Daily Transcript Question: What role, if any, should voters play in resolving the city's financial crisis?
Some say the voters have to step up to the table and pay higher taxes. Others say the citizens of San Diego must join committees and help that way. Still others maintain San Diegans must be willing to accept less in services for a while. I think none of these are the most important action voters can take to resolve the city's financial crisis.
In a representative form of government, our form of government, the most important role of any citizen in resolving any issue is singular. Identify those who seek public office and understand how they will address the issues of the day.
The role of voters in resolving the city's financial crises is engagement. Voters must take the time to understand, as best they are able, the nature of the problems. They must take what time they can to learn what the candidates who want to lead the city think are the solutions.
Surprisingly, it isn't that hard. This paper discusses the issues. The talk shows take them up. Neighbors have opinions. And in the case of the race for mayor of San Diego, the candidates are making speeches and participating in debates almost constantly.
Voters must pay attention and then vote for the candidate they believe will do the job. Anything less is to fail the system and the city.
-- George W. Hawkins
President and CEO Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego
Donna Frye's call for a half-cent sale tax increase was widely denounced by Jerry Sanders and The San Diego Union Tribune. In fact, the U-T's editorial reaction was so overboard, so emotional, that it was bereft of credibility. Of course, the U-T and taxes are seldom compatible.
Sanders, my candidate for mayor, even said the idea was "immoral." Jerry, Jerry -- Frye's idea may be bad politics, but immoral, hardly.
In fact, on this issue, Frye is taking the high road by proposing the one logical means of easing San Diego's horrendous financial crisis. Anyone who thinks that we can get out of this financial abyss without raising taxes is grievously mistaken. It cannot be done. Unless the next mayor and council is prepared to drastically cut city services and eliminate 2,500 jobs among the city's work force, taxes must be raised. There is no other way out of this dire circumstance. And, even if taxes are raised -- which cannot happen without the consent of the voters -- it will take, at minimum, 10 years for San Diego to regain its financial stability, if then.
There are, therefore, no easy choices before us. But neither Sanders nor Frye alone are capable of solving our town's problems. If San Diego can be saved, a very big "if," it will take all of us being involved. If you say you "love San Diego'" then the time has come for you to damn well prove it. The idea that politicians alone, government alone, can get it done, is absurd.
San Diego's problems are our problems. The resolution to those problems demands of all us that we be more than mere critics: that we involve ourselves in finding a way out of the terrible dilemma into which we have fallen.
It has been said, "we get the government we deserve." If that's true then we have gotten what we deserve in this town because the vast majority of us have looked the other way as, in terms of a dysfunctional city government, a category five hurricane was bearing down upon us.
"Ask not" President Kennedy said to America, "what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country." Donna Frye and Jerry Sanders must ask that question of all of us. For either of them to do less would be nothing less than an abdication of duty and responsible political leadership.
The hurricane is here, the levees are breaking, the water is flooding in, who will help man the levees?
-- George Mitrovich
President of The City Club of San Diego
Daily Transcript Question: The strategic planning committee of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority announced that the expansion of Lindbergh Field is not an option. Given that finding, the airport will likely need to be relocated. Assuming the airport could be moved to any appropriate site in the county -- such as existing civilian or military airport sites or available open space -- where would you recommend the airport be relocated and why?
It is premature to say expanding Lindbergh is not an option. I spoke with a licensed commercial pilot who currently flies for a major USA airline that serves Lindbergh Field. His comment to me was when the city of San Diego allowed a public parking garage to add height to its structure the runway capability at the airport was reduced, thereby limiting the type of aircraft that can land there. This can be remedied.
If in fact the authority does not want to re-visit expansion then the next possible location would be in Otay Mesa. Combine this with an elevated (perhaps maglev) rail system and I think we have solved our air transportation issue. This would also serve as an economic catalyst for the Otay region. Miramar for me is out of the question, as we must maintain our military presence in San Diego especially with the porous border to the south.
Going to Imperial County looks good at first glance, but are we solving a problem by doing this or creating more given the environmental conditions present between Imperial and downtown San Diego? And how long would it be before we could accomplish this? Otay to downtown can be accomplished much quicker I believe. Ultimate convenience and cost point to Otay although my preference would be Lindbergh expansion.
-- Ed Gallo
Mayor Pro Tem, city of Escondido
Without viable and realistic options available, the elimination of the expansion of Lindbergh Field is both hasty and shortsighted. While I am aware that in the past a lot of the discussion about moving the airport has been generated by the prospects of developers' new use for the site, our focus has to be on the realistic needs and resources of our region.
It would be my hope that the full authority would reject this recommendation so that the region's options can reflect the real world.
-- Ron Morrison
Councilman, National City
New Section: Sounding Board
Have Your Voice Heard!
The Daily Transcript introduces Sounding Board, a regular opinion page feature focusing on current issues. Send your responses to email@example.com.