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The citizens of America’s finest city should be uncomfortable and embarrassed with Councilman Carl DeMaio’s proposed budget gimmicks. He seeks to balance the budget by impoverishing the families of hard-working public employees. Seven of his eight proposals punish city workers for the recent sales tax increase defeat, rather than the politicians and the investment lobbyists who created this budgetary mess in the first place.
For years, the prevailing notions of neo-liberalism and its market based control of government, from privatization to paying non-livable wages, was tied to the casino-like gambling of Wall Street. Those who would dismantle community government, sell the commons to the highest bidder and send most workers into destitution never talk about how over reliance on the stock market really got us in this economic chaos. This year alone, the pension fund has lost tens of millions of dollars on investments.
As a community, we need to look at ending corporate welfare, like the Center City Development Corporation, and our subsidies to ballparks, hotels and other “private” ventures. The mayor’s office and the city council should look at cutting six-figure consultants and lobbyists on the public dole, and we should look toward revising our pitiful services fees for wealthy developers and well-heeled speculators, rather than raiding the paychecks of the honest people who toil day in and day out to make this such a fine city.
DeMaio and others have made the gardener who tends wonderful Balboa Park, the gal who picks up our trash, the superb receptionist who answers our inquiries, the enemy, the bad person, the scapegoat for this city’s dependence on the market economy for its economic security. DeMaio’s plan for restructuring the city’s pension fund only treats the symptom not the ailment.
Rocky Neptun lives in North Park.