Roundtable: Guns, City Budget, Redevelopment, Homelessness, UC & East County Images
Guns for Gift Cards: San Diego public safety officials are reacting to the awful events in Connecticut.
Many districts are increasing drop-ins by law enforcement resource officers and updating school security plans. San Diego Unified School District officials said the plans they have in place are the same as those at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Today, county law enforcement agencies are combining in an exchange of guns for gift cards. Participants receive $50 gift cards for a handgun and $100 for an assault rifle. This is the fifth year for the exchange, which nets an average of about 200 guns a year.
City Budget Takes Hit: Mayor Sanders predicted a budget surplus northward of $4 million for 2013, but the reality may turn out to be quite different -- a potential deficit ten times that much.
The California Department of Finance declined this week to fund several redevelopment projects, leaving the city on the hook for cost overruns for the permanent housing shelter and bonds for Petco Park.
And there will be significant costs to the city over the next few years to implement voter-approved Proposition B. That measure mandated that city employees move to a defined-contribution plan, rather than a pension. Mayor Bob Filner said the projected surplus of $4.9 million failed to account for the pension costs.
The city could rack up a total deficit of $41 million next year.
Redevelopment Smackdown: This week, the state decided to nix millions for redevelopment projects San Diego asked for.
When Governor Jerry Brown shut down local redevelopment agencies in February, California cities had to go through the California Department of Finance for funds for re-development projects. This week the department denied over half of San Diego’s request for $76.6 million in the next funding period.
A new Chargers stadium, thousands of affordable housing units, and paying for cost overruns for the city’s permanent homeless shelter were among the projects denied. The Finance Department also declared a cooperative agreement between the city and its former redevelopment agency to be unenforceable.
Homeless In San Diego No surprise, the largest concentration of homeless people in San Diego County is in downtown San Diego.
More than a thousand people live on the street there at times, depending on what counts as downtown. Councilman Todd Gloria, Mayor Bob Filner and the San Diego Downtown Partnership, a business organization, have all pledged to end homelessness, as has the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Big Questions remain about the homeless: How are they counted? Who are the homeless? What can be done about the hard-core, mentally ill homeless?
Image Problems Dog East County & UC: Both San Diego's East County and the University of California have had problems with their images in recent weeks, for vastly different reasons.
Justin Hudnall’s collective art project, “The Far East: Everything Just As It Is,” wanted to capture San Diego’s East County, warts-and-all. The portrait was supposed to reflect the truth of the region in a figurative sense. While it may have done that, it has also made some angry, including Miriam Raftery, editor of the on-line publication East County Magazine, who slammed it for promoting negative stereotypes.
The University of California’s new logo for on-line use has succumbed to much outrage among the public, which likened it to a C being flushed down a toilet. Now, the logo itself has been flushed, after the University announced it was here to stay.