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Progressives Look to Filner to Whack at San Diego’s Economy

Friday, November 23, 2012
posted by B-Daddy

Kelly Davis of CityBeat has performed a public service in detailing some areas where Bob Filner’s philosophy will have a negative impact on the city’s economy.  Of course, Davis doesn’t take that view, but a review of potential “progressive” action items doesn’t bode well for the local economy.

  • Development. Progressives complain about the city reorganization that saved some money and by moving the planning department to a division in the development department.  The building industry is supposedly in favor of the move, because of the potential to steam line the permitting process.  However, the move seems to draw the ire of progressives for lack of “transparency.”  But faster permitting would seem to promote economic growth, so what is the real complaint here?
  • Transportation. Progressives are hoping that Filner will pour even more money down the rat hole of the public transit system.  Our Attorney General, Kamala Harris, supposedly doesn’t like the fact that SANDAG’s transport plan has too much emphasis on freeway widening.  A shift in emphasis and funding away from freeways to public transport will of course just cause more traffic jams.
  • Housing. The liberal belief is that the way to increase affordable housing is to subsidize the production of low income housing.  Despite the city’s budget woes related specifically to the changes Jerry Brown gutted the redevelopment agencies, the left is hoping Filner will divert money to low income housing.  Steven Greenhut details the way in which government run housing projects decrease the stock of housing available to the poor in Reason.  The best way to increase affordable housing is to increase the total amount of housing being built.  The increased stock acts as increased supply, and the laws of supply and demand drive down the overall cost of housing.
  • Electrical Power Production.  Progressives were upset with Sanders’ support for two power plant projects and look to Filner to take their side.  How the city is supposed to get less dependent on importing power over “single point of failure links” is not spelled out.  Having lived through the disaster September 2011, I am acutely aware of the risks we face.  The FERC study on that disaster points out that the system is subject relatively too few nodes for transmission of electricity, as I have reviewed.  If this stand is in the name of environmental protection, then how much air pollution occurs when thousands of people fire up their portable gasoline generators, break out charcoal bbqs, and toss out food when we lose power?
  • Tourism.  Look for the hotel tax increase that funds tourism outreach (under the Tourism Management District) to come under assault.  Filner advocated shifting the money to “public safety” in an October debate, questioning the legality of the tax.  I question the legality as well and would propose repeal.  However, Filner reveals his instincts are those of a big government thug, when rather than rescind a tax the hoteliers imposed on themselves, he wants to seize the cash for the city.  Either the tax is illegal and gets repealed or it should stand and be used for tourism.
Kelly’s article opened with a discussion of Filner proposing providing subsidies for families of students who couldn’t afford the $36 per month bus pass.  It makes a nice sound bite, but I really question how many students fall in that category.  Where is the study?  Where is the evidence?  How many employees will be hired or diverted from other work to run a small bureaucracy to determine which students are truly needy enough to get free passes?  If we base the decision on income, who will audit compliance with federal privacy laws when these people provide their income tax returns as proof of need?  If we don’t require proof, how are the subsidies not going to drain the transit system coffers as students line up to collect the free passes?  Will my son, who lives at home, but is unemployed and goes to a community college get a pass?  If so, why? we are relatively well off.  If not, why not? Are we discriminating based on the basis of family origin?  Nobody asks these questions when politicians just announce some fabulous free crap.  Maybe if we always did, they would be embarrassed into working on real issues, like how are we going to implement a budget that works.
A Filner administration may give me ample material for my blog, but that is cold comfort when his policies won’t be helping an economy that badly needs it.
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4 Responses to “Progressives Look to Filner to Whack at San Diego’s Economy”

  1. If Filner and Kelly have their way, the “criteria” for the free student bus/transit pass will be streamlined. Any form of public assistance received will be the acceptable “proof” of need. Food stamps or utility subsidies, for instance.

    Savvy students and other folks good at gaming the system will figure out that this latest transit subsidy makes getting OTHER subsidies even more lucrative.

