Your Rostra Blogpen – Click on Name for Entries by Each Author … Scroll down for Recent Comments & What’s Hot on Rostra

Have a Hot Political News Tip?

Send us a news tip at

Subscribe: Enter Your Email Address




Recent Comments


Posts Tagged ‘San Diego County Taxpayers Association’

Watered-Down SB 350 Still Threatens California

Monday, September 28, 2015
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Riverside Press-Enterprise

Once in a while, even in the California state Legislature, we witness democracy in action or a rare moment when a well-intentioned, but harmful, strongly supported and lobbied bill, is rejected due to a lack of votes.

In the final days of the Legislature’s 2014-2015 session, the right number of elected officials listened to their constituents and defeated a costly measure that would have forced every Californian to cut their gasoline use in half and increased the cost of electricity in the Inland Empire and throughout California.

Comments Off on Watered-Down SB 350 Still Threatens California

Jerry Brown Opens Door on New Taxes

Friday, June 19, 2015
posted by Elliot Schroeder

Sometimes I hate being right. Last year, I warned that Brown’s second term would include a tax increase. The GOP candidates didn’t try to get him to pledge again on taxes. He said as much in a press conference. They should of pounded him over and over to at least get another pledge even as their victory was in doubt. This would have been a win for the taxpayers. Now it’s not happening


Save the date: 2015 Goldens!

Monday, March 9, 2015
posted by Thor's Assistant

Comments Off on Save the date: 2015 Goldens!

Picking the pocket of the Public

Friday, March 14, 2014
posted by Jerome Stocks

Encinitas is a city of about 63,000 friendly people. It has a healthy balanced budget and healthy reserve funds. It also has among the best credit ratings of any municipality in California. I take pride in whatever small amount my 12 years of City Council service contributed toward its fiscal stability.

The new city council has decided it has more “wants” than it has money to spend on them. Frankly, as a living, breathing human being, who is not Bill Gates, I can’t imagine many people or organizations that don’t. Be that as it may, the new city council majority wants to try to increase local sales tax in Encinitas, and they are behaving much like a child jumping up and down demanding more allowance so they can have candy, McDonalds and the movies instead of budgeting and setting spending priorities.


Pension Reform Panel

Thursday, February 28, 2013
posted by Carl DeMaio

SDCTA Breakfast Panel: The Future of Pension Reform: What’s Next?

Date: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Time: 7:00 AM – 9:00 AM

Organizer: San Diego County Taxpayers Association

Sponsor: REFORM San Diego

Panelists Include:
Carl DeMaio – Founder and Chairman of Reform San Diego
Hon. Jan Goldsmith – San Diego City Attorney
Tim Davis – Partner at Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP

Comments Off on Pension Reform Panel

Public Pensions: What to Expect in 2013

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
posted by Thor's Assistant

Courtesy of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) is keeping a close eye on several significant changes to public employee pensions expected to impact state and local governments starting next year.

Several stem from Assembly Bill 340, or “Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013.” The bill, recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown, impacts new state and local public employees enrolled in CalPERS and the pension benefits they receive. SDCTA prepared a brief summary comparing the changes to current law, as well as to initial pension reforms Governor Brown suggested.



The San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA)  has been considered by public opinion polls to be the leading public policy organization for over sixty years.  Dr. Gary Gonsalves, M.D. , the founder of volunteer-led taxpayer advocacy group Stop Taxing Us  claims that the SDCTA has an inherent conflict of interest, when analyzing and endorsing school bond issues, because of its member/funders (many of which are construction companies).  Gonsalves stood alone,  questioning this alleged cronysim but his voice was amplified today by San Diego’s largest media outlet, UT San Diego:


Faulconer Speaks Out Against Proposal to Increase Pension Debt

Wednesday, October 10, 2012
posted by Matt Awbrey

San Diegans voted for Comprehensive Pension Reform to fix the pension problem now. In fact, much of the City of San Diego’s financial turnaround over the past few years is attributable to local leaders taking the bull by the horns and not putting off difficult choices to future generations.

Today, Kevin Faulconer continued to speak out against a plan that would postpone the City’s full pension payments and run up its pension debt by $335 million. Faulconer appeared on the Rodger Hedgecock Show to reiterate that issuing so-called pension obligation bonds — an idea most recently floated by mayoral candidate Bob Filner — is unnecessary and a step in the wrong direction. A recent analysis released by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association revealed this risky maneuver would cost millions of dollars that could otherwise be invested in San Diego neighborhoods.


