Sometimes People Don't Mind Paying More

Sewer and water ratepayers in San Diego recognize that a rate hike is the only way to pay for replacing aging infrastructure.

Despite its reputation as a city of citizens that want everything but don't want to pay for it, San Diego water and sewer ratepayers are tacitly opting for change.

"It seems likely that San Diego's water and sewer rates will soon rise, as environmental and business leaders embraced the idea yesterday and a formal protest continued to fall far short of pre-empting a City Council vote."

"'I recognize the burden this puts on ratepayers,' said Bruce Reznik, executive director of the environmental group San Diego Coastkeeper, 'but if we want the city to have clean beaches and bays, this is the kind of investment in our sewer infrastructure we need.'"

Full Story: Water and sewer rate increases appear inevitable

Comments

Comments

That notorious infamy is still relevant,

given that San Diegans still demand adequate city services, but refuse to pay for them. The Cedar firestorm of 2003 and lack of adequate CDF/city fire dept. funding made that fact glaringly obvious (of course the most vocal whiners and taxpaying cheapskates were the ones who lost their McMansions in Scripps Ranch).

The same can be seen further north in Orange County. San Diego happens to have one of the lowest tax rates in the entire state of California, thus further exaserbating the problem. This of course is thanks in part to the California tax revolt of the 70s/80s, and politically supported by then mayor (and CCDC redevelopment forefather) Pete Wilson.

However, when faced with the reality of a failing infrastructure system (one of the worst in the nation), directly caused by underfunding of public services due to the city's 2+ billion dollar pension scandal, then of course taxpayers from La Jolla to San Ysidro are going to have to pay the piper.

It's interesting that Bruce Reznik (whom I know personally) would say that he recognizes how much of a "burden" this tax hike will be to San Diegans. Seeing as San Diego taxpayers have up to now been getting away with the biggest tax break in California urban history, karma seems to be kicking them in the butt.

This is NOT a story of benevolent taxpayers owning up to their civic responsibility. Instead, it is one of citizens left footing the bill in the aftermath of corporate/city govenment greed and arrogance.

San Diegans DO mind paying more, and they have a history of vocalizing their aversion and apathy to civic responsibility. It's just this time around they don't have a choice!

Funny you should mention firefighters

Check out the list of the top 1,000 city employees of San Diego in terms of earnings...lots of firefighters there:

http://voiceofsandiego.org/pdf/topthousand2.pdf

It's not about top firefighters and their executive pay...

It's about NOT enough fire fighters and the underfunded equipment they had to work with. That was the whole issue with the Cedar fire.

San Diego Taxpayers

Some more articles on San Diego taxpayers:

This one starts about halfway down the page (under "Dirty Deeds and..."):
http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/articles/2006/11/22/columnists/contributi...

A rebuttal to the above:
http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/articles/2006/11/23/opinion/02flynnvoice.txt

A rebuttal to the rebuttal above:
http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/articles/2007/02/26/columnists/contributi...

According to the numbers cited in the first article, San Diego taxpayers actually pay some the highest taxes/fees/surcharges as compared to other cities in California (especially when compared with the much lower median income of the region), and have been, especially over the past decade.

So I guess the real question is if their government is the stinking cesspool it is, why should the average taxpayer throw good money after bad when the City is just going to flush it down the toilet?

Pat Shea happens to be

the right wing, political muscle behind Michael Aguirre, and profited dearly from his work as chief attorney for bankruptcy negotiations over a decade ago in Orange County. Shea's connection with Michael Aguirre and Diann Shipione is quite suspect, as it relates to:

-- A lost Brown Field development and the political vendetta that Pat Shea is trying to unleash against the current council and mayor.

-- Orange County bankruptcy attorney fees and how much Pat Shea stands to make at the public's expense if Aguirre were successful in bankrupting this city.

-- The timing of Diann's "whistleblowing" in relation to the pension scandal.

Pat Shea has gotten rich on these lawsuits and government backruptcies. These elaborate and highly detailed tax figures are completely bogus, it's like comparing San Diego to Kingman, Arizona or some place like that. How about doing a real comparison with cities of similiar size and capital? Oh, I see, that wouldn't support your contention, would it?

