Is San Diego’s new “climate action plan” about to be transformed into an expensive political football, costing taxpayers a bundle for high-salaried patronage positions to tout the wonders of mayor Kevin Faulconer and the city council? So wonder city-hall insiders in the wake of the Republican mayor’s September rollout of what his backer U-T San Diego calls “a model of realistic steps to achieve realistic goals without punishing home and business owners with costly financial mandates.”
The paper, owned by real estate mogul Douglas Manchester, was happy about Faulconer’s rejection of energy-retrofit mandates for house sales, to be replaced by “a simple, one-page disclosure form, making it easy for prospective buyers to know the property’s level of efficiency, thereby serving as incentive for homeowners to upgrade but without the costly inspections, audits and retrofits.”
But nothing has been said about the emergence of a new Faulconer-promoting bureaucracy that observers say is about to be spawned, as evidenced in a recently posted job notice. “Under the direction of the Economic Development Director, the Sustainability Program Manager is responsible for coordinating the management of the Climate Action Plan, released in draft in September, 2014,” says the document.
“The position is also responsible for creating, implementing and supporting internal and external sustainability initiatives and the inclusion of sustainability goals and tactics in the City’s Economic Development Strategy and in regional strategies such as the San Diego Global Export Plan and upcoming Foreign Direct Investment plan.”
Judging by the ad, the patronage position will go heavy on public relations, the practice of which is looked on with favor by the former PR man. The new hire’s first duty is listed as being to “develop and implement marketing and educational programs to inform the public on sustainability.” Compensation is not specified, but expected to be rich for the advancement of Faulconer’s political fortunes. “The successful candidate will be eligible for participation in the City’s Flexible Benefits Plan that offers several optional benefit plans or a taxable cash option; $50,000 in City-paid life insurance; [and] paid annual leave accruing 22 days per year for the 1st through the 15th year of service.” Applications are due December 5.