A lot has changed in recent months for the Greater Golden Hill Maintenance Assessment District’s Advisory Committee.

The meeting date was bumped up from the third Monday of the month to the first. The meeting location has changed from a dimly lit room inside the Moose Lodge to a tiny, dimly lit upstairs room inside the Ethos Church in Golden Hill. And, of course, there were those new committee procedures that resulted from the costly taxpayer-funded mediation between the MAD and the Greater Golden Hill CDC. Lastly, a new chairperson, Carole Caffey, was voted in at the February meeting.

Some things, however, have not changed. There’s still the infighting and the bickering with representatives from the CDC. And there’s still confusion regarding the role of the city to perform baseline services and the responsibility of the MAD to enhance those services for their community.

That was the main issue at the March 2 meeting of the Greater Golden Hill’s MAD, where board members and the few audience members in attendance voiced their frustration with a CDC proposal to use more than $330,000 from rollover assessment funds for sidewalk repair throughout the community.

“I’m not opposed to MAD having some involvement [in sidewalk repair], but I’m 100 percent opposed to personally paying for other people’s private-property responsibilities,” said MAD committee member Barbara Houlton. “Are we going to paint every house that needs to be painted in Golden Hill? And who gets to pick what sidewalks get done?”

Other MAD members, such as John Kroll, believe that what isn’t the responsibility of the homeowner should be an obligation for the city to perform baseline services.

Even chief of staff for councilmember Todd Gloria’s office, Jamie Fox-Rice, who attended the meeting, was unable to clear up the confusion for board members.

“As far as I know, my most basic understanding is that MAD money can be used for sidewalk replacement if you’re using it for...above, baseline...you know, enhanced baseline services, above and beyond that kind of thing.”

“What baseline level of service can we expect?” asked committee member Kroll. “We’re talking about sidewalk repair without any reference to any baseline level.”

“And I can appreciate that. I don’t know.”

“Well, who does?”

“We’re going to find out.”


“Well, what I understand is you guys are going to be drafting a letter.”

“To whom?”

“I, uh, I guess send it to the mayor and the city council. That’s my suggestion, but you’re the committee.”

For more confusion on what baseline city services are, go to the next meeting of the MAD, the first Monday in April. Or watch the CDC’s board of directors meeting, Thursday, March 19.

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I don't know one person who voted for MAD but we have to pay for it. I have lived in Southpark for 19 years and my sidewalk has always been a messy lumpy mixture of broken cement and asphalt. When I called Toni Atkins office they said I could pay for 50%. I'm very worried about the agenda of the city who crammed this down the residents throats.

The laws regarding Maintenance Assessment Districts was put in place to allow property owners to combine efforts on a common goal. An example: river-side property owners who all contribute toward a levee. Cities have tried to use this as a quasi-tax, resulting in several lawsuits, one pending against the City of San Diego. To use these funds to benefit some and not others is not what the State of California had in mind. It becomes a tax, not an assessment. A hearty "Thank You" to the Reader for following this saga.

MADs are supposed to supplement basic city services. In San Diego, MAD is used to replace city services.

Instead, the city spends its money subsidizing the Chargers and Padres, or wastes it on computer systems that will never be delivered, and ignores neighborhood needs like walkable sidewalks and reliable sewers.

Golden Hill residents have woken up to the fact that the MAD money is used to benefit city staffers' egos...not the residents or businesses who pay twice for services they never receive.

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