As for Shea's articles above, he fails to mention that the overly taxpayer-funded pension is one of the most "expensive" in the land. But if one were to take into account the fact that most of the assets kept in the pension fund were squandered on technology stocks and other high risk investments during the dot com era by the pension board (of which Pat Shea's wife Dianne Shipione was a member). Maybe the pension is so expensive to taxpayers nowadays because of who was managing it, ya think?

Also, the real estate transfer and hotels and rooms taxes are some of the lowest in the nation (which would provide more fiscal budgetary relief than the permit fees, sales taxes, property taxes, and franchise tax revenues combined). Here is another perspective which may shed some more light on how San Diegans are true taxpaying cheapskates (and other juicy factoids):

Center on Policy Initiatives
http://www.onlinecpi.org/

The Bottom Line: Solutions for San Diego's Budget Crisis
http://www.onlinecpi.org/pdf/THE%20BOTTOM%20LINE.pdf

Target San Diego: The Right Wing Assault on Urban Democracy and Smart Government
http://www.onlinecpi.org/pdf/Target_SD_CPI2005.pdf

Downtown for Everybody?
http://www.onlinecpi.org/pdf/DTELayout.pdf

So I guess the real question is if their government is the stinking cesspool it is, the average taxpayer has NO choice but to throw good money after bad because the corporate elite (who is responsible for this mess in the first place) certainly won't take responsibility. Remember, San Diego (after Orange County) is the greediest, most corrupt, get-rich-quick region in the nation, which explains the lack of civic responsibility on the part of the taxpayers AND the elite business class.

Like I said, thank goodness I live in a city like San Francisco, which still has a true protest/progressive ethos, as can be attested to the anti-redevelopment outcry against Mayor Gavin Newsom and Lennar's plans for Bayview-Hunters Point.

My problem with a statement like this is....

"So I guess the real question is if their government is the stinking cesspool it is, why should the average taxpayer throw good money after bad when the City is just going to flush it down the toilet?"

So what should we do first, oust every pol in town and start over from scratch? Or start to make incremental and needed change right now? Good luck with the first one. I'm not saying it's a bad idea (change is definitely not a bad thing), just saying it's not likely to help in the short term.

As for the articles, I read the first two... I note that none of the cities Shea cites in his negative comments are even close to the size of San Diego, they do NOT provide services on that scale. Peer cities, indeed.

(ignoring vtboy's vitriol in advance)

I honestly don't know what

I honestly don't know what to do, although fighting for incremental change is absolutely a good idea.

As far as the city comparisons in the article, some include big cities and some include small...here are a smpling of the big:

"Per Capita Sales Tax Revenues:
Long Beach $75
Los Angles $87
Statewide $93 (According to a 5/26/06 report from the City of San Jose):
Oakland $96
Fresno $116
Santa Ana $119
Anaheim $135
San Diego $141
San Francisco $168"

Pretty big cities there...and some of the smaller ones arguably provide more services than San Diego

Anoter:
"And, in per capita Property Taxes:
Santa Ana $52
Santa Clara $53
Irvine $73
Bakersfield $73
San Jose $78
Santa Barbara $88
Long Beach $93
Fresno $94
Sacramento $111
San Diego $118
Los Angeles $139."

And another:
"Median incomes:
San Jose $68,194
Santa Clara $67,269
Irvine $64,556
San Francisco $49,818
Anaheim $48,411
San Diego $44,089."

So I think it's unfair to say that "none" of these cities compare to San Diego...unless LA, SF, San Jose, Sacramento, Oakland or Long Beach don't compare? Some of the comparisons didn't include the largest of cities, so I do see your point. Plus, there's only so many cities in California to make comparisons between, as going outside the state would not work.

Again,

instead of regurgitating verbatim Pat Shea's politically skewed statistics, it is important to repeat that that the real estate transfer and hotels and rooms taxes in San Diego are some of the lowest in the nation (and would provide MORE fiscal budgetary relief than the permit fees, sales taxes, property taxes, and franchise tax revenues COMBINED).

So in short, these sorts of taxes mentioned by Pat Shea when comparing between cities of equal size in California to San Diego STILL do not provide the entire picture when taking into account the budget shortfall, how that has affected the failing infrastructure of the city, and how after years of underfundeing on the part of taxpayers have created a perfect storm for a public sector disaster.

Relax Travis

I actually agree with some of what you are saying.

Continue to ignore me and blindly follow everything Dano has to say.

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