San Diego's Corporate Owned Mayor Exposed!

author: 
Rocky Neptun

This is a tale of two cities; a San Diego of wealth and privilege, where corporate welfare, through CCDC and other city departments abounds, and taxes on the rich are the lowest in the nation. The other city, those of us who work, struggle with dangerous roads, obscene rent and low wages. We live in a wealthy city. There is, indeed, a reason why city government is dysfunctional today.

San Diego: A Mayor Undressed! The "Real" State of the City!

University Heights. Jan. 15, 2008. Like the fictional youngster who stated the obvious about an undressed emperor, the San Diego Coalition for Clean and Fair Government has come to see Mayor Sanders'
administration as a reflection of this shared illusion nonsense; a mutually agreed upon lie based on political double-speak and media unwillingness to ask honest, hard questions about our city's future.

In this month's "State of the Union" address, Sanders outlined a vision for "his" constituents; wealthy side-kicks, downtown developers, blue-blood Rancho Santa Fe aristocrats, condo speculators and powerful CEO's, that focuses heavily on their concerns - financial markets. For them, the Mayor wears fine silken robes.

Gathered, 1000 strong, San Diego's oligarchy, heard the Mayor's plodding address, which outlined a laundry
list of peripheral issues, audits, departmental reorganizations, golf tournaments, a new cruise ship terminal; while heaping praise on just about every right-wing official from Ensenada, Mexico to Sacramento. Sanders, who for some reason has a phobia about walking on a stage alone, shared his platform with not only other city officials, county supervisors, the mayors of all the major Baja, Mexico cities, but a former governor as well. This speech, like a hastily assembled quilt of shiny sequins and glitter, adorning flimsy cotton, skipped wildly about
- from support for our troops to praise for Mexican governors. The forced presentation was a blatant attempt to hide the bareness of his administration's vision and plans for the future. "Over the next several weeks and months, I will lay out plans" for an agenda, the Mayor promised. Duh? Well, what about in a State of the City Address?

Sanders' mealy State of the City speech reflects his mushy campaign. Keep everyone guessing about what
I am going to do, keep the wealthy rent-a-nurse jackal at bay, keep the Democrats without a warrior willing
to sacrifice themselves in a brutal loss, keep the corporate owned media charmed, keep mendacity, boredom
at the heart of civic affairs to disinterest the average citizen.

In this tale of two cities; a San Diego of wealth and privilege, where corporate welfare, through CCDC and other city departments abounds, and taxes on the rich are the lowest in the nation, Sanders did not stand in front of this crowd of financial backers, lamenting their failure to pay their fare share of taxes. He praised firefighters in the recent conflagration, but made no mention of the lack of fire personal and equipment because of anti-tax crusades by his wealthy patrons. Money that went to the purchases of hummers and time-shares in Cancun rather than the collective needs of our community. The other city, those of us who actually work, struggle with dangerous roads, obscene rent and low wages.

Perhaps, most damning of his administration, particularly for our children, there was no mention, not a hint of concern, about global warming mitigation efforts by the city. Like most head-in-the-sand Republicans, the Mayor, considers global warming something that is happening to us rather than something that is caused by us. The Mayor may be bumbling, but he is no dummy. He knows, like his corporate handlers, that fundamental, structural, systemic change requires lifestyle adjustment and new taxes. Sacrifice is the backbone of any program which confronts our public and individual contributions to climate change. His timidity, his
administration's corporate ownership, his failure to challenge each citizen to do their part is, ultimately, our
children's loss. They will have to deal with his (and our) lack of courage and responsibility.

In his address, the Mayor praised the millions spent on restoring the grandeur and opulence of the Balboa Theater, the "great game" of the Chargers last week and the upcoming Bio-devastation Industry's convention; but there was nary a whisper about the 52 percent of San Diegans who are renters; buckling under the weight of incessant rent increases and the lack of affordable housing.

He praised himself for sitting on the regional globalization network of wealthy CEOs and speculators; but, sadly, there was no mention of the 2,000 families evicted each month due to obscene rent hikes, nor the 50 seniors who hit city streets, homeless, each month because San Diego has no rent control. Yet, representatives from the San Diego Apartment Owners Association, sat in the audience, smugly knowing that part of their $5 a month assessment on each unit that goes toward lobbying, eventually, winds up in this compliant Mayor's campaign chest.

With major campaign droppings from the Building Industry, he did not chide their representatives in the Balboa Theater during his address. There was no mention about building huge multi-storied 5 bedroom homes on acre lots, while less than 9 percent of San Diegans can afford to buy a home today, or why their industry pays the least taxes on development projects of any city in the state.

THE SELLING OF A CITY!

Like President Bush's double-speak of working for peace, while preparing for war; the Mayor talks of an "era of decay" while preparing to turn city government over to decadent corporate firms like
Haliburton, Sempra Energy and Blackwater. His privatization plans are the end result of municipal corruption, influence peddling, campaign bribes, public money into a few wealthy hands, where the assets and future of our
community are sold to the highest bidder. When our natural resources, including our precious water, our city infrastructure repairs and services, even police protection, are turned over to private hands, like health-care and prescriptions needs, then we as individuals will be at the mercy of so-called market forces. This is the vision that Mayor Sanders lies about, calling it "managed competition," a shrill for the wealthy few, over the needs of our community. Unregulated greed, over mitigation and fairness.

The Mayor does not risk his agenda's details before the election, in a silly speech, because the corporate
race to the bottom, destroying the middle-class and their unions, attacking hard-working, long-term community based, city employees in favor of cheap labor from foreign countries, slicing up the public commons for private profit, must appear as the only possibility for good, effective city government. TINA (There Is No Alternative) will be his mantra and millions of dollars in paid (and free) advertising from corporate media will beat that drum.

Rather than asking his rich backers and corporate sponsors to pay their fair share through equitable taxes and fees, the Mayor pleads fiscal helplessness and pretends to wait on gaining access to lines of credit, which simply means that most of us will pay almost twice as much as we need; while speculators, brokers,
accountants, lawyers and bankers get their cut.

We live in a wealthy city. There is, indeed, a reason why city government is dysfunctional today.

Let's face it, Republicans do not want to see government work, to be successful. Sewers leak and spill into neighborhoods, 63 percent of city streetsare in "unacceptable" condition, police response time is too low, firefighters are still, incredibly, short-changed in the budget, libraries suffer, parks and recreation facilities crumble, for a reason.

The foxes are in the hen house – they cackle, they wear feathers and they want to be there for four more
years to pluck the place clean for wealthy corporate interests. Just ask Tom Story and his boss at Sunroad.

Yes, the Mayor's behind is bare! He represents a city, within a city, a small oligarchy, owned and motivated for wealth (where the Sunroad Scandal was but the tip of the iceberg). Sanders' administration represents the forces of a stingy economy, reactionary elements, that focus on immediate profit rather than our future needs and challenges, and his State of the City Address reflected that emphasis.

Rather than humility, we saw a grubby politician doing what politicians do best - pandering. There were
no challenges to our better nature, of compassion and sacrifice, only appeals to self-interest and greed.

We are San Diegans; we can do better.

peace and love,

Rocky Neptun, Director
San Diego Renters Union
Member, San Diego Coalition for Clean and Fair
Government
4406 Park Blvd. Suite D
San Diego, Ca 92116
(619) 687-5109