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Health

Roundtable Looks At Briggs' Nonprofits, Angry Lifeguards, Loss Of Dental Coverage

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Roundtable Looks At Briggs' Nonprofits, Angry Lifeguards, Loss Of Dental Coverage
Roundtable Looks At Briggs' Nonprofits, Angry Lifeguards, Loss Of Dental Coverage
Briggs' Nonprofits, Lifeguards vs. the Mayor, Lost Dental CoverageHOST:Mark SauerGUESTS:Brad Racino, inewsourceJoshua Emerson Smith, San Diego CityBeat Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News

WELL-KNOWN ATTORNEY CORY BRIGGS HAS FOUND MULTIPLE LAWSUITS AGAINST THE CITY AND OTHER SPIGOT THE REPORT RAISES QUESTIONS ABOUT NONPROFITS THAT ARE HIS CLIENTS. SAN DIEGO LIFEGUARDS ACCUSED THE MAYOR OF POLITICAL PAYBACK BY BLOCKING A WORKERS COMPENSATION BENEFIT. WHAT IS THE USE OF STATE DENTAL INSURANCE IF NO DENTIST WILL TAKE IT? I AM TRYING 11 -- MARK SAUER THE ROUNDTABLE STARTS NOW. WELCOME TO OUR DISCUSSION OF THE WEEK'S TOP STORIES. I AM MARK SAUER. JOIN ME AT THE ROUNDTABLE ARE REPORTER BRAD RACINO OF I NEW SOURCE. REPORTER JOSHUA EMERSON SMITH OF SAN DIEGO CITY BEAT. AND KPBS HEALTH REPORTER KENNY GOLDBERG . ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY CORY BRIGGS IS WELL-KNOWN IN THE HALLS OF SAN DIEGO CITY GOVERNMENT. THAT IS BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN A LAWSUIT MACHINE AGAINST THE CITY AND OTHER PUBLIC ENTITIES OVER THE YEARS. NOW QUESTIONS ARE BEING RAISED ABOUT WHO HE IS REPRESENTING IN THESE LAWSUITS. BRAD, START BY TELLING US WHO CORY BRIGGS IS A WHY WE NEED TO CARE . CORY BRIGGS AS YOU SAID IN THE OPENING IS A WELL-KNOWN ENVIRONMENT OF ATTORNEY IN SAN DIEGO. HE HAS BEEN FRONT AND CENTAL -- CENTER IN A LOT OF LEGAL BATTLES. WHETHER IT IS THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE WATERFRONT OR OPENING GOVERNMENT, HE HAS BEEN A PUBLIC FACE OF A LOT OF THIS BECAUSE HE IS ALWAYS REPRESENTED PLAINTIFFS. IN THE INTEREST OF FULL DISCLOSURE, ONE OF BRIGGS NONPROFIT HAS SUED YOUR ORGANIZATION, WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THAT? HE HAS SUED OUR ORGANIZATION OVER OUR LEASE TERMS WITH KPBS. THAT HAS BEEN FILED IN COURT, WE ACTUALLY HAVE NEVER BEEN SERVED WITH THAT LAWSUIT. WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENS ON NOT. YOUR STORY THIS WEEK IN ORDER TO SUE AN ATTORNEY NEED CLIENT, THEY NEED STANDING YOU CANNOT FILE A SUIT ON YOUR OWN. ASKED WHEN WHAT THAT IS AND HOW HE HAS GONE ABOUT GETTING THESE CLIENTS. STANDING IS A STATE STATUTE THAT SAYS SOMEONE WHO IS BRINGING A LAWSUIT HAS BEEN HARMED OR WILL BE HARMED AS A RESULT OF WHATEVER ACTIONS THEY ARE TAKING. YOU CAN'T GO SUE SOMEBODY IF YOU DON'T HAVE SOME KIND STANDING. 70 HAS TO BE HURT AND NEED TO BE MADE WHOLE. CORRECT. THESE NONPROFITS OR ORGANIZATIONS THAT BRIGGS FOUNDED, THEY ARE THE CLIENTS WHO HE CLAIMS ARE HARMED IN THESE LAWSUITS. WE FOUND THERE IS A NETWORK OF NONPROFIT THEY ARE EITHER 501(C)(3)'S OR 501(C) FOURS. