For months now, a dispute has pit City Attorney Mike Aguirre and the Municipal Employees Association (MEA), the city's largest labor union, against one another in a contentious and often personal battle, providing the main plotline to what former Mayor Dick Murphy once called "the soap opera that is City Hall."
It's a relationship that-thanks to some industrious MEA members-now has its own commemorative memorabilia in the form of a "Recall "Sideshow Mike' Aguirre" bumper sticker and a series of 10 different 2-inch buttons that all take shots at Aguirre. Some are funny, others quite lame.
Some of the buttons were released individually to coincide with each of Aguirre's interim reports chronicling the history of San Diego's pension woes, and they're generating plenty of laughs around City Hall. An MEA spokesperson said the pins are meant to "poke a little fun at the situation." The entire set is being sold for $20, and the proceeds are used to fund the union's legal battles with Aguirre.
For his part, Aguirre said he's heard about the buttons but hasn't seen them. As for the attempted levity, "the poking fun part seems to be a one-way street," he said.
"What the MEA is doing is they are trying to assassinate my character and to use personal attack without addressing the issues," he added. "Rather than spend their time on making buttons, they should spend their time on finding solutions."
Which makes it seem like snapping a photo of Aguirre sporting the pin emblazoned with one of Murphy's other famous quotes, "Thank God for Ann Smith,"-the MEA's attorney and Aguirre's arch nemesis-would be the ultimate collectible treasure.