Sunday, August 29, 2010

No On Prop D in San Diego

Do you think they'll figure out we should just start the reforms before we ask for the money?

The U-T got this one right on the editorial page, with the following headline:

Prop D: Does mayor really have a hammer?

The editorial board argues in essence, that Proposition D doesn't give the mayor the hammer to reform spending that Sanders and Frye argue for in the front of the Dialog section. Because this is getting adequate publicity and the No campaign seems to be adequately funded, for now, I may not spend much time on this issue, core as it is to the Tea Party philosophy. A few points from the editorial:

Given that five City Council members were ready to place the sales tax proposal on the ballot without linking it to reforms and that the council has stalled outsourcing of some city services despite a 2006 voter mandate to do so, Sanders’ comments are highly reassuring. They suggest reform savings would be on the high end of the $700,000 to $85 million-plus range of annual savings cited in ballot language.

But does the mayor really have the hammer he says? City Attorney Jan Goldsmith doesn’t think so.
This goes to my basic argument about Proposition D. Structural budget reform, pension reforms and aggressive outsourcing of city services can be performed right now, without the need for a half cent sales tax increase. If the ruling class was serious about reducing spending they would show good faith by taking those actions now, in advance of any vote. That they want the people to pony up first is prima facie evidence that they cannot be trusted. Kevin Faulconer and Carl DiMaio echo my sentiments:

Opponents, such as Councilmen Kevin Faulconer and Carl DeMaio, rightfully pointed out that many of the reforms listed in the ballot measure are those the council has been working on already for years with no success. Further, they argue, no one knows how much money the city might save by implementing all the reforms. They expressed doubt that the package alone could fix the city's mounting obligations forever. It was another example, they said, of city politicians kicking the can down the road on the backs of taxpayers.

It is analogous to the border situation. We all know that aggressively securing the border is not a sufficient condition to solve our immigration woes; but it is a necessary first step. Every day that the Congress and the President fail to perform this basic function, is another day that deepens our distrust of any "comprehensive plan" that any of them may propose. The only way to win back trust is to secure the border. The only way for our city council to win back trust is to deal with out of control spending on employees salaries and pensions. Do a good job and we might not even need to talk about a tax increase; but if it still looks required, we might be willing to listen. Until you get serious, NO DEAL!

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