GLORIA PENNER (HOST): Monday marked the first
anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history,
which touched off a global financial crisis. President Obama spoke on Wall Street
about how the economy is showing signs of stability…but he also spoke about the need for financial institutions
to learn from past mistakes. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (President,
United “The storms of the past two years are beginning to break. The growing stability resulting from these interventions means we’re
beginning to return to normalcy. But here’s what I want to emphasize today. Normalcy cannot lead to complacency…We will
not go back to the days of reckless behavior and unchecked excess that was
at the heart of this crisis. Where too many were motivated only by the
appetite for quick kills and bloated bonuses. Those on Wall Street cannot resume taking risks
without regard for consequences and expect that next time American taxpayers will be
there to break their fall…”There are those who argue we should do less or nothing
at all there will be those who engage in revisionist history or have
selective memories and don’t seem to recall what we just went through last year. But to them I’d say only this. Do you really believe that the absence of sound regulation one year ago
was good for the financial system? Do you believe that the resulting decline
in markets and wealth and unemployment, the wrenching hardship that
families are going through all across the country was somehow
good for our economy? Was that good for the American people?” PENNER (HOST): Joining me now to talk about
the direction of the economy are: Tom York, editor of the San Diego Business Journal. And Tony Perry, San Diego Bureau
Chief of the Los Angeles Times. Welcome, gentlemen… Tom, let me start with you. Obviously the president wants
regulation of the financial markets. Why should he get what he wants? TOM YORK (Editor, San Diego Business
Journal): Why should he get what he wants? Well, I don’t think should get that. I disagree with the president. I think taking risk is at the heart
of the free enterprise system, and if you take away the risk-taking,
you’re taking away the heart of the system. I think there’s too much emphasis on regulation. I think there’s a number of other factors that
figured into what happened last September, and going forward from there, and uh, you
know basically things are getting back to normal without government intervention. PENNER: But, risk-taking, isn’t
that one of the things that led us into this recession in the first place, Tony? TONY PERRY (San Diego Bureau Chief,
The Los Angeles Times): It is. And also greed, and also this
compensation situation in which the man at the top makes an unbelievable
amount and it all trickles down, so everyone’s just thinking
about the next paycheck. I disagree with Tom, I’m big on regulation. I think we’ve been unregulated and
now we’re all paying the price. But I also think that regulation
alone won’t work. And what scares me is that greed
will once again be in control. And even if there’s regulation,
folks who have a certain mentality. will say, ‘How can I gain in this situation? How can I put myself first even if
it causes heartache to other people. PENNER: O.k. So we’ll take you
now from the national perspective on the state of the economy to a local one. On Tuesday, San Diego city mayor Jerry
Sanders made what city officials are calling a major speech. Sanders predicts a hard road ahead
with an even bigger budget deficit and a lot of tough decisions. And despite all this, his plan
is to build, build, and build. MAYOR JERRY SANDERS (Mayor, San Diego):
Next year’s deficit is expected to dwarf all of its predecessors, and if we are to
protect our service levels we need ideas from every corner of the City As we look
for ways to protect our General Fund and the city services it provides, we
cannot allow our judgment to be clouded by the defeatists who think the only response
to a weak economy is to abandon our aspirations. I’m fully aware that, in
times of economic upheaval, some people want government
to stop in its tracks. They think progress was all
right for previous generations, but it’s taken us about as far as it can. During this time of economic hardship,
I would never ask residents to choose between funding basic services and
investing in discretionary capital projects. Each of the following initiatives will be
funded by revenues generated by the projects. Put another way, the money we invest in the projects would not exist
but for the projects themselves. The list should be familiar to most
of you: • a third-phase expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, which
over two decades has proved to be one of the smartest investments this city
ever made, • the replacement of City Hall, which is a ticking time bomb of foreseeable
expenses and potentially massive liabilities, • and the replacement of our Central Library, which the City outgrew during
the Ford Administration. Each of these projects is moving forward
in a deliberate and thoughtful way, and gaining support at every stage, not
just because they mean jobs for San Diegans, but because they make sense for San Diego. PENNER: So Tony, why is the mayor focusing
on some massive capital expansions rather than on the immediate problems
that we have with the city, the sewer systems, the broken streets, potholes. PERRY: I think he’s doing both. Not in that speech, necessarily. That was kind of a declaration of
independence by Jerry Sanders, saying, “I’m not going to be hemmed in by the
thinking of the past, I’m going to think by San Diego standards, rather boldly.” He is talking about the other. He talked about city services. That was his Declaration of Independence. Now, the declaration is one
thing, the war is another. Let’s see how these things going to be financed. He said they’re going to be through revenue that
will be generated by the projects themeselves. Yes, but what do you put in
that great big new library, that will come from general
fund money, probably. PENNER: Tom, do you agree? Do you think that these projects might have
some significant impact on our local economy? YORK: I think that the projects themselves
would be positive for the economy. The question is how do we pay for them. For example, we’re talking about $1.6
billion worth of new construction here. I think that would prove a boon
beyond any share of our stimilus that we get from our federal government. It would prove a boon to our economy. But the real issue here is
how do we pay for this? Where does the money come from? How do we structure it? And, you know the mayor was big
rhetoric, but short on details. PENNER: So, what are some of
the current economic problems, that you would like to see
the mayor address first, before he starts talking about big buildings? YORK: Well, the city has this unfunded pension
liability that’s facing us straight on. In fact, today they’re discussing whether
or not to change sort of the terms of how this unfunded liablity
will be taken care of. You know it’s a huge problem. It hasn’t been solved. It s been around for years and I think that
the mayor really needs to focus on dealing with that straight on and getting that solved
before moving on to more bigger projects. PENNER: I was thinking about the City
Council this week not even agreeing on where the homeless are going
to be living during the winter. I mean, isn’t that– shouldn’t that be a priority before the
city council and for the mayor? PERRY: Sure, it’s a priority. What to do this winter and in this year pension,
but I think the out years are also priority? What are we going to do in the next
decade and as the mayor pointed out the library has been out-moded
since the days of Jerry Ford. All of San Diego’s major buildings,
the sports arena, the library, the city administration building were all
built small and cheap and were outmoded. What Jerry Sanders is trying
to do is say, “San Diego, let’s think a little larger,
even though things are bad. Now, talk is one thing, finding
the money is another. PENNER: Tom? YORK: Well, you know talk about
expanding the Convention Center, I mean tourism is down 30 percent
from where it was a year ago. So, are we going to go in in
a time when tourism is down and add further tax burdens
on our tourism industry. It just doesn’t make sense at
this point and time to do that. PENNER: It doesn’t, but the mayor may
also be making another point here. His whole attitude, his approach
during the speech was quite different. YORK: Right. It’s think big, act big. I think it’s OK to say that, but you
have to have some details to back it up and I think the details are sadly lacking here.

Tagged : # # # # # # # # # # #

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *