The Star-News


No question who the daily paper supports

Sat, Jan 01 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Tom Basinski

Last week I attended a press conference at police headquarters.

I was there to learn about the cops accusing the city of crying poverty when the city is allegedly better off than many cities.

If you want to learn the definitive truth about how much, and where the money is, stop reading now. I don't have a clue.

I listened to Peter Donohue, PhD in economics and expert in government finances, hired by the cops, give a report that Chula Vista has general fund balances of $33.5 million.

Donohue said the city has tons of money in reserve. Even though the city faces deficits, the deficits aren't enough to lay off cops, or enough to warrant the city demanding the monetary concessions that are being asked for to avoid police 'laayoffs.

I've been around enough to know that employees constantly accuse government agencies of hiding money in various accounts, a practice the agencies vehemently deny.

If I would ever believe the results of an audit, said audit would have to be 1) done by only one company 2) with the approval of both parties and 3) the audit would have to be financed equally by both sides. While not accusing Dr. Donahue of anything untoward, I have seen "studies" bought and paid for.

There was one reporter there who seemed to have a slight chip on his shoulder. I knew he was a newspaperman because I could tell he had either tomato soup or spaghetti for lunch. He was wearing some of it on his light-colored jacket. Also, he had coffee stains on his trousers. I may not be an economist or much of a newspaperman, but I'm a helluva detective.

I later learned he is an editorial writer for a local daily. I hung back and listened to him pepper police association president Fred Rowbotham with questions. The newsman wasn't buying what Rowbotham had to say. You could tell by the doubting smirk he displayed after the president's answers. I wondered what would come of the interview.

I learned the newsman's position when I read my Christmas Eve paper.

Even after Rowbotham explained that the city wouldn't agree to an informal discussion, the writer wrote that the POA "has refused to even negotiate."

He chided the cops for having a public relations campaign to try to get the citizens on their side. He also said the conclusions of the audit "seem preposterous on its face."

Granted, a newspaper editorial is an opinion, and not straight news. There is no question where the local daily stands on this issue and it's not on the side of the cops.

In yet another attempt to get my questions on this issue resolved, I phoned the city manager's office again. The recorded message said they were closed until Jan. 3. Then, I e-mailed my request to their office in case someone was in there working this week. So far no answer from them. By the time the city manager gets back to work, it'll be layoff time.


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