Community alliance wants a fair, open and understandable city budget
by CPI / April 16, 2012
As San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders presented his budget on Monday, April 16th, a diverse community coalition challenged him to make it comprehensible and fair. At a press conference and in testimony in front of the City Council today, several alliance members also said the community’s priorities are not adequately reflected in the way the budget is developed.
The Community Budget Alliance, which includes more than 20 local organizations, demanded the budget include equitable spending for neighborhoods that have been shortchanged in the past. The alliance also wants more citizen input earlier in the budget decision-making process.
Cathy Ramsey of the Skyline Hills area said:
“There needs to be more community input into the budget. I would hope the Mayor would consider making my community part of the beautiful city that it is.”
Barry Pollard, spokesperson for the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils and NAACP San Diego branch, said communities that made the biggest sacrifices during the lengthy recession should be first on the list for recovery as revenue is available in the city budget. That means putting a priority on infrastructure investment in neighborhoods where spending has been delayed and on public services that have deteriorated because of vacancies in the workforce.
Jeanne Brown, co-president of the League of Women Voters of San Diego, stated:
“We want to work with our city to create a process where the public is involved in decision-making from the beginning. Other ‘strong mayor’ cities such as New York and Chicago, have created these types of processes. If they can do it, we can do it.”
The alliance would particularly like a more open and transparent system for selecting projects for the Capital Improvement Program, and an open evaluation of budget proposals such as managed competition, to determine whether claimed cost savings come at the expense of quality jobs or services.
To begin improving community input, the alliance succeeded in getting one public hearing scheduled in the evening. It will be at 6 pm Monday, May 14, in the City Council Chambers, 202 C St., and alliance members will give further testimony then.
Organizations in the alliance include the League of Women Voters, NAACP San Diego branch, the Coalition of Neighborhood Councils, San Diego LGBT Pride, MAAC Project, Bayside Community Center, AFSCME Local 127, Equality Alliance, Center on Policy Initiatives, Mid-City CAN and many more.
For more info: Susan Duerksen, CPI, 619-804-1950, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Jeanne Brown, LWV, 619-857-1807, email@example.com