“On July 1, 2011, we have a $72 million budget deficit that we have to fill,” District 3 council representative Todd Gloria said to 50 people at a September 14 forum on Prop D, the ten-point financial reform and half-cent sales-tax ballot measure.
Sitting on the panel alongside councilmember Gloria at Tuesday evening's forum in Hillcrest were city attorney Jan Goldsmith, city auditor Eduardo Luna, and councilmember Carl DeMaio.
According to proponents, the initiative is aimed at filling the $72 million budget gap and will save the city $800 million in financial reforms. The reforms include changes to the City's pension plan, implementing managed competition, and accepting bids to run Miramar Landfill and the City's I.T. department.
Gloria, who coauthored the measure with his colleague Donna Frye, touted the need for the sales-tax increase. “If the ‘No on D’ side is successful, we still have the status quo...the fire station brownouts will continue and they will expand. We will have cuts to the police department. We have an iceberg straight ahead of us that we have to address.”
DeMaio charged back, trying to sink Gloria's argument with comments on the City's costly pension plan.
“I call this proposition the ‘dash for cash,’” said DeMaio. “I gave up the pension because I do not believe it is a sustainable system. The [pension] question was put to Mr. Gloria...and his response was, ‘I'll pay more, but I can't pay an equal contribution because I simply cannot afford it.’”
After DeMaio concluded, Gloria responded, “Leading by example can happen in different ways. I took a 6 percent pay cut. Mr. DeMaio did not.”
City attorney Jan Goldsmith then broke the iceberg while commenting on the City's pension plan. “We are heading into an iceberg and Prop D isn't going to solve that,” said Goldsmith before revealing a new plan to address the high pension contributions.
“If you create a ‘Tier 3’ less expensive plan, with a lot less contributions from the City and employee, it's a potential win/win. That's the only way that we are going to avoid this iceberg.”