It seems like a good thing that San Diego has no trash collection fees and low taxes, until it becomes apparent that the other side of that coin is a horrific police-to-people or fire-station-per-capita ratio.
Fire protection is just one of many areas in which San Diego lags behind state or national standards, but is the one that most immediately impacts East County. Paradise Plundered provides a brief but helpful history of how San Diego has been making poor choices for years, up to its more recent past when an alarming number of its elected officials have been indicted, gone to prison, or resigned in disgrace. The book also makes clear with real numbers the dishonesty of the oft-repeated saw that big public works projects like a new stadium or Liberty Station benefit the city.
Both projects have been a net loss for the city and continue to be.
There is a right way to do public-private partnership for major improvements, but as it does with so many things, San Diego misses the mark. In speaking about Paradise Plundered , Erie makes it clear that he has no political dog in this fight. He says from a purely scientific point of view, it might be interesting to see what happens to the city if it elects DeMaio and votes for his pension plan, but unfortunately that real-world experiment could be the last straw that destroys a city in which Erie hopes to go on living.
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Thomas R. And even when the news was bad, editors, politicians, and citizens alike could take comfort in the fact that at least they were not Los Angeles. From Petco Park to Liberty Station to the Navy Broadway Complex the resources kept flowing from the public coffers to private developers for projects that have had very little public benefit.
At what cost? This infrastructure deficit goes along with the perennial underfunding of city services like libraries, parks, and public safety. Not a pretty picture by any stretch of the imagination, but least we can sleep at night knowing that we are keeping Grover Norquist happy.
Hence gridlock is a near certainty. The assumption seems to be that that we are all rational actors on a level playing field, not that the game is rigged from the start. Hence, seminal events like the Free Speech Fight in are omitted, as is any discussion of various civil rights struggles, or the way the city has been shaped by those events. The leaders thought of the military as clean industry.
The Navy was the most Southern of the armed forces, bringing a plantation mentality with them. This is important because the mistakes of the labor leaders discussed in their study follow from the limitations of the first variety of union philosophy. Its brief discussion of globalization, for instance, is also from an elite perspective, nothing close to the fine work of writers like David Bacon Children of NAFTA. These are perhaps more disciplinary biases than anything else and, to be fair, the authors are clear from the beginning that their scope of interest is narrowly focused on governmental and fiscal failure in San Diego.
Paradise Plundered – unmasking what has led San Diego to the brink
Still, in sum, Paradise Plundered , is a must read for anyone who wants to understand local politics. If the authors can make it past the San Diego mainstream media filter, their analysis should inform the upcoming mayoral debates and frame the way the local media covers San Diego politics. It very well may not. That said, if you care about the future of San Diego, get this book and read it before the you vote or sign a petition.
The irony of the anti-tax mentality here is that modern San Diego just might be the most subsidized place in the history of humankind. Is there any way we can hire a skywriter to paste this column over San Diego during, say, the next Chargers home game? You love to watch the things that piss you off…. I guess it gives you fodder. Interesting take, Jim!