San Diego Unified is Poway By The Sea

Friday, September 7, 2012
posted by Tony Manolatos

San Diego Politics & Media Mashup

Cross-posted at FlashReport

I want to highlight a story in Thursday’s U-T San Diego“Tax Group to Oppose San Diego School Bonds” It’s worth your attention because it does a nice job of laying out a financial crisis similar to the one in Poway that has received national attention.

In short, the San Diego Unified School District is Poway By The Sea.

In Poway, a $105 voter-approved tax is going to cost $1 billion to pay back. In San Diego, Proposition S, which voters approved four years ago for $2.1 billion, is going to end up costing $10 to $14 billion with interest. That’s not a typo.

Comments Off on San Diego Unified is Poway By The Sea

Recent revelations about high-interest, long term financing of a school bond measure by the Poway Unified School District cannot have escaped the attention of a single school official in San Diego, the state of California, or nationwide for that matter. Citizens are outraged and sounding off. Watchdog groups are calling for reforms that would prevent this type of financing scheme on future bond measures.

But it appears San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Bill Kowba isn’t too concerned about that pesky fine print. On Tuesday, KGTV 10 News investigative reporter Mitch Blacher interviewed Kowba about the District’s $2.8 billion Proposition Z school bond measure, which will be on the November ballot.


Last Major Mayoral Debate – Today

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
posted by Tony Manolatos

The San Diego Association of REALTORS® (SDAR), one of my clients, is hosting the last major mayoral debate.

  • When: Wednesday, May 30
  • Time: Registration & VIP Reception at 11AM; Lunch at 11:45AM; Debate at 12:15PM
  • Location: Town & County Conference Center in Mission Valley.
  • Debate is in the Golden Pacific Ballroom. VIP Reception is for media, candidates and guests and is in Royal Palm Salon 5.

This should be an exceptional debate since it’s so close to Election Day, June 5.


Smart governing decisions saving taxpayer dollars and collaborative initiatives took top honors, while cavalier attitudes and lost opportunities were called out and shamed at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA)’s 17th annual Goldens Awards Dinner, held at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in Mission Valley.

Remote controls were nowhere in sight as the evening’s theme “Taxpayer TV: We Can’t Make This $#!% Up!” entertained the appreciative audience who shared the details of the exclusive video parodies highlighting the program via social media. As in past programs, elected officials, members of the news media and other public figures willingly humiliated themselves in a good-natured send-up of the year in government news and achievements in San Diego.

Comments Off on At Least the Fleece Awards Were Cute: SDCTA Hands Out 2012 Goldens

Just in time could be my life’s mantra. I am reminded by Thor’s Assistant that no Official Drinking Game has been devised for tonight’s epic 17th annual San Diego County Taxpayers Golden Fleece and Watchdog Awards.

Calling Ms. Tipit to the rescue.

DISCLAIMER: In this litigious, risk-averse society, we must pause here to admonish anyone reading this column that it is strictly for entertainment purposes ONLY. Please drink responsibly if at all. Please do not be a dunderhead and drink and tweet/post/drive, or you will be the next person we write about on Rostra and it won’t be pretty.


Shift to PR Concerns U-T’s Top Editor

Saturday, February 18, 2012
posted by Tony Manolatos

U-T San Diego's Jeff Light and Voice of San Diego's Scott Lewis at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association breakfast forum on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of SDCTA.


Politics & Media Mashup: your weekend news aggregator leads off with a look at the reporter-to-PR shift. Also included: Links to some of the week’s best stories about local, state and national politics as well as social and traditional media.

Jeff Light, executive editor at U-T San Diego, is concerned about the reporter-to-PR shift. So concerned that he put together this chart showing how much things have changed.


Five people who have a lot to do with the news you read, hear and see on a daily basis in San Diego got up early to talk about the role of news media organizations as advocates. What they had to say may surprise you… especially if you’re still living in the era of Walter Cronkite.

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association hosted the panel in the first of its Breakfast Club Forums for 2012. Participants included Mike McKinnon, station manager of KUSI TV; J.W. August, managing editor for KGTV; Scott Lewis, CEO of Voice of San Diego; Jeff Light, editor in chief, U-T San Diego; and Deanna Mackey, station manager, KPBS FM/TV. The assignment moderating this forum was mine.

Comments Off on Walter Cronkite is rolling over in his grave after SDCTA Breakfast Forum

San Diego Mayoral Debate Mashup

Sunday, January 15, 2012
posted by Tony Manolatos

[captionpix imgsrc=””]

The Lincoln Club of San Diego County, San Diego County Taxpayers Association & The City Club sponsored Friday’s Mayoral Debate at the U.S. Grant Hotel.

All four major candidates — City Councilman Carl DeMaio, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Congressman Bob Filner and State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher — attended the standing-room-only debate. This was the first debate to include the four.

The local media blanketed the event, as did the Twittersphere and Facebookers. Most were impressed with what they heard.


For true San Diego poliwonks, New Year’s Eve was just a warm-up act. We know many of you have been saving yourself for the real deal: Political Debate Season 2012.

Starting Friday, January 13 with the first official San Diego Mayoral Debate of 2012, we will soon be subjected to a seemingly endless series of candidate debates and it will all become a blur.

But if you are a diligent citizen, you know you should be paying attention to the debates and learning about the candidates even if they deliver nothing but a painful litany of clichés. It’s enough to drive any red-blooded voter to drink.


In Poland it’s called “election sausage” In the Czech Republic, it’s known as “goulash.” It’s called “sweetener” in the UK. In the USA, we call it pork.

But everywhere including on San Diego Rostra it means government waste and it’s a turkey for taxpayers no matter how you slice it. We serve up plenty of pork around here. Now the San Diego County Taxpayers Association calls on Rostrafarians to submit your finest examples of pork as nominations for the 17th Annual Golden Watchdog and Golden Fleece Awards Dinner on May 16, 2012.  This annual event recognizes the very best and worst of local government efficiency, spending and decision-making each year. No poliwonk worth his or her credentials would dare miss it.

Comments Off on How about a healthy serving of pork for Thanksgiving?

Rostrafarians, isn’t it just like a cool breeze on an unseasonably warm evening when you find out there’s a new wonk at work in San Diego?

In a fittingly timed announcement on Wonk Wednesday, Sean Karafin has been named Economic Policy Analyst for the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA). Karafin brings formal education in economics, and experience working with numerous municipalities in California conducting economic analysis to his new role with SDCTA. As Economic Policy Analyst, Karafin conducts public policy analysis and contributes to the advocacy efforts of SDCTA.  His professional concentration has, and continues to be, providing sound research and analysis to support efficient and effective governance.


Turns out it is not just occasional sewage flowing from the Tijuana River that sullies San Diego’s South Bay. San Diego/Imperial County Labor Council’s “Middle Class Taxpayer’s Association” does a fine job of soiling the South Bay as well.

Proposition R passed in fall 2008, thus allowing the Southwestern Community College to issue $389 million in bonds to construct and repair facilities. The language of the promised the bonds would be issued “at legal rates, with required citizen oversight, annual audits and no money for administrators’ salaries.”


Rostra columnist Jim Sills posted a question on my recent post “Calling San Diego Taxpayers: Oppose the “Jobs Tax” asking San Diegans to oppose a proposal by the San Diego City Council to double linkage fees.

Sills had the courage (and the smarts) to ask an obvious question. What the heck is a “linkage fee”?

I called on Chris Cate, Vice President of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association to get a little schooling on this for Rostra readers. Cate was happy to oblige.

Hey, pipe down there, you in the back. Pay attention – this WILL be on the test!


The San Diego County Taxpayers calls upon San Diegans to voice their opposition to a proposal by the San Diego City Council to double the so called “linkage fee” charged to construction projects in the City of San Diego. This fee is yet another short-sighted job killer and SDCTA is strongly opposed to this increase.

The Council will also consider setting this fee on “auto-increase” going forward, a sneaky little maneuver which no longer requires a vote of your elected officials to increase this job-killing tax. This action may be taken despite a historic recession and without regard for the concerns voiced by business leaders that this would further hurt jobs creation and economic recovery in San Diego.


Kevin Faulconer set the tone last night, telling a crowd of civic leaders, “This is not about Republicans and Democrats.  This is about what is good for San Diego neighborhoods.”  Faulconer gestured to a chart showing that, if left unchanged, local residents will one day pay $500 million-a-year for a “defined benefit” pension system. “If we act now, we can save $1 to $2 Billion in the next 25 years, and that will go instead to libraries, parks  & recreation, repairing roads and public safety.”   Carl DeMaio pinpointed a 65% rise in local water rates since 2007, and said “Pension Costs are fully charged into those stunning increases.”  Noting harassment of reform petitioners at local shopping centers, Mayor Jerry Sanders got laughs saying,  “I’m actually ‘proud’  of the people doing that because it means they’ve finally gotten off their #$%*&+#* and done something.”  (A helicopter passed overhead at this moment, and I could not make out just what the word  #$%*&+#* was.)  The Lincoln Club’s  T.J. Zane emphasized polling shows 70%  public support to end abuses like “pension spiking”.


Social Widgets powered by