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Who Makes What


LIKE IT OR NOT, the digits that follow the dollar signs on our payroll checks help define who we are. The highest numbers can reflect status, a stamp of approval or a reward for years of service. But for many San Diegans, their salary represents a sacrifice——a monthly reminder of what it costs to live in sun-soaked San Diego.

Today’s job market is a rocky road. What follows is a list of the travelers —— and the pay they earn along the route. A few who participated in this survey shared a window into their world but refused to reveal an annual salary. KGTV newscaster Bill Griffith, for example, says he makes more than a Superior Court judge ($100,000+) and less than President Bush ($400,000, not including perks).

Many of the salaries listed here are taken from the most recent public records. With others, we coaxed and cajoled their bottom lines out of them. We list these not merely to afflict the comforted, or comfort the afflicted. We encourage you to compare, to benchmark and to be entertained. And remember: Take-home pay still can’t buy you love.

Stephanie Casenza
San Diego Performing Arts League executive director

Jahja Ling
San Diego Symphony conductor

Eve Selis
singer/songwriter, $25,000-$35,000
Most recent album: Nothing but the Truth
Best: “You work for yourself at a job you love to do.”
Worst: “You work for yourself, and income is dependent on how much you work.”

Nathan Sawaya
Lego master model builder, $31,000+
He won the Legoland Master Builder search last year and left a six-figure income in the legal field to accept the Nathan model maker$31,000-per-year job at Legoland Carlsbad. After nine months, he returned to New York to work as an independent mosaic artist.
Best: “It’s not about the money. I had millions of bricks. It was a dream come true to have unlimited access to my favorite medium.”
Worst: “We didn’t get to decide what we wanted to build. Now I enjoy building whatever I want.”

Warren Gref
symphony musician (French horn), $44,000
Best: “The camaraderie and getting to play some of the greatest music ever written. And every week is a different program.”
Worst: “Concerts nearly every Friday and Saturday evening, with many Sunday-afternoon performances (and some Thursday evenings), is difficult for family life. Also having to practice on days off to always be at peak performance level.”


David Holmes Bob Baker Lexus car salesman $116,000
Best: “Having a customer for life.”
Worst: “Losing a customer to the competition.

Lynn Richardson, M.S., D.V.M.
veterinarian and exotic-animal consultant $100,000
Best: “Being able to heal a patient and have them be able to return to their intended use or life with a happy owner.” Lynn Vet
Worst: “Recognizing there sometimes isn’t anything that I can do to facilitate a successful outcome.”

Kristen Good
part-time rape crisis counselor, $10.50 an hour/$10,000 a year
Best: “Being there for someone and talking them through the process; having someone thank you for helping them take steps toward positive change.”
Worst: “The feeling of helplessness and not knowing what will be in someone’s future.”

George Thomas
Elvis and John Travolta tribute performer $55,000

Sean Michaels
American Tattoo part-time artist $24,000
Best: “Expressing myself through art and making bodies better.”
Worst: “People who want to quit after they get the first line done.”

Bill Lansdowne
police chief
$162,000 bill police
Best: “The ability to change law enforcement across the country. Crime is down, complaints are down, and lethal force is down. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Worst: “Officers getting injured, and the domestic violence scenes where kids are involved.”

Elected and Appointed Officials

State and National Politicians

Dianne Feinstein
U.S. senator

Alan Bersin
California education secretary



George W. Haligowski
ITLA Capital chairman, president and CEO $5,598,340

John B. Carrington
Websense chairman and CEO $11,953,641

Stephen L. Baum
Sempra Energy chairman and CEO $13,512,403

Peter V. Leparulo
Novatel Wireless CEO $9,528,105

Bernard Zeichner
Charlotte Russe chairman $7,581,505

Stephen Doyle
Brookfield Homes San Diego/ Riverside division president $5,572,200

Wayne R. Inouye
Gateway president and CEO $8,409,144

Bill Lockyer
California attorney general


San Diego City Officials

Jeff Bowman
fire chief

Michael Aguirre
city attorney

Scott Peters
city councilman

Dick Murphy
mayor of San Diego
$100,464 (resigning July 15)

P. Lamont Ewell
city manager

Chuck Abdelnour
city clerk
$134,534 (retired June 30)

San Diego County Officials

Bill Kolender

Glenn Wagner
medical examiner

Greg Smith
assessor, recorder and county clerk

Dan McAllister
treasurer and tax collector

Richard Thome
San Diego County Office of Education assistant superintendent of human resources and technology

Bob Glass
captain, Rescue 4, San Diego City Fire Department
Best: “Getting immediate feedback, the benefit of knowing I made a difference in someone’s life.”
Worst: “The tragedies we see and knowing a family will never be the same afterward.”


