SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday to suspend its policy requiring a public art component on major public construction projects, and will redirect the savings to other uses.
Spending on public art is "simply not defensible" at a time when severe budget cuts are being proposed, Councilman Carl DeMaio said.
The policy, adopted on a voluntary basis in 1992 and made a requirement in 2004, called for 2 percent of spending on projects valued over $250,000 to go to public art. The policy impacted new or remodeled police and fire stations, libraries and, in one instance, a pumping station.
Suspending the policy will save the city an estimated $1.5 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1. But according to city officials, only $634,000 will go to the cash-strapped general fund -- which pays for core city services -- and most of that sum will be eaten up by payments on a 2009 bond offering.
"There's not much savings here," Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said.
The council's action means that art projects will be halted if no artist is under contract, and those already under way will be funded only through the current phase of construction.
The exact amount of money that is saved, and recommendations for its use, will be presented to the City Council at a later date. The funds cannot be used to restore library or recreation hours, which are in danger of being halved.
Councilwoman Marti Emerald suggested using the savings to help pay for a new communications system that pages fire stations with emergency calls -- the current one is broken and a backup is being used -- which would cost $1.7 million in the next fiscal year.
Councilman Kevin Faulconer favored fixing up pothole-strewn roadways.
The lone dissenter was Councilman Todd Gloria, who said his constituents valued public art, and there was no sense in suspending the policy when the savings are so small.
An immigrant who once bundled ink-fresh newspapers at a newspaper printing press took control of the San Diego Union-Tribune Sunday, and promised in a letter to readers to fight fake news as if it were cancer.
President Trump's zero-tolerance policy on immigration continues to spark outrage. Specifically, there's growing concern over officials separating children from their parents at the border.
Sunday marked day four of action at the World Cup; and it featured a huge upset that had hundreds of people dancing in the South Bay streets. Mexico took down the defending world champions Germany and local fans had a great time celebrating.
Chula Vista Police on Sunday were trying to determine how a man's body ended up in the middle of the street. Someone first spotted him early in the morning in the westbound lanes of Buena Vista Way near Rancho Del Rey Parkway.
The Pacific Southwest Emmy Awards were held Saturday night near Palm Springs and we're proud to share that several members of the News 8 team were honored.
A 21-year-old woman was found dead in her bedroom Saturday night and San Diego Police suspect foul play. The victim's family made the discovery just after 5 p.m. at their home in the 3600 block of 45th street in City Heights.
Weekend temperatures dropped nearly 10 degrees in most areas around the county, compared to a few days ago. Slight warming is expected early next week as upper low pressure weakens.
Del Mar is the only city in North County that allows off-leash dogs on the beach, but yearly seasonal changes to that rule have just taken effect.