The Datamar Inc. polling firm has just published the results of a recent poll on our politicians and the issues facing the city.

I’m not crazy about polling firms, but Datamar is considered one of the better ones locally, so it’s worth looking at their findings.

Overall, the poll shows Mayor Sanders and City Attorney Mike Aguirre both with overwhelming city-wide approval ratings; both well exceed over 60 percent in overall approval.

Sanders’ overall approval rating has improved 47 percent over his election percentages. Aguirre’s overall approval has improved 39 percent over his election percentages. These are very impressive numbers, particularly as it appears there may be a current growing difference between them on what it takes to solve the city’s still unresolved financial crisis (probably not felt at the time of the poll).

Now, when it comes to individuals, these polls can be useful barometers of the atmospheric pressure of public opinion. “I trust official Jones but not official Smith.” It’s not about any one particular thing. It’s more about him/her as a person.

I get that.

But, when it comes to issues, I think the polling process allows for some mischief which (perhaps – just perhaps) we should consider.

OK, so here’s my favorite. It’s question 23. It reads like this:

23. The city of San Diego is facing at least a $2.3 billion pension deficit. How do you think the city should deal with this crisis?

  • Mostly through spending cuts 13.2 percent
  • Mostly through tax and fee increases 8.3 percent
  • Mostly through pension benefits rollbacks 39.7 percent
  • A combo of spending cuts, tax increases, and pension benefit rollbacks 30.3 percent
  • File for bankruptcy 6.2 percent
  • Don’t know 2.3%

Most of you know I think Chapter 9 is the way to address all this financial mess we are in. I’m not saying it’s a big happy beach party. It’s just a way to put a “comprehensive plan of adjustment” before all the players (including, you taxpayers that will pay for it all, the labor unions, politicians, chambers, associations, political parties, etc.) all at the same time.

I know, I know. We all hate that option.

And, doesn’t the Datamar poll (again) prove that?

Well, no. It doesn’t.


Because, if one of the Datamar options had been:

  • “Have a big happy beach party where the tooth fairy sprinkles fairy dust everywhere and we don’t have to pay off any of our debts, but instead we all get great big hugs and happy wishes.”

That option would have polled the most by a landslide!

But, it’s not a real option.

I know, I know. We hate real options here in Tan Diego. It’s why we don’t ever talk about them.

But, we are creeping (inch by inch) up on having to do something about it someday (soon?).

So, what do you think the Datamar poll percentages would have been if the last of the options to question 23 had, instead, read something like this:

  • If illegal pension benefits and other municipal financial scams can only effectively be rolled back collectively in a bankruptcy proceeding, would you rather pay all the multi-billions of deficit in higher taxes, cutting your public services and selling your public assets, or would you rather re-set the city’s financial condition in a municipal bankruptcy?

I’m thinking that option gets, maybe, 99 percent?


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