Jan 26, 2015 (San Diego) It was a long council session, with the complexity that comes with, what Todd Gloria called sausage making. The project that Council Member Mark Kersey brought to Council did not survive intact. At the end of the process, the Council will consider a revised proposal for the June Ballot.
This vote has to occur in three weeks. But the text of the resolution speaks as to those major changes that are being asked for. Some is clarification of the language. What does infrastructure mean? Others are the length, Most of the members of the Council agreed that 30 years was too long.
Though the Independent Budget Analyst will run the numbers for a 20, 25 and 30 years. Kearsey does not like the 20 year time line since the compound interest leads to a substantially less amount of money for infrastructure.
We are including the final language voted on. Also adding that Council Member Gloria voted against the whole project because it would make this part of the city charter. To Gloria this is unacceptable, since it takes away flexibility and this can easily be done by ordinance. Jan Goldsmith, City Attorney, did agree on this fine point.
There is support for this project in principle from many members of the community; They include the Regional Chamber of Commence and the Tax Payer Association of San Diego.
The Center for Policy Analysis is opposed in principle, since this sis ballot budgeting, which has been used to great detriment of citizens across California. It essentially takes away the responsibly of actual budgeting from elected leaders, and puts it in the hands of citizens. At times this comes with unintended consequences. This is what Carole Green told the Council.
Given the changes requested, the next meeting probably will be as complex and contentious.
What is clear is that there is one element in the plan that will make it harder for future councils to plan. This was a reminder by Council Member David Alvarez. This will require an override in lean times, of a two-thirds majority in the council. This will be a tall order. While Alvarez voted for this today, he also would prefer the city ordinance route be followed.
It is good that we are now having a discussion on infrastructure in the city. This is past time, The solution, to varying degrees, was not fully agreed upon by many of the members, Most of the Council would prefer a 20 year time limit to this.
Marti Emerald reminded the council that she used to watch these discussions as a reporter, and then never saw them followed though. She voiced that this would be the fate of this program.
One final point, Many of the people who agreed with this project, or raised issues with this project, agreed that monies are needed for affordable housing. This was a very interesting point. Infrastructure is seen as being in trouble. Housing is in crisis mode.
Council Member Sheryl Cole did note that we are also finally seeing investment in infrastructure. There are now sidewalks in her district that have never been there.
There was also a strange fear that these funds will be tied, in what could be termed a secondary general fund, and not available for things like safety services. So they are back to the drawing table, but more will come.