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'A Fair Shake for Communities': Reactions to Filner's First Budget

Lisa Halverstadt, VOICE OF SAN DIEGO

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

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Erik Bruvold, president, National University System Institute for Policy Research:

There are three important themes that emerge from reading Mayor Bob Filner’s first budget.

The first is just how difficult it is to shift directions in the city. There are a few elements (a new bike czar, $300,000 freed up for traffic bollards in Plaza de Panama) that show Filner’s new priorities but these are small potatoes in a general fund budget of $1.2 billion. There is so much of the budget that is cooked in years prior to its unveiling. Trying to make a noticeable change in just four months is problematic and serves mostly to illustrate how hard it is to shift course. This is especially true since the city, in the end, is largely people and its cost structure reflects the staffing and compensation systems that have grown up over many decades of policy making.