Inside the Plan to Fix San Diego’s Hourglass Economy

Inside the Plan to Fix San Diego’s Hourglass Economy

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Planning Director Bill Fulton, who also oversees the city's economic development functions, presented the new economic planto the City Council's rules and economic development committee.

San Diego suffers from an hourglass economy.

That is, its employment base includes a few high-wage workers at the top, and a lot of low-wage workers at the bottom, and not too many middle-income workers in between.

It’s one of the regional economy’s most persistent issues, and solving it is at the heart of what could soon be the city’s first economic development strategy in a decade.

San Diego’s new planning director Bill Fulton, who also oversees the city’s economic development functions, along with Russ Gibbon, the city’s business development manager, presented the new plan last week to the City Council’s rules and economic development committee.

The committee decided the strategy was ready for a period of outreach, including a public workshop, with feedback implemented into the plan before the committee forwards it to the full Council. The committee could revisit a revised plan in early February.

The city’s last strategy was written in 2000, adopted the following year and ran through 2004.

That means in the time since the city last outlined its economic development goals, the tech bubble crashed, Sept. 11 happened, a housing bubble inflated, the Great Recession came and our slow recovery started hobbling along.

(In fairness, the city adopted a new general plan, an outline for future planning decisions, in 2008, which included an economic prosperity element. Though focused on land use concerns, it included similar objectives, like creating a diversified economy with self-sufficient wages for all San Diegans.)

The new plan, Economic Development Strategy 2014-2016, began with a draft written in late 2011 that has since been amended to reflect recommendations from a city auditor’s report on the economic development program, feedback from the independent budget analyst and guidance from the City Council.

It calls the hourglass economy the city’s biggest economic problem — it accelerated between 2007 and 2011 and is more pronounced here than it is nationally — and sets three objectives aimed at providing a spectrum of job opportunities.

Fulton said at last week’s forum on neighborhood growth that those objectives are directly connected.

“One of the things that the economic development strategy is going to focus on is how we make sure those sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, which is closely tied to (research and development), can be nurtured to improve, to reduce that hourglass,” he said.

“I see that as fundamentally connected to the conversation around neighborhoods such as (Encanto), because if people in those neighborhoods don’t have money in their pocket, then those neighborhoods will not be revitalized.”

The three objectives: growing the economy’s “base sectors,” increasing middle-income jobs and increasing neighborhood business activity. Here’s how it hopes to achieve them.

Grow the economy by focusing on “economic base sectors.”

Economic base sectors are ones that produce goods and services sold outside the region. Because they’re consumed by people who don’t already live here, they bring new money into the economy to recirculate once it’s here.

San Diego is home to four economic base sectors: manufacturing and innovation, international trade and logistics, military installations and tourism.

The manufacturing and innovation sector produces $15 billion annually to the region’s $186 billion economy, according to a study from the National University System for Policy Research. The plan’s objectives for the sector: increase jobs in manufacturing and production – especially those linked to local research – the taxable sales of manufacturing plants and employment in high-tech companies (especially downtown).

It offers 12 specific ways to reach those goals. One is to track property in the city used for industrial purposes that’s converted into a residential or commercial use, and report those changes to the City Council every year. Another is to make unused, city-owned industrial land available for purchase by manufacturing companies.

Another suggestion is to amend the municipal code so manufacturing-related development isn’t subject to the affordable housing fee, a charge on new commercial development the city uses to help build subsidized housing.

The strategy goes through that same process for each of the base sectors. Here are a few other specific actions the report recommends. Some are more specific than others.

• Maintain a binational affairs office in Tijuana to coordinate cross-border commerce.

• Exempt wholesale distributors from the affordable housing fee.

• Prioritize capital improvement funds to be used at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

• Encourage the Navy to bring alternative energy-related projects to San Diego, especially relating to San Diego-produced biofuel projects.

• Establish a system to measure successful investment of tourism and marketing district funds.

