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City Of San Diego Moves To Ease Financial Strain From COVID-19 Crisis

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego City Council President Georgette G...

Photo by Erik Anderson

Above: San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez, and media practice social distancing at a press conference on Mar. 18, 2020.

The city of San Diego is hoping to give city residents some financial peace of mind as the coronavirus crisis creates havoc on the local economy.

“I’m calling this emergency meeting of the city council to order,” said City Council President Georgette Gomez, as she opened an extraordinary council meeting.

Only three council members were present, Gomez, Chris Ward and Scott Sherman. The rest joined the meeting by phone.

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The city council convened to ratify Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s state of emergency declaration, which it did unanimously.

“Work is slowing down,” said Faulconer, who urged the council to act. “Businesses are shuttering their doors, jobs are being eliminated, and tax revenues are shrinking by the hour.”

The state of emergency allows the city to seek out state and federal funding to help deal with the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

But that wasn’t the only item that passed.

City officials also took steps to make sure the impact of the pandemic doesn’t hurt those losing jobs or income.

“We are working hard, diligently, and making sure that we’re creating the proper policies to address some of the anxiety that is occurring because of this crisis that we’re facing,” Gomez said.

To that end, the council took advantage of a move made Monday by California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

His executive order allows cities to put a moratorium on evictions, both residential and business. San Diego took advantage of the order and placed a moratorium on evictions.

The city also stopped utility shutoffs, put a hold on some business taxes and urged mortgage companies to voluntarily stop foreclosure proceedings.

“It’s a response for what we are trying to do,” Gomez said. “It’s to create a safe community, a San Diego that is keeping San Diegan’s safe, but also ensuring because our economy is getting impacted as we speak, that people don’t fear about losing their homes whether they’re renting or they’re owners.”

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Faulconer praised the council’s quick action.

“The city of San Diego is acting swiftly to help those in need,” Faulconer said. “The COVID-19 outbreak, of course, is an unprecedented public health crisis. But it is also creating an unprecedented economic crisis.”

The mayor said it is critical that city residents observe the restrictions on public activity and he emphasized that emergency orders are not optional.

“We all know that this isn’t easy. But taking these preventative actions will only help keep all members of the public safe and healthy. That is the goal of everything we are doing,” Faulconer said.

The city’s emergency declaration is in effect for 30 days, but the measure can be renewed with council support.

Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

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Erik Anderson
Environment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI focus on the environment and all the implications that a changing or challenging environment has for life in Southern California. That includes climate change, endangered species, habitat, urbanization, pollution and many other topics.

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