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS. WHEN WE LOOK AT THESE WILL OF THAT STATE FILINGS, FEDERAL FILINGS, WE SAW A PATTERN. WE PUT TOGETHER THAT PATTERN. WHAT IT APPEARS TO BE IS EITHER BRIGGS OR HIS FAMILY MEMBERS SIT ON THE BOARDS OF THESE OR THE PHYSICAL ADDRESS OF THESE NONPROFITS ARE THE BRIGGS LAW CORPORATION. ONCE WE PIECE THAT TOGETHER WE SAW THERE WERE 35 OF THESE NONPROFITS EITHER 501(C)(3) FOR 501(C) FOURS. AND OTHERS HAVE NEVER FILED ANYTHING IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BUT THAT THAT PATTERN. TO KEEP YOUR NONPROFIT THAT IS THERE ARE RULES, FEDERAL RULES, STATE RULES TO KEEP THIS UP YOU HAVE THE FILE CERTAIN THINGS AND JUSTIFY WHAT YOU ARE DOING. THESE ARE PUBLIC BENEFIT ORGANIZATION SO THEY NEED TO BENEFIT THE PUBLIC AND PROVED TO THE GOVERNMENT THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE DOING. TO DO THAT THEY NEED TO FILE WITH THE CALIFORNIA ATTY. GENERAL. . TO DO THAT THEY NEED TO FILE WITH THE CALIFORNIA ATTY. GENERAL. FILE WITH THE CALIFORNIA SECRETARY OF STATE, THAT THE FILE WITH THE IRS EVERY YEAR. SAN DIEGO IS FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT THAT IS THE BEST KNOWN OF THESE NONPROFITS THAT RIGGS IS INVOLVED WITH. TALK ABOUT THAT ONE. WHAT CASES HAVE BEEN INVOLVED? THEY HAVE SUED THE CITY A LOAN MORE THAN A COUPLE DOZEN TIMES IT SUED ALL DIFFERENT AGENCIES WHETHER FEDERAL OR STATE OR LOCAL. USUALLY THEY ARE IN THE -- ENVIRONMENTAL LAWSUITS THEY ARE OVER THE CALIFORNIA LAND QUALITY ACT SOMETIMES OPEN GOVERNMENT, THEY SUED THE CITY ATTORNEY OR TODD GLORIA, MOST OF THE TIME IT IS OVER ENVIRONMENT ISSUES, IT IS OVER SOMETHING THAT THE PUBLIC [ INDISCERNIBLE ]. THE NAME SAN DIEGO FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT'S PUBLIC A NOBLE THING. WHAT IS THE MOST UNUSUAL THING THAT JUMPS OUT AT YOU ABOUT THIS? THERE IS A FEW. ONE IS THE NUMBER OF THESE ORGANIZATIONS. HOW MANY THERE ARE, HOW BRIGGS IS THE ONLY LAWYER THAT REPRESENTS THEM. WHEN WE ACTUALLY LOOKED AT THE FILINGS WHAT I NOTICED WHAT IS REALLY INTERESTING IS 19 OF THEM HAVE THE EXACT SAME MISSION STATEMENT. WHICH IS ABOUT PROMOTING SOCIAL WELFARE THROUGH ADVOCACY FOR EDUCATION REGARDING RESPONSIBLE EQUITABLE VARMINT OF DEVELOPMENT. THEY ALL CLAIM TO BE DOING THIS EDUCATION -- THE PUBLIC GOOD. THEY ALL ONLY EXIST IN COURT. VEHICLES FOR LAWSUITS IS WHAT THE IMPLICATION IS. YOU HAD LEGAL ESPER -- EXPERTS LOOK AT THE FILINGS OF THE NONPROFITS. WHAT DO THEY FIND? THEIR BIGGEST ISSUES WITH THE FILINGS WITH THE TRANSPARENCY ELEMENT. THEY ARE NOT FILING. THESE GROUPS THAT CLAIM TO BE THE "AND TRANSPARENCY ARE NOT OPEN AND THEY WILL NOT ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS. WE TRIED TO CONTACT EVERYONE ASSOCIATED WITH THESE GROUPS, NO ONE WILL SPEAK TO US. WE ALSO REQUESTED IRS FILINGS FROM THE GROUP FOR STATE LAWS WE NEVER HEARD BACK. THEY TOOK ISSUE WITH THAT, THEY ALSO TOOK ISSUE WITH WHERE THE MONEY GOES. WHEN BRIGGS WAS A LAWSUIT ON BEHALF OF ONE OF THESE PLAINTIFFS, HE WILL GET ATTORNEY'S FEES AND THERE MAY BE A SETTLEMENT. THAT SETTLEMENT SHOULD BE SHOWING UP IN THESE FILINGS, THEY NEVER DO. ALL OF THESE CORPORATIONS SAY THEY HAVE NO MONEY AT ALL. IT APPEARS ALL THE MONEY GOES TO BRIGGS. WHAT HAS BRIGGS REACTION BEEN TO YOUR STORY OR QUESTIONS? HE WILL NOT SPEAK TO US. HE SAID IN EMAIL TO OUR LAWYER A COUPLE WEEKS AGO SAYING IT WAS UNETHICAL FOR HIM TO TALK TO US. OUR LAWYER RESPONDED AND WE SEE THE -- NO ETHICAL PROBLEM. PLEASE FILL FREE TO RESPOND TO ANY INTERVIEW REQUEST AND HE WILL NOT ANSWER ANY. IS THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL INVESTIGATING BRIGGS? WE WILL NEVER KNOW WHEN IT COMES TO THE IRS, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OR STATE GOVERNMENT THEY WILL NEVER COMMENT ON PENDING INVESTIGATIONS. THE SAN DIEGO CITY ATTORNEY IS THE BIGGEST LAW FIRM IN TOWN, ONE OF THE BIGGEST LAW FIRMS IN TOWN. THEY ARE ON THE OTHER END THEY REPRESENT THE CITY'S INTERESTS WHEN THEY GET SUED BY BRIGGS ON BEHALF OF SAN