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.