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Divvying up $650M in stimulus could quickly get partisan

Posted at 5:11 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 20:25:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- County Supervisor Jim Desmond has unveiled another proposal for how to spend part of the $650 million of federal stimulus funds allocated to the county. When the debate takes place June 8, he'll have some leverage despite being a Republican on a Democrat-controlled board.

Wednesday, Desmond said he wants to use part of it to help kids pay for little league. But even that could devolve into a partisan battle.

“Youth sports participation is down in San Diego, and I don’t want money to be the reason,” Desmond said at a news conference.

Ken Cicalo says participation in the Clairemont Hilltop little league has dropped 15 to 20 percent, with some families unable to afford the $120-$140 registration.

“Our leagues have tried to hold down cost to help families who struggled with the financial burdens of the pandemic,” he said.

Cicalo’s backing Desmond's new proposal to allocate $10 million of federal stimulus funds to help kids register for sports.

The money would come out of a $650 million pot of stimulus funds earmarked for the county.

This is Desmond’s third proposal for how to spend the funds. He's pitching $50 million to split the cost of some restaurant meals with San Diegans, and another $40 million to help military families and Covid first-responders with hardships.

The board will meet Tuesday to vote on how to spend the stimulus money, and it requires a four-fifths votes. That means one Republican, such as Desmond, must sign on with the three democrat majority. That gives the GOP some leverage.

In April, the board approved a conceptual framework on a three-two vote, emocrats in favor and Republicans opposed. It called for $85 million for homeless services, $50 million for small business stimulus, and $36 million for hazard pay for county workers — that part, blasted by the local Republican party as unfair to other essential workers.

The framework also calls for $2 million to help kids sign up for little league.

A spokesman for county board chair Nathan Fletcher, a Democrat, declined to comment Wednesday.