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City Council Returns From Break, Resolution Backs Military Spending

A resolution calling for action to prevent automatic cuts in the defense budget was passed unanimously by the San Diego City Council today.

If Congress fails to reach agreement to reduce the nation's debt, spending reductions will take effect in January, per an agreement reached last year to end a stalemate over raising the debt limit. If the spending reductions, called sequestration, go into effect, almost $500 billion of the cuts will come from the Pentagon's budget over the next 10 years.

Several studies have shown that cuts of that magnitude would have a severe economic impact on San Diego, where many civilian jobs are dependent on the military.

"The proposed federal cuts that would occur if sequestration goes forward would be devastating to our local economy, resulting in the loss of 31,000 jobs, with layoff notices going out as early as October in anticipation of those predicted cuts,'' said Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who proposed the resolution.

Councilman Carl DeMaio, who is running for mayor against Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, said he has talked with owners of local companies recently who are holding off on hiring new employees because of the situation.

"It's not something that is possible that can happen -- it is happening,'' DeMaio said.

The resolution says it "endorses the efforts of local businesses and community organizations to inform the public and elected officials in Washington, DC about the potential impacts of reductions in Department of Defense spending on the local economy.''

The council meeting was the first in more than a month.

The panel usually takes a break in August, but this one was a little longer than normal because of a project to remove asbestos and install fire alarms and sprinklers on the 12th floor of the City Administration Building, where the meetings are held.

The first regularly scheduled meeting back was canceled on Monday and Tuesday of this week. Several members were in Washington, D.C., for a lobbying tour led by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, partly in an effort to save the defense budget.

The delay also was prompted by the renovation work moving up to the 13th floor, where the control room for CityTV -- which broadcasts the meetings on cable television and the Internet -- is located.

A special council meeting that lasted less than a half-hour was held on Aug. 10. The most recent regular meeting was July 31, and the next one will be Monday.

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