Center for Policy Initiatives Researcher Interviewed by Voice of San Diego

by on January 25, 2010 · 3 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Labor, Media, San Diego

Scott Lewis of voiceofsandiego.org recently interviewed the director of research at the Center for Policy Initiatives Murtaza Baxamusa about San Diego and its economy.  The Center is a labor-friendly think tank, a rare entity in this town, at least. Here is part of the interview:

If there was one, simple misconception among San Diegans that you could clear up in 2010, what would it be?

The last decade saw a well-orchestrated campaign by the blame-the-government privatizers at federal, state and local levels. San Diego was one such target, in which public employees were repeatedly demonized as over-paid and over-benefited, even when independent studies show that the city of San Diego compensates its workers much less than others for comparable work. But the work needs to be done, be it cleaning our streets and picking up our trash, to policing our neighborhoods and fighting fires. So the imperative for the work to be done in-house by public employees, accountable to taxpayers, and managed in the public interest, is even greater in a time of scarce resources, than to risk it being outsourced to corporate executives, accountable to nobody, and bidding for private profits.

Will it be easier to be a worker in San Diego in 2010 than it was in 2009? Why?

This 2008-09 recession was not the terrestrial imprint of a destructive Tandava dance somewhere in the cosmos. Not even remotely as fantastic. Instead of paying workers to produce goods, corporations paid executives on Wall Street to blow financial bubbles, whilst nobody was looking. When the bill came, workers paid with falling incomes, job losses, deflating property values, rising costs of healthcare, and credit card debt. If the goal is to reinvest in San Diego’s middle-class workforce, we need to create local jobs, that pay a livable wage. And I am optimistic that sensible public investments coupled with strong public policy will counter the negative vibes from intangible cosmic forces in 2010. ….

What decision will you be paying attention to the most in the coming year and who will be making it?

Ballot measures for both the June and the November elections. These measures could define the method of governance, of service quality, local job creation and of raising revenues for the city, with generational consequences. There may one or two downtown mega-projects on the ballot as well. Voters will be making these choices.

For the remainder of the article, please go here.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar annagrace January 25, 2010 at 7:23 pm

My first question is why is the City of San Diego in a state of fiscal crisis, but the usual sources- SD Tax Payers, the mayor’s kitchen cabinet & Carl DeMaio are completely mum on the fiscal state of the County? It is hard to buy that that the lack of sales and property tax revenues have not impacted the County just as much. The County also has pension obligations which are underfunded.This leads me to believe that there is a political agenda apart from the economics. Laying off city workers, outsourcing city jobs, and breaking the unions have become must do’s. There are even calls for declaring the City bankrupt. These are politically driven “remedies” and should be suspect.

There is something not right about what is happening with the City budget analysis right now. Buxamasa’s interview provides an important perspective but doesn’t put the City’s budget situation in a broader (County) context.

Will the City budget continue to grow while eliminating and reducing services that citizens want and expect? This is precisely what happened under Reagan and Bush II.

Don’t drink the kool-aid.

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avatar The Great Unwashed January 26, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I’m thinking Mr. Baxamusa is making all sorts of “wouldn’t it be nice” items, but I’ve seen not a single mention of a dollars and sense quantity. If he’s some sort of whiz bang economist, why not some numbers? How are things going to get paid for? Raise taxes? Spring Valley may put that on the ballot but do you think it will happen in San Diego? Kindly offer some specifics for those of of the Great Unwashed. Thank you.

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avatar The Great Unwashed January 26, 2010 at 7:26 pm

My pardon, I googled Dr. Baxamusa (PHD in Planning). I would still like to hear some specifics.

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