— The stacked committee would have the mayor appoint the chief financial officer and the city auditor. Both jobs should be independent of the mayor. The mayor could also hire and fire the personnel director at will.

The centralized controls "will weaken the council's ability to respond to community planning groups," says Norma Damashek, president of the League of Women Voters. The mayor is already "trying through the Planning Department and the Development Services Department to standardize development [rules] in communities throughout the City." The winners will be "the developers, the whole business establishment, whoever makes money off the City. This is the way the City has been traditionally, but now they are casting it in cement."

"Jerry Sanders is the darling of the development industry, and the committee's recommendations will strengthen the hand of the developers and keep the GOP juggernaut in power," says Steve Erie, professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, and author of an upcoming book, Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Political Turmoil in San Diego.

Throughout the committee meetings, the stacked majority feigned an interest in the people. "They said they cared about democracy, but if you look, the majority of votes came down for the unitary executive concept," says Gordon. On the federal level, the unitary executive theory argues for hamstringing Congress's ability to take power from the president. In San Diego, the words "unitary executive" are a polite way to describe a mayor-centered Cashocracy.

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