October 14, 2005

The Public Forum . . . El Foro Publico

Mi respuesta a su editorial fechado 7 Oct. 2005.

Tus derechos cuentan

Tu decides.....

La proposicion 75, no se presenta con el proposito de buscar otro fin que no sea el de lograr que los sindicatos dejen de decidir sin consultar a sus trabajadores antes de efectuar los gastos excesivos que hacen con su dinero en la actividad política.

El sindicato como representante que es de todos los trabajadores agremiados, tiene tambien la obligacion de acatar las disposiciones de sus agremiados, en ellos básicamente radica la fuerza del sindicato, por lo tanto, sus dirigentes deben acatar las decisiones de sus representados, aunque éstas, no sean del agrado de sus dirigentes.

Si los sindicatos actuales, (no todos) no hacen su trabajo con responsabilidad y honradez, como muchos miembros de los mismos asi lo piensan, es el momento para considerar su actualización, no es posible que en la actualidad un grupo pequeño de personas impongan sus deseos y caprichos a miles de trabajadores agremiados.

Es cierto que el sindicato cumple con una función laboral muy importante para los trabajadores afiliados, pero cuando sus dirigentes se olvidan que tienen la obligación de atender las demandas laborales las decisiones de sus representados, este sindicato pierde la confianza de sus agremiados y por consecuencia su fuerza.

Eliza Cano
Fair Oaks, California.

Struggle between the City council and the City Attorney in San Diego

In a standing room only special session of the San Diego City Council called  for 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 10/11/05, to discuss the Attorney-Client Relationship between City Attorney Mike Aguirre and the short-handed City Council, we had a Mexican standoff. From the beginning it was clear, from the seven page legalistic memo authored by  Attorney Robert L. Kehr, hired by Deputy Mayor Toni Atkins to speak for the San Diego City Council, that this was a new, legalistic approach  in the battle to deny Mike Aguirre the authority to operate, independently, from the San Diego City Council.

Kehr’s memo was like a legal brief in its detail, e.g., in seeking precedents to take away from Aguirre his authority to bring cases to court without the San Diego City Council’s approval. City Attorney Aguirre said  he chose not to be present in order to avoid a possible  confrontation.  Nevertheless, Don McGrath, Executive Assistant City Attorney, immediately,

challenged Dep. Mayor Atkins’ right to hire Attorney Kehr and to call this special session of the San Diego City Council, without proper notice to do so, citing the Brown Act. The Deputy Mayor declared she had a right to do that in a search for clarity on the issue of ...the duties of the San Diego City Attorney. To which Mr. McGrath reserved the right to appeal, but allowed  the proceedings to continue.

Mr. Kehr read most of the seven pages of his memo to the City Council, editorializing as he went.  It was a thoroughly documented, case-oriented, legal memo which  the City Attorney’s surrogate experts received just prior to the meeting. Attorney Richard Solomon and retired Judge Ellen Peck, responded, mainly, by references to Sec. 40 of the San Diego City

Charter which, they indicated, made clear that the City Attorney “...has the obligation, independent of any directions from the City Council, to act as he determines is appropriate to protect the interests of ‘all San Diego.’” They, also, persuasively, challenged Mr. Kehr’s interpretation of a case that the City Council’s argument rests upon, People ex rel. Deukmejian v. Brown, 29 Cal.3d 150 (1981). They emphasized the distinct difference between the circumstances of that case and those in which San Diego finds itself at the present time. The outcome appeared to be  a draw.

Clearly, there will be other rounds fired in this continuing struggle on the part of both sides to assert themselves in dealing with the vital question of who is, really, in charge of finding answers to the financial predicament in which the city finds itself. Let us hope that the evidence which continues to trickle out from the 60,000 pages of additional information, recently, released by the Municipal Employees Pension Board will help to resolve the situation for both sides.

John P. Falchi

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