Special interests and the Zoo first; Public Safety last

council 2015

The Responsible Elected Officials

Eureka PD is now facing potential cuts to the tune of $834,000, according to the Times-Standard and Chief Andy Mills. Those cuts, as proposed by Mills, would include bumping a Lieutenants position to a regular patrol position and then cutting all annuitants, public service officers (PSO’s) and temporary positions.

If those cuts are enacted, folks in Eureka can expect even less service from the PD than their currently getting. For example, most non-injury collisions, vehicle burglaries, animal calls, and many other non-life threatening calls are handled by PSO’s. Those calls would be handled by Officers, if they ever had the time to show up between dealing with dangerous crimes and emergencies in the city.

From the Times-Standard article:

Councilwoman Marian Brady said these proposals are still hypothetical.   “We’ve only just gotten fully staffed under Chief Mills so I find it hard to believe that that is going to be the direction we’re going to go,” Brady said. She said that making personnel cuts at this point would be like taking a step backward.

Mayor Frank Jager said that he thinks the cuts would be unfair to the public, after the commitment they made to public safety with Measure Q, a sales tax extension measure approved by voters last year.

“I don’t believe the council would be very quick to cut public safety positions when they promised that wouldn’t happen,” Jager said. ”

http://www.times-standard.com/general-news/20150429/police-chief-proposes-staff-cuts-to-meet-city-budget-constraints

Ahhh….the Brady Bunch speaks. It would give them too much credit, but is it possible this was the right winger plan to begin with? When the “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” conservative council had a majority, meaningful cuts weren’t made in the City. For four years, while getting Measure O funding, the Council didn’t cut in non-essential areas and keep good reserves up for the City. In fact, the numbers speak for themselves. From 2011-2014, the following monies were spent from the general fund (numbers have been provided from the cities website and have been rounded):

Visitors/Convention Bureau-       $1,372,000

Chamber of Commerce-             $410,000

Business Improvement Dist-       $104,000

Sequoia Park Zoo-                     $2,392,000 (this doesn’t include the money spent on the Zoo hidden in Parks   and Rec employee salaries along with other accounting tricks)

$ in the crapperThat’s almost $4.3 Million dollars spent in just those 4 areas alone. We didn’t even scratch the surface of all the discretionary spending the Council approved of over the last several years. Now we have a progressive majority, and the poor decisions from the past might force them to cut areas that are essential to Eureka…….or that’s what we’re being led to believe.

According to the Cities online budget documents (which don’t reflect every change made throughout the actual budget cycle made by the council), the following areas were budgeted for 2014-2015:

Sequioa Park Zoo-                   $921,488 (again, doesn’t include any accounting tricks done to hide spending)

Visitors/Convention Bureau-   $450,000

Chamber of Commerce-         $121,500 (not including the rent free property provided by the city)

Business Improvement Dist-   $35,000

http://ci.eureka.ca.gov/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=9517

Those are some areas to look at, and it took the Examiner about five minutes to locate them in the line item budget provided on the cities website. But what about some other creative money saving ideas?

How about having a consolidated dispatch center with the County? Fire has saved some money through consolidation. Consolidated dispatch centers are successful in many other areas in California, and the level of service isn’t affected.

How about having an outside agency make recommendations to the Council so that the Council could force city departments to use the “best practices” that could prevent so many lawsuits generated from the crappy way that the City handles business (such as police killings, sexual harassment and discrimination, unlawful terminations, etc.).

How’s about a true Code Enforcement unit that would generate funds through the process of cleaning up derelict/slum rentals in Eureka?

What about fines for businesses that allow their shopping carts to be stolen, then recovered by EPD? We bet that fines would force the businesses to either generate a nice revenue stream for Eureka, or the businesses would do the right thing and spend a little extra to get carts that have security measures preventing them from being taken off the property?

How about drafting an ordinance and allowing medical marijuana dispensaries into Eureka?

The list can go on with money savings/revenue generation, and with this Council we’re hoping that they won’t just use the same old technique of “Cut every department by 10%”. The budget needs to be based on priorities. The top priority in Eureka is Public Safety.

Council Members-

It’s time to buckle down and make the tough decisions. Don’t follow the old Brady Bunch model of kicking the can down the road….because the road is getting close to hitting a DEAD end!

As a side note, Chief Mills “leaked” his City Manager approved email to the Times-Standard (see the link above). Obviously the “leaked” memo was sent out in an effort to mitigate the “unapproved” email we got from an insider at the city. Since the City felt compelled to make sure the “official” talking points were put out to other media sources, we figured we might as well just release the full email that we received:

   “As you may have heard I have been asked to substantially reduce our budget. I have some thinks to fight about (computations on vehicles and computers for example) and examine before I make any decisions. Last year we were creative and figured it out and did so with minimal problems. It will be tougher this year, but I am committed to working hard and fighting for each employee.

        I have to be frank. I did not see this coming and its worse than I thought. I asked you to get out and push for measure Z and many of you did so. I also spoke publically more than 20 times to community groups. It helped significantly, but the costs of health care, PERS and workman’s comp continue to rise markedly and now with the reduction in revenue for water ($1.2 m) we need to cut budgets citywide. We are all in this together.

   My plan is to cut costs and vacant positions first if needed. I will see how close we get that way before we get too worried. I will keep you informed along the way and if you have any questions please call me on my cell phone.

        I know this means a lot to each person here and it does affect the moral of our department. The Captains and I take it seriously and want you to know we will fight for you. If you have suggestions please let us know.”

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28 thoughts on “Special interests and the Zoo first; Public Safety last

  1. What about the almost 1 million dollars given to Barbara Groom for the road improvements for the new Brewery on Sunset? Last I heard it, the new brewery, did not create any new jobs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So, by fining stores who’s shopping carts are stolen, you would also be OK for citizens, who’s vehicles or homes are burglarized, should be fined, as well? If you are robbed of your purse/wallet, you should be fined, too?
    Why fine businesses for their property being stolen? The city has already been notified that, in order to fine victim businesses, they have to extend fines to ALL victims of crimes.
    Again, TE shows just how anti-business it really is. Be prepared to pay fines, if you become another victim of crime in Eureka; it’s the TE way.

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    • First, you should take advantage of the public library and transition to reading and writing instead of just speaking. If you do that you’ll soon learn to read, recognize, and understand the usage of the word “whose” and transition away from pidgin English you now write.

      But as to your point about fines, every responsible business maintains insurance for various hazards. And insurance companies use “loss management” to require policyholders to proactively anticipate and mitigate risks or face “fines’ in the form of higher premiums or even policy cancellation. Charging businesses for excessive carelessness is a well established commercial practice that reduces costs associated with business risks(like providing free shopping carts).

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      • So, using your “just a shopping cart” train of thought, auto theft, or home burglary should be “just personal property” and ignored, as well. Property theft should not be tolerable, based on who owns the property that is stolen. When did having insurance on property make theft “OK”? Do the courts define property theft by ownership or insurance policy?

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    • Did I miss the City Council meeting your big donor spoke at EC?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe Eureka should dis-incorporate and become part of the county.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. EC is not the first to have his logic blinded by his agenda.

    How many of the identical homes and vehicles are robbed and stolen repeatedly every day?

    It’s not anti-business but pro-community to require businesses generating the most police calls to invest in their city that protects them, and (more importantly) their customers, by paying a tax calculated to cover any for-profit’s repeated police calls for issues that should be mitigated by the business.

    Similarly, citizens are also required to pay each time their home-alarm system goes off.

    But really….could we PLEASE wait to label Eureka’s city council “progressive” until AFTER they’ve actually done something progressive?

    The TE’s list (above) of potential budget cuts is a good place to start.

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    • Spot on Anonymous 12:11. Couldn’t agree more. It should also be noted that many other areas have such requirements for stores.

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      • oooohhh! You are so anti-business!!! It will cost Target money to upgrade their carts to help keep them in the parking lot!!!!

        pitchforks and torches!!!

        waaaahhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

        ((I still have some (!) left..save them up?))

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      • And those areas have failed in court in enforcement of victim fines toward businesses. Those areas have also had to reimburse businesses for the expensive upgrades, after losing lawsuits on the requirements.

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      • No, they haven’t failed EC. Another one of your lies. It’s actually pretty darn common in California. Keep up the spin though.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry JP, but the same law was repealed in Sacramento and San Diego after businesses sued for unfair enforcement; in both cities, the local governments were ordered to repay the costs of new systems. I did my research, you do yours. Why do you think it has yet to be enforced in Eureka?

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      • Funny that you bring up San Diego, but I’ve already addressed that in another comment. You’re still wrong though. As long as the ordinance fits within the confines of the state’s business and professions code, it will stand the test of a lawsuit. Research this, as I’m through with your continuous circular arguments:

        BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE 
        SECTION 22435-22435.8 

        22435. As used in this article: (a) “Shopping cart” means a basket which is mounted on wheels or a similar device generally used in a retail establishment by a customer for the purpose of transporting goods of any kind. (b) “Laundry cart” means a basket which is mounted on wheels and used in a coin-operated laundry or drycleaning retail establishment by a customer or an attendant for the purpose of transporting fabrics and the supplies necessary to process them. (c) “Parking area” means a parking lot or other property provided by a retailer for use by a customer for parking an automobile or other vehicle. 22435.1. The provisions of Section 22435.2 shall apply when a shopping cart or a laundry cart has a sign permanently affixed to it that identifies the owner of the cart or the retailer, or both; notifies the public of the procedure to be utilized for authorized removal of the cart from the premises; notifies the public that the unauthorized removal of the cart from the premises or parking area of the retail establishment, or the unauthorized possession of the cart, is a violation of state law; and lists a valid telephone number or address for returning the cart removed from the premises or parking area to the owner or retailer. 22435.2. It is unlawful to do any of the following acts, if a shopping cart or laundry cart has a permanently affixed sign as provided in Section 22435.1: (a) To remove a shopping cart or laundry cart from the premises or parking area of a retail establishment with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner or retailer of possession of the cart. (b) To be in possession of any shopping cart or laundry cart that has been removed from the premises or the parking area of a retail establishment, with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner or retailer of possession of the cart. (c) To be in possession of any shopping cart or laundry cart with serial numbers removed, obliterated, or altered, with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner or retailer of possession of the cart. (d) To leave or abandon a shopping cart or laundry cart at a location other than the premises or parking area of the retail establishment with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner or retailer of possession of the cart. (e) To alter, convert, or tamper with a shopping cart or laundry cart, or to remove any part or portion thereof or to remove, obliterate or alter serial numbers on a cart, with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner or retailer of possession of the cart. (f) To be in possession of any shopping cart or laundry cart while that cart is not located on the premises or parking lot of a retail establishment, with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the owner or retailer of possession of the cart. 22435.3. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor. The provisions of this section are not intended to preclude the application of any other laws relating to prosecution for theft. 22435.4. This article shall not apply to the owner of a shopping cart or laundry cart or to a retailer, or to their agents or employees, or to a customer of a retail establishment who has written consent from the owner of a shopping cart or laundry cart or a retailer to be in possession of the shopping cart or laundry cart or to remove the shopping cart or laundry cart from the premises or the parking area of the retail establishment, or to do any of the acts specified in Section 22435.2. 