Faulconer Focuses On Infrastructure, Public Safety In 1st Budget Proposal
April 15, 2014 12:58 p.m.
Todd Gloria, San Diego City Council President
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition, I am Maureen Cavanaugh. More revenue from property and sales taxes helped give a boost to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer's first budget. His proposed budget of never nearly $3 million was present six city Council today, that focuses on infrastructure repair, restoring city services and increasing staffing for police and firefighters. Todd Gloria said he was pleased that his first look at the budget, but the city Council plans to go over the proposal in depth. And San Diego city Council President Todd Gloria joins us now and welcome to the show.
TODD GLORIA: Thank you for having me on.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I know when you were serving as interim mayor there are projections of a $19 million budget shortfall, now we have the proposed budget that restores services so revenue project projections must have increased a great deal.
TODD GLORIA: Yes, that is right. We still so a modest deficit less than $2 million. That is significantly less than the 90 million were expecting. The national economy is getting better so things like property tax are increasing - in terms of revenue to the city - and in addition to the reform that we have put in place specifically in collaboration an agreement with employees to reduce our costs and those things combined to give us better budget picture.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Now Mayor Faulconer's proposed budget obviously reflects that the San Diego is doing better financially, what do you you think it shows in terms of restoring public trust?
TODD GLORIA: Anytime we can talk about restoring service, it lends to a narrative of competence and our city and which we certainly are. But it is better when you can say we can have libraries open more, and will hire more police and firefighters, these are stories that public has not heard from City Hall because we been subject to the great recession, but it should increase public confidence as long as we maintain fiscal discipline we should be good going for.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let's talk about some of the aspects in this proposed budget, Mayor falconers budget closes infrastructure repair, storm drainage and sidewalks, it's nowhere near the billion dollars or so that the city needs for repairs, do you think the Council will be adding more infrastructure to the budget in its recommendations?
TODD GLORIA: No, I would characterize the mayor's proposal as very aggressive, it contemplates $120 million bond that was occupied while I was in office, and also the subject of litigation at this point. It's already very aggressive and that is a good thing. I think everyone of your listeners is tired and fed up with the nature of our roads, sidewalks, and public facilities. I think would be fiscally imprudent to put money when we're dealing with existing resources. Going forward we have a significant challenge well in excess of $1 billion that we have not looked at things like our side sidewalks, our piers, and other things that have significant price tag. That will require some additional revenue.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: In terms of infrastructure, David Alvarez says he wants to see at least one fully funded community Park in this budget. Would you support that?
TODD GLORIA: There a host of projects that need to be a part of the capital improvement plan, and I think that the park that counselor Alvarez is referring to have a have other funds available to them. That is not true for some of the communities that I represent that don't have financing plans developed to pay a significant portion of the funding, who looked every project I know every Council member has things in their strip of any data to for and we will accommodate his best we can but I think with what the mayor has put forward largely addresses many of the needs and desires in times past, that Mayor Sanders would propose in the budget to allow the Council to additions and Mayor Faulconer has covered a lot of ground in recommendations and it may not be his desk many of the concerns they have already been addressed. Things like library hours, homeless shelters and library services and things of that nature, and may not be as much bandwidth [ CHECK AUDIO ] I want to look at add-ons that other council members want.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I have been speaking with Todd Gloria we're talking that the proposed budget, the first proposed budget from Kevin Faulconer which is being presented to the city Council today. Let's talk about the mayor's budget and how it shapes up against your state of the city proposal to eliminate homelessness in downtown San Diego. Of the allocations made, and you think that we're moving towards that end?
TODD GLORIA: I think that we are, and I really want to thank the mayor for hearing my request and including in the budget proposal almost to the program he included that in his proposal and that proposal was made back in January with a lot of complications with our homeless service providers. It's been authored by myself, but the reality there has been a lot of public input and it will help us. I think your listeners know, we spend millions of dollars on the homeless problem and we're not seeing results we want. I'm suggesting that we should hold the line on our spending, and not reduce our commitment and when it comes to dollars we spend on programs we know that work, things like the San Diego Police Department's homeless outreach program. It's that black van you may see going around the committee that has direct contact with homeless people on the street, or the homeless check-in center where we have homeless people start things off the street. Those programs that are getting results are going to get funding and that is a good thing.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This mayor's budget also as police and fire academies, he gives raises two police officers and funds a temporary fire station and skyline among other things. Are there is this enough? Do you think the other city Council members are going to be discussing more public safety issues that you would like to see this budget address?
TODD GLORIA: I think that he is again taking care of most of what we are concerned with. This reflects the fact that the mayor was a Council member just a few weeks ago and he sat here and heard the top public testimonies and her colleagues and their concerns when you look at the temporary fire station and skyline bit had been a primary focus of Councilman Myrtle Cole would when you think about the need for additional lifeguards that comes from the budget, I think you did a good job listing to us. I don't know that there will be a great deal of additional review process and I think the Council will spend its time validating expenditures and making sure the there good investment. For example with the afterschool programs, and the specifics to understand how we can emphasize the program and what we can hope to get for investment, the answers are good ones and I expect something.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Mayor falconers budget includes nearly $1 million for plan updates and he has been actively fighting against the community plan developed for Barrio Logan, do you think that the mayor's really committed to the community plan updating effort?
TODD GLORIA: With the notable exception of the Barrio Logan plan which is an area where he and I disagree very strongly I think that he is legitimately interested in the plan update, as every member of the city Council. These are ways that we can address some of the flashpoint in our community in cases with significant disagreement and litigation really bring those things up-to-date. Communities like mine up town and Golden Hill in the review process now in old town these plans update will allow us to accommodate the growth that we know is coming. And do it in a way the community can support. That is a smart investment and continuing on the standards, now that is good, but you raise the issue of Barrio Logan that continues to be something that is incredibly regrettable and I hope we will be victorious on election day in June.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The head of the municipal employees union brings up a point, he says the cost of concessions paying furlough days made by city employees, will there be any effort any door discussions with the city Council members to restore some of those cuts?
TODD GLORIA: This is 100% right, we would not be in the favorable financial position if it would not be for the sacrifices of our employees and I don't know if those are concessions made by agreement at the Barrio Logan table. These are not mandates are things that we agree to, we're still struggling with implementation of proposition B and hopefully will realize some savings at some point. With regard to providing pay bonds, we are in year two of a five-year labor agreement that also agreed to in faith at the bargaining table so the chances for across-the-board raises are unlikely for a number of years and that is what is providing some of the financial stability that we are enjoying at the moment. Ultimately that will come due, and we have to be competitive in the marketplace to make sure that we retain and attract talent and that is exactly why you see the allocation for police officers because we know that we have an urgent concern with regard to their attention to experienced police officers and we cannot wait seven more years.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: It does not sound like there will be a lot of revision in this proposed budget?
TODD GLORIA: My folks and colleagues are already [ CHECK AUDIO ] out in the Council, but the folks who have not heard from yet are the public and we need to hear from them, obviously this addresses the most of the priorities but was the priorities are things that have been suggested that maybe we can delay or do another day that on the absolutely must say well so I encourage anyone listening in the city to participate in the process, it kicks off in earnest on May 5 when the Council begins a department review and whoever the public wants, I'm sure that councilmembers are taking the budget seriously.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I've been speaking with city Council President Todd Gloria, thank you so much for joining us.
TODD GLORIA: Thank you for having me on.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: You've been listening to KPBS Midday Edition.