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This is what was on SignOnSanDiego.com this morning:

Mayor Embraces Financial Fixes
San Diego could lay off workers and cut services as Mayor Jerry Sanders promises to adopt a consultant’s “logical and straightforward” proposals to restore the city’s financial health.

There’s so much wrong with this, I don’t know where to start.

First “Mayor Embraces Financial Fixes.” Let’s be crystal clear here: there was no financial fix at all in what the mayor “embraced” yesterday. The proposals he embraced were accounting-system reforms and reorganizations that not only don’t “fix” the city’s financial problem, but they actually cost millions to implement.

I’m not saying they shouldn’t be implemented, I’m still thinking about them. But they were changes to the way the city counts its money and changes to the way the city tells others how it counts its money. That’s it. Nothing more.

In fact, here’s the mayor himself:

What the implementation of this remedial plan will not solve is the City’s financial problems. The implementation of this plan is merely one of many steps that it will take to solve these problems.

He’s the one who put the “not” in bold!

A financial fix would be different than what the mayor embraced yesterday. It would be a specific proposal that brought in new money or found savings in the way the city operates now. Let’s be crystal clear again: The mayor did not propose any such thing last night. Like I said, he actually proposed to spend more money without even alluding to where he’s going to find that money.

What? You’re trying to tell me something? The mayor what? Oh he said he would cut city services and city employee jobs?

I’ll believe it when I see it. Not only did he not cut the budget last time around, he actually decided he could add a few extra bureaucrats here or there. I’ll give him some time.

Next, the U-T writes in its headline on the website: “… as Mayor Jerry Sanders promises to adopt a consultant’s ‘logical and straightforward’ proposals to restore financial health.” Again, the consultants did not propose a single thing that would restore financial health, not a single thing. The proposals would merely set the city up to maybe not lie on its next financial disclosures to Wall Street.

In fact, the one thing the consultants advised that would have a direct affect on the city’s financial health was that the city should not go after pension obligation bonds and the city should not pretend that such loans fix anything.

Yet Sanders, for all his embracing, scoffs at this recommendation.

Mark my words and hold me to them: I will be the first to praise the mayor when he makes a decision that either brings more money into the city or saves it money in the way it operates. As a manager myself, I’m learning that there are indeed ways to save money – lots of money – by running a tight ship. I look forward to an update from Sanders and his chief deputy, Ronne Froman, about all the savings they’ve culled from their reorganization.

But we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars. Where is this going to come from? When he embraces proposals that truly find that kind of money – and not borrow it – then I’ll know he’s embraced “proposals to restore the city’s financial health.” And I’ll praise him until I can’t type anymore.

SCOTT LEWIS

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