• Find ways to increase wages for tourism workers.

• Build, expand and maintain publicly owned attractions like the convention center, cruise ship terminal and city beaches.

• Grow middle-income jobs, especially in those all-important base sectors.

Increase neighborhood business activity, especially in underserved neighborhoods.

Where the strategy’s emphasis on base sectors focuses on growing the economy by bringing in money from outside San Diego, its portion on neighborhood business focuses on the city’s local business districts. And it tries to focus those efforts on older, neglected neighborhoods.

“Not only do (neighborhood retail businesses) provide goods and services conveniently on a neighborhood scale, but they can help retain money in the local economy that flows into the region through base industries,” according to the draft strategy.

That is, large corporate retailers export money out of the region to their national offices; small business owners live in their community and spend their profits here.

It also says strengthening older commercial corridors, especially those between Adams Avenue and Imperial Avenue, could revitalize the surrounding neighborhoods.

Here’s a sampling of specific policy recommendations to boost local businesses.

• Develop a replacement program for redevelopment by partnering with private corporations, philanthropies and lending institutions (this could be entirely new, or it could refer to a similar initiative by Civic San Diego, the city’s former redevelopment agency, that’s yet to be approved by the City Council).

• Change existing business improvement districts, where local businesses pay membership rates to make community improvements, into property-based improvement districts, which include property owners, and which collect funds through property tax bills. The strategy says this would improve management of the districts.

• Find ways to loosen the regulatory burden on locally owned small businesses.

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Andrew Keatts

Andrew Keatts

I'm Andrew Keatts, a reporter for Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at andrew.keatts@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0529.

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Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin

Derek
You will probably get your (get rid of cars) wish but not for the reasons you think
The new restrictions concerning street parking for RVs,boat and trailers...in combination with the urban runoff rules are going to force lower income people into a corner.
As Jim pointed out "the rich who don't care about the price,"
Enforcement squads(revenuers) will be coming to a neighborhood near you soon enough and the additions to those regulations will follow quickly.
The fines will become a source of revenue for the city and a burden those low wage workers the so called progressives want to help.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember

Derek
You will probably get your (get rid of cars) wish but not for the reasons you think
The new restrictions concerning street parking for RVs,boat and trailers...in combination with the urban runoff rules are going to force lower income people into a corner.
As Jim pointed out "the rich who don't care about the price,"
Enforcement squads(revenuers) will be coming to a neighborhood near you soon enough and the additions to those regulations will follow quickly.
The fines will become a source of revenue for the city and a burden those low wage workers the so called progressives want to help.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster

In my view this is a long overdue initiative and demonstration of the kind of leadership we have been lacking. There have been some good results from prior initiatives aimed at, for example, attracting biotech to San Diego (a budding industry that was mostly absent in the region prior thereto). That required vision, outreach, and long-term planning. Unfortunately, a huge amount of public debate and expense, of late, has focused on tourism, which mostly produces jobs at the bottom of the wage scale (as well as affluent hoteliers who, for example, control our major newspaper). We need to refocus the debate on the use of public funds, property, and other issues such that the question is no longer the simplistic, 'will this produce jobs,' but rather 'will this produce jobs that will allow people to live a middle class life in this community.' We don't need more low wage jobs.San Diego: Number 7 Biotechnology Hub | San Diego Biotechnology & Life Science Events, Jobs, News, Company Directoryhttp://sdbn.org/2012/03/08/san-diegos-biotechnology-companies-whos-taking-off/No Comments Here at SDBN we've been updating our directory of 400+ San Diego biotech companies. We were surprised to find close to 40 companies removed from the local scene - due to acquisition or shut down. But we also found a net gain in companies,...

