The Measure Q debacle continues……………

Many readers will remember our opposition to Measure Q last election. One of the main reasons we couldn’t support it was our belief that little of the money collected would ever make it to Public Safety. Well our worst fears are materializing as the Council is poised to make draconian cuts to Public Safety.

Here are some citizens fighting back!

Q YES

The City of Eureka is considering possible cuts to its Public Safety budget. These cuts would eliminate 14 positions from Eureka’s Police Department and a closure of Fire Station 4 at Myrtle and West. These are the same cuts that we were all promised would be avoided by passing Measure Q!

A meeting will be held to discuss the proposed budget cuts. This will be your opportunity to voice your opinion.

When: Wednesday June 3rd at 4pm

Where: Council Chamber at 531 K Street

If you are unable to attend the meeting you are encouraged to write or call your local Council Members.

Frank Jager, Mayor
707-441-4172
fjager@ci.eureka.ca.gov
Kim Bergel, Councilmember Ward 3
707-441-4170
kbergel@ci.eureka.ca.gov
Marian Brady, Councilmember Ward 1
707-441-4169
mbrady@ci.eureka.ca.gov
Melinda Ciarabellini, Councilmember Ward 4
707-441-4167
mciarabellini@ci.eureka.ca.gov
Linda Atkins, Councilmember Ward 2
707-441-4168
latkins@ci.eureka.ca.gov
Natalie Arroyo, Councilmember Ward 5
707-441-4171
narroyo@ci.eureka.ca.gov

For more information please continue on to The Eureka Q website

 

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20 thoughts on “The Measure Q debacle continues……………

  1. Wait a second? The TE came out against measure Q because the staff thought that the money would be wasted in other areas. The TE got a lot of grief from people saying that the TE was completely off base and that the extension would ensure a fully staffed and funded Police/Fire department.

    Now, EXACTLY what was feared seems to be coming true. Lefty, proggie, wing nuts were the names thrown out about the warnings of cuts that would come to Public Safety even with an extension. The TE was given the full onslaught of City and rightist misinformation to try and justify the spending of Measure O funds in the last council. Obviously, they mismanaged the funding and now the chickens have come home to roost.

    Fullerton, and other anonymous users; time to admit that this blog actually predicted what is happening now.

    Obviously, only in a perfect world would those folks admit they were wrong. Doesn’t change a thing, though. The TE was 100% correct, and only the current progressive majority can make sure that proper cuts are made to the pet projects currently suckling from the general fund.

    Linda, Natalie and Kim….I hope you’re up for the task, and the inevitable right winger backlash to follow.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I don’t know the ECC budget. I’m assuming public safety is a priority with the Councilmembers. I’m also assuming that there is a huge budget shortfall necessitating the cut.

    I guess the solution, having gotten a taste of the past is to cut back pensions, salaries of the top city officials, close the Zoo, stop payments to the Chamber of Commerce, etc? OK, I’m fine(ish) with all that. We live in a Republican – government and taxes sucks – world and we don’t have the money based on reduced revenues.

    I also agree that a regressive sales tax is the last type of tax we would want to enact.

    Having said all that, what are the numbers you are proposing? Teach us, as I for one want to learn.

    What I’m hearing is next-to-impossible goals for a public safety system underfunded with an impossibly difficult task ahead of them.

    Let us know where our City Council is failing given that Q exists. Like you I also want an effective government, but I also realize that if we are going to spend outlandishly on police or safety, I might as well vote for a conservative. No pensions, no zoo, limited taxes, government = police.

    I know it’s not that simple and I’m being unfair. But I think this is a good time for the left of center here to address what government looks like – financially in this soon to be post-legalization era. I would like to see a Tuluwat budget as the City number crunching begins.

    On a related topic. Did you notice that in Sunday’s TS Assemblyman Woods’s North-Coast centric pot legislation that the estimated cost would b $6 million dollars – which will eventually pay for itself in fees? $6 million … STATEWIDE.

    Another study* by nerd wallet estimates that California as a whole may make $500,000,000 from weed in sales and excise taxes. That is a somewhat more reasonable $2 million for Humboldt County, and $300,000 for Eureka. Will that be enough if all if put only to public safety?

    These are the type of new monies that might become available when weed is legalized. Does that seem like it is going to cover the increased environmental, health and safety issues that surround THC? What about Dan Ehresman’s take on weed and current crime rates?

    These are the big picture issues I wish we would be discussing instead of reflexively, angrily and self-righteously taking on a progressive-majority council. Your narrative is all-too-clear and, sadly, it overlaps all-too-well with the rabid anti-government (with the huge exception for military and fire/police) and anti-tax right .

    Please sit down with Councilwomen Arroyo, Bergel or Atkins. As them for an on-the record interview and let us know exactly where the disconnect between your priorities and theirs is. Begin to find someone who understands your concerns to run for Linda’s seat in the 2nd Ward and Melinda’s in the 4th.

    Also, are Melinda and Marian on board with your push for more public safety spending? It seems like they should be, right? I don’t mean that snarkily, like I said, I’m learning on the fly here.