DIEGO'S FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT. I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE CHECKS AND BALANCES WITHIN THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM. DOESN'T THE CITY ATTORNEY COME INTO COURT AND SAY YOU DON'T HAVE STANDING, THIS IS NOT A SOLID ORGANIZATION YOU REPRESENT. YOU DON'T HAVE A CLIENT HERE. DON'T THEY CHALLENGE THE STANDING? WHY ISN'T THE CHECK AND BALANCE SYSTEM WORKING IF HE IS DOING SOMETHING NOT RIGHT. THEY ARE DOING THAT RIGHT NOW OVER THE BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT LAWSUIT THAT HE FILED ON BEHALF OF SAN DIEGO'S FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT. THERE ARE 4 PAGES WHERE THEY LAID OUT ALL THE EVIDENCE AS TO WHY WHAT THEY CALL IS A SHELL CORPORATION FOR THE BRIGGS LAW FORM. THEY DID GO ABOUT DEPOSING A NUMBER OF THE MEMBERS OF THE -- THIS WOULD BE WITNESS STATEMENTS UNDER OATH. RIGHT. THEY DEPOSED 9 OF THEM. 8 OF THEM THEY PROVED HAD NO STANDING AT ALL THEY HAD NO STANDING IN THIS CASE. THERE WAS ONE WILL LEFT 2 DEAD BUT SHE PLED THE 5th AND SHE REFUSED TO BE DEPOSED IN THE LONGER. WHAT THEY ARE ARGUING IS SHE SHOULD BE THROWN OUT AND THEY HAVE NO STANDING ON THIS CASE. IS THE IDEA THAT THE PAPERWORK FOR THESE NONPROFITS IS SLOPPY? THE PAPERWORK IS SLOPPY OR NONEXISTENT. WHAT SEEMS TO BE THE METHOD OR THE COMMONALITIES IS THEY ARE FORMED AND THEN USED TO LITIGATE AND THEN THEY ARE CAST ASIDE. THEY GIVE NOTICES FROM ALL DIFFERENT AGENCIES IN YOU HAVE TO DO THIS AND THEY ARE IGNORED. THEY SHOULD HAVE BOARDS THAT THEY DON'T HAVE? OR THE SHOULD BE A NONPROFIT BOARD OVERSEEING THIS? THE NONPROFIT BOARDS, THE BOARDS OF THESE NONPROFITS THAT WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE OUR ALL THE SAME PEOPLE EITHER BRIGGS, HIS WIFE OR PARTNER, HIS COUSIN WHO IS A CPA WITH THE BUSINESS RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO HIS, OR 2 OTHER PEOPLE WHO WE FOUND ARE COMMON IN A LOT OF THESE. IF YOU JOIN NONPROFIT THAT IS -- STATUS THERE IS A BENEFIT TO THAT, WHERE IS THE WATCHDOG? IF YOU'RE NOT DOING THIS OR FILINGS, YOU'RE NOT FILING ACCORDING TO THE LAW, DOES THE STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL OR STATE AGENCY ARE THEY FALLING DOWN ON THE JOB? I CAN'T SPEAK TO THAT. WE HAVE DONE A COUPLE OF INVESTIGATIONS INVOLVING CHARITIES FOR GUY BEEN AMAZED AT WHAT THEY WILL NOT LOOK INTO. I DON'T KNOW IF THEY ARE OVERLOADED. MAYBE THE NUMBERS AREN'T BIG ENOUGH. IF YOU ADDED A COUPLE OF ZEROS TO THE SETTLEMENTS MAYBE IT WOULD CATCH THEIR ATTENTION. I HAVE BEEN TOLD THERE ARE THRESHOLDS IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY FOR EITHER FEDERAL OR STATE OVERSIGHT AGENCIES, THEY WILL NOT LOOK INTO SOMETHING UNTIL HITS THAT THRESHOLD BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE THE MANPOWER. WHAT DOES THAT SAY FOR SOMEONE LIKE RIGGS OF THEY FIND OUT ABOUT THIS? IT COULD BE NUMBER THINKS. IS IT CRIMINAL? I COULD NOT ANSWER I DON'T KNOW. YOU WOULD BE LOOKING AHEAD IN TERMS OF THESE DEPOSITIONS AND ACTIONS THE CITY ATTORNEY'S TAKING. WE WILL LEAVE IT THERE. I'M SURE THERE WILL BE MORE TO COME. LIFEGUARDS MUST WAIT IN ALL SORTS OF POISONOUS STUFF TO SAVE LIVES, CONTAMINATED SERVE, DRAINAGE DITCHES, THEY LIST CONTACTING THINGS LIKE HEPATITIS, TV AND CANCER BECAUSE OF THEIR JOBS. THERE IS A LEGAL PROVISION MAKING IT EASIER FOR THEM TO QUALIFY FOR WORKER'S COMPENSATION. COPS AND FIREFIGHTERS HAVE IT BUT LIFEGUARDS SAY KEVIN FAULCONER IS BLOCKING IT FOR THEM OUT OF SPITE. LET'S