If you have yet to take a few minutes and read the newly released five year forecast from the mayor's office, you need to. After you have digested this you might want to do a comparison of the differences from the five year forecast just last year. The assumptions from year to year are frightening. If you read closely the changes in assumptions, it appears the forecasts are made in a high school economics class and the numbers and assumptions were pulled from thin air. To add insult to injury and to highlight my point, the numbers being thrown around by the mayor of the upcoming deficits for other California cities are not even close to being accurate. When the numbers were questioned, Rachel Liang, one of the mouth pieces for the mayor throws herself on the sword.
When questioned about the numbers by the Voice of San Diego, Laing said she was responsible for the numbers and would look into them being incorrect. Regardless, she said, the numbers still make her point: that the national economy is affecting budgets throughout California. Laing said, "The point is I was trying to give context to our budget problem. San Diego has obviously had huge financial problems in the past. I was trying to make clear that this problem is not exclusive to San Diego now. That's a fact the public needs to know." So if I understand her logic, it's OK to fabricate, exaggerate, and miss-state the accuracy of something to help give "context" to whatever? Just more obfuscation from the mayor's office and no one seems to care.
On October 2, 2009, IBA, Andrea Tevlin and her staff conducted a review of the mayor's latest (revised) five year forecast. While they agree in principle with the forecast, they take exception to some of the numbers (go figure) and paint a more realistic view of where the city is. Tevlin hits the nail on the head when she says the forecast from the mayor and his staff, continue to fall short on solutions. The solutions she is referring to are increases in revenue. Tevlin also points out the short sighted and ill-conceived assumption indicating no wage increases for the next five years.
"No New Revenue Increases" is the mantra from the mayor. The mayor's failed policies of slashing, cutting and deferring, has lead the City to more of the same in perpetuity. No matter what the economy does, the City will have a huge deficit each and every year BECAUSE of the mayor's short sighted, ignorant and very political policies. As articulated by COO Jay Goldstone, when asked about future cuts and the structural problems with the mayor's budget; "What areas to cut and how much will be debated in the upcoming budget discussions." Cuts, cuts, cuts; it's all they know how to do. It is the easy way out for someone who himself is struggling with putting a daughter through college without his police pension and FULL salary and still can't figure it out.
We have endured five straight years of cuts to every area of service this city has to offer. Year after year since the mayor took over he has cut, reduced and eliminated programs, employees, wages, benefits; yet what has he accomplished? The real answer is nothing. We face the largest deficit in history and we are in worse shape today than we were when he took office. He will blame the economy for his failures. He will blame the state government for his incompetence. He will blame the employees for the benefits offered and provided by prior administrations. He will blame the unions for refusing to drink his Kool-Aid; and accepting the unreasonable reductions and elimination of wages and benefits without proper meet and confer; and honest and fair negotiations. He will fail to accept responsibility for his failures and acknowledge his culpability for the current deficit amount.
The mayor will continue to dig a deeper hole for the next three years until he falls off his high horse and either knocks some sense into his thick head or he is rendered unfit or unable to perform and someone with the testicular fortitude to do what is necessary and seek sustained and significant revenue increases takes over. His mantra of blame has grown old and accomplishes nothing. It is time to move over mayor and let someone who is willing to embrace reality and stop playing a game of politics and do the job necessary to right this sinking ship.