City of San Diego Retired Employees Association

January 14, 2020

General Meeting Minutes


The minutes for the November 2019 meeting were approved.

The 2019 Annual Treasurer’s Report was accepted, and the 2020 Proposed Budget will be voted on at the February Meeting.

Charlie Hogquist, the SDCERS Representative, reported that SDCERS looked good for 2019 and is projected to continue to perform well in the future. SDCERS meets every other month and everyone is invited to attend their meetings. Remember how well SDCERS is doing whenever you read articles in the San Diego Union Tribune who typically provide only part of the financial story.

Cynthia Queen of SDCERS reminded everyone that the Trustees make sure everything goes well and that the retirement checks are sent out on time every month. The staff was diligent on getting the 1099s sent out on time and they were sent out from the Chicago company on January 13. Expect to see them during the following week. The electronic 1099s are posted on the website. The SDCERS website has a section that provides a guide on how to read your 1099. There is also a calculator on the member portal that can be used to determine if you need to change your tax withholdings.

Board Director Joan McNamara announced the next outing is to the San Diego Symphony Rehearsal at the Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall, 750 B Street, San Diego. We will we watching Payare Conducts Beethoven & Shostakovich. Rehearsal begins promptly at 10:00 a.m. Please plan on arriving no later than 9:45 a.m.

Come to the Box Office lobby in Copley Symphony Hall, entrance on B Street (closest to the corner of 7th Avenue). A symphony staff member will be there to greet us and show us to our seats. Seating will begin at 9:50 a.m. in the orchestra level or the hall. You may stay for the whole rehearsal (10:00 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.) however, you may leave after the first half of the rehearsal – until 11:30 a.m. or 11:45 a.m., when the musicians take their break. During the break, a San Diego Symphony musician will meet us in the lobby for a 15-minute Q & A session.

There is no cost for the rehearsal. Parking lots around B Street are approximately $10-$12. Meters are 5 quarters/hour. There are also trolley stops on “C” and 12th Avenue or “C” and 5th Avenue.

If you want to attend, please contact Brad Jacobsen no later than February 14 to Brad Jacobsen at [email protected] or 619-295-8764.

The next Advocacy Committee meeting is January 23. The Committee meets the 4th Thursday of every month at 9:30 a.m. in the Mission Valley Library. The Committee discusses ways to promote REA and interesting projects coming up.

Dave Twomey, Vice-President for Programs, thanked the luncheon volunteers Gary and Joyce.

Jim swore in the President – Dick Wilken; Vice President for Advocacy – Mike Bresnahan; an Vice President for Programs – Dave Twomey. The Directors – Chris Brewster, Joan Hernandez, and Ty Rogers were not present for the swearing in.

Jim passed the microphone to president-elect Dick Wilken who thanked Jim for his 10 years of service to REA and Nancy Acevedo, the Past President for 8 years of service. Dick announced that we shouldn’t expect as many years as President from him. Dick mentioned many of REA accomplishments including the continuing good relationship with SDCERS, outsourcing the membership database, outsourcing the website development, increased membership, increased presence, networking and collaboration with the Retirement Security Roundtable, Retiree Issues Task Force, SDCERS, Retired Police and Fire Association.


The January Program speaker was Mark Goldstein, DMV, and author of Lions and Tigers and Hamsters. He let us know he has the upmost respect for all the work city employees do.

He had been a veterinarian for over 40 years in clinical practice to a director of zoos, including Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and final as head of a progressive humane society. He told the story of Donia, the dominant matriarch elephant, who charged him. His training taught him that when an elephant attacks, it will instinctively put its head down, raise its back feet, tipping all its weight forward, crushing the life out of its victim. The reason Donia attached Dr. Mark was that day he ignored the protocol for entering Donia space – approach Donia, let her smell your feet so she could identify who you were, following the olfactory “handshake” take her ear and let her walk you to her hut that contained the food pail for you to refill. That morning, Dr. Mark just patted Donia on the trunk and verbally told Donia what he was going to do and walked away. Donia’s reaction was quick and Mark went flying, picked up like by her trunk like a ragdoll and thrown down as she would anyone perceived as a hostile intruder with no manners. In a flash he was on his back with Donia’s weight slowly crushing him. He knew if he wanted to live he had to poke her in the eye. He did, she lifted her head and Dr. Mark roll off the island into a nearby canal, no longer in her domain. She retreated. The injuries included 2 broken bones in his arm, a sore neck, Donia’s footprint on his side where she kicked him, bruising his kidney and distinct toe prints on his back. And a spinal cord injury that was evident decades later and required surgery. He doesn’t hold Donia responsible for his injuries. He is grateful for the two lessons she taught him: never take an animal for granted and following rules/protocol can have tremendous value.

Dr. Mark spoke at length about the Human-Animal bond. Animals offer unconditional love, stability, and beauty. Humans provide food, water, shelter, a healthy environment and respect. Among the many lessons Dr. Mark has learned is life is more important that material objects. The Human-Animal bond with pets is very strong with senior citizens, especially single ones, since their pets are often their only source of unconditional love.

Of concern is when the Human-Animal bond is broken by bull fighting, cock fighting and dog fighting. It is particularly damaging when young children watch adults being happy with making money on these often-brutal fights which disrespect animals and life. There are many ways to show respect for animals which include the words we use. Here are examples of words to substitute: euthanize for kill, pound for shelter, and adopt for rescue. Words matter and how they are used have an impact on attitude.

The life lessons Dr. Mark learned and shared with the group are:

Protect and celebrate good health.
Treasure good friends, loved ones both 2-legged and 4-legged, winged ones above material things.
Trust everyone initially but be cautious.
And never stop dreaming.

You can find more information on Dr. Mark’s Facebook Page: LionsandTigersandHamsters.