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Citizen Voices

Leadership and Financial Management

Two interesting articles in the Union-Tribune recently: the County Board of Supervisors wants to raise taxes to pay for increased fire protection and the City of San Diego is investigating whether it overspent on clean-up after the 2007 wildfires .

On a related issue, the state still hasn't passed a balanced budget for the current fiscal year and Governor Schwarzenegger is reportedly considering a one cent sales tax increase (temporary, yeah right) to cover the projected shortfall.

Especially in this economy, why should any voter give these leaders more money to spend? Why should the voters increase their own taxes and create a new agency of bureaucrats when the existing institutions are still trying to explain how they spent the resources at their disposal during the last crisis?


Our leaders need to prioritize their projects and do their best within their existing resources, just like every other family and business trying to make do in this economy. Admitting failure and asking for more money from the voters is not the answer.

A Musing Reamus from Carlsbad
August 07, 2008 at 05:15 AM
Citizens Voices is a place for those the public to exchange views. I was not under the impression until reading this latest entry of Mr. Hartley’s that it was a place to gather three unrelated topics—okay they are related because they all have to do with money---and fire an off-handed volley at the City, County and State Government.. Let’s start at the beginning. We had a horrific fire and the haulers that the City contracted with to remove rubble from destroyed structures either charged incorrectly or cannot by their records account for what appear to be overcharges. In what Mr. Hartley finds a shocking revelation, they didn’t always pay the fee when they went to the dump Yet they have now paid those fees says the article he references but are disputing—in the legal sense-- whether they should have to pay the penalty and interest charges the city wishes to assess for not paying timely. Well, did the contract call for paying at each trip? Are the penalties for such action specified in the contract? We don’t know unless we read the contract since we are not enlightened by either the UT piece or what Mr. Hartley says. Perhaps the dumpsite should have required them to pay before they dumped. Maybe the contract called for that. Again, we don’t know (see above). Next Mr. Hartley ties this to a proposal to have a regional fire protection system for the County of San Diego, which, when I last looked was a different entity than the City of San Diego governed by County Supervisors. We are the only county in the state that does not have one. He says that a “new agency of bureaucrats” will be formed to carry this out. The distasteful word here, one must suppose, is “bureaucrat,” that all encompassing term for people who serve the city, state and federal government on some capacity whether it be for good or ill. Will it? Well, it is to be headed by a Member of the County Council (Who we already pay) and one might presume that transfers from some of the other departments that do such a terrible job of dealing with countywide fire threats here now. Why? Because there are some number (I am not sure anyone knows for sure) of volunteer and small fire department “fiefdoms’ spread throughout the East County that don’t even speak to each other in normal times but are called upon to save our homes in times of grave danger. Tell me honestly, if I offered you an insurance policy for the 50 dollars it will cost per household to assure a reasoned, coordinated, countywide response to fires that threaten all or some of our homes here every year, would you buy it? That is what they are offering. The theory here seems to be that you will save my house, but I won’t pay you a dime more to do it. If you want protection, you pay for it. It is the way it works in the rest of the state, so what makes this part of the “watered dessert” and its inhabitants so special? Last, he then calls the state budget a “related issue’. Related to what? Fire protection, distaste for “bureaucrats,” or the sales tax? I fail to make the connection. The state and its budget (or lack thereof) which has nothing to do with thelocal issues has been a mess since the first Reagan gubernatorial term when he closed all the Mental Heath hospitals to make the budget balance. Please, don’t insult me with some cavalier piece about how taxes are bad and everyone needs to live within their means. If there are failures, we all share the responsibility to make people accountable to fix them. That occasionally costs money. If the County and City government have merged while I slept, do please tell me. See you at the next fire, Charles.