault, battery, felony warrants, selling drugs, you name it. the SDPOA (which obviously has skin in this game) has been tweeting about the arrests. also, if you read Jim Miller’s post this week here at the OBRag, you’ll get a taste of how they’ve operated at City College.
It’s ironic that the DeMaio forces have been labeling people who’ve peacefully (no arrests) picketed these signature gatherers are calling them “Thugs”.


Allthink September 15, 2011 at 2:35 pm

This is simply horrible reporting. I love the OB rag but this is worse than some of the BS they throw up on HuffPo.


Allthink September 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm

OK, not horrible – but wtf?


Patty Jones September 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm

OK, it is horrible and it’s all on me. I screwed up by not providing more context in the first place. I understand that is what people are pointing out.

We “knew” what had been going on with the petition gatherers, it’s been a topic for weeks now. We’d even written about it, but it was wrong to assume that readers coming to the site today knew about the history with DeMaio’s goons.

I apologize and promise to do better.


annagrace September 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Patty- you provided context that people wanted and you did it quickly. That is what matters. Thanks.


dave rice September 15, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Patty, you’ve got no more and no less credential as a journalist than most of the rest of us here – we’re all sometimes guilty of errors of omission. I personally applaud your efforts in getting a relevant story out, and for updating it promptly as needed…even the U/T “pros” post updates as more details emerge or are needed for clarification. Great article!


KM September 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm

I teach at City College, and have been part of the Decline to Sign team trying to educate folks about what and who is behind these petitions. I have also been shouted at and followed by a very large and threatening man, who told me he was going to come after me when I tried to talk to a person about the petition she was about to sign. She was so alarmed by his actions, she quickly walked away, which made him even angrier. What he kept shouting at me was that every signature was making him money and that I was messing with his business. My response, while running away from him, was that his business was all about hurting other working people and that he should reconsider his line of work. As someone who teaches working class people of all backgrounds, I’m deeply sympathetic to the economic plight of my students and everyone. That said, to suggest that petition gathering for right wing politicians who don’t care about poor and working class people in any way is somehow a solution to this problem doesn’t pass the laugh test. I hope that some of these folks will think about going to a community college so we can help improve their economic chances rather than harassing those who work and study there for very short-term gain.

There are always petition gatherers on our campuses during an election cycle and we have had other times where we’ve tried to educate our students, fellow faculty, and staff about what they’re signing. They have freedom of speech, but so do we. That is not something under dispute.

What is disturbing about the matter at hand is the manner in which the petitions are being circulated and by whom. Because these folks are getting paid upwards of $7 a signature and because we are in a horrendous economic crisis, the ante has gotten upped. Desperate people will do what ever it takes to get folks to sign their petitions, including lying and/or intimidating them–and attacking those on the other side of the issue. This video documents this.

As a woman myself, what is particularly troubling is that when there are no other men around, the petition gatherers will bully women decline to sign workers and loom over women whose signatures they seek. Women have been pushed, hit, had their jewelry ripped off their necks, their hats knocked off, and more. Nevertheless, our attitude is to NOT back down from bullies, but to try to document the situation and stand up to them, whether it’s the petition gatherers or the people–like Carl DeMaio–behind them. To do otherwise would be surrendering to cowardice.

Of course, the real cowards here are the ones funding this bogus “grassroots” reform effort who will look the other way and claim innocence while they send desperate folks out to do their bidding.


SD September 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Well said. Thank you, KM.


Bob C September 15, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I just hope more people will get the benefit of reading your well written and thought out comments. If I was wearing a hat I would take it off to you KM


Allen Lewis September 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm

HaHaHaHa!!!!! thanks for the good laugh on most of your comments. Going after this guy is like going after the guy that parks your car for a company you don’t like. don’t you get it … it’s just a job to him something that’s hard to find these days, he doesn’t care about anything but the $ he will get at the end of the day. I would think college professors would realize you don’t go to the muse to get to the king.


Seth September 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I was in Subway the other day (hey, it happens… lol), and some guy in front of me was arguing about getting a free refill. Clerk told him they don’t do free refills, guy says Subways have never given him a problem with this before, clerk is like sorry, it’s just the rule. Which, of course… it is, basically everywhere they sell soda.

This guy was getting totally ticked off, and I couldn’t help but laugh at the silliness of taking it out on the clerk, as if this was his fault somehow. Seeing as how the guy cut me in line to buy two cookies as they were in the final stages of wrapping up my sandwich, I was about a second away from jumping in and telling him to write an angry letter to Jared.


Goatskull September 15, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I agree. Despite the threats he made, he’s really a non entity.


The Bearded Obecian September 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Does the guy in the vid remind anyone of the teacher from Beavis & Butthead? I wonder if that same prof guy complains of assault when someone bumps into him too. It goes without saying that the behavior displayed by the petitioner is pretty pathetic, not to mention needlessly incendiary. Regardless of who is collecting signatures, it seems that sugar gets you a bit further than spice. It kind of defeats the purpose by being aggressive.

What’s entirely amusing, however, is that a number of posters on here seem to suggest that this is a phenomenon of the right. I’d imagine care should be taking when casting the stones.


dave rice September 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I didn’t catch the “bump,” of the professor maybe it happened off-camera and you were there to witness it? What I did see was a hand reaching out and striking at the camera person. When someone takes several steps in your direction and reaches out to strike you, do you consider that an assault?


Goatskull September 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I certainly would, but it’s to be expected in this kind of situation. The guy in my opinion is a non entity. He’s just a tool and nothing more.


Frank Gormlie September 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Dave, yes – legally an assault is any movement or gesture or attempted battery that intimidates, or causes the person to think they are about to be battered. That’s why you often hear them together, as in “assault and battery”. Battery is actual physical contact.


dave rice September 16, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Okay, so in this instance I’ve got to conclude from the evidence I’ve been presented that the aggressor charging on the cameraperson constituted an assault, and then the actual striking of the cameraperson’s hand was the battery. Seems clear cut enough to me.


Goatskull September 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm

“Does the guy in the vid remind anyone of the teacher from Beavis & Butthead? ”

Ha ha ha. That’s exactly what I though.


dave rice September 15, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Biased opinion here, I was a student of Professor Gregg in the early 2000s and my ex-wife worked for him for a couple years around the same time. He may have a high voice and if you want to ridicule someone for that or their hairstyle I guess that’s your business, but of all the teachers I had in 15 years of a generally pathetic public education, he’s one of the three or four that stood out as truly inspirational, and I’m still thankful a decade later for the impact he had on my life, even if I was kind of a flunkie as a teenager and never made it out of junior college. If you ever have the chance to hear him speak in public it would be wise to lend him an ear for a few minutes, I’ve covered a couple events he’s been at in the last few months and he’s still got it…


Goatskull September 16, 2011 at 6:14 am

The comparison is just a thought that popped into my head during the brief few seconds he spoke in this video. I didn’t say anything about what kind of person or teacher he is. I’m sure he is everything you describe, but still in this clip that is who he reminded me of and yes I got a bit of a chuckle.


dave rice September 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I get the parody, and I could almost buy into the comparison if I didn’t know how militant the guy can be in real life…sorry for jumping on the defensive unnecessarily, I certainly didn’t mean to call you out Goat!


Goatskull September 16, 2011 at 9:05 pm

No problem Dave.


mr fresh September 15, 2011 at 3:35 pm

It’s amazing to me how much “deflection” has gone on here.
Okay, the Rag posted a video without much context. Fine, that’s been fixed, both in the story and in the comments. This initiative is about really screwing a bunch of people. The people behind it are Evil. They are the same kind of people who cheered at the GOP/TeaParty debate the other night when it was suggested that an individual without insurance who showed up at a hospital should be allowed to die.
Are those really YOUR values?


