Most Local Politicians Giving Up Car Allowance - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Most Local Politicians Giving Up Car Allowance

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Driving virtually cost-free has long been a perk of local politicians, but only two of 10 elected officials now accept the $9,600 annual allowance, instead of logging their mileage and getting reimbursed for work-related travel, it was reported today.

Along with Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, six of
the eight council members are declining the auto allowance, while City Council President Ben Hueso and Councilman Tony Young accept the payment.

And newly installed Councilman Carl DeMaio plans to ask his colleagues
to do away with the benefit -- unless the City Attorney's Office finds the allowance violates state law first, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

"I certainly am prepared to take it away from those who have not
already given it up," DeMaio said. "But the question becomes, do you have five votes on the City Council to do that?"

A 2006 state law requires elected officials to be reimbursed for actual
expenses only, though many cities still pay flat rates based on an older law that allowed the payments by contract.

Goldsmith's legal opinion about the flat-rate stipend should be ready in 30-45 days. He earlier opined unequivocally that the allowances are illegal.

Ending the perk, DeMaio said, was a "no-brainer" in light of pending budget cuts.

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