SD Rostra

Richard Rider Calls For Mayor To Resign

Obviously it’s doubtful that the Mayor will actually resign, but let’s not forget that the last time Richard called out for a mayor to resign, it happened two weeks later!  Here’s hoping.  Maybe Sanders will at least concede that Prop D isn’t about public safety or that he doesn’t buy into the GOP’s platform of less spending and less taxes.

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Mayor Jerry Sanders is a liar.  There’s no way to sugarcoat this sad fact.

The Mayor has lied before, but it’s his most recent set of lies that should send him packing. Yes, that’s right –Mayor Jerry Sanders should resign forthwith.

Here’s why:

Earlier this month – while Jerry Sanders was urging voters to approve Prop D’s massive sales tax hike – and to trust him to dutifully work with a labor-backed City Council to reduce government spending after he gets a half-billion dollars in new taxes – our Mayor was working behind the scenes to funnel a half-billion dollars toward a new Chargers stadium.

You can’t make this stuff up.

When the stadium story broke earlier this month, Sanders told the San Diego Union-Tribune it was not his idea. He gave credit to Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who authored the bill that was passed in Sacramento in the early-morning hours of Oct. 8 without an ounce of public vetting.

Sanders “said he [Sanders] lobbied four San Diego legislators personally for the legislative change after Fletcher contacted his office with the idea a week ago,” the Union-Tribune reported the day after the bill was passed.

The Mayor and Fletcher also told the newspaper the deal was about creating jobs, not secretly clearing the way for a publicly-subsidized Chargers stadium. Funny – neither Sanders nor Fletcher held a press conference unveiling all these wonderful jobs.

Before we get to what really happened, I want to take you back to June when the City Council voted to study whether or not to lift the redevelopment CAP Downtown, which would have cleared the way for a new Chargers stadium, but only after numerous public votes and hearings from multiple government agencies.

From the voiceofsandiego.org: “In June, Sanders urged City Council to spend $500,000 to take the next 18 months examining the Downtown redevelopment cap: ‘By moving forward with this study, all of us, you, me and the public will be able to have the right data to make a wise decision months from now. This is a transparent and open step by all of us to see if we can benefit the entire city by changing the CAP in Downtown. I urge your support and look forward to working with all of you on this important analysis,'” the Mayor said at the time.

With council’s blessing, the Mayor entered into negotiations with county supervisors to lift the CAP.  But the secret deal that led to the surprise legislation in Sacramento cut the supervisors out of the process, along with the public and the City Council. 10News reported an Oct. 15 meeting between Sanders and County CAO Walt Ekard did not go well. Ekard, 10News said, told Sanders he could no longer trust him.

Sanders, meanwhile, said cutting just about everyone out of the loop was the right thing to do.  “There were a lot of people in other cities who didn’t want this to happen. And my fear was that the wider this got out, the harder it would be to get done,” he told KPBS last week.

So, Jerry, it was never about the jobs. It was about keeping Los Angeles lawmakers from killing your precious stadium deal so they could eventually lure the Chargers north. Thanks for clearing that up.  But why lie to us – your constituents – about your illusionary jobs being the reason for the deal?

Late last week, we learned this deal was cooked up long before Sanders said it was. From the voiceofsandiego.org: “Secret negotiations between the City of San Diego, state and redevelopment officials on a bill to remove limits on downtown redevelopment began with conversations in August, a full two months before a state legislator introduced and passed the bill in the middle of all-night budget negotiations.

“The new timetable and the reasons for secrecy revealed by Councilwoman Donna Frye conflict with statements made about the deal since it became public.”

REMEMBER: The Mayor told the Union-Tribune Fletcher gift-wrapped the idea and brought it to him a week before it was approved in Sacramento.

Frye said CCDC Chairman Fred Maas “told her someone in the Mayor’s Office contacted him to meet with Fletcher in early August and that Maas had more than one conversation with Fletcher afterward,” the voiceofsandiego.org reported.

Frye drew the parallel between this deal and the deal made 15 years ago that began the city’s well-known financial scandals. City leaders, she said, then tried to find money to pay for big-ticket items, such as the Republican National Convention and Chargers stadium upgrades, without telling the public what they would cost.  “Nothing has changed,” Frye told voiceofsandiego.org.