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster subscribermember

In my view this is a long overdue initiative and demonstration of the kind of leadership we have been lacking. There have been some good results from prior initiatives aimed at, for example, attracting biotech to San Diego (a budding industry that was mostly absent in the region prior thereto). That required vision, outreach, and long-term planning. Unfortunately, a huge amount of public debate and expense, of late, has focused on tourism, which mostly produces jobs at the bottom of the wage scale (as well as affluent hoteliers who, for example, control our major newspaper). We need to refocus the debate on the use of public funds, property, and other issues such that the question is no longer the simplistic, 'will this produce jobs,' but rather 'will this produce jobs that will allow people to live a middle class life in this community.' We don't need more low wage jobs.San Diego: Number 7 Biotechnology Hub | San Diego Biotechnology & Life Science Events, Jobs, News, Company Directoryhttp://sdbn.org/2012/03/08/san-diegos-biotechnology-companies-whos-taking-off/No Comments Here at SDBN we've been updating our directory of 400+ San Diego biotech companies. We were surprised to find close to 40 companies removed from the local scene - due to acquisition or shut down. But we also found a net gain in companies,...

Bob Spaulding
Bob Spaulding subscribermember

The liberal elite who dominate San Diego politics should allow Wal Marts to proliferate in poor neighborhoods. The true measure of the poor's well-being is what they can buy with their money. Since a shopping cart full of food and goods is 15-20% cheaper at a Wal Mart than the alternative stores, it would be nice if they had the opportunity to get the most for their money, like the rest of us.

Glenn Younger
Glenn Younger

Good article Andrew.
The missing element to improving the hourglass economy is to make sure that local businesses that employ middle class wage earners have a place in the city. Great to see that Mr Fulton is noticing that problem. SD City zoneing remains skewed toward residential, retail and offices.

These are all fine uses, but retail, bars and resturants do not traditionally pay higher wages. Making it easier for service businesses and wholesale distributors to be close to their customers would support companies that pay higher wages. Making a place for these higher wage paying companies will require some more inclusive zoning and truely mixed use neighborhoods.

Glenn Younger
Glenn Younger subscribermember

Good article Andrew.
The missing element to improving the hourglass economy is to make sure that local businesses that employ middle class wage earners have a place in the city. Great to see that Mr Fulton is noticing that problem. SD City zoneing remains skewed toward residential, retail and offices.

These are all fine uses, but retail, bars and resturants do not traditionally pay higher wages. Making it easier for service businesses and wholesale distributors to be close to their customers would support companies that pay higher wages. Making a place for these higher wage paying companies will require some more inclusive zoning and truely mixed use neighborhoods.

Chris Wood
Chris Wood

Comments:
“…Another suggestion is to amend the municipal code so manufacturing-related development isn’t subject to the affordable housing fee, … Exempt wholesale distributors from the affordable housing fee….”
1. Perhaps the affordable housing fee should just be forgotten or repealed if it reduces good paying jobs?

“… Establish a system to measure successful investment of tourism and marketing district funds…..”

2. Already measured, see http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/12/09/what-the-lack-of-tourism-marketing-meant/

“…Build, expand and maintain publicly owned attractions like the convention center, cruise ship terminal and city beaches…”

3. After budgeting to fix infrastructure and pay projected pensions there may not be money to invest in such things. Perhaps cruise lines can be incentivised to create cruise ship terminals etc.

“…“Not only do (neighborhood retail businesses) provide goods and services conveniently on a neighborhood scale, but they can help retain money in the local economy that flows into the region through base industries,” according to the draft strategy….That is, large corporate retailers export money out of the region to their national offices; small business owners live in their community and spend their profits here….”

4. Mom and pop stores replace Walmart, Vons, Ralphs, etc? The economy of scale question was answered long ago and relying on mom and pop stores to distribute goods would increase prices, and hurt San Diego consumers more than help.

“… Find ways to loosen the regulatory burden on locally owned small businesses….”

5. Good idea, but why just “small businesses”, what about large San Diego employers? It might help them too. I've read about a government agency complaining about the cost of regulations "fairy shrimp" etc.

