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City misspending money

Original post made by common sense, Midtown, on Mar 1, 2013

The City Council & City Manager have been crying poverty when it comes to the city budget; here's what they are spending this week:

* Buying 17 Compressed Natural Gas Honda Civic cars at $27,046 each. A regular gas Honda Civic would cost $20,350. So in order to project a "greener" image, the city is spending $105,000 more than it needs to.

* Loaning the Palo Alto Housing Corporation $2,600,000 so that they can buy the properties on Maybell for constructing high density housing.

* Hiring a consultant for $281,850 to do a study of 5 different bike projects, such as what happens if a bike path connects Wilkie Way with El Camino.

* Spend another $335,000 for lawyers investigating the Mitchell Park Library construction

* and the city council will discuss how to spend more money on the California Ave streetscape improvements (remember this project was where the city gets a $1,100,000 grant, and spends $500,000; it's now a $1,100,000 grant, and the city is spending $2,300,000).

So to sum it up: in one week of city spending: $720,000 on consultants, fancy cars, and another $2,600,000 in a "loan". That's $3,300,000 in one week that could have gone for infrastructure.

The city can't afford to fix the infrastructure, but they can overspend on fancy cars, hire consultants to study bike paths, loan money to create high density housing which many in the neighborhood are against, and because of mismangement of current construction projects, are spending another $335,000 to figure out why Mitchell Park library isn't going so well.

Comments (7)

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 1, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Are you surprised, common sense? I am not. this is business as usual for the council-- consultants, unneeded street stuff to appease the car haters, lawyers and " green" stuff.
Doesn't matter who is on the council, we get the same BS. Of course they will have plenty to at themselves over.

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Posted by Knew it
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 2, 2013 at 9:02 am

I suspected this "poverty plea" of the city was just BS for a long time. My brother worked in city financial management for years, and told me the city and its schools we're rolling in dough. He said it was a dull job because there were no financial challenges. He quit and got a job working for the city of SF ( more challenging and paid better, to boot ).

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Posted by paly parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 2, 2013 at 9:05 am

@Common sense (love the name!)

If the City is truly planning on trying to pass a bond, they need to show focus and restraint in their current spending. As Marrol says, needs not wants.

We don't need a bike bridge, we do need smooth, pot-hole free City streets.
We need fireman and police officers, we don't need a Children's Theater paid for by the City.

Until I see common sense spending by our City on ONLY needs, I will never vote to give them more money. Once the needs aka as backlog of infrastructure spending and safety issues are taken care of, THEN we can consider the more frivolous or feel good projects.

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Posted by Knew it
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 2, 2013 at 9:14 am

One would think that the city council would be ashamed and embarrassed by all the potholes, crumbling bridges and streets, etc, especially since they all live here. Visitors to our home from out of state or out of the country are shocked when they learn how much a home and taxes here cost, and then see the decrepit infrastructure. This embarrasses the hell out of me and most other decent people here.

Apparently, it is just no fun to spend money on necessities. It is so much more glamorous to spend it on silly stuff that isn't really needed. Why do we have such CHILDISH people in charge???

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 2, 2013 at 9:35 am

Also note that all these council members have been endorsed by the weekly. They seem to have a symbiotic relationship.

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Posted by Voter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2013 at 10:49 am

Do you folks realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg!!! You are going to have sticker shock when the infrastructure bond measure is put on the ballot.

The word "infrastructure" is a catch-all word for much more that just the basics. How about $10. Million for on-going maintenance at Cubberley which will be conveniently hidden behind the word "infrastructure."

I'm sure by the time the infrastructure needs of the City get to the ballot there will be many other "hidden" fees put on that ballot measure. Just watch what you're voting for.

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Posted by Midtown resident
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 2, 2013 at 11:12 pm

I want to add another ridiculous example of misspending - back in November Palo Alto Public Works department decided to remove my perfectly healthy Japanese maple in my front yard (city easement) and plant a Chinese pistachio instead without any notice and while we were away. Mr.Segna, the city arborist, gave the following explanation for the decision: "the crown of Chinese pistachio is wider and it gives more shade". It took the Public Works department a month to investigate the situation and in the end all they offered was "if your Japanese Maple does not survive after you plant it in another place, the City will replace it with a new tree". Noone in Palo Alto Public works department took responsibility for spending public money on such a ridiculous action.

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