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City Council President Discusses State Of the City, Agenda For 2011

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Video published January 14, 2011 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: San Diego City Council President Tony Young joins us to talk about Mayor Jerry Sanders' State of the City Address, and to discuss his council agenda for 2011.

San Diego City Council President Tony Young joins us to talk about Mayor Jerry Sanders' State of the City Address, and to discuss his council agenda for 2011.

Guest

Tony Young, San Diego City Council President

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

WEDNESDAY NIGHT SAN DIEGO MAYOR JERRY SANDERS OFFERED HIS SIXTH STATE OF THE CITY SPEECH TO A COMMUNITY WATCHING ITS POT HOLES GROWING, THE LIBRARY HOURS SHRINKING AND THE PUBLIC SAFETY PROGRAMS CUT. DESPITE THE CITY'S CHALLENGES, THE MAYOR HAS AMBITIOUS GOALS FOR THE FINAL YEARS IN OFFICE.

FIRST, THIS ADMINISTRATION WILL CARRY THROUGH ON A STRATEGY FOR BUILDING A VIBRANT PROSPERITY THAT IS ACCESSIBLE TO ALL, ESPECIALLY THE MANY FAMILIES THAT ARE STRUGGLING ALONG WITH THE ECONOMY. THAT MEANS REDOUBLING OUR COMMITMENT TO THE KIND OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THAT PAYS FOR ESSENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES, SUSTAIN THE DYNAMIC REINVITIZATION OF OUR DOWNTOWN IN WHICH BRINGS HOME DESIRABLE JOBS. LASTING PROSPERITY MUST BE OUR TOP PRIORITY. SECOND, WITH THE HELP OF THE CITY COUNCIL AND CITY ATTORNEY, WE WILL COMPLETE OUR FINANCIAL REFORMS AND ELIMINATE OUR STRUCTURE ALLEGE BUDGET DEFICIT BEFORE I LEAVE OFFICE.

CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT TONY YOUNG SAT DOWN WITH ME TODAY TO TALK ABOUT HIS AGENDA FOR 2011 AND THE MAYOR'S STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS.

COUNCIL PRESIDENT YOUNG, IN LAST YEAR'S STATE OF THE CITY SPEECH THE MAYOR PROMISED TO COME UP WITH A PLAN THAT WOULD STOP THE CYCLE OF BUDGET DEFICITS, AND THAT HASN'T HAPPENED YET, SO WHAT IS -- WHEN YOU SAID THIS WEEK ANY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT HE SAID IN THE PAST?

I THINK WE'RE CLOSER TO WHERE WE WERE A YEAR AGO, AND WE HAVE BETTER INDICATORS OF HOW MUCH MONEY WE NEED TO FIELD THE STRUCTURAL DEFICIT. I THINK THE COUNCIL AND ALSO THE MAYOR UNDERSTAND AFTER PROPOSITION D THAT WE HAVE TO COME UP WITH NEW IDEAS TO ADDRESS THE BUDGET DEFICIT THAT EXCLUDE THE IDEA OF RAISING TAXES, SO I THINK THE MAYOR HAS A CLEAR PICTURE AND A BETTER MANDATE FROM THE PUBLIC.

THIS IS THE SIXTH STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS, AND IN MANY OF THEM HE TALKED ABOUT ELIMINATING THE BUDGET DEFICIT. DO YOU THINK HE IS CLOSER NOW TO UNDERSTANDING IT?

FIRST OF ALL, I THINK IT IS ALL OF US WHO ARE WORKING ON IT. IT IS NOT JUST THE MAYOR, BUT ALSO THE COUNCIL, WHO ARE ADDRESSING THE BUDGET DEFICIT EVERY DAY, AND I THINK HE IS CLOSER. WE MADE A NUMBER OF CUTS THIS FIRST MONTH OF MY TENURE AS COUNCIL PRESIDENT. WE HAVE IDENTIFIED THREE DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS THAT WILL GO OUT TO MANAGE COMPETITION, AND I THINK WE ARE WELL ON OUR WAY.

THERE WAS ONE IDEA HERE, AND IT IS THE CITY ATTORNEY'S LEGAL OPINION, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT THE BASE PAY OF CITY WORKERS CAN BE FROZEN AND THAT WOULD LIMIT THE PENSION OBLIGATIONS. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT IDEA?