22435.5. (a) In any civil proceeding, any shopping cart or laundry cart which has a sign affixed to it pursuant to Section 22435.1 shall establish a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of producing evidence that the property is that of the person or business named in the sign and not abandoned by the person or business named in the sign. (b) In any criminal proceeding, it may be inferred that any shopping cart or laundry cart which has a sign affixed to it pursuant to Section 22435.1 is the property of the person or business named in the sign and has not been abandoned by the person or business named in the sign. 22435.7. (a) The Legislature hereby finds that the retrieval by local government agencies of shopping carts specified in this section is in need of uniform statewide regulation and constitutes a matter of statewide concern that shall be governed solely by this section. (b) A shopping cart that has a sign affixed to it in accordance with Section 22435.1 may be impounded by a city, county, or city and county, provided both of the following conditions have been satisfied: (1) The shopping cart is located outside the premises or parking area of a retail establishment. The parking area of a retail establishment located in a multistore complex or shopping center shall include the entire parking area used by the complex or center. (2) Except as provided in subdivision (i), the shopping cart is not retrieved within three business days from the date the owner of the shopping cart, or his or her agent, receives actual notice from the city, county, or city and county of the shopping cart’s discovery and location. (c) In instances where the location of a shopping cart will impede emergency services, a city, county, or city and county is authorized to immediately retrieve the shopping cart from public or private property. (d) Any city, county, or city and county that impounds a shopping cart under the authority provided in subdivisions (b) and (c) is authorized to recover its actual costs for providing this service. (e) Any shopping cart that is impounded by a city, county, or city and county pursuant to subdivisions (b) and (c) shall be held at a location that is both: (1) Reasonably convenient to the owner of the shopping cart. (2) Open for business at least six hours of each business day. (f) A city, county, or city and county may fine the owner of a shopping cart in an amount not to exceed fifty dollars ($50) for each occurrence in excess of three during a specified six-month period for failure to retrieve shopping carts in accordance with this section. An occurrence includes all shopping carts impounded in accordance with this section in a one-day period. (g) Any shopping cart not reclaimed from the city, county, or city and county within 30 days of receipt of a notice of violation by the owner of the shopping cart may be sold or otherwise disposed of by the entity in possession of the shopping cart. (h) This section shall not invalidate any contract entered into prior to June 30, 1996, between a city, county, or city and county and a person or business entity for the purpose of retrieving or impounding shopping carts. (i) Notwithstanding paragraph (2) of subdivision (b), a city, county, or city and county may impound a shopping cart that otherwise meets the criteria set forth in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) without complying with the three-day advance notice requirement provided that: (1) The owner of the shopping cart, or his or her agent, is provided actual notice within 24 hours following the impound and that notice informs the owner, or his or her agent, as to the location where the shopping cart may be claimed. (2) Any shopping cart so impounded shall be held at a location in compliance with subdivision (e). (3) Any shopping cart reclaimed by the owner or his or her agent, within three business days following the date of actual notice as provided pursuant to paragraph (1), shall be released and surrendered to the owner or agent at no charge whatsoever, including the waiver of any impound and storage fees or fines that would otherwise be applicable pursuant to subdivision (d) or (f). Any cart reclaimed within the three-business-day period shall not be deemed an occurrence for purposes of subdivision (f). (4) Any shopping cart not reclaimed by the owner or his or her agent, within three business days following the date of actual notice as provided pursuant to paragraph (1), shall be subject to any applicable fee or fine imposed pursuant to subdivision (d) or (f) commencing on the fourth business day following the date of the notice. (5) Any shopping cart not reclaimed by the owner or his or her agent, within 30 days of receipt following the date of actual notice as provided pursuant to paragraph (1), may be sold or disposed of in accordance with subdivision (g). 22435.8. This article shall not invalidate an ordinance of, or be construed to prohibit the adoption of an ordinance by, a city, county, or city and county, which ordinance regulates or prohibits the removal of shopping carts or laundry carts from the premises or parking area of a retail establishment except to the extent any provision of such an ordinance expressly conflicts with any provision of this article.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ahhh, JP, you are getting the tired ‘do your own research, I’m right’ nonsense..what crap.

