Yes on Prop. D — for accountability
By Carl DeMaioCouncilman, District 5
On June 8, San Diego voters will have an important opportunity to advance common-sense reform in our financially troubled city government by voting Yes on Proposition D.
Prop. D would enhance accountability at City Hall by making the strong mayor-strong council form of government permanent.
This form of government creates clear roles and responsibilities. The mayor would serve as head of the executive branch, overseeing management of city departments day-to-day. The City Council would serve as an independent legislative branch formulating policy, making Appropriations, and conducting oversight.
In 2004, voters approved a trial experiment in this form of government. Unless Prop. D is passed, that trial would end — and the city would revert back to the out-dated and discredited city manager form of government where there is little accountability or balance.
Prop. D does not just make permanent the strong mayor-strong council form of government. It makes significant improvements to how San Diego achieves that form of government.
By giving the mayor a real veto, subject only to over-ride by a two-thirds vote of the City Council, Prop. D will bring important checks and balances to city government. With a real veto, the mayor will be able to check the parochial spending desires of each individual City Council member.
Prop. D would also prevent a return to the days when city bureaucrats were allowed to negotiate costly labor contracts with other city bureaucrats. San Diego is still reeling from bad decisions made in city labor contracts that spiked pension benefits, increased salaries and awarded other costly perks. We should not go back to the form of government that facilitated those bad decisions.
If Prop. D does not pass, taxpayers will face higher city spending on a number of fronts. If the city returned to a city manager form of government, a duplicative bureaucracy would have to be created and added back into the city’s organizational structure.
San Diego needs to make a number of reforms to restore its financial health and get back to providing the kinds of services our neighborhoods deserve. Prop. D is one of those important reforms that voters should make on June 8.