University of California, San Diego - Employees: 26,000
United States Navy, San Diego - Employees: 20,000
City of San Diego - Employees: 19,500
San Diego Unified School District - Employees: 15,881
Sharp Health Care - Employees: 14,390
Scripps Health - Employees: 12,700
Qualcomm Inc. - Employees: 9,444
Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Employees: 7,608
San Diego State University - Employees: 6,939
What the Lack of Tourism Marketing Meanthttp://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/12/09/what-the-lack-of-tourism-marketing-meant/San Diego's beaches and top attractions haven't gone anywhere but travel industry leaders have said for months that the city's losing out on thousands of visitors because of weak marketing. Their argument won over the City Council late last month.

Chris Wood
Chris Wood subscriber

Comments:
“…Another suggestion is to amend the municipal code so manufacturing-related development isn’t subject to the affordable housing fee, … Exempt wholesale distributors from the affordable housing fee….”
1. Perhaps the affordable housing fee should just be forgotten or repealed if it reduces good paying jobs?

“… Establish a system to measure successful investment of tourism and marketing district funds…..”

2. Already measured, see http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/12/09/what-the-lack-of-tourism-marketing-meant/

“…Build, expand and maintain publicly owned attractions like the convention center, cruise ship terminal and city beaches…”

3. After budgeting to fix infrastructure and pay projected pensions there may not be money to invest in such things. Perhaps cruise lines can be incentivised to create cruise ship terminals etc.

“…“Not only do (neighborhood retail businesses) provide goods and services conveniently on a neighborhood scale, but they can help retain money in the local economy that flows into the region through base industries,” according to the draft strategy….That is, large corporate retailers export money out of the region to their national offices; small business owners live in their community and spend their profits here….”

4. Mom and pop stores replace Walmart, Vons, Ralphs, etc? The economy of scale question was answered long ago and relying on mom and pop stores to distribute goods would increase prices, and hurt San Diego consumers more than help.

“… Find ways to loosen the regulatory burden on locally owned small businesses….”

5. Good idea, but why just “small businesses”, what about large San Diego employers? It might help them too. I've read about a government agency complaining about the cost of regulations "fairy shrimp" etc.

University of California, San Diego - Employees: 26,000
United States Navy, San Diego - Employees: 20,000
City of San Diego - Employees: 19,500
San Diego Unified School District - Employees: 15,881
Sharp Health Care - Employees: 14,390
Scripps Health - Employees: 12,700
Qualcomm Inc. - Employees: 9,444
Kaiser Foundation Hospital - Employees: 7,608
San Diego State University - Employees: 6,939
What the Lack of Tourism Marketing Meanthttp://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/12/09/what-the-lack-of-tourism-marketing-meant/San Diego's beaches and top attractions haven't gone anywhere but travel industry leaders have said for months that the city's losing out on thousands of visitors because of weak marketing. Their argument won over the City Council late last month.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

As long as the public unions and local government think of the middle class as nothing but dollar signs, without regard for their futures or financial well being, all we will appeal to broadly are the rich who don't care about the price, and the people who feed at the government trough.

And let's face it, that isn't going to change, in fact it will get worse, and in 30 years you will have enclaves of the rich surrounded by ghettos. like LA.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

As long as the public unions and local government think of the middle class as nothing but dollar signs, without regard for their futures or financial well being, all we will appeal to broadly are the rich who don't care about the price, and the people who feed at the government trough.

And let's face it, that isn't going to change, in fact it will get worse, and in 30 years you will have enclaves of the rich surrounded by ghettos. like LA.

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann

If we want to keep money in the local economy, perhaps the single best way to achieve that goal is to give people alternatives to buying cars and fuel from other states and countries, because these costs total $8,946 per person annually leaving the region according to the AAA (see link below). Encouraging biofuel projects is a good start.