Jeff Hanks September 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm

What is most puzzling to me is the assertion that this is guy in the video is working for Demaio. It is my understanding that a coalition including Jerry Sanders, Kevin Faulconer, Lori Zapf and others are also behind the signature gathering effort. It is also my understanding that Fletcher and Dumanis have also endorsed the ballot measure. So why are you singling out DeMaio only?

I am also struck by the timing of when the video started rolling. What did these group of men do to instigate this reaction? Why was a third party off camera heard saying “don’t let them intimidate you”.

Sorry, this just looks like a hit piece on DeMaio. Pretty shoddy reporting OB Rag.


annagrace September 15, 2011 at 7:59 pm

A hit piece on DeMaio? Why are we singling out DeMaio? Because this is his “pension reform” and he’s taking credit for it. And we should certainly give him “credit” for it. The following is from his DeMaio for Mayor site.


dave rice September 15, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Quote = the above link: “DeMaio has made pension reform his top priority – and has completely refocused his campaign’s energies on signature collection efforts.”

annagrace, for the win…


Patty Jones September 15, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I second that.


Allen Lewis September 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I guess you all are living in a fog… there is NO good palliation they are all a bunch of crocks with there own agendas, and thats to put $$$ in there pockets. I think it was Tomis Jefferson that said the 2nd amendment is put in place to protect us form our government. it’s time to stand up and be counted… and as for as your vote counting HAHAHA…


Gregg Robinson September 16, 2011 at 1:30 am

The Old White Guy Speaks Out:

There are two issues here. First, what happened; and second, what the petitions mean. I agree with many comments that what is most important is the second, but I will address the first since I am the old white guy professor in the video. The Decline to Sign campaign as practiced by our union involves holding signs saying “Teachers urge you not to sign petitions”. We have consulted legal staff about our responsibilities and we have always been at least 5 feet away from signature gatherers, and focus on talking about the underlying issues with students. On this day there were a number of signature gathering groups on the Mesa College campus, and our group had divided up to follow them. I had followed the group of which the individual in the clip was a member. There were three of them: a young woman, two large heavy set males, and all three were in their 20’s.

Quite the opposite of what some have suggested, our group did not “gang up” on this group. I was the only one following it until a few minutes before the situation in the clip. I had been following this group across campus holding my sign and attempting to speak to the students the signature gathers solicited. The gathers were obviously unhappy with my presence, but two were relatively civil in their dislike; that was not the case with the third individual (seen in the clip). He was verbally aggressive and angry during this period, and not just in the clip. Ironically, he did what he accuses the photographer in the clip of doing: he had his own camera and would shove it in my face, only a few inches away and yell at me.

I had followed them to the outskirts of the campus where they attempted to get the signature of a male student (who can barely be seen in the clip). I was engaged in a conversation with him explaining our side of the petition issue. At this point there were a total of five of us: me, the student, and the three of them. As I spoke to the student a second member of our group, Jim Mahler came up and began to film the encounter. Go back and look at the relative positions of people. At NO TIME did Jim stick his camera in anyone’s face. Just the opposite. The young man in the striped shirt approached him and began to yell at him to get the camera out of there. He tried to knock the camera out of Jim’s hands (as can be seen in the clip) and missed and hit his wrist. It should be remembered that this is the same individual who had previously assaulted our female member. So there is a history of aggressive action here. Even without that history, however, the action performed constituted assault.

I admit I am critical of myself in the encounter. I sound a little like Howard Cosell (for those of you who are old enough to remember the old ABC sports commentator) doing a ring side commentary: “Contact is made. That constitutes assault”. Let me restate: we were out-numbered at this point and there was a history of violence. They were bigger than us and younger. They had attacked a female member of our union previously. OK I should of just shut up, but I was surprised by what had happened. Part of what I was doing was talking to myself (yep, I am getting older), “Wow this guy actually hit Jim”.

