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Original post made
on Mar 26, 2012
Two fire station need to be replaced...great time to either close one and sell off the land or compline the two into one at a different location. Wasn't there a study conducted by the city last year that recommended this?
We know the city will put a bond measure on the ballot for a new police building. Will voters be likely to give the city more money given the way it's currently spending?
(1) Bike bridge projected to cost between $5.4 million and $9.4 million Web Link "The council voted to support an 'enhanced' overpass featuring 14-foot lanes, lighting fixtures and a platform overlooking the Baylands."
Of course the money will come from grants, so we shouldn't worry about costs. But remember the $5.4-million Homer Ave. tunnel "... more than a year behind schedule -- and it rivals the eastern span of the Bay Bridge for being over-budget, percentage-wise." Web Link
Yet the city engineer in charge of the project called it a "total success," even with the safety problem at Alma. This same engineer is now in charge of the bike bridge.
(2) Overruns at Mitchell Park Community Center. The city still can't figure out who's responsible. "The question of who is at fault for the rising costs -- whether it's Flintco; the construction manager, Turner Construction; the architect, Group 4 Architecture; or the city itself -- will be resolved after the project is completed, Bobel said." Web Link
(3) California Ave. streetscape project. Now that there's a "final" plan, the city is considering widening the sidewalks which could cost an additional $500K to $1.5M.
Regarding over-runs at Mitchell Park, ask anyone who frequents the dog park.
For the last many years, we've been complaining about the expense and stupidity of closing half of the dog park to reseed it. The city does this as soon as it stops raining and then they neglect to water it.
Guess what happens to the new grass every year?
Several years ago the city sent about 8 Parks & Recreation Dept. managers and employees to an evening meeting with about 200 dog owners and learned that this was one of our top concerns.
Promises were made to stop this needless annual expense. Overtime was earned. New staff was hired that never got any reports about the decisions made at the meeting. Emails were exchanged. Promises were made.
Guess what's happening AGAIN this year as we type? The annual closure for reseeding.
No more revenue until the city can show that it can spend the (significant) revenue that it does have prudently.
Between the overpaying the government unions, the ridiculous pensions, and the silly pet projects, I'd say we are a long way from that point.
Setting infrastructure needs as a top priority is certainly a step in the right direction. However, I will resent any effort on the part of our city leaders and elected officials if they return to we the tax payers asking for additional funds to get the job done. Not after many, many years of poor planning, failing to have financial priorities, and a laundry list of non-essential, frivolous spending. If they don't have the funds to get our essential civic work completed, then start making cuts in non-essential programs and services. Why is public money still being used to help fund the Children's Theater? Why do we continue to fund numerous homeless programs which serve few with any real ties to our community? Why are investing millions of dollars into a bike bridge, golf course remodel, park upgrades, new playground construction, public art, and beautification projects? All of this spending on niche endeavors that cater to special interest groups. None of it vital. None of it truly essential. These programs and projects are desired, but certainly not essential. We cannot bail out the city leaders and elected officials after they failed to address our most basic civic needs, infrastructure and public safety. If we agree to a tax increase, we simply reinforce the cycle of overspending, crying poor, and then returning to the public with a hand out. Enough is enough.
Did anyone move to Palo Alto to live in Marrol, Riley and Pat's world? No amenities, no investment in the future. Flat roads where cars drive fast to Super Safeway, Costco and Applebees? No thanks!
No, and neither did I. I also do not want to live in a world with annual budget deficits, constant tax increases, and irresponsible government spending. I am all for amenities and investment. I would just like to see that done when our basic civic needs are attended to first and we can afford it.
The city spending our public money on non-essential projects and programs in the current economic and civic condition is the same as a homeowner spending money on a new car, a swimming pool, and an addition on the house, while at the same time the roof leaks, termites infest, and the paint peels. Additionally, this same homeowner has been experiencing annual budget deficits for several years and is having difficulty paying their bills. So what is the wise economic solution? It's certainly not going out and buying that car, pool, and addition. Of course not. That's the time to make sacrifices, cut non-essential spending wherever possible, save some money, and fix that leaky roof, paint the house, and take care of the vital needs first. Oh, and our city leaders and elected officials coming to us for another tax increase. No different than that homeowner going to his employer and asking for another pay increase in order to solve their financial problems. Would be nice, but that's not realistic. It shouldn't be realistic as it applies to the city either.
The city council set up an Infrastructure task force. They want this problem to be a "priority". Well, a priority means that this issue is more important than other activities that the city is spending money on. I have yet to hear one city council member say what is "lower priority" than infrastructure.
The most appropriate action for the city council is to allocate an additional $5 - $10 million from the $140 million city budget to infrastructure, and then set up a ballot issue to vote on additional taxes to fund the "lower" priority activities. If they don't feel that the citizens will pass a ballot measure to fund the "lower" priority activities, then it shows that the city council has been spending the city budget on special interests who cannot garner a majority of support from the citizens.
Very well put Common Sense from Midtown.
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