Bill Fulton said "if people in those neighborhoods don’t have money in their pocket, then those neighborhoods will not be revitalized." The property-based improvement districts idea sounds like a good way to encourage people to take out loans if necessary in order to invest in their neighborhoods. Right now, it doesn't make sense to make improvements that increase the value of your property when it will also increase the amount of money leaving the neighborhood through county property taxes.NewsRoomhttp://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/your-driving-costs/WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2013) Statement by Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs "AAA supports Rep. Earl Blumenauer's efforts to provide necessary investment to fund our nation's roads and bridges. Though it would be easier to simply...

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann subscribermember

If we want to keep money in the local economy, perhaps the single best way to achieve that goal is to give people alternatives to buying cars and fuel from other states and countries, because these costs total $8,946 per person annually leaving the region according to the AAA (see link below). Encouraging biofuel projects is a good start.

Bill Fulton said "if people in those neighborhoods don’t have money in their pocket, then those neighborhoods will not be revitalized." The property-based improvement districts idea sounds like a good way to encourage people to take out loans if necessary in order to invest in their neighborhoods. Right now, it doesn't make sense to make improvements that increase the value of your property when it will also increase the amount of money leaving the neighborhood through county property taxes.NewsRoomhttp://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/your-driving-costs/WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2013) Statement by Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs "AAA supports Rep. Earl Blumenauer's efforts to provide necessary investment to fund our nation's roads and bridges. Though it would be easier to simply...

JLDodd
JLDodd

Remove choking regulations and many taxes on business and there will be a miracle, not just on 34th Street. Seriously a city that takes a year to hire a new worker has serious problems…

jim dodd

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann

The ban on street parking was ill-advised. It would be better to price that limited, taxpayer-owned resource at market equilibrium, to give taxpayers a return on their investment while eliminating the parking shortage. Near the beach, that price would probably be greater than zero, but inland it would often be free.

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann subscribermember

The ban on street parking was ill-advised. It would be better to price that limited, taxpayer-owned resource at market equilibrium, to give taxpayers a return on their investment while eliminating the parking shortage. Near the beach, that price would probably be greater than zero, but inland it would often be free.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

Chris, we also don't need to give away the store to a bunch of "here today gone under tomorrow" startups. Biotech is like solar, we have a big solar boom here, all run on tax money, we can't afford to pay businesses to come here, take the tax money, then fold like we have been.

The reality is that San Diego has a dismal business climate for any real growth company. Anyone thinking that will change is whistling in the wind.

A lot of the biotech companies that are here are here in name only, with main offices somewhere else. Biotech is the next nuclear, it's all genetic manipulation now, and as soon as the protest kids figure that out, they will run it out of here ranting about GMO. These companies will establish a presence in hopes of tax money, but even if they legalize pot altogether none of those CEO's will get stoned enough to move here in force on their own dime, and none will stay any longer than we pay them to.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

Chris, we also don't need to give away the store to a bunch of "here today gone under tomorrow" startups. Biotech is like solar, we have a big solar boom here, all run on tax money, we can't afford to pay businesses to come here, take the tax money, then fold like we have been.

The reality is that San Diego has a dismal business climate for any real growth company. Anyone thinking that will change is whistling in the wind.

A lot of the biotech companies that are here are here in name only, with main offices somewhere else. Biotech is the next nuclear, it's all genetic manipulation now, and as soon as the protest kids figure that out, they will run it out of here ranting about GMO. These companies will establish a presence in hopes of tax money, but even if they legalize pot altogether none of those CEO's will get stoned enough to move here in force on their own dime, and none will stay any longer than we pay them to.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster subscribermember

"The liberal elite who dominate San Diego politics?" I understand what qualifies as liberal (more or less), but how does one qualify as being a liberal elite? In other words, who are you talking about exactly?

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann subscribermember

Sure, but first we need to eliminate policies that allow the government to pick the winners and the losers. Conservatives claim to dislike big government, yet they favor laws like minimum parking requirements that have no effect on big-box stores like Wal-Mart (who would build that much parking anyway) but burden small businesses who don't need so much parking. Eliminating these policies would create a level playing field for all businesses, and then liberals would no longer feel the need to make an effort to keep out Wal-Marts because those stores would no longer receive the legislative favoritism they currently enjoy.