EXPLAIN WHAT THIS MEDICAL COVERAGE IS. YOU DID A FANTASTIC JOB OF LAYING IT OUT. YOU CAN QUALIFY FOR WORKERS COMP IF YOU ARE INJURED ON THE JOB. HOWEVER, PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES HAVE WHAT IS CALLED PRESUMPTIVE MEDICAL COVERAGE WHICH MAKES IT EASIER FOR THEM TO GET WORKER'S COMPENSATION. IT SAYS IF YOU COME DOWN WITH ANY ONE OF A NUMBER OF ILLNESSES LIKE MENINGITIS, CANCER, DIFFERENT THINGS, IT IS ASSUMED THAT YOU GOT THAT WHILE YOU WERE WORKING AND YOU GET WORKER'S COMPENSATION COVERAGE BECAUSE OF THAT, BECAUSE YOUR JOB IS DANGEROUS. KENNY YOU HAVE BEEN COVERING HEALTH HERE FOR YEARS. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH STORM WATER RUNOFF AND WAITING IN THE FLOODING SITUATIONS? IF YOU ARE WAITING INTO TOXIC CHEMICALS KNOWS WHAT YOU GET. SKIN PROBLEMS, INTERNAL BACTERIA. IT COULD BE VERY DANGEROUS.. IT DOESN'T NECESSARILY COME OUT IMMEDIATELY. IT MAY COME OUT WHILE YOU'RE ON VACATION. OR CANCER DEVELOPS YEARS LATER. THE IDEA IS YOU MIGHT FIGHT AN ISSUE OR WORKER'S COMP. CASE LIKE CANCER OR ONE OF THESE NORMALITY IS ENOUGH TO TAKE FOR EVER FOR YOU GET THE BENEFITS A WORKMEN'S COMP. IS NOT LIKE YOU JOPPA ROCK ON.. OR FELL OFF THE LADDER ON THE JOB LIKE A FIREFIGHTER. THE CITY COUNCIL HAS APPROVED THIS PLAN TO OFFER LIFEGUARDS WORKERS PROTECTION THE SAME AS COPS AND FIREFIGHTERS. IT IS IN THE 5 YEAR NEEDS ASSESSMENT. THEY SAY IT IS ONE THING THEY WANT TO PURSUE GOING FORWARD. THE QUESTION IS HOW EXPENSIVE WITH IT BE -- WOULD IT BE. THE MAYOR PUT TOGETHER THIS PROPOSAL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT SAYING HERE IS A LIST OF THINGS WE THINK FIRE SHOULD GET GOING FORWARD AND THIS WAS INCLUDED IN THAT. THE FIRE DEPARTMENT FELT LIKE THEY WERE GOING TO GET THIS, IT WAS ONE MORE THING WHY SHOULDN'T THEY HAVE IT, THEY ARE 100 FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES, 220 PART-TIME EMPLOYEES, THE NUMBER OF PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES IN THE CITY IS SOMEWHERE AROUND 3000. THIS WOULD REALLY ADD TOO MUCH TO THE ROLES IN TERMS OF AN EXTRA COST. APPARENTLY 6 WEEKS AGO LIFEGUARD UNION SAYS KEVIN FAULCONER COMES ON SAYS WE ARE NOT SUPPORTIVE OF THIS. SO HE HAD SUPPORTED BEFORE AND NOW IT IS NO. IT SEEMS THAT WAY. LET'S TALK ABOUT HAD -- AT HARRIS FOR MOMENT. HE IS HEAD OF THE LIFEGUARD UNION. HE IS THE SPOKESPERSON OR THE SHOP STEWARD FOR THE LOCAL HERE IN SAN DIEGO HE WAS RECENTLY REPLACED KEVIN FAULCONER WHEN THE MAYOR WAS ELECTED IN A SPECIAL ELECTION. HE HAD THE INTERIM PERIOD WHERE HE WAS ACTUALLY [ INDISCERNIBLE ]. THEN HARRIS BECOMES COUNCILMEMBER FOR DISTRICT TO. HE IS CLAIMING, HARRIS IS, THE MAYOR IS BLOCKING THIS LIFEGUARD PROTECTION AND HE IS SAYING IT IS OUT OF POLITICAL SPITE. WHEN HARRIS IS ON THE CITY COUNCIL HE PUSHED TO BLOCK A LEASE EXTENSION AT THE BELMONT PARK AMUSEMENT PARK WHICH APPARENTLY REALLY INFURIATED THE REPUBLICANS. HE LED THE CITY COUNCIL TO BLOCK THE LEASE. HARRIS BEING A DEMOCRAT. AFTER HE LEFT THE COUNCIL THE DEMOCRATS -- THE COUNCIL DID APPROVE THE LEASE EXTENSION, BUT BECAUSE OF THE WHOLE FIGHT AND ROAD THAT HARRIS HAS STARTED CORY BRIGGS COMES ALONG AND SAYS I WILL SUE OVER THIS. NOW THEY HAVE BACKED ON THEIR HANDS AND IT LOOKS LIKE THE REPUBLICANS ARE FRUSTRATED. THE REPUBLICANS ON THE COUNCIL ARE UPSET BECAUSE YOU PUT THE FLY ON THE OINTMENT ON HARRIS. NOW THEY ARE SAYING HE'S COMING BACK IT IS POLITICAL PAYBACK TIME THEY ARE HURTING LIFEGUARDS BY DOING THIS. RIGHT. THE NEXT THING THE CITY COUNCIL TAKE THIS UP. BRAD. I LIKED YOUR STORY. THEIR SOMETHING THAT CAUGHT MY EYE WHICH YOU SAID MAYOR FAULCONER CUT OFF ACCESS TO CITY STAFF. THAT IS VERY FRUSTRATING. UNDER THE BOB FILNER ADMINISTRATION WE HAD A HARD TIME TRYING TO GET ACCESS TO CITY STAFF TO UNDERSTAND BASIC NUTS AND BOLTS THINGS SUCH AS HOW MANY CITY EMPLOYEES HAVE PRESUMPTIVE MEDICAL COVERAGE. WHEN I WAS REPORTING ON THE STORY I CALL THAT THE CITY AND I SAID I WANT TO UNDERSTAND HOW PRESUMPTIVE MEDICAL COVERAGE WORKS, WHAT EMPLOYEES HAVE THIS. THEY SAID SORRY, WE ARE NOT GOING TO GIVE YOU ACCESS. IT WAS FRUSTRATING NFL LIKE THEY WERE -- AND IT FELT LIKE THEY WERE WALKING BACK [ INDISCERNIBLE ] THEY HAD HAD FOR SOME TIME. INSTEAD OF HAVING A BASIC QUESTION ANSWER TO PUT IN A RECORDS REQUEST FOR THE INFORMATION, YOU HAD TO WAIT WEEKS OR HAVE A LONG YOU WANT TO GO CLEARLY THEY WERE NOT GOING TO TALK ON ANY TOPIC. WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS. COULD YOU MAKE THE ARGUMENT, THE DEVIL'S ARGUMENT THAT THIS IS JUST POSTURING AND THE MAYOR IS TIME TO GET A BETTER DEAL AS THEY NEGOTIATE? ABSOLUTELY. ALTHOUGH THIS SEEMS LIKE A PRETTY BLACK AND WHITE ISSUE EITHER THEY GET IT OR THEY DON'T. THE THING IS IT IS GOING TO THE CITY COUNCIL. THE CITY COUNCIL IS DISCUSSING IT IN CLOSED SESSION RIGHT NOW. THEY COULD COME BACK IN THE CITY COUNCIL COULD VOTE TO PUSH THIS FORWARD. THEY WANT PRESUMPTIVE MEDICAL COVERAGE FOR THE LIFEGUARDS. IF IT GOES TO THE MAYOR'S OFFICE AND HE TAKES A HARD AND ON THIS AND SAYS I WILL VETO IT AND IT COMES BACK TO THE CITY COUNCIL THEY WILL NEED A TWO THIRDS MAJORITY. THEN THE PRESSURE GETS PUT ON [ INDISCERNIBLE ] WHO REPRESENTS A LARGE SECTION OF THE BEACH COMMUNITY AND STOOD UP FOR THE LIFEGUARD IN THE PAST AND IN FACT DURING THE PAST 5 YEAR NEEDS ASSESSMENT WHEN THEY WERE PASSING THAT SHE SAID THIS IS CHUMP CHANGE. THIS DOES NOT COST US ANYTHING. WE NEED TO PUT THIS IN PLACE RIGHT AWAY. SHE IS ON RECORD SAYING EXPENSE IS NOT THE ISSUE. WE SHOULD SAVE SHE IS A REPUBLICAN WHO REPRESENTS THIS. CAN THE CITY JUSTIFY GIVING THIS BENEFITS TO OTHER PUBLIC SAFETY PERSONNEL AND NOT BE LIFEGUARDS? IT IS WRITTEN INTO STATE LAW THAT THE OTHER PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES HAVE TO HAVE IT. IT IS STATE LAW. OTHER LIFEGUARDS AROUND THE STATE DON'T HAVE TO HAVE THIS. THE CITY WOULD BE DOING SOMETHING ABOVE AND BEYOND BECAUSE WE HAVE A ROBUST LARGE FORCE OF LIFEGUARDS HERE. IT MIGHT SET A PRECEDENT. IT IS REQUIRED BY STATE LAW THAT IS BASICALLY THE THING FOR OTHER PUBLIC SAFETY EMPLOYEES. HOW CAN THEY PREDICT WHAT THE COST WOULD BE IF THEY HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING THE CLAIMS. IT WOULD HAVE TO BE AN ESTIMATE. THAT IS WHAT IS GOING ON. IT IS AN INDEPENDENT BUDGET ANALYST. RIGHT NOW THAT IS WHAT I HEAR BEHIND THE SCENES AS THEY ARE TIED TO DO A COST ESTIMATE. FEW SECONDS LEFT. THEY HAVE MORE POLITICAL CLOUT, THE LIFEGUARDS WITH THE TEAMSTER UNION NOW THAT IS A GOOD QUESTION. THEY DO HAVE A LOT MORE POLITICAL CLOUT. THEY MADE A COUPLE OF ADVANCEMENTS IN RECENT YEARS SINCE THEY PULLED AWAY FROM THE MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION AND STARTED THEIR OWN AND JOINED THE TEAMSTERS. WE WILL SEE HOW THIS PLAYS OUT. WE WILL SHIFT GEARS NOW. WESTERN DENTAL A MAJOR PROVIDER OF DENTAL CARE TO LOW INCOME PEOPLE DECLARE THEY WILL NO LONGER ACCEPT NEW PATIENTS. IT IS THE LATEST PROBLEM FOR THE STATE PROGRAM KNOWN AS DENTI-CAL . START BY TELLING US WHAT DENTI-CAL IS AND WHO IS SERVED BY ITS. DENTI-CAL IS SERVED BY 2.7 MILLION LOW INCOME CALIFORNIA ADULTS AND CHILDREN. IT IS BASICALLY THE DENTAL PROGRAM FOR PEOPLE ON MEDI-CAL THE REASON THERE ARE NOT MORE PEOPLE ON DENTI-CAL IS FOR YEARS DENTI-CAL DID NOT GIVE ADULT DENTAL COVERAGE. BACKOUT RESCINDED A COUPLE YEARS AGO ONCE WE GOT BACK INTO THE BLACK, THE STATE. NOW MORE ADULTS CAN APPLY FOR IT TO. HOW MANY LOW INCOME ADULTS AND CHILDREN HAVE TRAN19? ABOUT 2.7 MILLION. A LOT OF PEOPLE. TELL US ABOUT THIS WHO IS WESTERN DENTAL? THEY ARE THE LARGEST FOR-PROFIT DENTAL CLINIC IN CALIFORNIA. WHEN THEY SAY THEY ARE NOT GOING TO TREAT NEW DENTI-CAL PATIENTS THAT A SIGNIFICANT. STATEWIDE THEY TREAT ABOUT 700,000 PATIENTS A YEAR THAT IS A BIG CHUNK. THEY SAID THIS WEEK THAT IS IT. THEY CAN'T AFFORD IT. TAKE A LOOK AT THIS. DENTI-CAL PAYS DENTIST FOR CLEANING, $20 TO GO PRIVATE INSURERS PLAY 3-4 TIMES THAT. FOR $20 THEY CAN PAY EXPENSIVE -- EXPENSES. THEY CAN PAY UTILITIES IS NOT WORTHWHILE. THIS IS A BIG DEAL BECAUSE THE WHOLE SYSTEM IS SET UP WHERE THEY ARE KIND OF RELYING ON THESE PROVIDERS TO DO OR SUBSIDIZE THIS ON BEHALF OF THE [ INDISCERNIBLE ] OF THE STATE. THAT IS RIGHT. THE MEDI-CAL PROGRAM ITSELF IS BASED ON THE PRINCE WILL THEY DEPEND ON THE [ INDISCERNIBLE ] OF DOCTORS WHO ARE WILLING TO LOSE MONEY TO TREAT MEDI-CAL PATIENTS. I WAS HAD TO THINK OF AN ANALOGY TO THAT, INDIGENT PEOPLE GET LEGAL REPRESENTATION WHEN THEIR CHARGED WITH A CRIME. THAT LEGAL REPRESENTATION DOES NOT DEPEND ON THE PRO BONO WORK OF PRIVATE ATTORNEYS, THERE ARE PUBLIC DEFENDERS, LEGAL AID THAT PROVIDE THAT CARE. IN THE MEDI-CAL AND DENTI-CAL SYSTEM IT DOES DEPEND ON PRIVATE PEOPLE WILLING TO WORK AT A LOSS. A LOT OF TIMES YOU HAVE CLINICS IN CERTAIN AREAS THAT WILL PICK UP THIS KIND OF WORK. IS THAT NOT THE CASE IN SAN DIEGO? IT CERTAINLY IS THE CASE. COMMITTEE CLINICS TREAT ANYONE ON A SCALE WHETHER THEY HAVE INSURANCE OR NOT. HOWEVER THERE ARE MORE THAN 12 MANY PEOPLE ON THE MEDI-CAL PROGRAM . THEY CAN OFFLOAD COMMUNITY CLINICS. YOU DO HAVE CERTAIN TIMES OF THE YEAR, WE HAVE A COUPLE OF DAYS WERE DOCTORS AND DENTISTS WILL DONATE THEIR TIME AND COME IN ON A ONE-SHOT DEAL. YES. AGAIN, IT IS NOT A SYSTEM. IT IS THE GOODNESS OF YOUR HEART. IT JUST SEEMS TO BE A SHAKY GROUND, A SHAKY FOUNDATION ON WHICH TO BUILD A SAFETY NET SYSTEM. CALIFORNIA'S MEDICAID PROGRAM IS THE 40th WORST RATED IN THE COUNTRY. CALIFORNIA IS A HIGH COST STATE. I JUST A UNDERSTAND IT. A LOT OF IT MUST BE THE REFLECTION OF OUR ECONOMIC HARD TIMES. WE HAVE GOT TO BALANCE THE BUDGET BY LAW. IT SEEMS LIKE THIS IS AN ISSUE NOT JUST WITH DENTAL CARE BUT WITH A LOT OF GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS. YES ABSOLUTELY. IT IS MEDI-CAL AND DENTI-CAL PROGRAM, BUT LAWMAKERS AND THE GOVERNMENT JUST DON'T SEEM TO GET THE CONCEPT THAT DOCTORS AND DENTISTS ARE LOSING MONEY WHEN THEY TREAT THESE PATIENTS. I GET THE IMPRESSION THAT LAWMAKERS DON'T [ INDISCERNIBLE ] WITH IT. 2 OTHER STATES HAVE SOME OF PROGRAMS LIKE TRAN19? YES THEY DO. HOW IS IT GOING? FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND IT IS BETTER. WHAT THEY PROVIDERS IN CALIFORNIA ARE ADVOCATING FOR IS PAY US THE SAME RATE THAT MEDICARE PAYS THAT IS FAIR. THEY DON'T MAKE A FORTUNE OFF THAT BUT AT LEAST THEY CAN PAY THEIR EXPENSES. IT IS A BREAK EVEN. THERE WAS A CONCLUSION THE CALIFORNIA STATE AUDITOR WAS SEVERE AT THE CONCLUSION IN THE LAST YEAR, WHAT DID THEY SAY? THEY SAID THE RATES ARE WAY TOO LOW. THE STATE SHOULD NOT RAISE THE RATES WOULD GO IN 20 1357% OF CHILDREN ON MEDI-CAL THE NOT SEE A DENTIST THAT IS SIGNIFICANT. THAT IS THE GREAT ISSUE ABOUT OBAMA CARE AND THE NATIONAL BIT -- DEBATE WE'RE HAVING ISSUE GET SYSTEMIC INFECTION IN ALL SORTS OF THINGS IF YOU'RE NOT TREATED PROPERLY, NOW YOU ARE IN THE EMERGENCY ROOM AND THE COST IS MUCH HIGHER. THE PROBLEM IS GETTING COMPOUNDED BY THE FACT THAT OBAMA CARE LOOSENED THE LEVELS IN CALIFORNIA THAT YOU HAVE TO REACH TO QUALIFY FOR -- MEDI-CAL . WE HAVE MORE THAN ONE MANY CALIFORNIANS ON MEDI-CAL. IF THEY CANNOT FIND PROVIDERS TO TAKE CARE OF THEM AS YOU SAID WHAT GOOD IS INSURANCE. YOU HAVE A CARD BUT YOU CANNOT FIND A PRIMARY CARE PROVIDER THAT IS A PROBLEM. THERE IS AN EVENT COMING MONDAY. YOU DON'T USUALLY SEE DOCTORS AND THESE KIND OF PROFESSIONALS TAKE INTO THE STREETS. TELL US ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING. IT IS ACTUALLY ON TUESDAY. THERE HOLDING A RALLY AT THE CAPITOL WHERE THEY ARE ASKING LAWMAKERS IN MOUSE -- MASS TO RAISE THE RATES HUMBLED TO MEDICARE SO AT LEAST THEY CAN MAKE THE SYSTEM WORK. IT IS A FUNDING ISSUE. THE STATE HAVE TO FUND IT ALONG WITH THE MONEY THEY GET. RIGHT. THERE IS MORE FEDERAL MONEY THE STATE COULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TO HELP PAY FOR IT, AGAIN IT IS A QUESTION OF PRIORITIES. BUDGET PRIORITIES. THE GOVERNOR, WE HAVE DONE ALL SORTS OF STORIES ACROSS THE BUDGET, HE HAS MORE MONEY TO WORK WITH IT HAS BEEN A BETTER ECONOMY IT HAS BEEN MORE FLESH. DO YOU THINK THEY WILL REVISIT THIS OR IS THERE FEDERAL MONEY THAT MIGHT COME DOWN AND HELP OUT WITH THE DENTAL MEDICAL COSTS? I THINK MEDI-CAL OFFICIALS HOPE TO TAP INTO SOME FEDERAL MONEY WHICH THEY SUPPOSEDLY COULD USE AS AN INCENTIVE TO GET PROVIDERS TO TREAT MEDI-CAL PATIENTS. AGAIN, PERSONALLY I THINK THE LAWMAKERS THEY DON'T HAVE MEDI-CAL, THEY DON'T HAVE DENTI-CAL THEY HAVE THESE GOLDPLATED COVERAGE PLANS AND SUBMIT THEIR FAMILIES DON'T HAVE TO WAIT TO SEE A PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR, THEY DON'T HAVE TO WAIT TO THE NERD TILLED INTO A DENTIST. I JUST DON'T THINK THEY FEEL IT. WE HAVE A SHORT TIME LEFT. I WANT TO GET INTO THE POLITICAL ASPECT OF THIS. SO OFTEN YOU WONDER WHO IS ADVOCATING FOR THIS GROUP. THESE ARE POOR FORKS, THEY CAN VOTE BUT THEY DO NOT HAVE A BUNCH OF MONEY BACKERS AS OTHER ISSUES ACROSS CALIFORNIA. OUR ADVOCATE STEPPING UP TO TRY TO GET THE LEGISLATION IN GOV.'S ATTENTION? THE PROVIDERS HAD ADVOCATES, THE CALIFORNIA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, THE CALIFORNIA HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION, THEY ARE ALL BIG PLAYERS IN THERE HELPING TO ORGANIZE THIS LOBBY. DATE FORMED A COALITION TO LOBBY FOR HIGH RATES. INDIRECTLY THIS IS GOING TO OBVIOUSLY BENEFIT LOW INCOME PEOPLE ON THE PROGRAM. I DON'T THINK THE MEDI-CAL PATIENTS THEMSELVES HAVE AN ORGANIZATION. DENTISTS ARE SAYING WE WOULD LOVE TO TAKE THESE GUYS JUST GIVE US MORE MONEY. COUPLE SECONDS LEFT FORGOT THERE ARE A COUPLE OF BILLS IN THE PIPELINE. RIGHT. TO RAISE THE RATES. IF THEY DON'T DO IT ARBITRARILY THEY WILL TRY TO GET SOMETHING PASSED THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE. WE WILL REPORT ON THAT AS A COMES THROUGH. THAT DOES WRAP UP ANOTHER WEEK OF STORIES AT THE KPBS ROUNDTABLE. I WOULD LIKE TO THINK MY GUEST BRAD RACINO , JOSHUA SMITH, AND KENNY GOLDBERG. ALL THE STORIES WE DISCUSSED TODAY ARE AVAILABLE ON THE WEBSITE TRAN1.ORG. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON THE ROUNDTABLE.

