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Roundtable: Facebooking Marine, Pension Reform, Prisons Change

Guests: Tony Perry, SD Bureau Chief, LA Times

Alison St. John, KPBS News

Dana Littlefield, U-T San Diego


A Marine on Facebook

Saying he is “completely shocked that this is happening,” Marine Sgt. Gary Stein of Temecula is headed for dismissal from the Marine Corps for criticizing President Obama on his Tea Party Marine Facebook page.

Stein, a nine-year veteran, posted that he would not follow unlawful orders from the President, his commander-in-chief, such as killing Americans or taking guns away from Americans. Earlier anti-Obama posts were about health-care reform.

Stein was notified Wednesday that his comments were “detrimental to good order and discipline,” a violation of the Code of Military Justice. Stein says he will fight the dismissal because free speech trumps military law. Should he prevail, it’s fair to say the entire military would have some adjusting to do.

Special Feature KPBS Election Coverage

Pension Reform?

When the city’s Independent budget Analyst looked at San Diego’s pension reform initiative set for the June ballot, it came to the conclusion that the city would save nearly a billion dollars over 30 years, but not from pension reform. Instead, the savings come from salary freezes – pay raises of zero percent for five years.

On KPBS, Mayoral Candidate Bob Filner described the initiative as a “fraud.” Carl DeMaio said the measure caps pensionable pay. City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the measure doesn’t guarantee a five-year salary freeze. Labor leaders say the measure violates labor law. The IBA also found that moving employees to 401ks would cost the city $13 million over 30 years.

Realigning Prisoners

The state’s prison realignment plan, which went into effect Oct. 1, shifted responsibility for some low-level offenders from the state to the counties.

People convicted of non-violent, non-serious crime could serve their time in county jails, rather than state prison. The counties also take over many aspects of parole.

The ACLU concludes that counties have dramatically increased spending on jails and that a huge number of people are in jail awaiting trial, not convicted of anything yet. The ACLU recommends amending pre-trial detention laws to keep low-level offenders out of jail until convicted, sentencing reforms, and discouraging further jail construction.

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