Mega-developer H.G. Fenton Company wants “new policies regarding eviction moratoriums during COVID-19”
Mega-developer H.G. Fenton Company became the first registered San Diego influence seeker to jump into the fray over the financial impact of coronavirus legislation. Fenton wants “new policies regarding eviction moratoriums during COVID-19,” seeking to “provide guidance on how to keep households and businesses stabilized,” according to a March 19 disclosure filing. The residential and commercial landlord also seeks “new policies on how the City of San Diego can support small business during COVID-19,” and “provide guidance on effective policies to assist small businesses.”
Mayoral candidate Scott Sherman loves America and Fenton money
Since the beginning of last year, Fenton and employees have come up a total of $38,995 for San Diego city political causes, including $30,335 for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee; Scott Sherman for mayor ($2300); the Build San Diego Political Action Committee ($1570); and city attorney Mara Elliott ($1350). On March 17, the council unanimously passed an emergency eviction moratorium and a multimillion-dollar small business fund backed by GOP Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “The temporary eviction moratorium is accompanied by millions of dollars to help small businesses stay afloat and keep San Diegans employed,” said a mayoral statement. “I applaud the city council, city attorney and city staff for taking quick action to help our community.”
The debate over what happens next is expected to be long and bitter, and potentially costly to Fenton and other landlords seeking to guard their income stream. “This is a necessary step but not a long-term solution,” council Democrat and Assembly candidate Chris Ward said. “Delaying payment can set up a crisis for the same families and businesses we are trying to help. Adding missed rent or mortgage payments onto already cost-burdened households will lead to continued hardship well after the moratorium ends.”
Imperial Beach mayor Serge Dedina is grinning, because his small city pays big salaries.
The bad news arrived at a virtual Imperial Beach city council meeting last week. After Mayor Serge Dedina brought the teleconference to order by banging his smartphone on a desk in place of the traditional gavel, city manager Andy Hall presented a grim list of potential municipal economies. They included, as noted by the Union-Tribune, “implementing a hiring freeze, suspending all travel and training for staff and council, and limiting spending by having management sign off on all expenditures made by employees and department heads.” The account added that “some of the worst-case-scenario options, for a long-term economic downturn, include laying off staff and cutting city services.” Said Hall, “In a community that has limited financial resources, we knew we needed to put together, as quickly as possible, a financial road map that would allow us to move through this situation.” If the most draconian options of salary cuts do materialize, Hall is likely to feel some significant pain. In 2018, he made a total of $340,558 in pay and benefits, according to the latest available figures posted online by TransparentCaliforinia.com. Assistant city manager Steven Dush got $270,053.94, with the third-highest compensation package of $238,557 provided to fire chief John French. Even city clerk Jacqueline Kelly received a healthy $195,459.
San Diego’s city council has so far avoided discussing bad fiscal tidings by canceling all of its proceedings until the middle of April, says a memo from council president and Democratic congressional candidate Georgette Gomez posted online March 31. “The next regularly scheduled city council meeting is on Monday, April 13, 2020, at 2:00 p.m,” according to the document. “However, please note that a Special Meeting may be called for critical or time-sensitive matters before the next regularly scheduled City Council meeting.” Like Imperial Beach’s outing, San Diego is going virtual. “During the current State of Emergency and in the interest of public health and safety, most — and possibly all — of the City Councilmembers will be participating in City Council meetings by teleconference,” says the latest online order. “There will be no members of the public in attendance at the Council Meetings.”
Bots of things to come
The new age of rising unemployment brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has job hopefuls in more of a panic than ever over the specter of automation — a panic unlikely to be assuaged by the latest request for quotation by Sheriff Bill Gore. “The San Diego Sheriff’s Department is seeking a medium-sized, tracked, tactical robot to be deployed by the Special Enforcement Detail,” says the March 31 posting. “The robot shall be remote-controlled and can tackle a wide range of terrain, obstacles, and confined spaces. The ICOR Mini-Caliber robot or equal is requested.” An “articulating arm” will be able to “Grab, Pull objects, Slash Tires, Do door key manipulation,” and cut through wire and cloth. A “claw shall have a color camera,” and the robot will be able to “climb stairs,” and “come with a firing circuit and single-channel shock tube initiator.” No price is indicated.