Posts by Murtaza Baxamusa
By Murtaza Baxamusa | Published in VoiceofSanDiego.org | December 1, 2010 |
I am quite amazed by the hullabaloo over the need for a report to justify that approval of superstores in the city will indeed bring economic value to San Diegans. The origin of this nonsense comes from the city’s Independent Budget Analyst (IBA), which hypothesized that the findings of a development permit “may constitute a de facto ban on superstore development.” An illustration of this concern by the IBA is the following finding in the proposed superstore ordinance: “The superstore will not adversely affect the city’s neighborhood and small businesses.” Read More
By Murtaza Baxamusa | Published in VoiceofSanDiego.org | November 2, 2010 |
Update: The San Diego City Council passed this ordinance on a five-three vote.
San Diego is often identified as a “City of Villages.” It derives its character from local business districts and diverse neighbors tied together through a filigree of natural resources. Our beaches, canyons, deserts and mountains encase our identity, and we loathe being the southern California expansion of Los Angeles. Read More
By Murtaza Baxamusa | Published in VoiceofSanDiego.org | October 13, 2010 |
There were very few people in this town that were paying attention to the “cap” thing downtown when it came up earlier this year. I was one of them, a policy wonk that cared about plans filled with esoteric planning jargon, who has been following this for a decade.
I have been skeptical about the authority the Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) had in approving development in downtown, and their record in implementing redevelopment and economic development. I have been a vocal critic of large publicly funded projects that do not benefit the community. In fact, I firmly believe that downtown is for everybody. Read More
By Murtaza Baxamusa | Published in VoiceofSanDiego.org | October 1, 2010 |
The good news about the poverty data is that this is likely as bad as it gets. There are some observations from the last economic cycle that we need to pay attention to, as we warily embark on a new economic journey.
First, the poverty rates are just a symptom of a structural problem of low-wage jobs in the region. The latest figures from the 2009 American Community Survey show that poverty rate in the San Diego region increased in the two-year period from 11.1 percent in the pre-recession 2007 to 12.6 percent in 2009. This is about 50,000 additional San Diegans slipping below the federal poverty threshold. Read More
The toll of the Great Recession on working families is severe. We are seeing the highest rates in poverty on record, the highest unemployment for decades, and falling incomes.
In these times of economic uncertainty, there is only the certainty that our need for clean and safe neighborhoods and accessible public amenities will be evermore pressing. The structural problem is how we can continue to support these services that maintain the quality of life for our working families, as well as strengthen the foundation for a robust recovery. Read More
By Murtaza Baxamusa | September 10, 2010 |
The ranks of poor Americans grew by 3.7 million last year, with the highest number of Americans living in poverty in the last 50 years (“Nation’s poverty rate rises to 14.3%, state’s higher,” SignOn San Diego, Sept. 16). Meanwhile, the number of millionaires also grew by 1.1 million. The income distribution makes a teardrop-shaped economy, where the middle-class is being pushed downward into a bulging bottom, and the few rich are rising upward beyond the charts. We now have one in three Americans struggling to make ends meet, whilst Wall Street continues to give opulent bonuses to its executives. A disparity between prosperity and poverty has been taking shape through the past three decades, even beyond the current recession. Read More
By Murtaza Baxamusa | Published in VoiceofSanDiego.org | August 24, 2010 |
The increase in uninsured is a significant problem for working San Diegans. The recent report by UCLA shows that the percent of San Diegans below the age of 64 that were uninsured for all or part of the year increased by over 3 percentage points between 2007 and 2009. As a result, one in four San Diegans lack health insurance. Read More
By Murtaza Baxamusa | Published in VoiceofSanDiego.org | July 26, 2010 |
If there is common ground in the discussion on revenue, it is this that San Diegans pride themselves on being “America’s Finest City” and are invested in keeping it so. The logical path forward then, is to present reforms to voters that involve an increase in their investment for maintaining and restoring essential services provided by the city. The purpose of this commentary is to address two questions: why raise revenue now and why raise the sales tax? Read More
By Murtaza Baxamusa | July 12, 2010 |
Last week, I tweeted about Miramar landfill being the first municipal landfill in the nation to receive ISO 14001 certification. I was quoting the city from its own website, and was expressing concern that the request for qualifications for privatization of the landfill did not include the certification. Read More
By Murtaza Baxamusa | Published in VoiceofSanDiego.org | June 22, 2010 |
If the soccer ball was stuffed with property tax dollars, some want to score it straight into the goalpost of downtown development.
Tuesday’s actions at City Hall made the downtown goalpost three times bigger. That means more property taxes will flow into redevelopment downtown. Now, will the lifting of the cap on redistributing property tax downtown be good for the city’s desperate general fund? We have analysis by the Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC) and the Independent Budget Analyst that future hotels will generate more than enough Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT or hotel-room tax) to compensate for any loss of property taxes.
My purpose in penning this commentary is not to support or oppose the lifting of the goalpost cap, but to highlight a key problem in the economic assumptions. Read More