Archive for the ‘Vince Vasquez’ Category
(originally featured in San Diego News Network)
The recessionary turmoil and state tax increases of 2009 were a devastating one-two punch for many San Diego families, leaving few prepared for our unknown financial future. Rather than allow greater harm to befall our economy this year, City Hall leaders must take action today and prioritize the long-term interests of local taxpayers.
A late-breaking court ruling on San Diego city pension benefits has earned the applause of Councilmember Carl DeMaio, who has steadfastly challenged the status quo on our policy options to reform our long-term financial obligations. A detailed press release from his office is below.
I’ve watched some recent media interviews where other leaders at San Diego City Hall have been vocally dismissive about examining structural changes to our public employee pension system, declaring that the benefits are all “vested” and thus precluded from reform. No one, the public is told, can “simply step in” and change them. Taxpayer advocates have been unfairly slammed and marginalized for questioning this blanket declaration, which continues to prove to be inaccurate. That’s not right, and it has to stop.
This Thursday evening, Voice of San Diego reporter Liam Dillon posted an article on San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’ plan to study possibly two new back-door taxes on city residents – a stormwater fee and a trash collection fee – as part of a $179.1 million budget-balancing deal with the City Council. As Dillon notes, these two fees have been on the City Hall dais for years, but have never been acted upon, as California state voters approved taxpayer protections (Proposition 218) which requires a public vote before municipalities can begin collecting new local surcharges. It is critical that San Diego city taxpayers do not become complacent on this study initiative, as history suggests its conclusion may already have been written.
This Tuesday, the San Diego City Council will review new land use & permitting regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries, which have long been a source of controversy, criminal activity and quality of life problems in our community. Though polling data suggests that the overwhelming majority of San Diego residents are in favor of tough legal mandates for greater safety and accountability from dispensaries, the regulatory package recommended by the Medical Marijuana Task Force (MMTF) falls short of public demands in three major areas.
This Tuesday, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders publicly released his plan to close the estimated $179-201 million gap in the Fiscal Year 2011 General Fund budget at City Hall. While Sanders’ proposal minimizes the deficit’s impact on residents without raising taxes, it fails to secure the long-term interests of local taxpayers. Why?
#1 Short-term financial fixes are heavily relied upon. Of the $179.1 million in budget-balancing methods proposed in the Mayor’s plan, 54% ($96.8 million) are “one-time solutions.” These solutions include deferring future contributions to budgetary reserves and raiding millions of tax dollars designated for park and library improvements. Marginal, interim fixes like these mask the true size of City Hall’s fiscal crisis from the public and delay the need for more difficult service cuts which may be politically unpopular.
The results are in from the 2009 Legislative Report Card issued by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), one of California’s oldest and most respected taxpayer advocacy organizations, and San Diego Assemblymembers Diane Harkey and Joel Anderson were the *only* elected state representatives out of all 120 legislative members in Sacto to receive perfect “A” scores!
The Report Card, which is based on the votes for 35 key bills relevant to taxpayer interests, is issued annually to raise public awareness to how elected officials are working (or not) for their constituents in the state capitol. Clearly, the majority have been focused on other priorities while away from their home districts – 73 legislators received an “F” grade, with only 29 being awarded an “A.”
According to a new poll conducted by Competitive Edge Research & Communication (CERC), San Diegans want tough regulatory oversight for medical marijuana dispensaries, which are opening up throughout the city today with less restrictions than bars, liquor stores and traditional pharmacies.
The CERC poll, which surveyed 505 adults in the City of San Diego, found broad support generally for medical marijuana access. More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) believe that medical marijuana should be considered as any other prescription drug available to the public, and 77% of respondents either “agree strongly” or “agree somewhat” that government officials should provide local cannabis patients with convenient medical access. However, there is little tolerance for unregulated medical marijuana dispensaries, which is what we have today. When asked how the City of San Diego should approach dispensaries, 64% of respondents wanted dispensaries to be regulated, with the greatest support for strict control and heavy regulations.
