San Diego, California

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
San Diego, California
Seal of San Diego, California.svg
General information
Kevin Faulconer.jpg
Mayor:Kevin Faulconer
Last mayoral election:2014
Next mayoral election:2016
Last city council election:2014
Next city council election:2016
City council seats:9
2014 FY Budget:$2.8 billion
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:1.33 million
Gender:49.5% Female
Race:White 58.9%
White Not-Hispanic 45.1%
African American 6.7%
Asian 15.9%
Native American 0.6%
Pacific Islander 0.5%
Two or More 5.1%
Ethnicity:Hispanic 28.8%
Median household income:$63,990
High school graduation rate:86.6%
College graduation rate:41.4%
Related San Diego offices
California Congressional DelegationCalifornia State LegislatureCalifornia state executive offices
San Diego is the ninth-largest city in the United States and eighth-largest city in California, after Los Angeles. San Diego the county seat of San Diego County. Its administrative limit covers a land area of 372.1 square miles (963.7 km2). The city is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean in Southern California.

According to Forbes magazine, San Diego was the fifth-wealthiest city in the United States in 2005, and the 9th safest city in the top 10 list of safest cities in the U.S. in 2010.[1][2]

Office of the Mayor

Kevin Faulconer is the current Mayor of San Antonio.[3] Faulconer served on the San Antonio City Council from 2002 to 2014, when he was elected Mayor.[4]

City Council

San Diego's legislative body is the City Council, made up of nine members from nine council districts. The Council's duties include introducing and passing ordinances and appointing certain city officials. The City Council meets every Monday at 2:00 P.M. and every Tuesday at 10:00 A.M.[5]

Current members, San Diego City Council
District Councilmember
1 Sherri Lightner
2 Ed Harris
3 Todd Gloria
4 Myrtle Cole
5 Mark Kersey
6 Lorie Zapf
7 Scott Sherman
8 David Alvarez
9 Marti Emerald



See also: San Diego, California municipal elections, 2014.

The city of San Diego, California held elections for mayor and city council in 2014. A runoff election for mayor took place on February 11, 2014. Kevin Faulconer (R) was the winner.[6] An election for four city council seats will take place on November 4, 2014.[7]


The adopted budget for fiscal year 2014 totals $2.8 billion, and includes infrastructure improvements, a new Computer Aided Dispatch System, police retention and additional hourly life guards.

The city's budget process operates by Fiscal Years running from July 1 to June 30 of the next year. The budget process begins with the council passing a Budget Priorities Resolution. Next, the Mayor, COO and CFO develop a budget proposal by working with city departments. The council then holds public budget hearings and committee meetings, while making amendments as necessary. The final budget is passed in June. The city is required by state law to maintain a balanced budget.[8]

Contact information

Office of the City Clerk
202 C Street, 2nd Floor
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-533-4000
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M.

Office of the Mayor
202 C Street, 11th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-236-6330


The City of San Diego paid for $50,000 in federal lobbying in 2013. The city filed for one issue relating to Federal Budget & Appropriations, one issue relating to Taxes and one issue relating to Urban Development.[9]

The City of San Diego has a PDF of all registered lobbyists available on the City Clerk's website.

Ballot measures

See also: San Diego County, California ballot measures

The city of San Diego is in San Diego County. A list of ballot measures in San Diego County is available San Diego County, California ballot measures.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

Population as of the July, 2011 census update: 1,326,179.[10] San Diego is a charter city.

San Diego has its own initiative process for charter amendments and ordinances determined by the city charter. There are no specific subject matter restrictions for petitions. Signature requirements are 3% of the registered voters of the city at the last general city election for presentation to the legislature and 10% for the ballot. Circulators must wait 21 days after publication of intention to circulate and must turn in petitions 180 days after said publication. Circulators may be either paid or volunteer, but they must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years of age. The city code determines the format of the petition. The pre-approval process includes registration and publication in a newspaper of the intention to circulate. If 3% sign, then the petition goes to the legislature for passage. If at least 10% sign, then it proceeds to the ballot. A simple majority determines the outcome of the election.

The San Diego City Charter San Diego Municipal Code

Public pensions

See also: California public pensions

City employees can contribute to a Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP), which allows them to place city pensions into a special account with guaranteed interest during the last five years of employment.[11] A recent report by CFFR revealed that the top ten pension pays will cost taxpayers $61 million.[12] The report also showed that public officials in San Diego contribute only 8 percent to their pension plans, as opposed to the traditional 23 percent.

