My New Year’s resolution is to extricate myself from the constant bit-by-bit unraveling of the city of San Diego’s government and explore some interesting stories around the county.
First, I don’t believe that you can stop reporting on us. Jerry, Donna and Mike are our only celebrities who don’t play professional football.
Second, you don’t want to miss out on the slow but steady progress that’s taking place.
- The mayor’s five-year financial plan is an honest attempt to quantify the financial challenges facing the city. The mayor and council will begin to close the gaps in the budget we are developing in the first half of this year, in a public and honest way.
- There’s a full pension board not being sued by the city attorney, and a new administrator who is competent and articulate. The pension system continues to earn top dollar on its investments when compared to systems across the country. What was that about a billion extra dollars?
- We are no longer quibbling about why the police are leaving. Now that our study is done, we found out it’s the money! We will begin to address that in this year’s labor negotiations, which begin this month.
- We finally got the answer to the mayoral campaign call of 2005: “Let the judge decide!” Well, the judge decided, and I named my goldfish “Corbett” and “Gleason.”
- Investigations appear to be behind us, and the delayed audits will be issued in the next few months. We will regain our credit ratings and access to the bond markets, enabling us to meet our water and sewer obligations, and to address decades-old deficiencies in public facilities.
- Financial controls and the auditing functions at the city are being entirely revamped. We used to have an audit department that looked great but apparently was not. We’ve adopted a bundle of reforms that put us first in class in loan disclosure protocols. This year, we have established our first Audit Committee, in accordance with best municipal practices, and we will finalize our progress on the 2008 ballot.
- Nobody is pining for the good old days of the city manager form of government. Our one-year-old mayor-council format is demonstrably superior. The mayor has the ability and desire to revamp the city workforce, and the council has the ability and the expertise to support, question or correct those efforts as appropriate.
- Does anyone think that the Independent Budget Analyst is not a good idea? (Mayor’s staff doesn’t count.)
Please don’t say that I think that we don’t have major issues. We do, as does our federal government, our state government and many cities and counties. But the city government is not unraveling. It’s raveling (transitive verb: to clarify or resolve something complicated.)