Our reporting relies on your support. Contribute today! 

Help us reach our goal of $250,000. The countdown is on!

Monday, Nov. 6, 2006 | For several reasons I urge San Diego to vote no on Proposition C.

First, I see several flaws in the initiative. Foremost is the assertion that Prop C will solve the city’s budget problems with the proposed savings it will generate, yet it fails to allocate any realized revenue exclusively for that purpose, leaving actual distribution and utilization to the same bureaucrats who made the decisions that created the current deficit.

I also have concerns regarding service oversight and performance audits. The city has had serious performance and control deficiencies as recently as the Kroll audit and San Diego Data Processing. To this, add Prop C’s proposed five year independent audit review plan. Much can veer out of control over a period of five years. Contracts that sunset in less than five years could escape scrutiny altogether.

While the proposed competition between current city departments and outside contractors sounds fair and frugal, it can only occur once because once the current staff is eliminated, they, with their years of experience and expertise, will be scattered, unable to ever again compete, inevitably driving up the bid proposals submitted by competing outside contractors.

While Prop C claims that no significant new costs are anticipated as a result of the managed competition process, nothing could be further from the truth. Economy experts agree that both private and public entities most common error is overlooking intangible costs such as vendor searches, writing legal contracts, managing the contracts, evaluation needs and services, transferring actual work and data from city departments to outside contractors, and again when recapturing and transferring with every winning bid, and, of course, legal difficulties all add up to a whopping 20 to 30 percent of the annual price of each outsourced contract. City managers will metamorphose from public service managers to contract managers and from public works experts into management competition gurus.

Second, I think it is insidious to seize the livelihood of several thousand San Diego families and grant it to strangers living outside of our community. While labor unions have been given a bad rap in recent years, virtually all economists attribute America’s unique middle-class to the success of organized labor. For the first time in history, workers have been able to share in the wealth of the corporations their labors helped to build and the businesses that reaped the benefits of its workers have carried the burden of their health and welfare, reducing the burden on the nation as a whole. Taxpayers, too, bear the burden of the welfare of the workers who serve them exclusively. Additionally, civil servants pay a portion of their own wages through the taxes they contribute to the community they serve. Furthermore, their salaries support local businesses.

If countries like Mexico had organized labor, their economy would not be that of the very rich and very poor. If the average citizen of Mexico shared in the wealth of the elite they helped to create, they would happily stay in the country they love instead of providing a steady stream of desperate, low wageworkers that tempt the very soul of America’s enterprise at the expense of America’s backbone, her middleclass.

Under Proposition C, the revenue that currently supports several thousand local families of the people who serve San Diego directly will be diverted to non-local labor, the profit margin of contracted providers, their subcontractors, their shareholders, and the elephant in the room: the growing bureaucracy of the business of managing competition, the outsourcing of jobs, and, with both, the shifting of more and more wealth into the hands of a very few.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.