Wednesday, April 15, 2009

CM PRESS # 666


Against abortion? For the First, Second and Tenth amendments? A veteran?

Against illegal immigration? Don't like taxes? Want a smaller government closer to the people?

Janet Napolitno thinks you're a right wing extremist and you have to be watched. Link
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The election is on May 19, 2009


That's right. VOTE NO on every proposition on May 19. Don't believe the phony wording about "the children," it's BS. Don't we already pay enough in taxes in Taxifornia?

Remember, you can't just stay home and not vote or the lefties who are doing a full court press for yes votes on everything will win.

It's time to stop the big spending politicians in both parties.

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It felt as though most of the City's 611 employees came in from their far flung homes last night to sit in City Council chambers to try to stare down the Council as that body tried to come up with ways to make up a $19.9 million dollar shortfall in City revenues.

The only Councilmember missing was Eric Bever and no one seemed to know why he wasn't there.

Flopsy Katrina Foley was the only Councilmember to get applause from the crowd as she paid back the police and fire unions for their support in the last election by saying that, golly, she had just come back from her vacation on Sunday night, but that she had figured out how to make up the shortfall without laying off any of her union pals.

This, of course, was amazing news and the City employees, who Foley serves, greeted the brilliance of Flopsy with thunderous applause.

Now, why hadn't the City's well paid accountants and other high ranking staff, who have been working on the shortfall problem since November, been able to figure out what Foley figured out in a few minutes?

Why, all you have to do is rob Peter to pay Paul. According to Foley, the problem is easily solved. Just dip into the reserves that the City needs to be fiscally responsible and use that money to pay City employees. Yup. Break open that piggy bank and spend every last cent and then worry about things down the road. Don't be a busy and frugal ant. Be a happy-go-lucky grasshopper and play while the sun shines. Of course, the sun is not shining and we are in the midst of our economic winter.

Never mind that the City Manager said that if the reserves were tapped, the City would run out of money in about three years.

In the end, the Council, with Foley voting against staff's recommendations, and with some minor tweaks, agreed to the 10 elements for a balanced approach to making up the $19.9 million shortfall, including looking at eliminating as many as 22 employee positions.


Of every $1.00 received in revenue by the City, 73 cents goes to employees in salaries and benefits. That leaves just 27 cents for everything else (parks, roads, programs, everything else, etc.).

Most of the City's police officers and fire fighters do not live in Costa Mesa, so the millions of dollars in salaries and benefits that we pay them leave our city when they punch the time clock to go to their own cities.

Thus, most of the money we pay these employees does not circulate here in Costa Mesa and very little of it comes back to the City's coffers in the form of sales tax.

When last we checked, something like 75% of our police officers live elsewhere.

This talk of sales tax is not a trifle. Remember,unlike many other cities, most of Costa Mesa's revenues come from sales tax. So, if our retail merchants aren't selling goods, our revenue drops. This being the case, you'd think the City would encourage employees to live and shop here.

Of course, as already mentioned, these employees who don't live here and who can't vote here, didn't mind giving thousands of dollars to help elect Katrina Foley, who now serves their interests, and who is doing everything possible to not enact staff's recommendations for a balanced approach to make up the shortfall, because the balanced approach includes the elimination of some employee positions.

Foley's other brilliant idea (we're being sarcastic) was a suggestion to raise the TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax). In plain English, this is a tax on people who stay in our hotels. Costa Mesa has a low TOT, and this is necessary to attract visitors here. After all, Costa Mesa is not really a destination location. We don't have Disneyland and we don't have a beach. This is a non-starter and the Council has repeatedly turned down this tax as being counter productive.

Foley's union pals all clapped wildly when she brought this up. However, since the other members of the Council wouldn't put this on the agenda it died. Not happy with this result, Foley then had the City Manager and the City Attorney explain to Foley's union pals how they could go around the Council and get this TOT put on the ballot. Will the union members try to get the approximately 6,000 signatures to put the TOT on the ballot? We doubt it. It's not really going to make up the shortfall even if it does go on the ballot. It was just Foley grandstanding.

Don't get us wrong...

No one wants to lay off employees. In my business life, that's always been one of the worst things I've had to do. Hopefully, the unions, despite what some union members said last night about not wanting any cuts in their salaries or benefits, will understand that layoffs will happen unless they do take some cuts.

The citizens of Costa Mesa do not live here to serve the City's employees, the City's employees work here to serve the citizens.

The 10 element plan presented by staff appears to be well balanced and spreads the negative effects of the shortfall across all areas of municipal government.

We just can't spend more than we make.
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Those are our opinions. Thanks for reading them.

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