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Bonnie Dumanis Says She Deserves Pension, Supports Eliminating Pensions For Future Workers

Evening Edition

Mayoral candidate Bonnie Dumanis talks to KPBS.

Aired 5/14/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Bonnie Dumanis is currently serving as San Diego County's District Attorney and is a candidate to be San Diego's next mayor.


District Attorney and mayoral candidate Bonnie Dumanis says when she retires, she stands to earn just under $200,000 for her pension. She also supports Proposition B, which would put an end to pensions for new city employees and give them 401(k)-style plans instead.

Dumanis told KPBS that after her career in public service, she feels she earned her pension, but said as mayor she would vote to end pensions for new employees.

"I worked for 38 years from a junior typist to prosecutor to superior court judge and district attorney, breaking many glass ceilings along the way," she said. "But never was I in a position to make a decision about pensions or on my salary and as mayor I will be in that position."

She said if Proposition B passes, new city employees will know they aren't receiving pensions when they are hired.

"And the market has changed," she said. "We can't afford the benefits and we've got to look at the salaries in the private industry as well."

She added that younger workers are more mobile today, so they do not expect pensions.

Dumanis said reports in Voice of San Diego that she will receive at least $249,000 for her pension are incorrect.

Although Dumanis has consistently been last in the polls, she told KPBS she is not worried about the election on June 5.

"I'm not in fourth place," she said. "Campaigns are always in flux, polls are for the moment, and the same polls showed me 20 percent behind a week before I won district attorney in 2002."

She added her campaign was not showing television commercials when the last poll was taken, but they are now.

"We have been very aggressive," she said. "As I go out to talk to people I'm really humbled by the support I get about my plans, about my experience, and the difference about what I bring to the table, which is 38 years in San Diego, working in San Diego and giving back to the community."

Dumanis said she doesn't look at polls "because the only poll that counts is June 5."

"It's really just something the insiders look at," she said. "People really haven't started focusing yet, and now they're beginning to because the ballots have gone out."

"I'm in it to win it and I plan on being the next mayor of San Diego," she said.

A mayoral scorecard created by Voice of San Diego shows Dumanis largely holds the same positions as City Councilman Carl DeMaio and state Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, and Dumanis agreed "we are similar on a lot of issues."

"But the difference is the three others are legislators," she said. "The type of experience you get as a Washington insider or a Sacramento politician or a city councilman doesn't prepare you for the job of mayor."

She said being mayor is like being CEO of a multi-billion-dollar organization with 10,000 employees.

"So I think I bring something different to the table," she said.

Dumanis said she has long supported same-sex marriage and stood with Mayor Jerry Sanders at a press conference to urge people to vote against Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage. She said she has been married to her partner Denise for three years.

She also said she has always been supportive of abortion rights.

Dumanis added if elected, she will donate her entire mayoral salary to education programs and would not enter the pension system "at all."

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | May 14, 2012 at 9:34 a.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago


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Avatar for user 'dialyn'

dialyn | May 14, 2012 at 10:59 a.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

So other employees didn't earn their retirement but she did? She was the only person who worked hard? She brings, not something new to the table, but the same old political hypocrisy and pandering to special groups. Personally, I'll pass on voting for her. I'm tired of CEOs and CEO wannabes getting all the money and telling the rest of us to collect cans for our retirement. It gets old.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 14, 2012 at 11:16 a.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Bonnie and Dirty Carl are both typical **I got mine, so screw the rest of you** Republicans.

It reminds memos the tea party protesters on Medicare who were holding up signs against healthcare reform saying, "No socialized medicine!" right above "Don't touch my Medicare!"

Bonnie is surprisingly blatant about this.

Dirty Carl is a little more sly.

In his case, he became a millionaire in the "private sector" and doesn't need a pension because he's already very wealthy. Far more wealthy than someone would be solely off of a city council person salary. The ironic part is that DeMaio's "private sector" business was based on being awarded **government contracts**. So, Dirty Carl likes to tout his private sector business, yet his profits came from tax payers.

So what Dirty Carl is saying is this:

'I became a very rich man by profiting from tax payers via government contracts so I don't need a pension because I'm set. But, I will score political points by cutting it off for my colleagues who aren't rich and who didn't expat government contracts to become rich to score political points.

It's a bit more laundered than the blatant hypocrisy Dumanis is puking out. But it's just as sleazy.


Dirty Carl.

Two people who would be a danger to our city.

I support Filner, however Fletcher is also far, FAR better than either of these two.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 14, 2012 at 11:23 a.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

By the way, has anyone seen Dirty Carl's television ads?

They are laughable.

He actually has a line in there saying he's not a political city insider.

REALLY, Carl???????

You are endorsed by the local GOP bosses, and our largest media outlet owned by Old Man Manchester who has been pulling strings at city hall for decades gave you a wrap-around front page endorsement!

And you will "fight against" the city establishment?

My word, who the hell are your ads targeted at, Filthy DeMaio???? People who are too stupid to know what year it is!?

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Avatar for user 'mattman'

mattman | May 14, 2012 at 2:57 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

This is confusing. Will Dumanis collect a pension or not when she retires? The topic is covered pretty well and then in the last sentence it says she won't enter the pension system? What is all the banter about if she is not even going to enter into the pension plan? People of San Diego should be voting for her big time. She is a true representative of the city. She will serve out of her capacity to serve and will donate her entire salary back to the community where she wants to and will not be another weight on the back of an already stumbling crippled pension fund that should never have been instituted in the first place. She is willing to do the job as was intended to be done when the country was formed. As an honor to be selected and for minimal compensation. Even though the job pays way too much for a job where you are supposed to be running in order to guide the city in its best interests and not because it pays good and has good benefits or perks. She will utilize her position to foster her relationships for when she goes into the private sector doing what she wants to. She is networking

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Avatar for user 'Joanne Faryon'

Joanne Faryon, KPBS Staff | May 14, 2012 at 3:34 p.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

Thanks for all your comments. mattman, to clarify, the last part of the interview referred to whether Bonnie Dumanis will enter into the public pension system if she becomes mayor. Dumanis says she will not. She will however, collect the pension she has already earned as a public employee. Hope that helps.

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