Look for San Diego’s business leaders at City Council this week.

The leaders of Mayor Jerry Sanders’ business and community team sent out a memo Sunday afternoon asking other team members to speak in favor of the mayor’s budget proposals at Wednesday’s City Council hearing.

The memo came from Bill Geppert, the Cox Cable executive and chairman of the mayor’s Civic Leadership Team, and Ben Haddad, the political strategist who’s the group’s vice chairman.

These are very difficult decisions for any public servants to make. People will be losing their jobs over this, jobs that they have held for many years. The Mayor and Council need to know that they are not acting alone here. We support them taking this urgent action to pass an 18-month budget.
The attached talking points from the Mayor’s November 24th press conference are intended to assist you in preparing your comments, but it may be even more persuasive and informative to relate your own business experiences in dealing with a difficult economy and the sacrifices you have had to make. Many of you took this approach when you addressed the Council earlier this year and your personal testimonials were very effective.

Geppert and Haddad’s request continues the ramping up of Civic Leadership Team activity in the last two months. The team has come out against a City Council proposal to exercise greater oversight in downtown redevelopment. A draft report from the team’s fiscal task force recommends a series of substantial and controversial fixes to the city’s long-term budget problems.

Geppert and Haddad addressed the draft, which the mayor has downplayed, writing that the fiscal task force has “done an incredible job of educating themselves on many aspects of municipal finances” and “deserve our highest praise for their tireless efforts to provide City leaders with their best thinking.”

But Geppert and Haddad added that the task force’s structural recommendations have no bearing on the mayor’s proposal to close the current $200 million current deficit.

“From a private sector perspective,” Geppert and Haddad wrote, “it may be tempting to argue for more structural reform and less one-time reductions and adjustments, but we strongly believe the Mayor has struck the right balance with this Council.”

— LIAM DILLON

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