Tuesday will be a busy day for San Diego City Council as they consider five ballot propositions for the November ballot. They include measures that would raise salaries for the mayor and City Council, keep more money in Mission Bay Park, provide civil service protection to deputy city attorneys and make it harder for Caltrans to build flyovers in its State Route 56 project.

I’ll be breaking them down over the next couple days.

I’ll start with the salary issue. There are dueling propositions regarding this perennial hot-button topic.

One, sponsored by councilmen Tony Young and Jim Madaffer, would link councilmember salaries to those earned by Superior Court judges. The other, sponsored by Councilwoman Donna Frye, offers far more modest salary increases.

Under the Young/Madaffer proposal, the mayor would earn the same salary as a Superior Court judge, $178,789. City Council members would earn 75 percent of a judge’s salary, $134,092.

Interestingly, this proposal calls for a councilmember salary that is more than $40,000 higher than the salary increase Council voted for, and then against in April. Currently, the mayor’s salary is $100,464 and a councilmember earns $75,386.

Madaffer, who is termed out at the end of this year, said he put forth the proposal for two reasons. Members of City Council, he said, should not be voting on their own salaries, and the city needs more “high octane” people.

“I want to create a fiscal incentive to attract the best and the brightest possible,” he said.

Frye’s proposal, on the other hand, sets forth a salary schedule that limits raises to no more than 5 percent annually. Under this scenario, the mayor would earn no more than $105,487 in the first year of the schedule, and councilmember would earn no more than $79,155.

“There is no easy discussion about this,” Frye said. “I’m just trying to put something forward that people may think is reasonable.”

Frye added that the cost to taxpayers to put the issue on the ballot will be more than the raises she is proposing. Adding one measure to the ballot costs between $315,000 and $320,000, adding five measures would cost between $1.4 million and $1.5 million.


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