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S.D. Council Members Have Large Budgets, Short Stays In Office

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Aired 2/7/11

San Diego’s city council may be relatively small, but its members have a lot of money to work with. A new study ranks the council against those in 14 other major studies.

— San Diego city council members aren’t on the job for too long. But they have a lot of money to work with while they are.

A view of the San Diego skyline from across the bay.
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Above: A view of the San Diego skyline from across the bay.

The Pew Charitable Trusts recently released a study comparing 15 city councils around the country. San Diego spends about $8 per resident on its city council, which puts it in the middle of the group. But each council office has a budget of about $1.3 million, the fourth highest in the study.

Pew’s Thomas Ginsberg said San Diego council members serve for the shortest amount of time. Philadelphia leads the pack with an average tenure of more than 15 years.

“San Diego…had the lowest average tenure at less than three years -- 2.7 years is what we got,” he said.

San Diego also has the smallest council, with eight members. New York has the most representative at 51. America’s finest city ranks high in terms of council diversity. It’s in the middle of the pack when it comes to how much council members earn, about $75,000.

Ginsberg said the study is an objective way of measuring the councils.

“Often some people think our city is the best or worst at that and it’s often helpful to see really where you stand,” he said.

Like Los Angeles, San Diego council members are not allowed to have outside employment. Unlike LA, San Diego doesn’t give council members a car allowance.

Comments

Avatar for user 'RichardRider'

RichardRider | February 7, 2011 at 9:40 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

There's a misconception in this story. The "2.7 years" is supposed to be the AVERAGE experience of the city council at a POINT IN TIME. Most city council members stay for two full terms -- eight years.

Many wrongly will assume this figure means the average time each city council critter STAYS in office is 2.7 years.

That being said, clearly we need more experience in office -- "institutional memory" and all that. For proof, simply look at how well this has worked in Congress.

Never mind.

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