City Seal The City of San Diego
HomeContact the City
City Seal
City Seal Business City Hall Community Departments Information Leisure Services A-Z Visiting
Citizens' Task Force on Chargers Issues
Citizens' Task Force on Chargers Issues Home About the Task Force Task Force Meetings Documents
Documents
San Diego Union-Tribune

NEIL MORGAN

State of City speech the mayor didn't make

January 19, 2003

Abstract:
I can reassure you that San Diego public funds have been well- managed. The three major bond agencies give our city's general obligation bonds AA ratings or better. We are the only large California city with a Fitch AAA rating, the highest bond rating. We are well-situated to withstand the fiscal pressures we anticipate from both Washington and Sacramento.

San Diego has survived budget crises before and, with your help, we will work our way through this one, too. City employees, including police and firemen and women, may face layoffs or cutbacks. We will seek to avert this by spending less on nonessentials.

Today, I have asked the citizens task force on the Chargers stadium to complete its report promptly. We are proud of our Chargers and hope they will remain in San Diego. But when we are under threat of laying off police and fire officers, a new stadium cannot be this city's immediate priority . . .


Full Text:
Copyright SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE PUBLISHING COMPANY Jan 19, 2003

My fellow San Diegans (I wish the mayor would say), since I delivered my State of the City address on Jan. 6, we have learned more about hard times and hard decisions facing this city that we all love.

In that address, because of time demands, some civic issues were left unexpressed and unexplored. To avoid that in the future, I will be coming before you more frequently in 2003 to hear your views and to report to you on your city.

I will also find time once again for more open questioning by the media and by the public; written statements, I realize, do not enhance the aura of leadership.

We meet tonight at a time of unprecedented opportunities for San Diego, but also a time of fiscal crisis. San Diegans will be asked to make temporary sacrifices. We will all share in this.

Tonight I am ordering a 12 percent reduction in spending by the mayor's office.

I can reassure you that San Diego public funds have been well- managed. The three major bond agencies give our city's general obligation bonds AA ratings or better. We are the only large California city with a Fitch AAA rating, the highest bond rating. We are well-situated to withstand the fiscal pressures we anticipate from both Washington and Sacramento.

To maintain our sound city ratings and to be prudent, budget cuts are inevitable. They will delay or affect this city's services and maintenance, as well as capital projects. If each of you can know the facts and reasons, we can stand side-by-side through this crisis.

Let me outline the situation and tell you how your mayor and City Council plan to proceed.

Our city government must not only look open, but it must truly be open. We will make our civic priorities and goals clear. Our decisions will not be dominated by the selfish politics of greed or fear, but in the service of you, our customers. We cannot be content to work within any shadow of mediocrity or of personal gain. Political careerism will not interfere with the public good.

San Diego has survived budget crises before and, with your help, we will work our way through this one, too. City employees, including police and firemen and women, may face layoffs or cutbacks. We will seek to avert this by spending less on nonessentials.

Like other cities and corporations, we were hurt by the stock market decline. Through such losses, the pension fund for San Diego city employees has been put at grave risk.

The city recently voted to increase benefits and defer city contributions into this fund. The plan was well-intended. But the pension fund threatens to show $100 million in investment losses.

I now ask city employees, union leaders and the city manager to suspend implementation of this proposal. At this time, it would not be prudent to raise benefits or defer city contributions.

As mayor, I will do my best to make priorities for our city clear. You elected me to lead, and I will. The 10 goals I set for San Diego two years ago remain intact.

But we must make other hard decisions now if San Diego is to remain the city we know and love. Affordable housing is necessary. Housing costs, for instance, are so high that many of our sons and daughters cannot afford to work and live in the city where they grew up.

To assert the public interest, I will seek new means of countering the selfish scourge of NIMBYism that deadlocks major issues of public transit, of road and airport development, and has driven housing costs still higher.

For now, the city must delay some of the well-deserved projects we have promised. At this time, we will not be able to take on new major investments of public funds.

Today, I have asked the citizens task force on the Chargers stadium to complete its report promptly. We are proud of our Chargers and hope they will remain in San Diego. But when we are under threat of laying off police and fire officers, a new stadium cannot be this city's immediate priority . . .

(To be continued Wednesday.)

Neil Morgan can be reached by e-mail at neil.morgan@uniontrib.com.

 



| Citizens' Task Force Home | About the Task Force | Task Force Meetings | Documents | Top of Page |
Site Map Privacy Notice Disclaimers