City Council's New Faces From A to Z

Alvarez, Zapf sworn in as $70M+ budget deficit looms

By Gene Cubbison
|  Monday, Dec 6, 2010  |  Updated 8:31 PM PDT
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City Council's New Faces From A to Z

NBCSanDiego

David Alvarez and Lorie Zapf

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City Council's New Faces From A to Z

Two seats on San Diego's City Council were turned over to new members on Monday.
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Two seats on San Diego's City Council were turned over to new members on Monday.

Even with their fresh perspectives, long-term solutions to the age-old problem of spiraling city budget deficits seem out of immediate reach.

At age 30, David Alvarez, who is representing District 8, is one of San Diego's youngest City Council member in decades. It's a job that will test his experience as an aide to a Democratic state senator, as well as his patience.

"We are often reminded how intractable the city's problems are, and indeed, our problems are so large that it is easy to despair," Alvarez told the audience after he was sworn into office during morning ceremonies at Golden Hall. "The problems belong to all of us, and it's going to take all of us to solve them."

At 52, Lorie Zapf brings a background in business and Republican sensibilities to a council that now numbers three GOP members and five Democrats.

"Serious reform of our city's pension system is essential to San Diego's long-term financial health," said Zapf, representing District 6, in her post-inaurgal remarks. "And we need to develop a retirement system that is more in line with the private sector. And that is definitely where we should be heading."

Mayor Jerry Sanders is already blazing that trail -- as wellas moving to put the city's information technology services, printing and publishing functions, and vehicle-fleet maintenance out to competitive bids.

But the wheels of fiscal reform don't always spin fast.

"The big kind of changes people are talking about -- the managed competition, the outsourcing, the privatization -- all those things take a long time to realize," said Liam Dillon, City Hall reporter for the online news site voiceofsandiego.org.

"They're really going to be difficult to make any meaningful savings in time for next year's budget," Dillon added.  "There's still $70 million-plus that need to be solved."

Later in the day, Zapf's first move on the council was to co-sponsor an effort to reconsider the override of the mayor's veto of a measure requiring economic and community impact reports on so-called "big box" store projects.

The scheduling of that issue now rests with new Council President Tony Young, who was unanimously elected Monday by his colleagues, succeeding Ben Hueso newly sworn-in to the state Assembly in the 39th District.

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