The Morning Report
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For the last month, City Hall reporter Liam Dillon has been writing about the crumbling state of the city of San Diego’s roads, storm drains, sidewalks and city buildings, and you’ve had a lot to say about it in the comments.
Here are 10 of your comments from the discussion:
“City officials say they were unprepared to spend the money…”. Really? Didn’t Mayor Sanders tell any of the city departments that the money was coming? (Or would his gaggle of spokespeople be the ones to pass the information along to the individual departments?) How fast does anyone think the city would be able to spend the 100’s of millions of $ to build the Chargers a new stadium?
As a citizen of San Diego, I am outraged that the city government could contemplate financing part of a new football stadium, and an expansion of the convention center, and begin a new downtown library, when there are so many fundamental infrastructure elements that need attention.
• Bob Gardner:
The real problem is that politicians at all levels of government love spending money building things. But they never, ever put aside enough money to support or maintain things.
And until that mindset changes (and I doubt it ever will), the infrastructure in this city , state, and country will be in disrepair.
Maybe the mayor can find the time to schedule visits to Denver, Indianapolis, etc. to see how those municipalities fix streets.
• Rick Smith:
To speak (mildly) in the City’s defense. Street resurfacing, either overlay or re asphalting, is done by contractors, not City workers. (Potholes are done by City workers) So, to get paving done, bids have to be issued, evaluated, contracts drawn up, contracts approved by Council. And then work begins. Maybe. Certain street resurfacing can not be done when it is wet, or too cold. Residents or businesses have to be notified. And did I mention that the losing bidder can appeal the awarding of the bid?
So it is not as simple as get out and pave!
This is a structural problem, not cyclical. We need structural reforms to how the nation pays for what it needs, and the political will to stop spending public money on what we do not really need (like stadiums and ballparks).
If this article were about a business rather than the city, management would be under pressure to turn it around or find new jobs. The deadwood would be cut and incompetents would be let go. And the system would be reorganized and downsized to make it work. Alternatively, if the business were still failing, it would face bankruptcy. Perhaps the mayor’s next trip should be to Harrisburg?
• Will Dawson:
Well as the city fades into third world status and beaches and bays are full of raw sewage, the water is undrinkable, the schools are taken over by the state, and police, fire and other city services disappear you can be contrite in having a low tax rate. In San Diego you can be sure that you can’t have what you are unwilling to pay or vote for.
Good article! However, one of the problems I see consistently at least in my neighborhood; the City will pave a road or patch a road. Then, that same stretch of road is torn up within 3-4 months for some reason. The trend or pocket torn up will be patched. The patch is not as durable; so normal vehicle traffic tears it up. i.e. Carmel Mtn Rd
I also drive that same stretch of Otay Mesa Rd & had to replace 2 tires in 6mos, because that road is so bad.
More assessments are needed, but more action too. Shifting back & forth from this dept to the next seems to be a delay tactic.
Liam, when I was in corporate life, I seem to remember two kinds of budgets, capital and operating. You were supposed to make routine repairs from your operating budget. Long term borrowing for this purpose was a strict “no no”, tantamount to selling bonds to meet your payroll, which is pretty good indicator of impending bankruptcy. Sure, the mayor only borrowed a hundred mil for this purpose, but now they are talking about an additional 500, or even 840. Pretty soon, we’re going to be talking about real money!
I think the focus should be on the danger of borrowing for operating expenses, not how quickly they can spend the money.
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Dagny Salas is the web editor at voiceofsandiego.org. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5669.
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