Editor’s note: Our community is blessed to have a leader like Todd Gloria representing all of us on the San Diego City Council. Below is the latest newsletter from his office:
NEWSLETTER FROM OUR LEADER—Guest Blog by Todd Gloria, San Diego Council President, Councilmember, District 3--I had a great weekend at events in District Three and throughout San Diego. I appreciate all of the neighbors who took the time to talk to me about their concerns at the 125th anniversary of University Heights, CityFest, Philippine Cultural Arts Festival, and Human Rights Campaign dinner. It was abundantly clear that San Diegans are beyond ready for business to move forward at City Hall. I could not agree more. The good news is, even though it hasn’t been the lead media story, your City Council and our City employees have been accomplishing a lot on your behalf. Here is some of the news that has been overshadowed in recent weeks, plus some upcoming involvement opportunities I hope you’ll consider. As always, I welcome your input, feedback, and questions on these and any other issue on your mind.
City of San Diego Invests in Small Businesses
Last week, I joined local businesspeople to celebrate the completed improvements at some local businesses, which were partially funded by the City of San Diego’s Storefront Improvement Program. Improvements made at the Belching Beaver Tasting Room, located on 30th Street in North Park, include new paint, new roll-up windows, a preserved neighborhood mural, and new exterior light fixtures. The City provided a grant of $5,000. The total project cost was $19,831.
These investments by the City may seem minor, but they contribute to improved community character and demonstrate a meaningful way we can strengthen our local economy.
The City of San Diego’s Storefront Improvement Program revitalizes building facades visible to customers, neighboring merchants, and residents. The City of San Diego provides design assistance and financial incentives to small business owners who wish to make a creative change to their storefronts. More details are available online.
San Diego Officials Meet with Current and Incoming Tijuana Mayors
Last Wednesday, Councilmember David Alvarez, other regional leaders, and I traveled to Mexico to meet with the current mayor and incoming mayor of Tijuana and strengthen the regional relationship between the two cities.
On the short trip, I participated in a meet and greet with Tijuana Mayor-Elect Dr. Jorge Astiazaran Orci’s staff and then met with Mayor Carlos Bustamante at Tijuana’s City Hall before returning to San Diego. After visiting with Tijuana City Councilmembers in May with Councilmember Mark Kersey, I understand that it’s critical to also build relationships with Tijuana’s incoming mayor.
City Council Approves Prevailing Wage Ordinance
The San Diego City Council approved a prevailing wage requirement on City public works projects on July 30.
San Diego will benefit from the implementation of this prevailing wage ordinance. The City Council’s action will result in higher-quality work and more middle class jobs for our region.
The ordinance requires the City and its departments, boards, and agencies to advertise and include specifications requiring compliance with the State prevailing wage law in contracts for public works, which generally include construction, reconstruction or repair of public buildings, streets, and utilities. Prevailing wage would impact all projects above $25,000 for construction and above $15,000 for maintenance, alteration, repair, or demolition work, and the requirements will go into effect on January 1, 2014. It will not apply to contracts that reimburse work started before January 1, 2014.
Prevailing wage is known to result in safer and better monitored work sites; on-time completion; properly trained apprentices; and fewer construction defects, change orders, and cost overruns. Further, by providing appropriate compensation, workers providing a public service do not have to live in poverty.
As we ramp up our investment in streets, sidewalks, and public facilities, prevailing wage makes common sense and fiscal sense. I am confident in the positive impact prevailing wage will have on our City and our local economy.
As part of the action, I added performance measures to the prevailing wage Equal Opportunity Contracting implementation plan that can be tracked and reported out as part of the Labor Compliance Program in December 2014.
I am glad that San Diego has joined over 40 other charter cities in California with prevailing wage requirements.
North Park Jack in the Box Update
Like many North Park residents, I am offended by the current Jack in the Box project at 2959 Upas Street. The project is not only inconsistent with the Greater North Park Community Plan, but also fails to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to implement good planning principles at a prime location.
When the original proposal, which sought deviations from the Greater North Park Community Plan, was presented, the North Park Planning Committee rightly opposed the project. I informed company representatives at that time that I would not support their proposal unless they satisfied the community’s concerns. The Planning Commission also recommended that the project be denied.
Instead of heeding the suggestions of the community and the Planning Commission, Jack in the Box chose to resubmit their project through the City’s Development Services Department as a “remodel” under Section 12.7.1 of the Land Development Code, even though the project, to all appearances, is a complete rebuild. This allowed the project to be permitted without any review or approval by the City Council.
The Land Development Code must be changed so that this scenario cannot be repeated. I have requested via memorandum that City staff research potential changes to the law to prevent this from happening again. I expect staff to solicit input from the Community Planners Committee and other stakeholders and report back to the City Council’s Land Use and Housing Committee this fall with suggested changes.
Even though efforts through the Mayor and City Attorney have not resulted in work being stopped at 2959 Upas Street, I continue to advocate for changes to the Land Development Code to stop this from happening in the future.
North Park Community Project Honored
The North Mini-Park & Associated Streetscape Improvement Project earned an Award of Merit from the American Planning Association’s California Chapter. I applaud the community’s dedication to this project and agree it's deserving of this honor.
What Needs Fixing in your Neighborhood?
Following the agenda set for me by neighbors in 2008, investing in our streets, sidewalks, water and wastewater systems, and public buildings remains high on my priority list. While assessments and studies are necessary, the input from San Diegan continues to shape the way we address these neighborhood needs. I encourage you to get in touch with your local community planning group to give your input on capital improvement projects before they submit their priority projects to the Community Planners Committee on September 24. In addition, if you haven’t already tried it out, there is an app allowing citizens to pinpoint concerns at http://infrastructure.opensandiego.org.
North Park – Mid-City Regional Bike Corridor Project Workshop
Please attend the community workshop and encourage others interested in livable, vibrant streets to join you. Your input is critical to the design process. Project information is available online.
August 27, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Queen Bee’s Art and Cultural Center
3925 Ohio Street
Central Library Grand Opening
Save the date San Diego! Our new Central Library grand opening is set for Saturday, September 28 at 11:00 a.m. I hope to see you there!
11th and K Streets
Downtown San Diego
Ceremony: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Tours and Festival: 12:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve,