San Diego Business Journal

Trying as hard as he can to find something positive about San Diego's financial mess, Mayor Jerry Sanders issued a statement Feb. 16 that said the city's current bond rating was affirmed, rather than downgraded or upgraded, by one of three major bond rating firms, Moody's Investors Services.

Sanders' office said the city's rating of A3 or investor grade was maintained for its general obligation bonds, and considered "a moderately positive sign of confidence."

Moody's downgraded the city's bonds in August from A1 to A3. About three months prior to that, Fitch Ratings downgraded the city's general obligation debt from A to BBB+, just two notches better than non-investment grade or junk bond status.

Another ratings service, Standard & Poor's, suspended rating any debt obligation from the city of San Diego until it delivers audited financial reports for the fiscal years 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Moody's said its affirmation of the current bond rating is based in part on the "size and resilience of the local economy." It retained a negative outlook on the city's financial situation, but noted it is manageable.

Said Sanders: "I am gratified by this sign of confidence. I don't think it is misplaced."

, Mike Allen