On Monday, Oct. 18, at a news conference to discuss the deal and attempt to bring the public back into the fold, the Mayor admitted the idea came from his office. He called the process he led “flawed” and said he was sorry.

Where are the Chargers in all this? Good question. Nobody in the organization is talking.

Folks, we’ve been fleeced. It makes my stomach turn. But it’s not the first time the Mayor has lied to us.

The other day I was thinking about the promises Sanders made earlier this year in his State of the City address. So I went to his website and, after some searching, I found a copy of the Mayor’s speech. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s still listed among the archived items.

You see, 9 months ago at the Balboa Theatre, Mayor Sanders told us something very different than what he’s telling us now. Now, he’s saying Prop. D is not only the best thing he’s ever seen, it’s absolutely necessary to avoid deep cuts in services.

Note I: Can cuts be avoided by real pension and retiree health care reform, along with privatizing some city services?  Absolutely – with money left over.

Note II: What’s blocking that? A Mayor nearing the end of his term who has run out of resolve, and 6 Democratic council members unwilling to push labor.

Note III: If approved, the city sales tax increase COULD BE SPENT ANYWHERE – it’s a “general tax” increase with no spending limitations.  It can go to employee pay raises and to funding pensions – or to an opulent new city hall, or to the woefully underfunded downtown library.

Note IV: The sales tax plan that voters are being asked to approve won’t even come close to resolving the City’s structural deficit.

At his State of the City address, Mayor Sanders told us to trust him. He said he would finish the job. He said he would produce a plan to resolve the City’s structural deficit. He said the City should live within its means. He said the City should avoid the lure of easy solutions that won’t solve the problem. He said he would protect taxpayers.

Note V:  Ha!  Or, as we say on the Internet, LOL.

Here is what Mayor Jerry Sanders said on Jan. 13, 2010:

“When we put our 18-month budget in place, this City Council and I made a commitment to develop solutions to finish the job.

“I cannot speak for anyone else on this stage.  But so there is no mistaking my intent, I’ll be clear: [Jerry is even starting to sound like President Obama!] No plan can succeed that does not respect the taxpayers and earn their trust. Nor can we build a future by catering to those who only care about what’s in it for them. We must be a City with a single agenda: to live within our means, honestly, without expecting someone else to pick up the tab. [Uhhh, Jerry, doesn’t supporting a sales tax increase qualify as “expecting someone else to pick up the tab”????]

“Before that 18 months is over, I will have come back to you with a plan to resolve the City’s structural deficit. This is what the taxpayers want me to do, and I will do it.”

And then there was the adamant assertion by the Mayor that the conditions under Prop D would not be signed off without his personal approval.  But the measure CLEARLY states that it’s the City Auditor who has to make that determination — with no leeway for the Mayor to hinder the Auditor’s deliberations or decisions.  voiceofsandiego.org. determined that the Mayor’s assurance was a falsehood.

Indeed, in this recent Voice video of nine instances of fact checking Mayor Sanders’ more controversial assertions, the following Voice scorecard was tallied:

True:   1

Mostly True:  2

Barely True:  1

Misleading:   1

False:     4

Finally, at yesterday’s damage control press conference (promising to hold dog and pony shows to feign public input on the done deal that perpetuates CCDC) the Mayor arrogantly states that he never said “trust me.”  But his entire pitch since January has been exactly that!

The “conditions” in Prop D could save a pittance, or save a lot.  The mayor has been clear – we can and must trust him to see that the savings are at the high end of the range.

Here’s another example where he seeks our trust.  Consider his quote from this Fox 5 story:

“I have always stressed public safety,” said Sanders. “I think people will look at me and say ‘I actually trust that the Mayor will do what he says he will do with the tax money.'”

Trust Mayor Sanders?  Maybe once he rated such trust, but no longer.

Hoh boy!  Shades of his predecessor Mayor Dick Murphy.

Hey, didn’t Mayor Murphy resign in disgrace a few years ago, resulting in Jerry Sanders becoming our mayor?  Hmmmm . . . .

Jerry, I’m giving you the same advice I gave Mayor Dick Murphy shortly before he took my suggestion and announced HIS resignation.

Resign! Do it for the city, Jerry.  As you have amply demonstrated, you simply can’t be trusted.

And by the way, Jerry, when you do resign, I hereby publicly promise not to run for your vacant seat.

Trust me.

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