San Diego Convention Center.  Photo by Chris Stone
San Diego Convention Center. Photo by Chris Stone

The City Council has unanimously adopted an updated San Diego economic development strategy that’s been a decade in the making.

The plan’s goals are to:

  • expand the city’s base industries like manufacturing, international trade and logistics, defense and tourism;
  • focus assistance on emerging businesses in clean-tech, energy efficiency, and food and beverage;
  • increase middle-class jobs, and
  • favor locally based businesses over chains.

The strategy (see item 331), which will be in effect through 2016, seeks to take advantage of a highly skilled labor force, pleasant climate and unique proximity to Mexico and the Pacific Rim to provide competitive advantages.

Those assets can retain established businesses and attract ones considering investments in San Diego, according to the proposal.

“By adopting this strategy today, we’re committing to make San Diego more business friendly and, in turn, deliver more middle-class jobs to increase this region’s economic stability,” said Councilwoman Sherri Lightner Tuesday. She chairs the Economic Development Committee.

The committee members will work to update the municipal code and council policies in order to implement the strategy, she said.

The city’s former strategy was developed in 2000 and adopted by the City Council in early 2001.

Work began three years later on an update, but it was derailed by a change in San Diego’s form of governance – giving the mayor more executive powers – and an audit of the city’s economic development program.

The audit recommendations were incorporated into a new draft that was started two years ago. The proposed strategy also builds on lessons learned over the last 13 years and a review of similar blueprints in Los Angeles, Portland and San Jose.

According to the draft proposal, economic development can be supported by:

  • adjusting the city’s tax structure,
  • streamlining municipal services and operations,
  • developing education and the workforce, and
  • coordinating with business organizations.

The strategy proposes objectives and actions on each point.

– City News Service