Thursday, February 4, 2010

Consequences of "Environment is our Economy" Hippienomics

Financing City Services Task Force grimly reviews potential budget cuts

By Jane Northrop
Pacifica Tribune
Posted: 02/04/2010 06:00:00 AM PST

The Financing City Services Task Force, a city committee with members appointed by City Council, faces a growing budget deficit and must soon recommend a course of action for the city to stop the flow of red ink. 

After reviewing projected budgets for all city departments for the next five years, City Manager Steve Rhodes told the committee they faced a challenging $14 million deficit.

Committee members began their work by brainstorming ways to cut whatever could be cut from the various departments and noting what cuts have already been made. Nevertheless, they were still left with a staggering deficit.

"It will take five years to bring us back to strength. It will take five years of holding tight on things," Rhodes said. 

Rhodes suggested three ways to reduce the $14 million deficit by (1) reducing personnel costs by approximately $8 million through bargaining and other changes, (2) making a $2.8 million reduction that would carry through each year or (3) reducing city services, including layoffs.

"It is my combination of these three idea that will help to reduce the $14 million deficit. They are not all going to be implemented and there are overlaps between them. It cannot be characterized that any one of them alone is the solution," Rhodes said. 

Read more...  

Posted by Steve Sinai


Kathy Meeh said...

It unfortunate that "term limits" could not be retroactive. Mission accomplished by this city council.

Jeffrey W Simons said...

Well I certainly hope the candidates who were endorsed by the San Mateo County Labor Council will not allow bargaining cuts against the union that supported their election.

Jeffrey W Simons said...

A few comments should make voters stand up and pay attention this fall:

"We are already cut to the bone," (Police Chief Jim) Saunders said.

Pacifica starting making these cuts even before the recession. When pointing to other cities and their budget deficits, keep in mind these other cities are ONLY NOW contemplating the level of cuts Pacifica has ALREADY made.

"Our forest maintenance plan has been effective. No major trees have fallen down in the last two years," said Ann Ritzma, administrative services director.

well Thank God for small miracles! The frikkin coastline and some buildings are dropping into the ocean, but we kept them trees upright.

The city anticipates saving money by using solar power on some city buildings.

What a big giant heaping pile of hippie horse manure. The capital costs for installing solar panels do not pay off for at least 12-15 years. Either Pacifica is already saving that money from solar panels that have been installed, or they're looking to spend money the city doesn't have.

Pete Shoemaker, co-chair of Pacificans for Sustainable Development (who felt a yellow sticky was an adequate FPPC filing for this PAC), is the chair of this committee. Crikey, that's like making Barry Bonds chair of a steroids investigation committee . . .

mike bell said...

The city should just cut the deficit in half with deJarnatt's $7,000,000+ surplus and then apply Vreeland's "best shape ever" economics to the remaining deficit. Unless of course those wascilly wabbit incumbents fooled us all again with their re-election hijinx.
Another reason for term limits: challengers can't lie about all of the wonderful things they have done while in office.

Kathleen Rogan said...

LOL! Jeff. LOL! Your posts make me laugh when I really should be crying.

For crissakes!! Didn't anybody tell these doofs that solar panels don't work in p-town????!!!! We will NEVER see a return on our money for those. WHat a rippofffffff!!!

Steve Sinai said...

Kathleen, the solar panels let Council's hippie supporters feel good about themselves. Return on investment and financial priorities are not issues of relevance at City Hall.

Kathleen Rogan said...

oh, thanks for clearing that up. See, ya learn a lot on fix pacifica.

Anonymous the Clown said...

Apparently Rhodes didn't get the memo from DeJarnatt that there is a $7.5 million reserve.

Anonymous the Clown said...

"Our forest maintenance plan has been effective. No major trees have fallen down in the last two years," said Ann Ritzma, administrative services director."

I guess all of the fallen mature eucalyptus trees don't count since the enviro-mental cases consider them to be "invasive weeds". That "new math" is so confusing...

Lionel Emde said...

"After reviewing projected budgets for all city departments for the next five years, City Manager Steve Rhodes told the committee they faced a challenging $14 million deficit."
Is this one year? Or over five years?
Slight bit of difference depending on which.
I would say that the deficit is a billowing enlarging hole that will be the thing to watch in 2010.

Kathy Meeh said...

Lionel, the $14 million over 5 years in government projection speak. Remember from the budget last year the salaried police position, never funded, never existed, that was included in this study over 5 years. $1 million looks like $5 million over 5 years. There are programs which will be or have been stopped already, remember the general plan progress stopped. And, jobs and overtime may have already been reduced.

Wonder if progress on the $1 million dollar San Pedro trail and $55,000 biking trail stopped? Some of our highway 1 and city road money has been spent for trails as well. In December City council came-up with a solution for those who live on roads that were once county: these property owners will pay for their own roads. Maybe that's the future for the rest of us too.
Why not or what's new, services continue to deteriorate. And remember this same city council passed the cost of sewer lateral to property owners 6 years ago.

"Its nice to pay a little more taxes...look at all we have." (Lancelle 3/09), "our environment is our economy" and "more open space is better (Digre),"our economic plan is recreation" (Vreeland, 4/06), and businesses like "Fresh and Easy" (1/07), "Never been in better economic shape" (DeJarnatt and they all signed-on to that in the 2006 election year). Where's the $7 million cash reserve Pete?

Jeffrey W Simons said...

Like I said, every October we have a surplus, every February we have a deficit.

Pacifica has been on the news a lot lately, and never for something positive. Be prepared for that $14 million to grow and grow and grow. Honestly, I really appreciate Susan Vellone taking the reigns of the Chamber of Commerce and demonstrating some true leadership, I just hope it isn't too little too late.

Here's the funny thing . . . the damage to the local economy from bad economic policies and decisions for the last 8 years is evident. Yet, there are those who both deny reality, and deny culpability, just to keep the same people in charge because of their so-called commitment to the environment. Which I seriously question when they blatantly lie about a 7 million gallon sewer spill, and really try to fit their vision of "the environment" in a small, narrow, radical definition that has little to do with true environmentalism.

I'll use the biodiesel plant as an example. When Jim Vreeland was mayor, he went to San Luis Obispo to seek project approval from the California Coastal Commission on behalf of the applicant Whole Energy Fuels.

As part of the objectives of the project, he cited legislative compliance with AB939 (Waste Diversion) and AB32 (Carbon Footprint) . . . except AB939 (the California Integrated Waste Management Act) was established to force cities to recycle, and divert a portion (50%) of their waste away from landfills. AB32 was an emissions reduction act geared towards reducing California's carbon footprint.

The point being, to cite those acts is all well and good, but anyone studying the project as it was going to be used in reality saw that the effect as intended by AB939 was minimal (diverting waste oil from sewer pipes) and in fact Whole Energy has established - as part of their application - a supplier of soybean oil should they not be able to collect enough waste vegetable oil, which was not a part of AB939.

As for the effect of the impact of reducing Pacifica's carbon footprint, the biodiesel was intended to be sold in Richmond, and its arguable how much biodiesel actually reduces your carbon footprint versus normal grades of diesel.

So again, here's this grand, feel-good rah rah environmental project, citing 2 pieces of environmental legislation in it compliance, that in real terms wouldn't do much to comply with either piece of legislation.

You have this shiny layer of "environmentalism" to mask some of the most ineffective aspects of a project to truly achieving that goal. But it makes people feel good about themselves, regardless of how much more damage this council's irresponsibility has done to the sewer plant and the environment, and the local economy.