Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Budget Chaos all Around

Trying to make sense of the City's budget is an exercise all to itself. You think there is any possibility an average taxpayer with minimal experience reading local budgets could get through the massive pages that detail the State's budget? Do you think this same person stands a chance of being able to determine where the revenue is coming from and how the legislature was able to balance the budget after presenting line by line costs?

I have spent the last several days reading the State's budget and trying to make heads or tales of what the heck they are doing up in Sacramento. I kind of understand the theory behind the way the numbers play out; but that is where it ends. I spent last night listening to the little rube talk about air and if the city could assess a fee for each person's use of the air in the city; they do after all own the rights to the air in San Diego; the city could balance the budget. The little rube talked about charging for the sun people soak up while occupying sand or grass at the beaches and parks within San Diego. So when the legislature talks about "borrowing" money from the counties in California and re-paying it "next year"; I could not help but think of the little rube and his constant schemes and double speak babble.

The state legislature has proposed keeping from the City over $57 million dollars to help close the gap to the State's budget. The mayor has been critical of Sacramento and the Governor for withholding this money and talks about joining the League of Cities in a law suit to force the State to give the money to the City and not withhold any. In a Voice of San Diego article, Scott Lewis hangs a new slogan on the mayor; "Jerry Sanders, helping San Diegans decide what to complain about since 2005" at the same time the mayor has been taken to task for his rants toward the State for their inability to balance the budget and live within its means.

Several years in a row the State pulled similar stunts withholding $1.2 billion from schools with a promise to re-pay the money in the next budget cycle. When the next year arrived the Governor said the State could not afford to re-pay the money and besides, schools had adjusted to living without the money so there was no need to re-pay the money. The only problem was school districts had borrowed money to pay their bills and balance their budgets in the short term. The mayor is already talking of borrowing $57 million to make up for this money with the belief the State will make good on their promise. Hey mayor, I have a news flash for you; it ain't gonna happen.

The consequences of these cuts are going to be felt throughout the City. It remains to be seen what the effects will be to safety. I'm not sure how much more can be cut from law enforcement. The mayor needs to stop the nonsense of building a new downtown library; expanding the convention center; and building a new city hall. The mayor can talk until he is blue in the face; spending one dime toward any of these projects is criminal and cannot be continued. The structural problems in the City of San Diego have been ignored for far too long. Blaming the employees, their wages and benefits is a cop out and disingenuous. Does the mayor balance his personal bank account and finances like he does the cities?

There is little any of us can do as this process plays out in Sacramento and here in San Diego. We can stay informed and aware and continue to focus on our families, jobs and health. Take care of one another and practice officer safety. Do not let something you have no control over take control of your life. The budget crisis has not hit bottom yet; but is getting close. When this happens, we have nowhere to go but up. We will get through this if we stick together and work to find better ways to educate the taxpaying public and provide professional service. There is a lot of great police work being done every day by officers who continue to do their jobs in a professional manner. By highlighting these efforts and being professional in all of our dealings with the public; we can garner the support necessary to swing the pendulum back in our favor and regain the wages and benefits necessary to attract and retain those candidates and officers we so dearly need. This will take the efforts of every sworn officer on the San Diego Police Department. We need to take those opportunities that present themselves to educate and inform those people we have contact with. Be safe and enjoy the day.


Anonymous said...

Abolish CCDC, SEDC and SDDPC.
Hundreds of millions of dollars would be saved.


Just Wondering said...

Hold onto what little cash you have left...The little rube was at it again today with ANOTHER piece published in the SDUT's OP/ED section. DeMaio's newest rant

While many of you will agree now is not the time for the City to be spending money on big ticket projects like a library, city hall or convention center expansion, ONCE AGAIN THE REAL ATTACK IS ON WAGES and BENEFIT.

He goes on to encourage the voters to make the strong mayor form of government permanent while suggesting several charter changes HE will initiate from the outside.

Well of course he wants the Strong Mayor's position for himself. He wants the power and authority to decimate your salary and benefits to what HE SEES as fit.

He says, "Reforming city salaries and benefits to be in line with the San Diego labor market is the final ingredient for financial recovery. While the mayor and City Council made important progress with the latest round of labor contracts, much work remains in reforming fringe benefits. In particular, retirement benefits offered by the city should be no better and no worse than those provided to average San Diego taxpayers who foot the bill."

The writing has ALREADY been placed on the wall. Earlier this year DeMaio published a completely FLAWED analysis of benefits. That flawed study was purported by DeMaio as fact. The the SDUT did their own flawed salary study with bogus salaried and your name attached to it. So we already know his position and the SDUT. In today's piece he says he wants retirement benefits ..."no better or no worse than the average San Diego taxpayer"...

What or who exactly Mr. DeMaio are the average San Diego taxpayers? And how does the average taxpayer equate to tasks and careers of public safety workers? What jobs do the average San Diego taxpayers actually do that are similar to ours?

Those are just a few questions the POA needs to begin with while opening a dialog with Mr. DeMaio. He's not going away so the POA needs to pin him down. And, I suspect, there is a high probability he'll run for Mayor when Sanders' term ends.

He said, "We need to make the strong mayor form of government permanent in the June 2010 election, followed by additional charter changes in November 2010 to designate the mayor — not the City Council — as the city's labor negotiator. Given the recent controversy over the interpretation of charter section 143.1, (retirement system rights) we should eliminate this arcane provision that gives city employees a veto on key pension reforms."

I said it before and I'll say it once again, DeMaio, like Sanders is a politician. That means he's a cheat and liar. Now he wants...NO NEEDS, to cheat you out of benefits you were promised and earned. HE NEEDS to do this to advance HIS political career whatever the cost to you and your family. Now he's doing it by spreading lies to the gullible, yet very anger public. He wants to change the Charter, thereby attacking your future.

He is carefully laying the foundations for a run at the Mayor's office in 2010. If the POA and Local 145 for the fire guys don't start working together to get the truth out to the public then all will be lost for years to come. The article by Vlad Kogan published in the VOSD on July 22, 2009, is the place to begin. Although what Mr. Kogan wrote DOES NOT include an analysis of benefit compensation, the POA should be able to get that information. Kogan's analysis shows San Diego city workers are NOT overpaid. This impartial analysis is the direct counter to the little rube's lies.