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Sanders Focusing On Three Major Development Projects

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Aired 9/16/09

A bigger convention center, a new city hall and a new downtown library were the focus Tuesday in a speech San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders gave to the San Diego Taxpayers Association. The speech laid out Sanders’ vision for the city during tough economic times.

— A bigger convention center, a new city hall and a new downtown library were the focus Tuesday in a speech San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders gave to the San Diego Taxpayers Association. The speech laid out Sanders’ vision for the city during tough economic times.

San Diego has cut $175 million from its budget during the last 12 months. The city is also facing a $100 million budget deficit next year. That doesn’t include pension and retirement fund obligations. But Sanders says it’s a good time to go forward with building a new city hall and downtown library and expanding the convention center.

“Each of these projects is moving forward in a deliberate and thoughtful way and gaining support at every stage, not just because the mean jobs for San Diegans but because they make sense for San Diego,” he says. “My own support has always come with this condition: That they do not require any money for our general fund, or any fund designed to provide neighborhood services.”

Sanders says the city shouldn’t give up on its aspirations because of the weak economy. But City Councilman Carl DeMaio says he doesn’t believe those projects can be built without tapping into the general fund. He says the mayor shouldn’t be focusing on them right now.

“If the mayor has an opportunity to talk to the San Diego public about issues facing the city, the convention center, a new city hall, a downtown library would not be at the top of my list,” he says. “It would be restoring the financial health of the city and the oncoming liabilities in pension and retiree health care that are facing taxpayers in the years to come.”

San Diego will face its largest pension payment in city history next year. Sanders says he doesn’t know what the exact amount will be. But he says the city will make the full payment.

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