Save us, SANDAG. You’re our only hope.
San Diego’s got a long list of stuff that needs to be repaired, and nowhere near enough money to pay for it all.
City leaders years ago circled November 2016 as a time that might change. Young, liberal and low-income voters would flock to the polls for the presidential election, the thinking went, making it possible that two out of three voters would agree to raise taxes to pay for all the city’s needs.
But as 2016 draws closer, it’s clear the city might not have done enough to even put the question to voters.
Instead, the city might have to settle for latching onto a parallel attempt to raise taxes countywide by the San Diego Association of Governments, a regional planning agency whose board is made up of leaders from around the county.
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I have just sent the following letter to the Mayor & Council regarding Tuesday's Docket Item regarding the contract for environmental review on the proposed new Chargers stadium:
I cannot attend tomorrow's Council meeting but want to register my very strong opposition to spending any more money toward facilitating construction of a new Charger's stadium.
I find this continued desire to expend City funds to satisfy demands by a sports team owned by a very wealthy family while, at the same time, the City desperately needs funding for many public purposes unconnected with subsidizing a sports franchise and not limited to millions of dollars for streets, sidewalks and roads - all of which are of great importance to every citizen of San Diego, not just fans of a football team - as irresponsible and offensive to me and to many other San Diegans (including increasing numbers of Chargers fans).
I would remind you that the City (we the citizens) continue to pay millions of dollars annually from the City's General Fund on debt service for the Qualcomm expansion, for construction of Petco Park (both subsidies, in effect, for sports teams) and for the first Convention Center expansion.
It is way past the time for all of you to consider the welfare of all of the citizens of San Diego and to give up what increasingly appears to be a losing effort to retain the Chargers in San Diego. I urge you to not approve this proposed contract with AECOM and to cease your efforts to keep a sports team in San Diego that has played all of you, and your predecessors, for years.
If Sandag wanted to stretch their dollars they would be building regular freeway lanes instead of those car pool lanes that cost twice as much to build, which is not the greatest good for the greates number.
@Sean M Partially true. I would have preferred commuter rails traveling up and down the center median area between the northbound and southbound lanes...like BART does in the bay area. Lacking that, the carpool lanes are still better than regular lanes. Now that the rapid buses are using them too, it's helped a lot by taking many many cars off the road. The little $0.25 or $1 charge they put on for the express lanes on the I-15 are also useful for reducing taxpayer cost. All these things, however imperfect, are still better than adding regular lanes.
The costs and results of inefficient roadway constructiin are lost time, increased fuel use and increased pollution. It's debatable if the toll revenue is worth the cost of the inefficiency.
Meanwhile the stadium proponents are going to raid the city's General Fund to build a new stadium that the majority of voters don't want. Your tax dollars making sports franchises rich while San Diego infrastructure decays.
The City of San Diego by itself has a 40 percent Weighted Vote on SANDAG. And everyone else shares the remaining 60 percent.
SANDAG need 67 percent [2/3] of Board Members to put forth Ballot Propositions for Tax Increases on the 2016 Ballot.
Therefore, with their 40 percent Weighted Vote, Mayor Faulconer, and Council Member Gloria have automatic VETO power for any proposed Ballot Language that does not benefit the City of San Diego and its neighborhoods.
Currently SANDAG staff still favor North and South County Freeways instead of Transit and Neighborhood projects. Therefore any Tax Increase should also include changing priorities and Projects for the existing TransNet 0.5 cent Sales Tax in order to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions to meet the State's most stringent goals.
Also the Ballot Language should be equitable to the City of San Diego so that Revenue collected within City limits stays in City limits.
The Fiscal Year FY-2014 CAFR documents the annual SANDAG TransNet Revenue of $28.7 million, including a Fund Balance of $78.98 million = 275% Reserves. The City of San Diego has been scolded by SANDAG for failing to Spend and/or Encumber large Cash Reserves siting in the bank.
Similar to how Civic San Diego and the City hoarded Successor Agency and Low Moderate Income Housing Asset Fund (LMIHAF) Cash Reserves, and lost $25 million Cash by Default by failing to Transfer and/or Encumber Successor Agency (SA) and LMIHAF Funds and Bond Proceeds from 1995.
I am rather optimistic that the City of San Diego could afford to add an additional $3M from unanticipated/over-realized revenue during this fiscal year 2015-2016 to fund road repairs throughout the city.
@Tammy Tran I think you are discounting the obsession of politicians to spend every dollar available and ask for more. If a surplus seems likely to emerge, you won't believe the number of absolutely essential projects that will suddenly surface.
It bears repeating that sales taxes are regressive. The question of Who Pays is just as important as If and What For. One reason I'm unimpressed to see support from the Chamber and (implied) Taxpayers Assoc. And disappointed that liberal orgs aren't taking a stand against on that basis.
Put a progressive revenue source on the ballot along with SanDAG's. Worst case, they both fail, but with some care I think that's unlikely. I nominate undoing the People's Ordinance, the even more regressive plain upward transfer of $20M every year. Even Taxpayer's Assoc has come out against that one. (You next, EDC and Partnership.)
There's other good City options too. And the needs are enormous.
@Jeffrey Davis Well, the wants are enormous. But otherwise, I agree with everything you wrote.
@Jeffrey Davis The City's Charter Review Committee plans to discuss the People's Ordinance in September. It's essential that all of us who support a vote on repealing it, amending the City Charter to remove language that has the City paying for single family homes while the multi-family residential buildings and businesses must pay for their own trash removal. I explain that for any readers who may not know the People's Ordinance.
My prediction: vague, obscure passages will be used to justify non-capital spending or monument building which the voters want no part of.