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Public continue to voice concerns, desires on next year's San Diego City budget

Posted at 8:45 PM, May 09, 2024

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — There are 5.6 billion reasons why people walked up to the microphone at San Diego City Hall on Wednesday night: the multi-billion-dollar budget for the City proposed by Mayor Todd Gloria.

Some from the communities hit by the Jan. 22 floods weren’t mincing their words in emotionally charged public comments on where the city should be budgeting its money.

“It’s time for you guys to plan before the next rain comes," one speaker said.

“I’m drained…of speaking and asking for (expletive) help. I'm tired," Michael Rios, a flood victim, said.

During its presentation, city staff showed the Council that the key priorities in the budget are stormwater resilience, homelessness, street repair, and public safety, among other things.

“They really give the money to the housing commission to help subsidize payments for us for new rental leases,” Rios said. “The number one priority on this budget should be for the infrastructure and the flood survivors and allocate all of the money towards us, to give us permanent housing and to help us.”

Other impacts include programs, arts, libraries, and many other things that are being brought to the city council.

“So I wanted to come down and make sure that equity should be a top priority,” LaShae Sharp-Collins, who spoke during public comment, said.

Many, like Sharp-Collins, expressed concern about the budget's lack of equity for underinvested communities.

“The cuts that are happening is going to impact me drastically," Sharp-Collins said. "Those cuts are not only going to impact me as far as employment; it’s going to impact the education. It’s going to impact the housing opportunities. It’s going to impact us in all types of shapes and forms."

People plan to continue to express their opinions before the city council makes its final decision on the budget in June.

“I grew up in the 4th District, and the 4th District, we’re always on the chopping block. So for me, it’s important that we come down here and voice our opinion, and my community has a strong voice,” Sharp-Collins said.

“We need to use every minute and chance we have to speak to the city council and to the city to get us the help we need. We have no time to waste,” Rios said.