Cory Briggs' many nonprofits

San Diego attorney Cory Briggs is well-known for suing the city over land, government accountability and the environment.

His law firm often files these lawsuits on behalf of a string (nearly 40, so far) of charitable nonprofit organizations which he helped form, which share the same address as Briggs’ law firm, and from which he collects attorney fees and settlements. A law firm can’t seek damages on its own, but can on behalf of a client who has standing, who has allegedly been damaged by the defendant.

The best-known of Briggs' nonprofits is San Diegans for Open Government, which has filed more than two dozen lawsuits against the city.

More than half of Briggs’ nonprofits have been suspended by state or federal government agencies for failure to file legally required documents showing finances, mission statements and board structures.

Lifeguards vs. the mayor

Lifeguards rescue people in lots of places: an ocean contaminated by urban run-off, flooded intersections, drainage ditches, the Tijuana River Valley. They could get several kinds of illnesses just from doing their jobs.

The San Diego City Council approved a five-year needs assessment implementing “presumptive medical coverage” for the city’s lifeguards making it easier to qualify for workers’ compensation. San Diego police and fire already have it. It means that they don’t have to prove that certain illnesses – cancer, meningitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, chemical poisoning — are work-related in order to qualify for workers’ comp.

But Mayor Kevin Faulconer is not currently supporting this coverage for lifeguards, and Ed Harris, the former San Diego City Councilman and current spokesman for Teamsters 911, the lifeguards’ union, says Faulconer is taking this position in retaliation for Harris leading the City Council to reject terms of a lease agreement for Belmont Park last September. After Harris left the City Council, the council approved the lease extension.

In response to the CityBeat article and after Roundtable aired on the radio Friday, mayoral spokesman Matt Awbrey issued the following statement:

“It is absolutely untrue that there is any retaliation against Mr. Harris. The accusation has no merit; so little merit, in fact, that I did not think it was necessary to directly address it beyond stating that the City is committed to negotiating in good faith. But I heard this morning that you are discussing this on KPBS Midday Edition, so I want to be very clear on this. It’s unfortunate that such false accusations are being made to the media while the City is actively negotiating in good faith with Teamsters Local 911.”

Lifeguards have boosted their political clout since joining the Teamsters. They may appeal to Sacramento for relief.

Dental coverage in jeopardy

Denti-Cal, state dental coverage under Medi-Cal, currently serves about 2.7 million adults and children in California. That number could grow to 6.4 million as a result of Medi-Cal expansion. But increasing the number of people covered may not translate to actual dental insurance and ability to see a dentist.

Western Dental, one of the largest Denti-Cal providers in the state, will stop accepting new Denti-Cal patients at 13 of its offices next week and shut down two others. California dentists have not received a rate increase from the state since 2001 and in fact got a rate decrease in 2013. Western Dental says it cannot cover its costs under Denti-Cal. The state reimburses dentists $20 for a cleaning, for instance.

There are three Western Dental offices in San Diego as well as offices in El Cajon, Chula Vista and National City.