Filner seeks to give $22M to police, fire

SAN DIEGO – Mayor-elect Bob Filner reinstated San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne and Fire Chief Javier Mainar Thursday while asking the city to direct $22 million toward public safety.

The money would come from a liability reserve account created with the $27 million settlement San Diego Gas & Electric paid out to the City of San Diego after it was found liable in the 2007 wildfires.

“I’m going to ask city council not to just give lip service, but to take immediate steps,” Filner said. “San Diego’s public safety is running at dangerously low levels. Police and fire cannot meet minimal demands in response times, and that means lives.”

Police, fire and rescue, lifeguards have been hit hard with budget cuts. According to Filner, Mayor Jerry Sanders is leaving the city with a balanced budget and bond rating. He wants to spend $8 million on a news state of the art communications system, police training and firing range, staff and equipment.

“They can’t communicate the kind of emergency needs that are needed,” he said. “We need a 911 system that can actually function as real system. It was installed almost 25 years ago.”

City councilwoman Marti Emerald, who has championed public safety investment, said everyone on the council cares about public safety.

“They represent neighborhood’s that need more resources,” she said. “This is our statement about public safety being a priority and it should be.”