Kathy Nelson kathy coach
life/career/business coach

Jamie Lippitt
speech and language teacher

Alice Dean
first-year kindergarten teacher at Ocean Knoll Elementary

Shu Chien
chair, department of bioengineering, UCSD

Claudette Garcia
Myron L Company customer service representative

Heather Middleton
wedding photographer

Dr. Dennis Fetko, Ph.D.
“Dr. Dog” radio personality

Anthony Acosta
Rotor Rooter plumber

Dr. Keith Jeffers
chiropractic sports practitioner and exercise physiologist

Tamilee Webb
fitness celebrity, star of the Buns of Steel video series
$35,000 (investment income from $100,000 video earnings)

Karen Grissom
KC the Clown

Michael Moore michael shoe farrier
horseshoer, Ramona Valley Forge & Farrier
Best: “Being self-employed and interacting with wonderful creatures.”
Worst: “Getting kicked by a 1,500- pound animal.”


steve butcherSteve Reid
Tip Top Meats butcher






Tony Hawk 

skateboarding icon,
Best: “Getting to do what I have loved doing since I was a kid . . . for a living!”
Worst: “Being expected to perform at a top level no matter how I feel or what terrain is available to ride. Fans want to see a ‘900’ [spin] and don’t care if the ramp sucks. You can’t afford to have a bad day in front of 10,000 people who may never see you skate live again.”

Drew Brees
Chargers quarterback


Donnie Edwards
Chargers linebacker

Antonio Gates
Chargers tight end

Philip Rivers
Chargers backup quarterback

LaDainian Tomlinson
Chargers running back

Mike Scifres
Chargers punter

Brian Giles
Padres outfielder

Khalil Greene
Padres shortstop

Ryan Klesko
Padres outfielder

Trevor Hoffman
Padres relief pitcher

Mark Loretta
Padres second baseman

Phil Nevin
Padres first baseman

Jake Peavy
Padres pitcher


Sandee Fitzpatrick
waitress at T’s Café in Solana Beach

Dave DeLuca
Allied Services Pest Elimination exterminator

Dano McCarthy
jewelry estate buyer, Leo Hamel & Company

David Henry
candlestick maker,
$800 a year
A retired chemist, Henry makes wood candlesticks. He exhibits at Trios Gallery and sells his work on-line at davidhenrywoodarts.com.
Best: “The creative part—I love making things.”
Worst: “When I create something new and different, and no one buys it.”

Valerie Harris
Ralphs bakery manager

Angelique Walters
hair stylist, Entourage Hair Salon

Marcia Stahovich, R.N.
specialized critical-care nurse

Araceli Morales
Araceli’s Maid Service crew leader
Best: “Finishing up.”
Worst: “Bathroom scum, ovens and spiderwebs.”

Sean Leckie
W Hotel bartender

Edgar Engerd
coordinator of the San Diego County Fair Flower & Garden Show
$25,000 per fair season

Hubert Lorenz
The Culinary Wizard master chef and caterer

Asong Kennedy
FedEx Kinko’s Copies assistant
$8.50 an hour

Kamarin Stevens
Hooters Gaslamp waitress
$140-$170 a night
Best: “I meet lots of people, and I enjoy the girls I work with.”
Worst: “Being harassed.”

Shonna Smith
embalmer, funeral director and star of A&E’s Family Plots

Donna Kleusner
beautician, New Look Salon Carlsbad

Nick Nathan
Community Pools pool technician

David Leyton
freelance audio engineer

Nonprofit Organizations

Julie Meier Wright
Economic Development Corporation CEO

Reint Reinders
Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO

Doug Myrland
KPBS general manager

Stephanie Bergsma
KPBS associate general manager for development

Tom Karlo
KPBS assistant general manager


Sarah Znerold sarah on phone
president of SZPR public relations firm

Brian Reba
Four Seasons Resort Aviara valet
Best: “Tips, and getting to drive Ferrari Spiders and Lexus GX740s.” Worst: “Cars that smell, and running in the heat when there are 900 people in one party.”

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