By Doug Porter
If you believe the San Diego’s Chamber of Commerce latest outlook, as reported on KPBS, on the region’s economic health you’d better wear sunglasses because the future’s that bright. Business looks great, especially for the minimum and sub-minimum wage tourism, entertainment and hospitality sector.
On the other hand if you delve into the study entitled “Making Ends Meet 2014,” released this morning by the Center on Policy Initiatives and United Way of San Diego County, keep a box of tissues handy.
Their research quantitatively demonstrates that the cost of a basic, no-frills lifestyle without public or private assistance is beyond the reach of 38% of all working age households in San Diego County. That’s 300,000 households. Even with someone working full-time year-round, or with multiple part-time earners, about 1 in 4 households in the region have incomes too low to cover the basic costs of living.
“More than 300,000 households in our county are living with incomes too low to meet the most basic expenses,” said CPI Research Director Peter Brownell in a press release. “These are mostly working people who are forced to rely on public or private assistance to get by.”
“Making Ends Meet” describes the realistic costs of a no-frills budget for various family types, and the wages needed to meet those budgets, as well as the numbers of households falling below that level throughout the county. It includes data on the impact on women and children, racial and ethnic groups, and employees of various large industries in the region.
The California Self-Sufficiency Standard, a more accurate measure of economic hardship than the Federal Poverty Thresholds, was used by researchers because it includes county-specific costs such as housing, transportation, child care, food and taxes.
More than half of all employees in the region’s tourism industry – including hotels, restaurants and amusements – have incomes below the Self-Sufficiency Standard, accounting for more families living below that level than any other local industry.
The data demonstrate that the Great Recession continues for many San Diegans. The share of households living below the Self-Sufficiency Standard has grown from 30% in pre-recession 2007 to 38% in 2012, the most recent year for which all data are available. That’s an increase of 71,472 households struggling to get by.
CPI produced the report in collaboration with Insight Center for Community Economic Development, with support from Leichtag Foundation and United Way of San Diego County.
Oh, and in case you didn’t already know it, San Diego’s Chamber of Commerce is likely to be leading the fight against any local initiatives to raise the minimum wage. Perhaps they can use the “Let Them Eat Cake” motif for their PR campaign.
CPI, along with the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice and other groups are planning a “Raise Up San Diego” rally for Wednesday, March 12th at the Civic Center. Their motif will be “No One Who Works Full Time Should Live in Poverty.”
Balboa Park Debacle: Turd Polishing in Progress
I know, I know. A bunch of people are going to say that’s an unnecessarily harsh headline. Read on. I think I make a pretty good case here…
Gerry Braun, the Jerry Sanders crony in charge of spin for the now-failed outfit charged with putting on the 2015 Balboa Park Centennial, has been retained as transition director over the next three months to oversee closure of the group.
Yesterday Braun went on KPBS to offer up explanations and excuses for the group’s failure to accomplish much of anything despite spending $2.8 million in taxpayer dollars over a three year period.
According to a transcript of the show, Balboa Park Celebration, Inc. didn’t start soliciting corporate partnerships until June, 2013. After blaming former mayor Bob Filner, Braun went on to offer up the following mumble-jumbo*:
Dealing with the infrastructure in Balboa Park and with the planning constraints and things of that nature is a very complex process and it is costly, people in that sort of work don’t give away their services, and so at each stage we would learn from these potential corporate donors what additional work they wanted us to do. And so, we had to do a lot of work up front and we found out that everybody wanted to tweak the event in a way that hope of it the most and it was an event that they wanted to put a spin.
(*The transcript of the show was, by their own admission, hastily done. I went through and listened to the audio and tried to correct any mistakes.)
Braun also offered up the defeat of the Plaza de Panama project as a challenge, saying,
“…that project which would’ve been built in time for 2015 would’ve been a tremendous asset for the celebration and all likelihood would of given us a different start and made the park much more exciting and appealing and would’ve given a 6.3 acres of pedestrian friendly plazas and parkland that don’t exist now…”
The economy was given as another excuse. It was everybody’s fault but their own. Maybe he’s unfamiliar with the term “Excuses are for losers.”
Now that the organization has ceased to be active, Braun says he’s working to turn records over to the city.
From UT-San Diego:
Braun said he will turn over all documents and intellectual property to the city.
In terms of public records that have been sought by the U-T and others, he said accountants are working now to put information into digestible formats.
“The public deserves to have documents they understand and that don’t have to be interpreted,” Braun said.
Braun continues to maintain the group is not subject to the California Public Records Act.
UT Watchdog editor Ricky Young is very concerned about the “interpreted” part of his statement, and posted a video expressing his concerns.
UT-San Diego and photographer David Lundin have been trying to get the records ‘unfiltered’ under the California Public records Act.
Even as Braun was on the air talking transparency, his group’s lawyers were emailing Lundin contradicting his (Braun’s) belief that they’re subject to open records laws…
For his part Lundin’s promising to file a Petition for Writ of Mandate, and says he will “use the good offices of the Judicial system to compel BPCI to tell the unvarnished truth to the public.”