The other thing I am critical of is my not following the guy close enough after he hit Jim. At the point that he began to walk away, Jim was on the phone calling the police. I followed him down to the parking lot as can be seen in the clip. What the clip doesn’t show is that we told him we were calling the police. At that point, he began to run away. When the police arrived, saw the clip and heard our description of what had happened, they said they would arrest the guy. If I had followed him, this debate would not be an issue because he would be behind bars. More importantly, an individual who had assaulted not just the photographer but a small female would no longer be a risk to other people.

Let me admit to some sympathy for the folks gathering signatures. I spoke to one of them, and he admitted that he didn’t really understand the issues, and was only doing it for the money. He told me that he would stop doing this stuff if my union would pay him the same amount. I wish we had the money to employ young people like these. They and millions of other poor inner city young people deserve work. Unfortunately, my union doesn’t have that kind of money. Only those rich right wingers who back politicians like De Maio have that kind of money. And that is the most important point in all of this. The real assault is the rich of this city on the rights of working class people. Let’s not lose sight of this fact.


OBtruth September 16, 2011 at 10:03 am

You are protesting people who are collecting signatures to put a measure on the ballot for the people to vote on in the future. The signatures don’t make anything happen other than allow the voters to make that future decision.

Do you deny that we have a pension problem in our city?
Should nothing be done about it?
Why are you afraid of this being on the ballot?


annagrace September 16, 2011 at 10:42 am

What DeMaio consistently and conveniently leaves out of his “reform” efforts is the fact that City workers currently receive a defined pension that is not a part of Social Security. These alternatives to Social Security are not unusual in the public sector, but they can only exist if they have a comparable benefit provision.
DeMaio s oddly silent about this and does nothing to inform citizens about this situation when discussing pension reform. The system he wants to put on the ballot does not include a return to Social Security in lieu of the current defined pension.
I am not about to sign any petition that does not assure city workers the same retirement model offered to everyone else- Social Security + 401(k) or other supplemental options. What next- we have a petition to eliminate the minimum wage? Repeal child labor laws?


RB September 16, 2011 at 11:20 am

Next should be a petition for deadbeat and mismanaged public governmental agencies to be forced to provide SS.


OBtruth September 16, 2011 at 11:22 am

That is a fair criticism, and should be a part of the debate. I find it rather dubious that 1) It has taken this long for there to be any proposal to fix the pension problem 2) That professors at our community colleges have the time to protest a petition for a ballot measure.

It is ridiculous to think that potential voters are going to make informed decisions while signing a petition. Informed decisions are made while researching measures that have actually made it on the ballot. This is why it is silly for these petition protestors to claim that they are there to inform the people who are signing the petition. Are they informing them about our city’s pension problems, too?

It is my humble opinion, that these great and influential college professors, should be spending the time they are protesting, coming up with a better solution than DeMaio&Co., and presenting the problems with DeMaio’s message, rather than standing “5 feet” from the signature gatherers.

Why were none of these protesting professors on the KUSI program presenting their side of the issue? Or were they?


Frank Gormlie September 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

Excuse me? You ask “Why were none of these protesting professors on the KUSI program presenting their side of the issue?” Who makes up TV news programs? Why aren’t you asking KUSI this question? I’m sure the professors and others would have been very happy to appear on the unbalanced program that lasted for hours. KUSI happens to be the most rightwing station in town – check out who owns it.


doug porter September 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm

kusi REFUSED opponents live air time to debate. the station said the opponents could only do TAPED responses, which they would air as they saw fit. of course, DeMaio and his cronies got all the “live” air time they wanted. that’s what is called “Soviet Style” newscasting.


annagrace September 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

“It is ridiculous to think that potential voters are going to make informed decisions while signing a petition.” That sure says it all. But you erroneously assume that all of us are of the “Don’t know, Don’t care” ilk. Why would a citizen in her right mind sign a petition without knowing who is sponsoring it, what is it for, what will be changed from the status quo, and who will benefit? Do you really believe that the democratic process is somehow served by putting any and all petitions on the ballot without any forethought? I do not believe that ignorance=democracy.


dave rice September 16, 2011 at 8:31 pm

The “pension problem” largely relates to the city intentionally under-funding their obligations. If our elected officials had done what they were required to do, no problem. They didn’t. And now the workers should shoulder the burden of the bosses’ failures?