Another aspect of the pensions are sick day buyouts, with the highest one being $118,605. The benefit cost the city $2.5 million from 2007 to 2011.[13] The city also awarded $73.5 million in pension bonuses from 1984 to 2011, with the highest payout being $$299,000.[14]

Mayor Jerry Sanders proposed mandating that new employees be signed on to a 401k like pension instead of the previous city plan. The city proposed this to save costs as it faced a $72 million budget gap and $2.1 billion in unfunded pension liability. As a result of the budget gap, the city was forced to layoff 1,400 of its 11,000 employees.[15]

Ballot initiative

See also: San Diego Pension Reform Initiative, Proposition B (June 2012)

A pension initiative was approved by two-thirds of voters on the June 2012 ballot to eliminate guaranteed pensions for most new city hires and give them a 401(k)-style plan instead. The measure imposed a six-year freeze on pay levels used to determine pension benefits unless a two-thirds majority of the City Council votes to override it. It also puts new hires, except for police officers, into 401(k)-style plans.[16][17]


Whistle blower

A Firefighter was awarded $424,000 in 2010 after winning a lawsuit that proved he was fired in retaliation for reporting corrupt behavior within the department. The fire fighter, Paul Vandeveld, was suspended after trying to stop harassment of a colleague who helped reveal the city's pension scandal.[18]

Transparency and public records

In 2006, San Diego was sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission for failing to alert investors about its pension and health plan obligations. Since then, the city has earned praise for its turnaround on transparency as it relates to the issuance of municipal bonds.[19]

Website evaluation

See also: Evaluation of California city websites
Elected Officials
Administrative Officials
Permits, zoning
Lobbying P
Public Records
Local Taxes

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process

In 2011 San Diego earned a Sunny Awards for having a perfect website transparency score.

The good

  • Budget
    • The proposed budget is posted.[20]
    • Final adopted budget is posted.[21]
    • Budgets are archived to 2005 on adopted budget page.
    • Five year financial outlook for the city is posted.[22]
  • Audits
    • Audit reports for most recent fiscal year are posted.[23]
    • Planned audits are posted.
    • Audits are archived to 2008.[24]
  • Elected officials
    • Contact information for the mayor[25] is posted.
    • Contact information for city council members is available.[26]
  • Meetings
    • City Council agendas and minutes are available. Documents for City Council committee meeting are also posted.[27][28]
    • Council documents are archived to 1971.[29]
  • Administration
    • Contact information is available for administrative staff.[30]
  • Planning information, including Official Zoning maps, is available through the Development Services Department. Specific zoning information is available on request.[31]
  • Contracts
    • Bids and contracts are available for download in the Purchasing Department.[32]
    • City contract lists are archived for three years.
    • Bid tabulations are posted.[33]
  • Taxes
    • Information on local taxes and fees are posted.[34][35]
  • Lobbyist
    • Information regarding current and past registered lobbyists, as well as lobbying requirements, is available.[36]
  • Public records
    • Public Record Act request information is available.[37]

The bad

  • Lobbying
    • Membership and fees paid to any taxpayer funded lobbying associations is not disclosed.

See also

External links


  1. Forbes, "Richest Cities In The U.S.," October 28, 2005
  2. Forbes, "America's Safest Cities," October 11, 2010
  3. City of San Diego, "Office of the Mayor," accessed June 6, 2014
  4. City of San Antonio, "About Kevin," accessed June 6, 2014
  5. City of San Diego, "City Hall Index," accessed June 6, 2014
  6. U-T San Diego, "Faulconer wins mayor's race," February 11, 2014
  7. The City of San Diego, "June 3, 2014 Primary Election," accessed March 10, 2014
  8. City of San Diego, "A Citizen's Guide to the City's Budget Process & the FY 2014 Adopted Budget," accessed June 6, 2014
  9. Open Secrets, "City of San Diego, CA," accessed June 6, 2014
  10. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named census
  11. Signon San Diego, "City pensions are higher with DROP," September 29, 2010
  12. CFFR, "10 former San Diego city employees will split $61 million in pensions," October 4, 2010
  13. Signons San Diego, "County payouts for sick leave: $2.5 million," February 15, 2011
  14. Sigon San Diego, "‘13th check’ pension payouts: $73 million," February 17, 2011
  15. Business Week, "San Diego's Tough-Love Pension Proposal," December 9, 2010
  16. San Diego Union Tribune, "Ballot measure aims to revamp pension system," March 24, 2011
  17. Rancho Bernardo Patch, "Pension Reform Measure Officially on June Ballot," January 30, 2012
  18. Sigon San Diego, "San Diego firefighter wins $424,000 from city in court," December 20, 2010
  19. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego praised for transparency on muni bonds," March 29, 2011
  20. City of San Diego, "Proposed Budget," accessed August 6, 2014
  21. City of San Diego, "Adopted Budget," accessed August 6, 2014
  22. City of San Diego, "Financial Outlook," accessed August 6, 2014
  23. City of San Diego, "Audit," accessed August 6, 2014
  24. City of San Diego, "Audit Archives," accessed August 6, 2014
  25. City of San Diego, "Mayor," accessed August 6, 2014
  26. City of San Diego, "City Council," accessed August 6, 2014
  27. City of San Diego, "City Council Meetings," accessed August 6, 2014
  28. City of San Diego, "City Council Committee Meetings," accessed August 6, 2014
  29. City of San Diego, "Council Archives," accessed August 6, 2014
  30. City of San Diego, "Departments," accessed August 6, 2014
  31. City of San Diego, "Services Department," accessed August 6, 2014
  32. City of San Diego, "Purchasing," accessed August 6, 2014
  33. City of San Diego, "Bid Tabulations," accessed August 6, 2014
  34. City of San Diego, "Taxes and Fees," accessed August 6, 2014
  35. City of San Diego, "Other Taxes and Fees," accessed August 6, 2014
  36. City of San Diego, "Lobbying," accessed August 6, 2014
  37. City of San Diego, "Public Records Request," accessed August 6, 2014