Thursday, April 26, 2007 | Scott Peters’ Café San Diego entry today is reminiscent of the Monty Python skit, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.” It must be due to Councilman Peters’ sunny disposition that La Jollans elected him twice.
As we bask in the glow of the actuary pronouncing the city’s pension system sound, here is what is in the shadows: a $1.4 billion retiree healthcare deficit, $900 million in deferred maintenance, and an $87 million operating deficit for this year. While Peters is looking on the bright side, the city is threatening its workers with termination, and the populace with increased fees (never to be called taxes) and less service in return. (Could they please fix a pothole?)
Even though the pension system is now not the problem, according to the council president, somewhere in city finances there is a leak. Rather than jettisoning workers to keep the boat afloat, let’s cut loose an obvious drain on city finances — the Redevelopment Agency. Instead of this bureaucracy pumping property tax out of city neighborhoods into developer pockets, the city could retain at least 15 percent of these funds to be used for services and payroll. This should be more than enough to cover this year’s operating deficit, with some left over to start to plug the other holes.