WELL, WHAT I HAVE TOLD THE PUBLIC AND I HAVE TOLD MY COLLEAGUES IS WE HAVE TO CREATE A MENU OF OPTIONS TO ADDRESS THE BUDGET DEFICIT. WE SHOULD IDENTIFY THE OPTIONS AND IDENTIFY HOW MUCH MONEY THAT WILL SAVE IN REGARDS TO ADDRESSING THE BUDGET DEFICIT. THAT'S AN OPTION THAT SHOULD BE ON OUR MENU. LOOKING AT BASE PAY, FREEZING BASE PAY AND THEN IDENTIFYING BONUSES THAT WOULD NOT BE CALCULATED IN THE PENSION COSTS IN REGARDS TO THE CITY EMPLOYEES.

THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE WHO HAVE COME FORTHWITH OPTIONS. WE HAVE COUNCIL MEN FAULCONER AND COUNCILMAN DEMAYO, AND WE HAVE VINCE MUD'S IDEAS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF IDEAS. YOU NOW ARE IN A POSITION OF EXTREME LEADERSHIP AS A COUNCIL PERSON. WHAT WOULD BE YOUR AGENDA? WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FAVORITE AMONG ALL THE IDEAS?

I DON'T HAVE A FAVORITE, BUT I WOULD JUST SAY THAT I DON'T THINK ANYBODY ACTUALLY HAS THE PLAN, THE SPECIFIC PLAN TO ADDRESS IT. I THINK MY ROLE AS A COUNCIL IS TO BRING SOME CONSENSUS NOT ONLY WITH THE COUNCIL MEMBERS THAT I SERVE WITH BUT ALSO THE PUBLIC THAT WE WORK FOR, AND MY GOAL IS TO CREATE LITERALLY CREATE A MENU OF OPTIONS THAT WOULD INCLUDE ALL OF CARL'S PLAN, ALL OF KEVIN FAULCONER'S PLAN, ALL OF THE LABOR UNION'S RECOMMENDATIONS, ALL OF THE PUBLIC'S RECOMMENDATIONS, AND PUT IT ON A LIST AND THEN WE START PARING DOWN UNTIL WE GET TO ZERO.

SOUNDS LIKE YOU'RE MORE INVOLVED IN THE ORGANIZATION OF IT RATHER THAN IN COMING FORTHWITH AN ADVOCACY OF YOUR OWN?

YES. I THINK THAT'S PROBABLY WHAT MY ROLE IS, AND OBVIOUSLY I HAVE IDEAS I WANT TO INCLUDE, BUT I THINK MY ROLE IS TO ENCOURAGE CONSENSUS ON THE BEST OPTIONS THAT EVERYBODY PROVIDES AND THEN ENCOURAGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE ON SOMETHING THAT WILL ALLOW US TO GET OUT OF THIS DEFICIT THAT WE'RE IN.

JUST TO GET A HANDLE ON ONE OF YOUR IDEAS?

FOR EXAMPLE, I HAVE GIVEN A COUPLE IDEAS. ONE IS TO LOOK AT PRIVATIZATION OF GOLF COURSES AND OUR AIRPORTS. I DON'T FIND ANY STRONG REASON FOR THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO TO BE OPERATING FIVE GOLF COURSES OR HOW MANY WE HAVE OR THAT WE ACTUALLY OWN AIRPORTS. CAN WE HAVE SOMEBODY RUN THOSE FOR US AND KEEP THE PROFITS FROM THAT OPERATION?

TO GET BACK TO THE MAYOR'S SPEECH, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF HIS BUILD DOWNTOWN ENTHUSIASM THAT WE HEARD IN THE SPEECH WHILE HE STILL SAID WE HAVE TO REDUCE CITY SERVICES?

WELL, THIS IS WHAT I AGREE WITH WHEN IT COMES TO THE MAYOR. WE CAN'T JUST --WE'RE A BIG CITY. WE HAVE TO HAVE VISION AND WE HAVE TO BELIEVE IN OURSELVES THAT WE CAN ACTUALLY DO GREAT THINGS. WE HAVE A BUDGET DEFICIT. HOWEVER, PROJECTS LIKE THE CONVENTION CENTER EXPANSION COULD ACTUALLY BRING MONEY INTO THE COVERS OF THE CITY. WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THOSE TYPE OF OPTIONS NOT ONLY TO IMPROVE OUR FINANCIAL CONDITION HERE AT THE CITY BUT IMPROVE WHAT WE ARE AS A CITY. FOR EXAMPLE, THE BALBOA PARK CONSERVE SIGH WE'LL WORK ON, I THINK IT IS A GREAT IDEA.

I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU MANY MORE QUESTIONS, BUT OUR TIME IS UP. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

THANK YOU.

COUNCIL PERSON TONY YOUNG.

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