Although we generally have not been especially impressed with San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s first few months in office, we offer our approval of his decision last week to restore the city’s funding to the San Dieguito River Park.
In releasing his proposed 2013-14 budget, Filner allocated about $250,000 to help fund the multi-governmental agency that runs the sprawling park, which extends from the coast to Volcan Mountain.
The park is administered by a “Joint Powers Authority” with a board comprised of representatives of the areas protected by the park: the County of San Diego, the City of San Diego, Poway, Escondido, Del Mar and Solana Beach. The jurisdictions are asked to contribute money to run the park based on the percentage of land each has. (Poway is contributing $75,000 this year.)
In 2011, former Mayor Jerry Sanders eliminated his city’s annual contribution to the JPA, representing about a third of the expected revenue. Since then the park’s management managed to keep things running, but it’s been a struggle. Poway City Councilman Jim Cunningham, who this year is serving as the JPA’s chairman, noted that “losing a third of the River Parks funding forced an incredible budget challenge that was handled admirably by the River Park staff and the board members.” After assuming his chairmanship in January, Cunningham met twice with Filner to discuss the importance of the park.
Full participation by the City of San Diego will allow the JPA and its staff to continue and enhance its important mission of protecting undeveloped land for the enjoyment of future generations. For that we have Filner (and Cunningham) to thank.