Don Bauder 6:30 p.m., Aug. 21
Pinpoint Forecasting, San Diego Style
The City of San Diego has apparently come up with its own form of precision bombing. Backers of Proposition D have submitted what they call a "Fiscal Impact Statement for Proposition D." Check the painstaking exactitude of the forecast, to wit: "If the conditions contained in Proposition D are fully implemented, the total projected savings to the City could range from $3.5 million to $428 million over the next five years, and $8.7 million to $855 million over the next ten years," says the document submitted on Aug. 16. That is one heckuva range for a forecast -- $3.5 million to $428 million and $8.7 million to $855 million. Then get this: the document later boasts, "other conditions such as managed competition, outsourcing, and benefit reductions could save taxpayers an additional $626,000 to $43 million." That's a Grand Canyon-size gap.
It's reminiscent of the story of the economist who is visiting the Grand Canyon with his wife. He says, "This is exactly 2 billion and five years old." She says, "Darling, I know you can forecast GDP accurately out to five digits, but how do you know it is two billion and five years old?" He says, "Because I was here five years ago and the guide said it was 2 billion years old."
Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre notes that the the municipal code requires a fiscal impact "analysis," not a "statement," as was submitted. If the City comes back and renames this an "analysis," it will probably be an "analysis" by the economist quoted above. How much will he be paid for the forecast?