2010 San Diego politics in review
2010 was sort of a rough and tumble year at city hall with the mayor and council playing political hardball over taxes, budget deficits, and redevelopment dollars. All brought on by a lack of money.
Proposition D, the sales tax increase, was one of the big stories of the year with serious political overtones.
A Republican Mayor, short of money, and short of options, joined the labor backed majority on council to push for the tax by threatening massive cuts if the voters rejected it.
The public was skeptical. We were constantly hearing of huge pension payouts, bonuses to city employees, and a budget deficit number that was fuzzy.
Councilmember Carl DeMaio released a plan to counter the tax proposal. It has a heavy dose of pension reform, a pay cut, a salary freeze, and a challenge to get serious about reforms.
The tax was overwhelmingly defeated. A few weeks earlier, there was a near revolt at city hall when the Mayor and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher secretly, cut the council off at the knees by having CCDC's redevelopment cap lifted in Sacramento while council had already begun that process.
CCDC board chair Fred Mass was summoned to council chambers to explain it all went downhill from there.
Another big story was Walmart. Council passed another ordinance that basically excluded Walmart from building a big box store in San Diego. The mayor vetoed it, the council overrode the veto and yesterday, Walmart submitted enough signatures to put this on the ballot if the signatures are valid.
Council has a choice: repeal the ordinance or spend 3-million dollars for a special election.
Finally, the new downtown library is under construction but still 30-million short of funding. The Convention Center expansion is moving forward, and the new City Hall project has been shelved for the time being.
People are optimistic that San Diego's economy will improve in the new year and with the new council elects we should see some promising changes in City Hall.