Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Key Issues in the Mayor's Race

With a week to go before the November 19th special election to replace Bob Filner, a number of distracting issues, such as attendance, have made for idiotic campaign commercials.  In reality, the city is facing a number of issues that require resolution.

Continuing Pension Reform

The new mayor will need to vigorously defend Proposition B, which was a step towards reforming pensions and limiting the future liability of San Diego's taxpayers.  As we have seen on the state and federal level, the failure of the government to defend its position in the courts can nullify the will of the vote of the people or legislature.  Mike Aguirre and Kevin Faulconer are committed to reforming San Diego's pensions, Aguirre certainly more so.  Unfortunately, the former city attorney doesn't stand much of a chance.  David Alvarez has opposed a 401(k) style pension reform for city workers, proposing a cap on benefits instead.  Nathan Fletcher's position is to howl that Faulconer wants to deprive widows of public safety officers of their pensions.

Continuing Managed Competition

City workers have won a number of managed competitions with private industry, so why bother with the process?  Because the competition forces the government to look at its costs and produce savings.  Despite some flaws each round of managed competition resulted in the city government coming up with ways to reduce costs.  Further oversight and revisions of the process to ensure that the savings materialize are needed, but only Kevin Faulconer whole-heartedly supports the process.  Fletcher and Alvarez both oppose the process.  We need a mayor who will do the hard work to ensure this process saves the taxpayers' dollars and only Faulconer is committed to the process' success.

City Streets

For better or worse, the city government is responsible for the condition of most public roadways in the city.  Our streets are in horrible shape.  Faulconer correctly ties the ability to fund street repairs to the budget woes caused by pension underfunding.  He proposes some reasonable steps to make streets better, including using capital funding for maintenance; but the money still has to come from somewhere.  Fletcher and Alvarez both pledge street repair, but have little specific to say on their respective web sites.  Alvarez also supports more capital funding for street maintenance, but his over 20 page blueprint has surprisingly little to say on a topic I consider of high importance.

Barrio Logan Zoning and the Shipbuilding and Repair Industry

I covered this issue earlier.  Yesterday, I signed a petition to put the re-zoning up for a vote.  I think this industry is extremely important for good jobs in San Diego.  Removing the support services to shipbuilding in the buffer zone is a first step towards killing off this industry.  I don't trust the motives of the Democrats involved in this plan.  I find Faulconer arguing to save jobs in this industry.  Fletcher's attacks on Alvarez on this subject are disingenuous as Fletcher has no real plan.

There are certainly other subjects, like medical marijuana, but I don't think the candidates differ significantly or the subjects are as important.

What You Should Be Reading
  • The U-T has a nice feature that allows you to match your views with those of the four top candidates and get a score.  My scores were Faulconer 62%, Aguirre 50%, Fletcher 29%, Alvarez 27%.

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