Covid-19, Local Budget Impacts & Priorities


By Dr. John E. Warren, Publisher

By now, we all know that the economic impact of the coronavirus on San Diego has been tremendous. The loss of business in travel and tourism has taken away millions, if not billions of dollars. With that, we can all understand the Mayor announcing a $300plus million deficit in funding for the coming fiscal year. What we in our already underserved communities must be on guard against is cuts in services not applied equally to other communities.

For example, on first glance, Parks and Recreation would appear to be nonessential in a budget. But when you consider the impact of Covid-19 on schools being closed, changes in our work spaces and habits that will eliminate many, if not all, of the summer jobs we once looked to for our youth, Parks and Recreation become more important than ever.

It has been suggested that the Beckwourth Branch Library in Mount View be closed because it is within two miles of the Malcolm X. Library. This line of thought is utterly ridiculous. The one is not in walking distance of the other, due to terrain and poor public transportation which is even worse during this time of reduced schedules. If we are talking about cuts that so seriously impact Districts 4, 8 and 9, what are the equal impact cuts proposed for north of interstate 8?

Finally, if the Mayor, the City Budget staff and other City Council members are as concerned for their districts as the representatives for Districts 4, 8, and 9, then the City of San Diego should seriously consider reconstructing the proposed budget on a “Zero Base Budget Concept.” This idea says that every agency and department reconstructs its proposed budget from “Zero” with no carryover funds. This requires creating a budget that reflects what is actually needed and not what one might want to hide away for a “rainy day fund” when everyone is suffering cuts.

We must not become so Covid-19 conscious that we miss the proposed changes around us that can be just as deadly if allowed to unfairly impact those of us who are already suffering the most.

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