What really gets me here is the whole argument along the lines of “The private sector doesn’t get pension benefits, so the public sector shouldn’t.” When you look at it, EVERYONE used to have a pension to look forward to, and private employees shouldn’t be bitching that public employees get too much, they should be fucking furious that they’ve been robbed of the benefits they used to enjoy. Maybe I’ll expand upon this later…


dave rice September 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I haven’t looked at the other responses to your comment yet, but I’d like to quickly address the “Why are you afraid of this being on the ballot?” taunt…

I’m afraid of it going to a public vote because our hideously mangled political system allows those with the most money to buy the most TV, radio, and print media, thus allowing them to shape the debate in any manner they choose – there’s no requirement that one side or another presents the truth. The only prerequisite to making an opinion public is having enough money to purchase media time – if you can do that, you’re free to spew as many lies as you’d like. If the other side can’t afford to counter your lies with truth, the false perception becomes accepted as fact, and the sheeple (I hate borrowing that term from the dickwad that coined it, but it’s entirely appropriate) vote based upon the line they’ve been fed.


annagrace September 16, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Dave you beat me to getting around to saying that. Thanks.


mr fresh September 16, 2011 at 10:18 am

Nobody here says there isn’t a pension problem.
Nobody here says that nothing should be done.
Nobody here says that this shouldn’t be on the ballot. (Really!)
It’s just that these folks were misrepresenting the facts just to get signatures. Or, to put it less politely, they were doing everything but promising little girls free ponies if their mommies would sign up.
(hence the protests)
It’s not like Carl DeMaio and his crew just appeared out of nowhere with this initiative. He has a clear history of doing his best to screw City workers (and enrich his backers).


OBtruth September 16, 2011 at 11:28 am

By protesting petition gatherers, they are indeed saying that this should not be on the ballot to be voted on by the citizens of the city.

Facts get misrepresented everyday by just about everyone. The professors who have posted here have made the implication that it is only “the rich”, who are paying “poor inner city” petition collectors, that desire pension reform, and that “heavy set men” are trying to strong arm people into signing the petition. Those are gross over-generalizations that misrepresent the facts.


Frank Gormlie September 16, 2011 at 11:48 am

Okay, “OB Truth” – what is your “truth”? You sound like you have an inside connection to the truth – let’s hear it!


Terrie Best November 9, 2011 at 9:45 am

In a recent publicity stunt, Carl DeMaio attempted to sell citizens of San Diego that 1 month of extra foot traffic created by Occupy San Diego resulted in loss of sales.

The story about the vendors’ business failure has been covered elsewhere as a total misrepresentation of what actually happened.

Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio, got a lot of mileage out of Car owner Linda Jenson’s claims that her business failed because of Occupy San Diego. He staged a press conference and vowed to help her.

Very admirable except for the fact that Mr. DeMaio virtually ignored this woman’s plea for help for three years (as evidenced by the letter Jenson wrote in 2008 to newspaper, San Diego City Beat) and then saw and took an opportunity to discredit Occupy San Diego with it. He immediately staged a publicity stunt by offering money and the promise of a fund raiser to her now that it suits him.

Also not covered here is the fact that protesters filed by and handed the vendors money off-camera during DeMaio’s press conference.

I have seen many of our Council Members down at the Plaza engaging their public but not Mayor hopeful Carl DeMaio. Mr. DeMaio chose to alienate and vilify those citizens who are begging to be heard. This is not the sign of a leader.

Carl DeMaio is unsophisticated, out of touch and disconnected with what San Diegans need. Please vote NO on DeMaio.


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