We also need to eliminate laws that prohibit micro-apartments and accessory dwelling units. They keep the poor and minorities out of wealthy white neighborhoods, and they create artificial scarcity in housing. We need to give the poor "the opportunity to get the most for their money, like the rest of us," as you wrote, by eliminating those unnecessary laws that artificially increase prices and restrict social mobility.

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw

Isn't it telling that eight of the nine largest employers listed are PUBLIC employers. Only Qualcomm can be considered a "manufacturer", and I'll bet at least 90% of their production is done in places other than San Diego. Our problem is typical of California, where the regulatory climate and cost structure are totally hostile to manufacturing. Auto assembly plants, tire factories, shipbuilders, aircraft manufacturers and electronic assembly are all gone or endangered species throughout the state, replaced by high tech R&D and entertainment.

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann

"Without a car would take 2 days to get to work, or ~4 hours by bus with transfers and walking (if available) (8 hour round trip)."

At 3 mph walking speed, 48 hours will take you 144 miles. If you didn't already need to pay $8,946 every year for a car just to get your groceries, would you have chosen a home and workplace so far away from each other?

Chris Wood
Chris Wood

“…add in the $8,946 annual cost of owning a car to drive to those stores, is it still cheaper to buy from Wal-Mart than from neighborhood mom and pop stores?...”

Above does not compute.

Without a car would take 2 days to get to work, or ~4 hours by bus with transfers and walking (if available) (8 hour round trip). Not interested in living in high density areas such as New York, Chicago etc.

Do you use a car?

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann

"4. Mom and pop stores replace Walmart, Vons, Ralphs, etc? The economy of scale question was answered long ago and relying on mom and pop stores to distribute goods would increase prices, and hurt San Diego consumers more than help."

When you add in the $8,946 annual cost of owning a car to drive to those stores, is it still cheaper to buy from Wal-Mart than from neighborhood mom and pop stores?NewsRoomhttp://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/your-driving-costs/WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2013) Statement by Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs "AAA supports Rep. Earl Blumenauer's efforts to provide necessary investment to fund our nation's roads and bridges. Though it would be easier to simply...

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

Isn't it telling that eight of the nine largest employers listed are PUBLIC employers. Only Qualcomm can be considered a "manufacturer", and I'll bet at least 90% of their production is done in places other than San Diego. Our problem is typical of California, where the regulatory climate and cost structure are totally hostile to manufacturing. Auto assembly plants, tire factories, shipbuilders, aircraft manufacturers and electronic assembly are all gone or endangered species throughout the state, replaced by high tech R&D and entertainment.

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann subscribermember

"Without a car would take 2 days to get to work, or ~4 hours by bus with transfers and walking (if available) (8 hour round trip)."

At 3 mph walking speed, 48 hours will take you 144 miles. If you didn't already need to pay $8,946 every year for a car just to get your groceries, would you have chosen a home and workplace so far away from each other?

Chris Wood
Chris Wood subscriber

“…add in the $8,946 annual cost of owning a car to drive to those stores, is it still cheaper to buy from Wal-Mart than from neighborhood mom and pop stores?...”

Above does not compute.

Without a car would take 2 days to get to work, or ~4 hours by bus with transfers and walking (if available) (8 hour round trip). Not interested in living in high density areas such as New York, Chicago etc.

Do you use a car?

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann subscribermember

"4. Mom and pop stores replace Walmart, Vons, Ralphs, etc? The economy of scale question was answered long ago and relying on mom and pop stores to distribute goods would increase prices, and hurt San Diego consumers more than help."

