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City Propositions Address Public Safety, Strong Mayor, and Auditor

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Aired 4/19/09

(Photo: Council member Kevin Faulconer announces Propositions A, B, and C, joined by Lani Lutar of the Taxpayers Association [left] and Lorena Gonzales of the Labor Council [right]. Alison St John/KPBS. )


A campaign has begun to pass three propositions on the June ballot that will affect future reforms at the city of San Diego. KPBS reporter Alison St John introduces us to Propositions A, B, and C.

Propositions A, B and C are the products of months of political tussle at city hall. As a result, they represent compromises that have the support of the major interest groups.

Councilman Kevin Faulconer introduced the joint campaigns, flanked by the co-chairs. On one side was Lani Lutar of the Taxpayers Association representing business interests, and on the other was Lorena Gonzales of the Labor Council, representing unionized workers.

Lutar described Prop A, which makes it clear that police officers, firefighters and lifeguards cannot be outsourced to the private sector.

Lani Lutar, Taxpayers Association: Professionals with this kind of duty and power should only be employed by the public, not a corporation, no matter how well managed.

Lorena Gonzales outlined Prop B, which has to do with the strong mayor form of government . 

Lorena Gonzales, Labor Council: Proposition B will give voters the chance to decide in 2010 whether they want to extend strong mayor form of government

Otherwise there's a chance the strong mayor form of government would simply sunset in two years. If Prop B, passes it would guarantee a vote. Along with the strong mayor voters would be asked to create, a 9th city council district. That would break tie votes and make it harder to override a mayoral veto. 

The third proposition is the most complex. Since the city was caught hiding its pension deficit from investors in 2003, the question of how to create a truly independent auditor has been debated endlessly. Faulconer, chair of the city's audit committee, introduced the negotiated solution.

Kevin Faulconer, City Council Member: Proposition C provides true audit independence and will restore the confidence of both our taxpayers and the public bond markets

The compromise would have the auditor appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council. But the auditor would serve 10 years, outlasting both the mayor and council, and can only be terminated for cause by a two-thirds vote of the council. 

Not everyone is happy with this. Norma Damasheck of the League of Women Voters is opposed to the measure. She says the League would prefer an elected city auditor.

Norma Damasheck, League of Women Voters: Prop C,  despite all of it cover language about protection, in fact pushes the public away so the public has no idea who is doing what but keeps the mayor in real control over the person who is monitoring his books.

Voters will have their say when Propositions A, B and C appear on this June's ballot. Alison St John, KPBS News.

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