Two months after the San Diego County Grand Jury recommended that the City analyze its contract with Uptown Partnership, the agency that manages Uptown's parking, and consider absorbing the parking revenues collected in Uptown into the City's general fund, San Diego's Rules Committee - councilmembers Ben Hueso, Kevin Faulconer, Donna Frye, Tony Young, and Todd Gloria - considered the issue at a July 21 meeting.
City staff recommended that the committee support the July 15 response from the mayor's office, which would afford city staff some time to further analyze the grand jury's recommendations and the contract.
After staff's presentation, representatives from Uptown Partnership's board of directors addressed the committee; all were in favor of keeping the parking agency as it currently exists.
"[The grand jury report] is based mainly on the criticisms of our detractors whose main goal is to grab the money and the power that goes to the Uptown Parking District for themselves," said Jim Frost, a longtime Uptown Partnership board member during public comment.
After proponents spoke, "detractors" Benjamin Nicholls of the Hillcrest Business Association and Leo Wilson of Uptown Planners discussed the high overhead and lack of results at Uptown Partnership.
When it came time for committee members to address the issue, councilmembers Gloria and Faulconer, whose districts are partly in Uptown, expressed support for Uptown Partnership and opposed dissolving the agency.
Councilmember Frye, however, was not so agreeable, especially regarding the salaries at Uptown Partnership, which spiked from $164,000 to $206,000 from 2008 to 2009.
"Do we have an explanation for that?" Asked Frye while holding up a Uptown Partnership "statement of activities" document.
"I did not see it. It was not handed out to me," responded the executive director for Uptown Partnership, Carol Schultz.
"You don't know what your salaries are?"
"I know what they are currently," said Schultz before listing the current salaries: $31,000 for a program assistant, $42,000 each for two analysts, and Schultz' salary, which is $75,000 per year.
"The same as a city councilmember. I think that's interesting, and I think that needs to be looked at," said Frye. "I find it interesting that someone managing a parking meter district in five parts of a community is making $75,000 a year. Maybe that will be our next career move."
Later, the committee voted unanimously to forward the response to the grand jury on to the full city council.