When you add in the $8,946 annual cost of owning a car to drive to those stores, is it still cheaper to buy from Wal-Mart than from neighborhood mom and pop stores?NewsRoomhttp://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/your-driving-costs/WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2013) Statement by Kathleen Bower, AAA Vice President of Public Affairs "AAA supports Rep. Earl Blumenauer's efforts to provide necessary investment to fund our nation's roads and bridges. Though it would be easier to simply...

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt

Yep. As Americans we have become nothing more than a blank check for government and their cronies ("special interests" of all kinds) to extract every last dime from. Unfortunate, sad, but true.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin

Right out of the playbook.
Expand the reach and revenues on questionable initiatives with no real measures of success but when all is said and done it doesn't really matter of success or failure.
With The new revenue streams the growth of bureaucracy can be supported.

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt subscriber

Yep. As Americans we have become nothing more than a blank check for government and their cronies ("special interests" of all kinds) to extract every last dime from. Unfortunate, sad, but true.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember

Right out of the playbook.
Expand the reach and revenues on questionable initiatives with no real measures of success but when all is said and done it doesn't really matter of success or failure.
With The new revenue streams the growth of bureaucracy can be supported.

Bob Spaulding
Bob Spaulding

The liberal elite who dominate San Diego politics should allow Wal Marts to proliferate in poor neighborhoods. The true measure of the poor's well-being is what they can buy with their money. Since a shopping cart full of food and goods is 15-20% cheaper at a Wal Mart than the alternative stores, it would be nice if they had the opportunity to get the most for their money, like the rest of us.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

To attract the workers you need to attract the jobs, which means attracting the companies. Not fly by night tech start ups that serve only to make the principles rich on borrowed money or when they sell their IP, but real, honest to goodness professional job creating companies.

So ask yourself, if you are looking at starting a company that will employ a chunk of people. What does San Diego have to offer? Sure, the weather is nice, but red tape is terrible, the government is a joke with our last mayor a business hater and a real possibility of having another business hating mayor, and this is true on both local and state level, the lawyer bill is high, the taxes are high, the hidden taxes and fees are high, the workforce is thin, and the cost of square footage, energy and water are high.

So why would you come here? Only because you were paid to, then when you have had enough you would leave, before the ink turns red.

It's a fools errand to incentivize people to come here by any means other than fixing the entire climate instead of just giving my money to some start up who will leave when we stop paying them to stay.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster

Mr. Jones: I agree we shouldn't give away the store to here today gone under tomorrow startups. Taxpayer funds, if used, should be carefully spent. That said, there are risks in any initiative. Plenty of professionals would love to live in San Diego if there were middle class jobs at middle class wages. I suppose this initiative is all about seeing if we can attract them.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

To attract the workers you need to attract the jobs, which means attracting the companies. Not fly by night tech start ups that serve only to make the principles rich on borrowed money or when they sell their IP, but real, honest to goodness professional job creating companies.

So ask yourself, if you are looking at starting a company that will employ a chunk of people. What does San Diego have to offer? Sure, the weather is nice, but red tape is terrible, the government is a joke with our last mayor a business hater and a real possibility of having another business hating mayor, and this is true on both local and state level, the lawyer bill is high, the taxes are high, the hidden taxes and fees are high, the workforce is thin, and the cost of square footage, energy and water are high.

So why would you come here? Only because you were paid to, then when you have had enough you would leave, before the ink turns red.

It's a fools errand to incentivize people to come here by any means other than fixing the entire climate instead of just giving my money to some start up who will leave when we stop paying them to stay.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster subscribermember

Mr. Jones: I agree we shouldn't give away the store to here today gone under tomorrow startups. Taxpayer funds, if used, should be carefully spent. That said, there are risks in any initiative. Plenty of professionals would love to live in San Diego if there were middle class jobs at middle class wages. I suppose this initiative is all about seeing if we can attract them.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin

Your wrong on this one Jim.
The key is rail. not from Baja to the L.A. or Long beach but rather from San Diego to Baja. That region is in a manufacturing expansion and we could tap into it.
The opportunity is there.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

If they really need a port they will build one in Rosarito where they don't have to pay union container fees and rates or worry about environmentalists shutting it down. Right now Puerto Ensenada is a lot cheaper than San Diego, has no border and customs issues and only around an hour south of TJ.