        Listen, you make a claim like this EC, back it up or shut up.

        Provide links to your claims, we will be happy to read them. We may even be persuaded to agree with you on something..

        Liked by 1 person

      • From a serious subject like budget cuts, EC cons you into researching the serious subject of grocery and laundry carts. He must be bustin a gut. You people are so gullible.

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    • So, stealing shopping carts is OK, because it’s the company’s fault, but it’s not OK to steal from private citizens? Your logic makes no sense; theft is theft, is it not?
      You may have to pay for a service call from your home security monitor, but shouldn’t you also have to pay a city fine for not securing your property enough to prevent the crime altogether?
      Sounds like a double standard; businesses get fined for being a theft victim, while private citizens get off scott free.
      Also, don’t these same businesses pay much more than you in taxes toward services?
      Again, crime is crime. Punish the criminal, not the victim.

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    • Not so much JW. Having worked retail I had already done the research years ago.

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  5. and I repeat..

    “What an unfortunate coincidence that the EPD Chief Mills and Whoever has a solution to the homeless problem..actually a whole bog of problems..but he has a plan.

    And then coincidentally then there is this budget issue..like who knew that would happen huh?

    Goodbye Homeless Problem Solution.

    ‘Don’t Blame Us, We tried™’ ”

    This is such an obvious scam..and gee, where have we seen this before..oh yeah, 8 years of Bush who trashes the place and now it’s all Obummer’s fault.

    Like anything not fixed in Eureka is the fault of the Progressive Majority.

    …or for that matter anything wrong in the EPD is now Mill’s fault.

    right….

    for a good time read the article and the comments here about Portland’s homeless attempted fixes.

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/05/right_2_dream_too_portland_ind.html#incart_most-commented_pacific-northwest-news_article

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  6. “You may have to pay for a service call from your home security monitor, but shouldn’t you also have to pay a city fine for not securing your property enough to prevent the crime altogether?”

    Yes, it’s true. I must pay a $35 fee every time the police are summoned by my home-alarm system. Local businesses can do the same.

    Because “Crime is crime” and “fair is fair”!

    Hilarious!

    Ask any thinking resident if they believe it’s “equal protection” to have police officers chasing frequently stolen shopping carts found throughout town versus investigating a car theft in a city with underfunded police protection.

    So many republicans lack any sense of proportion.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It may not get better soon. Eureka and Humboldt County are one of the few areas of the state actually declining in population. Source: CA Dept. of Finance.

    Jan 1 2014 – Jan 1 2015

    Humboldt 134,790 134,398 -0.3
    Arcata 17,842 17,898 0.3
    Blue Lake 1,263 1,260 -0.2
    Eureka 27,052 26,946 -0.4
    Ferndale 1,370 1,369 -0.1
    Fortuna 11,994 12,032 0.3
    Rio Dell 3,378 3,372 -0.2
    Trinidad 364 363 -0.3
    Balance of County 71,527 71,158 -0.5

    Liked by 2 people

    • These numbers must be missing all the black market growers who are here for a least 6 months out of the year.

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      • The point is increases/decreases in the amount of human presence being a measure of consumptive economic activity. It may also not include college students who leave during breaks or travelers/tourists/housegusts. Do you think there are more or fewer part time residents than last year?

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  8. Having worked in the administrative office of the U.S. Census based in Eureka, in 2010, serving 5 counties, there’s no doubt whatsoever that there are thousands of unrecorded structures in rural areas and many thousands more inhabitants with no interest in being counted.

    The census is underfunded and woefully inaccurate which suits government just fine since many public funds are predicated on U.S. Census population estimates.

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    • If those figures are from the Department of Finance are they based on income tax filings?

      As the population ages and becomes poorer, in general, there will be sharp declines in 1040’s being filed.

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  9. I wonder if Mayor Jager is playing the old Stealers Wheel song in his head….”clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am……”

    Like

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