    Of course, we’ll need to soak “the rich” more for this latest giveaway, but these greedy boogeymen need to pay their “fare share”! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

  2. Kelly Davis says:

    Richard and B-Daddy,

    The transit passes are for San Diego Unified students only, not community college students.

    Other school districts provide passes to students because it ensures that they’ll get to school safely and on time. Here are a few:

    Boston:
    http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/transportation

    Minneapolis:
    http://www.mpls.k12.mn.us/bus-passes

    Portland:
    http://portlandafoot.org/w/YouthPass

    Detroit:
    http://detroitk12.org/admin/ppo/transportation/

    Buffalo:
    http://www.buffaloschools.org/Transportation.cfm?subpage=6787

    I’m sure I can find plenty more.

  3. La Playa Heritage says:

    The increase in the Hotel tax without a public vote is Illegal.

    Thank you Kelly for your wonderful article on civic issues concerning children that will be resolved by Mayor-Elect Bob Filner. Filner promised to direct taxpayer funds to helping children succeed in San Diego.

    Mayor-Elect Filner is creating and atmosphere that values children.. While he is at it, all City of San Diego children under 14 should be admitted to our world-famous Zoo for Free Monday through Friday in the company of paid adults. Just like it was in the old days for all San Diego’s children.

    Poor children is San Diego have been Discriminated against through hoarding of RDA TI funds by the City and County. A Legal Opinion is required from State Attorney General Kamala Harris to confirm that the annual $200 million in former RDA TI could have been used for Economic Development, Job Training, Children’s Services, Homeless Emergency Shelters, and conformance with San Diego’s Living Wage Ordinance.

    Soon Children in San Diego will start getting Economic Justice and basic Civil Rights and dignity. The former CCDC Redevelopment Agency (RDA) has been stealing from local San Diego Children, the Mentally Ill, and Homeless citizens since 1992 ( 20 years).

    Prior to 2010, CCDC RDA stated that the annual $200 million in RDA Tax Increment (TI) could only be used on “Brick and Mortar” development projects, not on Economic Development or to expand Employment Opportunities for the jobless, underemployed, and low-incomes persons, or to provide social and economic growth.

    CCDC stated they wished they could use the RDA TI money for Economic Development and Job Training.

    However, their hand are tied, because their Operating Agreement, Bylaws, and Articles of Incorporation did not special mention RDA Section 33071 law.

    The downtown elite conspired to purposefully misinterpret State Redevelopment law to benefit the rich and connected, at the expense of children, Homeless, and Mentally Ill San Diegans.

    On March 22, 2010 as Item 202 “Approving the Amended Operating Agreement, Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation for the Centre City Development Corporation” at the request of the Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI) and the Labor Unions, the City Council finally added State Health and Safety Code Section 33071 into CCDC’s and the Redevelopment Agency’s updated Bylaws and Operating Agreements to counter the false legal claims that discriminated against the poor, including children. All Republican City leaders (Mayor Sanders, Carl DeMaio and Kevin Faulconer) lobby or voted against the inclusion of State RDA law wording into the Bylaws and Operating Agreement.

    “33071 The Legislature further finds and declares that a fundamental purpose of redevelopment is to expand the supply of low- and moderate-income housing, to expand employment opportunities for jobless, underemployed, and low-income persons, and to provide an environment for the social, economic, and psychological growth and well-being of all citizens.”

    Using former RDA TI for Economic Development is also a means of requiring projects using Redevelopment funds to pay a Living Wage (full cash wage of $13.77/hour = $11.47/hour + $2.30/hour in Health Benefits) instead of allowing State Minimum Wage of $8/hour since January 1, 2008. Prior to 2010 not all jobs using RDA TI paid a Living Wage as required by our Municipal Code.

  4. Brian Brady Brian Brady says:

    “Soon Children in San Diego will start getting Economic Justice and basic Civil Rights and dignity.”

    You mean money, right? I just want to be clear here because I”m all for helping poor kids get a chance in life. While I’d like to continue to provide those funds through my Church and my personal charity, I get that you and Bob want to take money from me, and give it away in my name, to advance the betterment of poor kids.

    My question KR is this; do those children now have a claim on my income and property?

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