Fletcher's Union, Big-Gov't Record

Fletcher's Union, Big-Gov't Record

Steven Greenhut: Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher has announced that he is running for mayor of San Diego, an announcement trumpeted by many Republicans, but Fletcher’s rhetoric and record should be disturbing to anyone who actually believes in limited government.

He is an ally of public sector unions. His big pension-reform effort was co-authored by the San Diego police union. He said that his Assembly Bill 2510 will save the city of San Diego money, but it merely shifted the burden to other taxpayers. In fact, his bill epitomized the approach of the unions, which want to shift the investment portfolios from local, generally more conservative systems to the state system, which uses the most liberal assumptions to hide the burdens on taxpayers.

Here are Fletcher’s own words: “Assembly Bill 2510 will help rein in pension related health care costs for San Diego’s police officers. AB 2510 makes a simple change to the rules that govern how employee benefits are handled.  It will allow San Diego Police Officers to join statewide health care pools, and not be limited to San Diego-specific health care pools.” Note these words: “The Assembly just agreed to pass a smart, cost saving measure written by our office along with the City of San Diego and the San Diego Police Officers Association. ”

Fletcher’s idea of pension reform is letting the police union and the city that is the poster child for pension abuse write legislation that actually reduces employee contributions to pay for their generous benefits. He has yet to endorse a pension reform measure coming before city voters.

Read these words he gave as he announced his candidacy: “You don’t build a better city by tearing down those you need to implement a better future. Consider that a message to city workers, who are taking too much blame for problems created by politicians.” That makes it clear that he will not reduce benefits, cut government or rein the costs of the city bureaucracy. It’s code language — of the type cheered by unions.

Fletcher is a huge advocate for redevelopment in San Diego, and as such is in favor or eminent domain for economic development and a fan of corporate welfare. Here we see how Fletcher worked with big-government groups to expand redevelopment. Many of the bills he authored and championed expand government spending and increase government programs.

Listen to him champion corporate welfare programs.

Fletcher’s announcement on Flashreport is filled with the kind of banal politician-speak that lets us know that he will be the candidate of the establishment, of the unions, of the bureaucracy.

Here are some of his statements:

“San Diego needs a new generation of leadership that has a proven track record of building coalitions and delivering positive and hard fought results.  Our campaign will focus on unlocking the potential of innovation. Innovation is the key to our economic prosperity. It means jobs for our families and financial stability for our city. San Diego must be a powerful magnet for the innovative companies that will create good-paying local jobs.”

What does any of that mean?

And then there’s this:

“Rather than talk about making cuts alone we must also find ways to bring San Diego into the 21st Century by using the best-available technology, developing cutting-edge public private partnerships and bring together coalitions to get things done.”

This is the type of pabulum offered by the likes of Jerry Brown and Barack Obama. We don’t have to cut our government! We can innovate our way out of our problems. Fletcher has largely avoided taking stances on tough issues, which has generated some controversy. He did have an ordinate number of bills passed by the Democratic Legislature, which suggests that his focus is more often in sync with the Democratic majority than many other Republicans.

Republicans like Fletcher because he is a Marine, and Fletcher made references to this his military service as reason that he can handle the job of mayor. That’s great, but Fletcher is a non-reformer, big-government Republican who doesn’t value property rights, is allied with the unions, is opposed to meaningful reform of pensions and the bureaucracy and is no champion of the free-market.

I guess that just means he is a typical California Republican, though.



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  1. David from Oceanside
    David from Oceanside 7 June, 2011, 14:00

    For a guy that showed so much promise he has shown himself a statist. His late night redevelopment deal which would keep the Chargers at the expense of taxpayers was all I needed to write this guy off.

    If I could vote for San Diego’s mayor it would be for the honest and bomb throwing Carl De Miao. Fletcher represents those power forces currently in control.

    Reply this comment
  2. econprof
    econprof 7 June, 2011, 16:29

    While Fletcher has given us generalities and rhetoric, DeMaio has put forth specific, tough proposals that would truely trim public union excesses. He has put himself directly in the line of fire, unlike the Republican In Name Only Fletcher. Ex-Marine Fletcher is hiding in his foxhole while DeMaio is leading the charge!

    Reply this comment
  3. jeff jordon
    jeff jordon 23 September, 2011, 11:30

    If you going to write about ab2510 at least have an idea about what you are talking about. The bill allows the sdpoa to join the CalPERS health system which pemcha rules previously disallowed under terms advantageous to san diego taxpayers. Under the bills terms san diegans would save millions of dollars annually by allowing retirees to join purchase their health care through a blended care system. Additionally, because it is community rated as noted by gasb it further reduces the unfunded retiree health liability by 20 to 30 percent which saves tens of millions of OPEB. If you would like to meet to discuss this in peron in order to educate yourself on the issue please call me. Jeff Jordon vice president sdpoa [email protected]

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  4. Richard Rider
    Richard Rider 20 October, 2011, 11:18

    Sure, Jeff — your San Diego police labor union (sorry — “association”) has a long history of championing tax-saving ideas for our city. WE know you have the citizens’ interests at heart. RIIGGGHHHHTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    H.L. Mencken once described elections as “sort of an advance auction of stolen property.” With the SD POA endorsement of Nathan Fletcher, the union has announced their winner in the bidding.

    Reply this comment
  5. Brian Marvel
    Brian Marvel 21 October, 2011, 12:50

    Mr. Rider — Your spot on channel 10 showed your lack of any knowledge on this legislation. Unfortunately, Steve, you and Chris Reed did little to no research on AB 2510 nor contacted us to discuss. Steve knows how to get a hold of me, you know how to get a hold of me and I am sure Chris knows how to get a hold of me too. Your above response shows how trite you are and in what paradigm you live in. Sadly, Mr. Rider, it has become apparent that having intellectual discourse on pension reform with you is not possible.

    Brian R Marvel
    President, SDPOA

    Reply this comment
  6. Bradley J. Fikes
    Bradley J. Fikes 25 October, 2011, 20:15

    Steven, I’d like to see a more detailed account of the flaws in this legislation.

    Jeff Jordon of the SDPOA wrote on the blog SD Rostra:

    “AB 2510 is about allowing retired and active San Diego police officers to use the monies they already receive from the City to purchase healthcare from the largest purchaser of healthcare in the state to take advantage of the benefits of the system, while eliminating the legal requirement to provide retiree healthcare contributions to members who were never eligible for the benefit. There is no shift of the tax burden, but there is less of burden as retirees choose less costly insurance plans. I would love to speak with Mr. Greenhut, he can call me anytime at 858-573-1199 to discuss the matter.”

    If accurate, this appears to mean there’s no additional burden on the taxpayers. If there’s any study or analysis that indicates otherwise, I’d like to see it.



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