BiPartisan Congressional Stupidity
You wouldn’t know it from reading the Associated Press story in today’s newspaper, but Congressman Darrel Issa made a real ass of himself yesterday at a hearing of the House oversight and Government Reform committee;
From the Washington Post:
The California Republican had said that Lois Lerner, a key figure in the IRS targeting of tea party groups, would testify before his House Oversight and Government Reform panel on Wednesday, but instead she refused to answer questions. After Issa forced Lerner to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights no fewer than 10 times, the committee’s top Democrat, Elijah Cummings (Md.), raised his hand to speak.
Issa looked at Cummings, ignored him, adjourned the hearing and slammed down the gavel.
“Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?” Cummings bellowed.
Issa, who was gathering his papers, turned around. “We’ve adjourned,” he said.
“Mr. Chairman, you cannot run a committee like this,” Cummings fumed. “We’re better than that as a committee. I have asked for a few minutes to ask a procedural — ”
Issa had stood up and now pressed a button in front of him that silenced Cummings’s microphone.
But the Democrat, who has a booming voice, continued to speak, and the microphones went back on whenever Issa released his override button. Finally, Issa made a throat-slitting gesture to his staff and said, “Close it down.” The sound system went dead.
Congressman Scott Peters, our “bipartisan” Democrat in the House, joined with Republicans yesterday in voting for the 50th GOP sponsored bill to undermine the Affordable Care Act.
Apparently the cable TV ads sponsored by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity attacking Peters for his support of Obamacare have him running scared. So scared that he even issued a press release trumpeting his decision to support delaying implementation of the individual mandate, saying “the ongoing issues with the federal website made today’s vote necessary.”
Via Daily Kos:
The bill is not expected to be taken up at all in the Senate, but Republicans hope it can bolster their case for taking the Senate in this fall’s midterm elections. The party wants to make the elections as much as possible about the problems of ObamaCare, and is hoping to exploit Democratic division on the issue….
…House Republicans have cost the nation’s taxpayers roughly $72.5 million on holding 50 repeal votes (based on calculations by CBS News back at repeal vote number 33), not to mention the opportunity cost of the House not doing anything at all productive.
On This Day: 1853 – Giuseppe Verdi’s “La Traviata” opera debuted in Venice 1857 – The Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision ruled that blacks could not sue in federal court to be citizens. 1967 – President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his plan to establish a draft lottery.
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Anna Daniels says
It should be noted that “turd polishing” is a desirable skill set. When Maureen Cavanaugh asked in the KPBS interview how the administrative salaries, including Braun’s own monthly $8k , were justified, Braun responded:
“Salaries are not based on on for civil outcomes they are based on the skill sets of the people in the market for those types of skills, and so that is essentially how salaries are set.”
And yes, that is verbatim from the rush transcript. It appears that the interview was translated from the original Croatian into English by Babelfish
I listened to that on my way back to work from lunch. I really have to wonder if he won’t be a bit nervous from this point on for at least the short term future to come if he isn’t going to be a bit nervous anytime he steps outside his house. Considering he doesn’t seem to have the foresight to even consider how absurd his response seems seem to the general public (whether or not he feels any justification) I’m guessing the answer is no.
Anna, you really shouldn’t malign Croatian like that. Perhaps it was originally in Braunian. ;-)
John Lawrence says
Well, one can divine from this that a good command of the English language is not a part of Braun’s “skill set.”
I never fail to learn something from you, Doug!
bob dorn says
That Gerry Braun and that Jerry Sanders, win or lose, they win.
Carolyn Chase says
Such a sad-self-centered response by Braun – who already has the money. Is he even sorry at all they didn’t think to hire people to produce results???
The City has and retains rights to have all the records….so the details should/will? come out (NOTE the use of the term “Conservancy” is a sign they used that agreement as the basis for this one and had sloppy lawyering:
From the Balboa Park Centennial Inc MOU with the City of San Diego:
Section 7.05 Audit and Inspection of Records. The Conservancy shall make available to the City for examination at reasonable locations within the City/County of San Diego, at any time during normal business hours and as often as the City deems necessary, all of the data and records with respect to all matters covered by this MOU, any and all implementing agreements, and subcontracts [City’s Right]. The City’s Right includes the right to make audits of all invoices, materials, payrolls, records of personnel, and other data and media relating to all matters covered by the subject agreements. The Committee shall maintain such data and records for a period of not less than five years following termination of this MOU, or alternatively, shall transfer such data and records to City. The Committee shall include the City’s Right as described in this Section in any and all of its subcontracts, and shall ensure that it is binding upon all of its subcontractors. The City’s Right shall survive the termination of this MOU.
“Is he even sorry at all they didn’t think to hire people to produce results??? ”
My guess is nada.
Laura E. says
I thought Republicans were all about personal responsibility, but I guess that’s not the case for Mr. Braun. Is there a statute of limitations on how long Filner can be blamed?
I am genuinely surprised/impressed that the U-T is doing some real research into this fiasco.
John Lawrence says
At least the city and the taxpayers should ask for its and their money back from these bozos who had huge salaries and produced nada. Their primary skill set is how to extract money from the public coffers with no responsibility on their part. Hope they enjoy their ill gotten gains.
dave stutz says
Gerry Braun, journalist does not believe for a second Gerry Braun, politician!!
Brian Brady says
“I thought Republicans were all about personal responsibility, but I guess that’s not the case for Mr. Braun.”
Braun is not a Republican.
Laura E. says
So he’s just another so-called Democrat who blames Filner for everything and goes along with the GOP.
bob dorn says
Braun, Brian, what’s the diff? They just work for the Repugs.