What the Mayor Didn’t Say – Voice of San Diego
During an election-year State of the City address on Wednesday, Mayor Todd Gloria laid out his platform for 2022, and at least for now, it does not include any of the tax measures aimed at the election of November.
Gloria pointed to the need for more money in several policy areas where potential ballot measures are already underway: libraries and parks, stormwater and public transit. In each case, however, Gloria avoided mentioning whether he would lead these measures — or even support them.
After the speech, Gloria’s spokesperson, Rachel Laing, confirmed that it was on purpose. The mayor is not getting involved in any of the potential ballot measures at this time.
“The mayor does not put himself forward on the various citizens’ initiatives which are still in the design phase,” she said. “He will carefully assess each measure once they qualify for the ballot.”
The potential ballot measures, however, represent each of the key agenda items he presented on Wednesday.
Gloria, for example, described the city’s stormwater responsibility. Last year, the city estimated it had a $2.3 billion gap over the next five years between the money it expects to have and all the infrastructure it needs to fix. . Stormwater — the city’s flood management system — accounts for $1.7 billion of that discrepancy.
On Wednesday, Gloria said stormwater needs required a massive solution, similar to the Pure Water system the city is building to provide an independent water source.
“This is the kind of holistic approach we need to fix our stormwater management infrastructure,” he said. “The fees we charge to maintain our pipes, culverts, drains and treatment facilities have not been updated for nearly 25 years, and as a result we have fallen far behind on much needed improvements to protect our beaches. and our waterways.”
He did not say, however, whether he supported an attempt this year to put an initiative on the ballot to pay for these “much-needed improvements.” The Council’s environmental committee voted last year to work on a measure that could go to the 2022 ballot. Council President Sean Elo Rivera told us last month that it was still part of the Council’s plans.
Last year, supporters of parks and libraries announced their own initiative to increase funding for city infrastructure, and while Gloria touted her goal of streamlining city funding for city projects, from parks and libraries to roads and recreation centers, he did not mention the ballot measure.
And while he said he would launch a “collaborative regional task force” of government agencies to bring as much money from the new federal infrastructure bill to San Diego, he didn’t mention the initiative, led by unions and environmentalists, to raise sales taxes to pay for regional transportation projects like roads, transit and highways.
This initiative did the most to leave what Gloria called “the conceptual phase”. It was endorsed by the San Diego County Democratic Party last month, and paid workers have been collecting signatures since just after Thanksgiving. Dan Rottenstreich, the consultant running the initiative, said they already had tens of thousands of signatures in hand and were certain they would qualify by May 11, when they will have to TP submit.
“Democrats are excited about this, the business community is excited about this, everyone knows we need to do something about infrastructure, transit and traffic in this city,” he said. declared. “We can’t wait any longer. We have the resources we need to qualify for the ballot and more. I am convinced that we will qualify for the ballot and then we will win.
Regional transport would suffer a considerable setback if it did not. The just-passed transportation plan for the county Gloria voted for in December is already counting on voters approving a ballot measure next year, and for it to raise more than $10 billion for new projects. He expects voters to pass another similar measure in the 2024 poll and another in the 2028 poll.
Prior to Gloria’s mum’s approach to the tax measures this week, it was specifically her longstanding drive to support revenue-raising efforts that Municipal Employees Association head Michael Zucchet said separates him other local leaders. On election night in 2020, Zucchet said he hoped Gloria would usher in a new era in which the city was honest with residents that they couldn’t get a world-class city on the cheap.
“Something has to fundamentally change in San Diego,” he said. “For a generation, citizens have been told that they don’t have to pay for garbage pickup, that they don’t have to pay the same taxes and fees as other cities, not just in California, but in San Diego County, that we can do more with less. The fact is, we can’t. We want to have the best streets, the best parks, the best public safety, all for less. Something has to give here The city is not in good shape right now. There is going to be a fundamental decision, are we going to be the biggest city that Todd has articulated, and we have to make the cake bigger with the projects that he talked about, or increase revenue, or reprioritize what we want to do as a city.”
Aguirre will pursue the Chargers, NFL
We wrote and talked about St. Louis’ incredible legal victory over NFL and Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The city, county and sports complex of St. Louis sued the NFL and Kroenke and settled for $790 million, with the attorneys pocketing $275 million.
The NFL and Kroenke settled for many reasons, but they faced tremendous pressure after a judge allowed St. Louis attorneys to begin filing NFL owners and digging into their records. .
The settlement must be, by far, the most significant achievement of any city’s effort to hold the NFL accountable for moving a team after a city has spent public resources trying to keep or accommodate them. . And many of us here in San Diego watched it happily for our compatriots in St. Louis.
But it felt like only real big cities could pull it off. And the city of San Diego, unlike St. Louis, had explicitly agreed never to sue the Chargers for leaving San Diego, in its revised 2004 lease with the team.
A guy thinks it’s not a problem for the city. Former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, whose career is mostly about public interest prosecutions like this and the potential settlements they deliver. He said he was inspired by the work of St. Louis lawyers.
This week, Aguirre alerted the city that he plans to file a similar lawsuit on behalf of ratepayers on Jan. 21. It’s unclear who the plaintiff will be in the case, specifically, but Aguirre offered the role to Politics Report. We refused.
Aguirre had previously argued to us that the lease signed by the city with the Chargers was illegal and therefore void. But now he said the St. Louis case opened his eyes. And the lease has nothing to do with the target of a lawsuit here
“I wasn’t smart enough to think of that,” he said.
St. Louis argued that the NFL had for years established a de facto contract with the cities. They would no longer just move teams out of cities at their unilateral discretion. They would make the process a city could go through to keep a team clear. St. Louis went through the process and spent nearly $20 million trying to keep the team through that process. But then, the attorneys argued, they found out that the NFL and the Rams had no intention of abiding by that process.
The NFL argued that its team relocation policy was not a contract at all. The judge disagreed and set up a potential hit trial where the city would try to prove the Rams intended to leave town no matter what, essentially misleading the city and violating the policy of the NFL and its de facto contract with the cities. St. Louis wanted $4 billion.
Aguirre said regardless of whether the city agreed to never sue the Chargers, that same violation happened here. That at one point the Chargers had no intention of staying here. The city lease may not have been breached, but the contract with San Diego as a whole was.
“We are a third party beneficiary. They must act in good faith,” he said.
It’s still inconvenient that the city agreed not to sue the Chargers or the NFL if the team moved. The new contract was signed to keep them in San Diego for a minimum of three years.
“The City hereby acknowledges and agrees that the NFL shall not be liable to the City with respect to such activities,” reads the lease.
Case rates can peak: Christopher Longhurst, UC San Diego Health Chief Medical Officer put together some graphics Friday which seems to indicate “we are sliding down the slope of the omicron” – COVID-19 infections in San Diego may have peaked.
Fire: We earnestly hope that the fire at the home of County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and former Congresswoman Lorena Gonzalez was a random accident. Police say it’s “suspicious.” We hope because the implications of arson are serious. No political system can be productive or just if leaders face assassination attempts. Even if the attacks are unsuccessful, they inflict intolerable trauma on public life. If they succeed, the consequences are horrifying and destabilizing.