Hundreds of National City residents packed Cornerstone Church of San Diego Oct. 17 to hear how their city has been progessing post recession.
National City Mayor Ron Morrison held his seventh annual state of a city address, which at times seemed more of a spectacle than a plan for the future.
Dressed in 1960s garb, Morrison had a “Where’s Waldo” type theme tied into and botched “Back to The Future” skit.
Morrison discussed the impact of losing redevelopment dollars, the modification of enterprise zones, and the benefits the district tax has brought to National City.
Morrison said that losing state redevelopment dollars has set the city back with some of its plans for the future.
“National City was so dependent on redevelopment, we had huge plans for redevelopment,” he said.
“We had money coming in, we were out buying out property and vacant lots. We already had plans on what to do with everything, and guess what happens? The state says ‘redevelopment has gone away.’”
Morrison said the newly modified Enterprise Zones signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, was supposed to impact low income areas such as National City, instead, he said the enterprise zones are focusing more on the biotech industry which benefit La Jolla and other less poverty stricken areas.
“These things were designed to help businesses and bring jobs into areas that we live the most, and disadvantaged areas,” he said. “Our whole city basically was an enterprise zone, a great resource then it was decided this year, lets redo the enterprise zones at the state level.”
The mayor said the district tax has really kept the city from faltering.
“People in National City were courageous, they did something that other cities had been totally petrified of doing, they passed a one cent sales tax,” he said. “The interesting thing is that tax approximately 70 to 75 percent of it is paid by people outside who come here to shop and that money stays here and no place else.”
He said revenue from the district tax has contributed to increase library hours and streets repaired, among other things.
Morrison said the city is proud to have the first Sonic Fast Food Chain in the South Bay, scheduled to break ground by the end of the year.
Other highlights Morrison said that is going on at National City include Sweetwater High School’s new all-purpose football field, a partnership with the YMCA to bring an aquatic center and the beautifician project for the city.