They don't need our port, not in the least.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin

Which is where the Tijuana/Tecate region comes in.
They need a port. We have a port.
Huge opportunity in the supply chain for us. That is if the city really does want high paying Union jobs.

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann

10 hours on foot is 30 miles. That's like Escondido to downtown San Diego, which only takes an hour on the 810 bus.

Maybe yours is a cross commute like El Cajon to Encinitas, but that's still less than 2 hours by transit. How do you get 4 hours one-way?

In any case, you probably chose that commute because you already needed a car for other things, because it wouldn't make sense to pay $8,946 per year just to get to work, unless it pays at least $8,964 per year more than another job closer to home.

Some people would prefer to save that $8,964 per year and spend some of the savings at mom and pop stores where the money stays in the local economy instead of going to auto manufacturers and gas producers in other states and countries.

Chris Wood
Chris Wood

“…At 3 mph walking speed, 48 hours will take you 144 miles….”

Also does not compute. It would take me 10 hours to get to work, 10 hours to get home (If I was allowed to walk on the freeway).

Do you own a car?

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember

Your wrong on this one Jim.
The key is rail. not from Baja to the L.A. or Long beach but rather from San Diego to Baja. That region is in a manufacturing expansion and we could tap into it.
The opportunity is there.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

If they really need a port they will build one in Rosarito where they don't have to pay union container fees and rates or worry about environmentalists shutting it down. Right now Puerto Ensenada is a lot cheaper than San Diego, has no border and customs issues and only around an hour south of TJ.

They don't need our port, not in the least.

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember

Which is where the Tijuana/Tecate region comes in.
They need a port. We have a port.
Huge opportunity in the supply chain for us. That is if the city really does want high paying Union jobs.

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann subscribermember

10 hours on foot is 30 miles. That's like Escondido to downtown San Diego, which only takes an hour on the 810 bus.

Maybe yours is a cross commute like El Cajon to Encinitas, but that's still less than 2 hours by transit. How do you get 4 hours one-way?

In any case, you probably chose that commute because you already needed a car for other things, because it wouldn't make sense to pay $8,946 per year just to get to work, unless it pays at least $8,964 per year more than another job closer to home.

Some people would prefer to save that $8,964 per year and spend some of the savings at mom and pop stores where the money stays in the local economy instead of going to auto manufacturers and gas producers in other states and countries.

Chris Wood
Chris Wood subscriber

“…At 3 mph walking speed, 48 hours will take you 144 miles….”

Also does not compute. It would take me 10 hours to get to work, 10 hours to get home (If I was allowed to walk on the freeway).

Do you own a car?

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster

"The liberal elite who dominate San Diego politics?" I understand what qualifies as liberal (more or less), but how does one qualify as being a liberal elite? In other words, who are you talking about exactly?

Derek Hofmann
Derek Hofmann

Sure, but first we need to eliminate policies that allow the government to pick the winners and the losers. Conservatives claim to dislike big government, yet they favor laws like minimum parking requirements that have no effect on big-box stores like Wal-Mart (who would build that much parking anyway) but burden small businesses who don't need so much parking. Eliminating these policies would create a level playing field for all businesses, and then liberals would no longer feel the need to make an effort to keep out Wal-Marts because those stores would no longer receive the legislative favoritism they currently enjoy.

We also need to eliminate laws that prohibit micro-apartments and accessory dwelling units. They keep the poor and minorities out of wealthy white neighborhoods, and they create artificial scarcity in housing. We need to give the poor "the opportunity to get the most for their money, like the rest of us," as you wrote, by eliminating those unnecessary laws that artificially increase prices and restrict social mobility.