(This op-ed was originally posted on San Diego News Network this week)
With falling tax revenue projections from our national economic downturn, and the ongoing turmoil of a structural deficit in our local government, the City of San Diego now faces an estimated $201 million budget shortfall for Fiscal Year 2011. Thankfully for taxpayers, reaction from elected officials to this crisis has been swift, but many difficult decisions lie ahead that will require the public’s full support.
Taxpayer Godfather Howard Jarvis would be proud. According to a Field Poll released Wednesday, California registered voters oppose sweeping changes to the state tax system, Proposition 13 property tax provisions, and the 2/3 legislative requirement in Sacramento. Among the findings:
- 52% disapprove of eliminating Proposition 13 safeguards for commercial property and business owners;
- 69% disapprove of lowering the 2/3 legislative requirement to 50% in order to raise taxes in the state capitol;
- 52% disapprove of lowering the 2/3 legislative requirement to 50% in order to pass the state budget;
According a new SurveyUSA poll, San Diegans did not warmly welcome the news last Friday that President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. Fielding responses from 500 adults in San Diego County, SurveyUSA found that 52% of area residents did not agree with the decision to award Obama the Prize. Those opposed include 72% of registered Republican voters, 22% of registered Democratic voters, and 67% of Decline to States. Only 39% agreed with the decision.
This week, the San Diego Budget & Finance Committee advanced a proposal to radically change parking meter policies in our City. The proposal would:
* allow the maximum parking meter rate to be DOUBLED to $2.50 an hour;
* allow parking meters to charge on Sundays;
* allow parking meters to charge until 11PM;
* increase city staffing for parking enforcement, even at a time of a citywide hiring freeze.
Currently under the City Code, city parking meters are limited to the rates of 50 cents – $1.25/hour, operating hours of 8AM-6PM, and cannot charge on Sundays or holidays.
My thoughts on closing the City of San Diego’s massive budget deficit, which now threatens the future of our core public services, including police, fire protection, libraries, and parks. VV
(Reposting from Voice of San Diego)
The San Diego City Council faces a daunting task in closing the $179-$201 million budget gap before it. Proposed solutions to closing this gap (on paper) will undoubtedly include severe, top-down budget balancing tactics, but these have historically been met with ire by San Diego residents and firm rejection from their elected representatives. Moving forward, a better approach would be to enlist the help of everyday citizens to balance our budget and meet both the short-term and long-term needs of our community.
With ten months now in the White House, just how do San Diegan voters feel about President Obama’s job performance and policy/political agenda? The well-respected Field Research Corporation just released a statewide opinion poll today which included a breakout of San Diego County respondents. According to the poll:
* San Diegan voters are significantly less supportive (48% approve/43% disapprove) of Obama’s handling of the U.S. economy than overall state voters (60% approve/35% disapprove). Only one other region was less supportive of Obama’s economic leadership – Orange County (40% approve/56% disapprove).
The San Diego City Council just unanimously approved Councilmember Carl DeMaio’s proclamation of October 6th as Richard Rider Day in our City. For decades, Richard has been a tireless advocate for taxpayers in our community, and has demonstrated the core principles and convictions we need in our elected officials.
Richard, your activism has been an inspiration to me and countless Californians. Thank you for all your work on behalf of taxpayers and everyday citizens!
According to the results of a SurveyUSA poll released last Thursday, 2 out of 3 San Diego residents aware of ACORN have negative impressions of the community-based organization, which is now embroiled in a national scandal exposed by conservative activists affiliated with BigGovernment.com.
The poll, which surveyed 500 San Diegan adults, also found that residents are strongly in favor (67%) of government funding cuts for ACORN. Across the county, ACORN is the recipient of millions of dollars of public grants funded by taxpayers, which are now under review amid evidence of malfeasance, incompetence, and potentially criminal wrongdoing by its employees. Those supporting funding cuts include the majority of Caucasians (71%), Latinos (50%), and other ethnic minorities (76%).
Is the City of San Diego’s District One now firmly in the Democratic column?
I was rummaging through some of my old computer files this morning, and came across some interesting 2007 voter registration numbers from the City Clerk’s Office. Comparing them to the most recent voter reg report, which you can find online here, shows two important things: 1) Republicans have work to do with improving their voter numbers, and 2) A sea change may have occured which needs some further analysis.
First, the voter registration numbers from 2007: