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So I let Scott Peters’ comments stand for long enough. It’s easy to sum up what the council president said: Neither I, nor my colleagues, do anything to fund the opera — and these other nonprofits in San Diego — except rubber stamp the budget we’re handed. But it’s right, and proper (and, don’t forget, very smart) for the opera to thank us personally and so profusely.
Call me crass, but that’s exactly what he said.
Again, I’ll say this: I’m not arguing that the opera shouldn’t get so much in taxpayer funds right now — though that would be an interesting debate. And I’m not saying the opera shouldn’t be thankful for the funds it receives. I’m saying that they should be thankful to taxpayers, because, like Scott Peters said, all he did was get out his gooey rubber stamp and smush it onto the budget.
Taxpayers were the ones who forked over the cash and they deserve the thanks.
By the way, during this process I found something mildly interesting. In last year’s budget, the mayor and council included descriptions of the organizations and events the tax dollars were funding. You can see that Special Promotional Programs budget detail here.
But now, this year, under Mayor Jerry Sanders, this part of the budget doesn’t have that detail (the relevant sections start on Page 53). It was also specifically lumped into a category labeled “Department: Other/Non-Mayoral.”
One of the most frustrating things about Sanders’ efforts last year, for me, was his constant contention that his presentation of the budget was much easier to read than past budgets. It was supposedly much more easily navigable for regular Joes than in the past.
That’s just not true. Detail was sacrificed, context was lost, and the budget was maddening to try to read.