Straight Talk Leaves Him Out of Work Again

Howard Robbins has talked his way into unemployment again.

Some months ago, I told you how Robbins, 24, was fired as a security guard in Sorrento Valley after urging an engineering firm to recycle its trash.

Since then, he signed up with Volt Temporary Services, which found him a $6.30-an-hour job with a contractor who is remodeling the Marriott Residency Inn in La Jolla.

Things were jolly until Robbins discovered that his pay was only 52% of the hourly amount the contractor was paying Volt.


Robbins remembered seeing a video at Volt saying that employees got 72.9% of the amount that employers pay Volt. He talked with the Volt manager in Clairemont about the discrepancy.

Robbins says the manager informed him that the contractor had just notified her that Robbins’ services were no longer required. Robbins felt he was being snookered.

Leon Boone, the contractor, said he was sorry to lose a hard worker like Robbins:

“Volt called and said Howard had been reassigned and wouldn’t be coming back. They told me that they had concerns about him because he had raised some questions about how much he was being paid.”

The Volt manager in Clairemont won’t discuss Robbins. Neither will the Volt regional supervisor in Orange County, who suggested that I was a spy for a rival job agency.

After several days, the supervisor told Robbins that he could return to work if Boone approved. But Boone already had received a replacement worker from Volt and had no openings.

Robbins, a business major at Mesa College, is out of luck and out of work.

He knows he may suffer further lumps unless he learns to bend a bit in pursuit of a paycheck. He has a solution:


“I think I should work for myself.”

Sounds like a good idea.

Looking for a Connection

Here and there.


* Money and politics.

The district attorney’s office is looking at an accusation by disaffected Sierra Clubber Mark Zerbe about an alleged plan (never carried out) to use the Sierra Club to funnel money from Hartson Medical Service to the City Council campaign of Linda Bernhardt.

* Even the mansion market is feeling the real estate chill.

Four longtime firms at Rancho Santa Fe are merging for self preservation.


Coldwell Banker and RSF Acreage & Homes will join; the same for Grubb & Ellis and Crosby Real Estate.

* Sixteen San Diego cops and 20 San Diego County sheriff’s deputies have been called to active duty as military reservists.

Highest-ranking is Sheriff’s Capt. Bob Apostolos, in charge of the Encinitas station.

* The Naval Health Research Center in San Diego is studying how to prevent dehydration among U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia.


Volunteers wearing 60-pound packs spend two hours on treadmills in 120-degree heat. Four liquids are being tested, including Gatorade.

What Price Friendship?


* How soon they forget.


When Don R. Dixon was living fancy in Solana Beach, he traveled in impressive local circles: business, religious (he gave to Catholic charities) and political (he gave to Rep. Bill Lowery).

But now he’s been convicted of savings-and-loan fraud in Dallas.

Of 80 letters submitted to the judge asking for leniency, not one came from San Diego County.

* Danke schoen.


Pete Wilson issued a press release last week thanking his “old friend” Wayne Newton for agreeing to perform at his inaugural bash in Sacramento.

It’s unclear, though, how close the governor-elect and the Las Vegas headliner are.

When asked to name his favorite Newton song, Wilson said, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” (P.S.: Newton attended high school with Wilson’s wife, Gayle.)