Watch out City Council, you’ve pissed Leo Sears off!

Leo Sears

Note: The campaign sign from 2010 doesn’t say anything about the Zoo or funding for bureaucracy at 531 K st

This past Tuesday’s Eureka City Council meeting was an interesting spectacle. Since the inception of this blog we’ve been questioning the way the city has been spending its tax revenue particularly the extra money that was collected to enhance public safety (Measure O).

It looks like we’re right in sync with the voters.

The proposed budget included a 6% increase to $921,488 for the very pricey Zoo. Almost $571,500 is going to the Eureka Chamber of Commerce and the Humboldt County Convention and Visitor Bureau.

The budget also included increases to several city departments. The City Managers budget went up $389,000 (no one questioned this sharp increase?), the City Clerks budget increases by $106,000 (again no question?), and the very controversial City Attorney’s budget went up by $29,000 (we’ve called for her be replaced). However, the City proposed across the board cuts to the other departments. Police and Fire were facing a 10% cut.

Thank you to the Lost Coast Outpost for this link to the proposed budget:

http://lostcoastoutpost.com/media/uploads/post/10480/Proposed%2BBudget%2B14-15%2BWebsite.pdf

The Public showed up in larger than usual numbers and spoke out against the proposed budget. We will have more posts regarding the outpouring of support for public safety in the future. However, one speaker really stood out to us; Leo Sears. Leo was the most visible and vocal supporter of Measure ‘O’, and has been campaigning for the extension of the tax in Measure ‘Q’.

Leo was not happy with the budget, and he spoke out against it. After hearing from the public, the council passed the budget with slight increases to public safety budgets coming from the general fund reserve. While that was a move in the right direction, it still means Public Safety isn’t being fully funded or that other less essential programs are taking cuts.

Here are Leo’s closing remarks after the council approved the budget:

Thank you for restoring the money you have and, uh, making the funds absolutely available to public safety rather than some nebulous thing that is ‘reserves’. Reserves are simply the general fund monies that have not allocated someplace. That’s all. They might go up, they might go down. So I’m very pleased with that. However, the whole concept of the approach that you’ve taken to this budgeting, I’m still, still, disappointed with. And to say, “Okay, well, the police budget has gone up.” Yes it has gone up because of increased cost for insurance and for PERS (retirement) and these things. It hasn’t gone up because you’re providing more public safety! That’s what we’re talking about; the amount of public safety and we can boil it down to dollars in public safety, but that’s a false argument. It annoys me to no end when that argument is used, “Well, the budget went up.” Yeah, because of cost, not because you’re allocating more public service to us. That’s what we deserve; public service. That’s what you heard from these people out here, and that still annoys me. Now, going into this, Frank told me to be nice. I have.

(Leo holds up an original campaign sign saying ‘O yes for public safety’). But….I can just see…instead of this we’re going to have a great big Q, with a slash across it that reads, “H-blank-L-L No” for those people that don’t think you’ve kept faith with this. And I’m not completely sure that you have! I still need some convincing. Thank you.

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10 thoughts on “Watch out City Council, you’ve pissed Leo Sears off!

  1. If Sears, who normally cheer-leads for these clowns isn’t on board for this, you know there’s got to be something seriously wrong here.

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  2. Amazing. Instead of reigning in spending in less necessary areas, the council depletes the reserve to almost fund public safety fully. Way to make the tough decisions you were elected to make….not.

    Hopefully voters remember the broken promises, corruption and laziness this November.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I guess we should all feel a lot safer now knowing the Chamber of Comm. and Zoo are council favorites. Funny to watch Chamber people elected to the council and how they protect the Chamber budget wise. Again right wing groups who have no problem bellying up to the old public feeding tub.

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  4. The Chamber of Comm both locally and notationally are just another wing for the republican party to push their agenda. So why does the City give money to such a politically biased group ???? Bob Dylan had a great line from 30 years ago about Jack the Ripper being the head of the Chamber of Comm in a song. I always hear that song in my head when I see Newman etc sitting on the city council or some of our Supes….

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sure there are some places where the Chamber of Commerce isn’t subsidized by city or county government. However, even Arcata subsidizes their Chamber of Commerce. Not as much as Eureka does ($28,000 for 2014/15), but they do get city money.

      Liked by 1 person

    • J warren and Newman are definitely bedfellows. Why is there a budget that big? What do they do that actually benefits the city? The wages paid to the top four of the chamber is obscene. For what?

      Liked by 2 people

  5. My belief is that retail businesses are viewed by municipalities as private providers of necessary services to the public that the government would otherwise be asked to provide. So rebating some of the sales tax they collect is like giving them a fee for their effort to collect the money. And business owners sometimes feel that since they remitted the money to the State, its really their money and they’re entitled to getting a share of it back. The chambers are simply a vehicle to direct the money because directly rebating taxes to individual retailers would be illegal. Same thing with occupancy tax and kickback support to visitor’s bureau.

    The fact that many businesses are owned by Republicans is coincidental to the rebate scheme. Just so happens that most of the owners of businesses in the nation are Republican. Probably some were Democrats who became Republican after becoming a business owner.

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  6. “Necessary services”? The largest, fastest growing sectors are finance, ie, predator industries providing the “service” of 1,000 % interest on paychecks, Rent-To-Own, storage units, check cashing, property liquidators, rental agencies, distressed loan servicing, collection agencies, pawn shops, and the job scalpers, bail bonds, and…how many more?

    And yet, less than half of Eureka’s businesses are members eager to share the glories of their “earned rebate”.

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