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Rethinking California strawberries

➤➤ TRAVEL P. 9 Iceland

a state of mind

Japanese Friendship Garden

a new vision of loveliness ➤➤ FOOD P. 12

By Dave Schwab SDUN Reporter

Construction is well underway on a major expansion of Balboa

Park’s Japanese Friendship Garden, which will more than quadruple the landmark’s existing two-acre site by 2014—in time for the park’s 2015 Centennial celebration. Once completed, the revitalized Friendship Garden will be one of

the largest public, Japanese-style gardens in the United States. Nine acres will be added in Gold Gulch Canyon, with ongoing

construction to the main waterfall, which graces the garden’s high- see Garden, page 8

Yeasty experiments at Stone Brewing Co.

➤➤ ART P. 17 Carl DeMaio: Pension reform key to balancing city’s budget

By Margie Palmer SDUN Reporter

San Diego City Councilmember

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego Big art in small space


Briefs……………………3 Calendar…………………4 Opinion…………………6 Dr.Ink…………………14 Theatre…………………16 Puzzles…………………19

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Carl DeMaio’s three-prong plan to bring pension reform to the voters for the June 2012 election, includes capping the amount of compensation used to calculate life-long pension payouts, requiring city employees to pay their “full and fair share” of the cost of benefits, and closing the pen- sion system for all new hires from that point forward, with new employ- ees instead receiving a 401(k) contri- bution retirement account. “Here are the facts,” DeMaio said,

speaking recently at Marshall Middle School on the state of District 5. “Our pension payment will continue to


grow—from $150 million last year to almost $500 million in 2024. We must r ecognize that life-long, taxpayer- guaranteed pensions are a relic of the

pas t . They are unsustainable and have forced too much financial risk on taxpayers.” The San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA) agrees. In a 27-page report released

March 3, the SDCTA said that in- creasing pension costs are the main

driver of the city’s fiscal woes. “The goal of any publicly funded

pension should be to promote retire- ment and security, not wealth accumu- lation,” the report said. “To accomplish this goal, elected officials should cre- ate a new 401(k)-type plan, coupled with Social Security of a similarly mod- est benefit plan for all new hires.” City Councilmember Todd Gloria,

chair of the city’s Budget and Finance Committee, is cautious about DeMaio’s proposal. He says while there is some merit to moving to a 401(k) plan, it could put the city at a disadvantage when it comes to recruiting and retaining talent. “Naturally we know the private

sector has moved to a 401(k) mod- el; however, as we compete in the marketplace for talent in the city,

San Diego flash mob raises funds for Helen Woodward Animal Center

By Margie Palmer SDUN Reporter

Visitors to Balboa Park recently encoun-

tered an unexpected sight. On the after- noon of Jan. 29, approximately 400 people of all ages and backgrounds suddenly burst into choreographed dance—a phenomenon more commonly known as “flash mob.” Flash mob, as defined by Webster’s,

is a group of people who organize online, quickly assemble in a public place, do something bizarre, and then disperse. Event choreographer Brittany

Howell, who was charged with choreo- graphing a jazz feature segment of the flash

mob, said that she chose the main song, the “Cupid Shuffle,” because there was already a dance to it. This, “would allow people to join in, even if they hadn’t intended to be part of the flash mob.” After selecting the song, event organiz-

ers filmed the dance for those wishing to participate. Howell, who worked closely alongside

San Diego flash-mob coordinator Allie White, said they planned rehearsals and organized groups to choreograph when people would enter the dance. A dress rehearsal in Balboa Park the

see Woodward, page 8

certainly most other jurisdictions have not moved to a 401(k) benefit for their police and fire,” Gloria said. “This may place us at a competitive disadvantage when we’re trying to retain police and firefighters.” A collaborative approach, in which

the city works with its employees to a point that is respectful for both tax- payers and employees, he said, may be a better solution. “In working with city employees,

we were able to agree to a six-percent reduction in compensation, which has saved $41 million annually,” Gloria said. “This type of approach is resulting in significant savings for taxpayers.”

see DeMaio, page 8

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