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At 9 a.m. on the morning of Wednesday, November 13th, the city Budget Review Committee met in a crowded and raucous city council chambers to discuss Mayor Sanders’s plan for $43 million in budget cuts for the next fiscal year. The cuts, which mostly affect Parks and Recreation Department, libraries, and police and fire services, are in response to an estimated shortfall in property, sales, and transient-occupancy taxes caused by the lagging economy.

Mayor Sanders was there. Glumly, he expressed the need for cuts in city services and outlined the city’s bleak five-year financial outlook.

“The path I’ve chosen will not make me popular in some quarters because it spreads the pain widely to departments and communities that have never been asked to make sacrifices and because it challenges the notion that all city facilities are equal and we can never take back from our citizens a service or a program once it’s been offered.

“Adding to our difficulty is a culture of deception and denial we have tried so hard to eradicate over the past three years. There was a time when every budget hearing included dire warnings that popular programs would be slashed. So, every year our citizens stormed city hall demanding their city services be spared and as if by magic, previous mayors and city councils granted those wishes and were treated as heroes. They did so by deceiving the public and maybe themselves. Now, everyone has to make sacrifices, even the ones that complain the loudest.”

The mayor mentioned the protested cuts to fire services and responded to a demonstration outside by the firefighters union:

“I accepted the professional judgment from my fire chief and police chief when it came to cutting their budgets. I expect you’ll hear a lot of scary stories from the firefighters union…these scare tactics are a bunch of baloney. They’re typical of a public employee but unworthy of our firefighting service. I would never put the City at risk.”

After the mayor’s speech, the city’s chief financial officer, Mary Lewis, commented on San Diego’s five-year financial outlook. The outlook was just as gloomy as the mayor’s demeanor. There is negative-to-flat revenue growth expected, no pay raises for city employees, and no funding for new facilities. On a bright note, no new taxes were forecast for the next handful of years.

Download the mayor’s five-year financial outlook for yourself.

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Comments

historymatters Nov. 14, 2008 @ 2:38 p.m.

Pat Flannery said it best when he wrote in his recent blog that the mayor is not cutting the 125 million dollars in developer pork barrel subsidies. So while we all suffer w/o libraries and recreation centers, dont worry about the developers they are not going broke, there is plenty for them.

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historymatters Nov. 14, 2008 @ 2:44 p.m.

Per my blog, these are my suggestions for cuts:

The police helicopters that in 2003 cost the city over 2.5 million dollars a year.

God only knows what it costs now that gas is 4$ a gallon. http://www.sandiegomagazine.com/media/San-Diego-Magazine/December-2004/Front-Pages/

The ones that fly in tiny circles for at least 10 hours a day in broad daylight over low crime neighborhoods like University Heights---

Here's the youtube video... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AmdfX... Can we cut that in half. It is so unnecessary. When I called the police (multiple times) I was rudely told they were just "patrolling" and they could do it wherever and whenever they want.

Up developer fees. The developers destroy our roads and max out our infrastructure and then leave the mess for us to pay for.

Stop paying for the "Technical Advisory Committee" lunch. The city buys lunch for 30 Building Industry members of TAC once a month. Can they just pay for their own lunch. That should help keep Recreation Centers open a few hours longer.

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historymatters Nov. 14, 2008 @ 2:49 p.m.

And how about cutting the fire battalion chief salaries who make $250,000 + per yr. All the high up union in fire and police are making $250,000 +. Just imagine how fat their pensions are.

This is why the Union leaders endorsed Todd Gloria.

Get volunteers to redo the hideous city landscaping that requires enormous amounts of water and god awful 2 stroke engine maintenance every week. Use indigenous drought reisistent plants like the ones in Balboa Park rose garden area. this would be a fun project.

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JF Nov. 14, 2008 @ 5:45 p.m.

Historymatters, Perhaps if you gave us the link to your blog, we could look at it and comment.

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Fred Williams Nov. 15, 2008 @ 5:24 a.m.

Minimum cost to host Padres: $10 Million annually.

Minimum cost to host Chargers: $5 Million annually.

Yet, it's likely much more expensive to the city. Chargers mouthpiece Fabiani claims the city loses more than $25 Million are year hosting the Spanos family hobby at Qualcomm stadium.

The situation at city built but Moores controlled Petco Park is grim. Attendance is dropping, the condos all around are empty, the small businesses are closing.

How much does it cost the city when a whole section of downtown is like a glass and steel ghost town? How much has the city lost on this so far? There has been a complete news blackout on this story, with the Mayor and others refusing to face reality and stop paying for this fraud.

We also don't know the true cost of additional public safety required to keep too often violent and destructive fans in check. At both Petco and Qualcomm every game results in more arrests than any local beach sees on a summer weekend. Instead of subsidizing these folks, how about making them pay their own way for a change.

Does anyone ever question the extra trolley service San Diego gives away to all the baseball and football games? No other San Diego events are given this massive boost by the taxpayers through the MTS, headed by sports-subsidy slut, Harry Mathis.

We still don't know how much the Port District and CCDC gave away to IT rip-off artist, sports mogul, and downtown developer John Moores, but we do know he's hired shills like Jack McGrory and Steve Peace to game the slot machine we call local government.

I say it's long past time we gave away tens of millions every year to two of the richest men on the planet. When we're cutting libraries and recreation centers, but still paying off these guys, our priorities need a 180.

At the minimum, we can save $15 million annually by cutting off the professional sports subsidies. But I bet it will end up saving us a lot more money when we add up all the gifts we've been showering on these parasites.

Mayor, Council...time to knock it off. Moores and Spanos can pay their own way.

Best,

Fred Williams

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JohnnyVegas Nov. 16, 2008 @ 5:04 p.m.

And how about cutting the fire battalion chief salaries who make $250,000 + per yr. All the high up union in fire and police are making $250,000 +. Just imagine how fat their pensions are.

The question is WHY are we paying these salaries and pensions when there are 1,000' of applicants for these jobs???

We could cut the pay in HALF while slashing pensions by 75% and still have HUNDREDS of applicants for every single job opening.

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JF Nov. 16, 2008 @ 5:19 p.m.

Uh huh... how many applicants are there for the volunteer fire departments in the East County?

As it turns out, less than 200 people qualified to interview for a job in this last round of hiring. (40-60 spots) Many of those didn't even bother to show up for the interview because other agencies are paying more and have better benefits.

I have an idea... why don't you actually run for office and fix everything!

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