    For the record, long before the Q debates last year Linda told me she would be glad to be leaving her seat if Q didn’t pass. Also, don’t forget Mark voted for Z too.

    It’s what we are left with. This is conservative governance writ large – do not tax the rich. What we need to be doing is understanding narratives and politics. I don’t think the staff at the TE do. You are repeating the mistakes of the past 35 years and the anti-government right loves you for it.

    The narrative should be – we do need government, we do need to pay for it, responsible policing is a necessary part of government, government workers and their pensions and unions are the last vestiges of a middle class (and it’s living wages) that have been decimated by 45 years of national conservative governance (Republican and Democratic). That’s the language and passion we need. imho. Yours will obviously vary.

    * http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/cities/economics/how-much-money-states-make-marijuana-legalization/

    Like

      • There isn’t a whole lot of space between Leo Sears’ My Word commentary today and yours in this link? Don’t you agree?

        That’s my point. We are all missing something – including myself. However, the one thing I get that has been extricated from our civic conversation is the importance of a smart, sustainable government. It’s not all about private industry, society necessarily is a balance of the interests of individual’s private lives and their institutions but also individual’s public lives and the institutions we have to bond us all together which include governments and unions. That is the one thing I have come to understand after spending most of my life hearing conservatives rail against both.

        In the conservative narrative, and I’m going to guess Leo’s too, budgets are akin to Christmas. It’s where they finally get to cut the government they’ve been talking about. It’s how they realize the tax breaks they’ve fought so hard for.

        And as it goes down they want to make sure to protect the one thing they depend on, as Leo and the TE rightly know – public safety. It’s what necessarily has to come before everything else. And in this frame, only this frame they can will the political battle of decimating worker’s salaries, pensions, community services, to the level that is required to minimize property taxes, utility bills, etc.

        Thank you again for the link, and I did follow the link from it to the city budget page. That is a monster isn’t it? Here is my request, something I haven’t seen in Leo’s recent advocacy work or yours. What does the city pay for police and fire? What percentage of the budget is it? How does the Zoo compare as a percentage of the city budget.

        I get that police and fire will necessarily be so much more than a Zoo, but it seems disingenuous to focus so much passion on Chief Mills as the partial architect of these cuts AND to intimate that cutting Zoo and Chamber of Commerce funds will set us on a path to public safety sustainability. Both may have a role, but neither drives our problem.

        I agree with the Councilwoman Leo met with for an hour. We DO need to focus on community spending, and we need to remember to be proactive. If we are going to continue this conservative mantra of luxurious spending on public safety in times of self-imposed fiscal stress, , then we are setting ourselves up for even more Madmaxian dystopias for the future. (btw, which I see our communities penchant for no-limit policing budgets as the same instinct that drives our 300% bloated military budget)

        Where my inner conservative may or may not agree with the Leos of the world are – we need to have a balanced and real budget, if the conservatives had to lie to their constituents to get it passed (and the progressives played along) I get it. Welcome to having only bad decisions – welcome to the end result of the haves not wanting to waste any more money on the prison-industrial complex and no-union society they have willingly taken us – with our support btw either with votes or non-votes.

        The other aspect, the other place I will agree potentially with Leo and definitely with many other conservatives – Democratic (like one of my hero’s – Richard Leamon), Republican, is the really bad capitalist actor Weed Inc. is about to become not for the North Coast’s environment (water, urban planning, land use, sedimentation, pesticides) but of direct concern to TE’s public safety first tone is Weed Inc. will necessarily take a huge toll on our police and fire budget.

        We all have political blind spots as we necessarily protect our own interests. This is what many on the left – especially in Humboldt are trying to thread the needle on and I believe it’s how we get the libertarian governments we have outside of Arcata (and now) Eureka City governments in a county that votes for Democrats with a 25% edge.

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  3. This Wednesday June 3 at 4 p.m. at the Eureka City Council chambers is your opportunity to stand in solidarity in support of public safety and our police department. Packing the chamber with sheer numbers, either to speak, or in support of those who do, is critical in getting the Council to listen to reason.

    The city says that the budget problems are being faced by every department in the city, and the police department shouldn’t be treated as a sacred cow. I adamantly disagree! Staying with their characterization, it most certainly deserves sacred cow status, since it was deified as such in their promotion of Measures O and Q.

    Our police department needs to be bolstered — not cut. That is what they promised. That is what we expect. That is what we deserve.

    Now we are being told, as I was in an hour long meeting with one of the council members, that we have to be equally concerned with being a livable city with recreation programs, community gardens, and other community friendly programs.

    Programs that are all very nice to have, but not necessary.

    What they seem to want to ignore is that the very foundation of a livable city is public safety. The whole issue of cuts to public safety comes down to what is “nice to have” vs. necessary. Public safety is necessary, whereas many other budget items are simply nice. For example: Our “nice to have” zoo received a 10 percent increase in the last budget (actually 12 percent with overrun) and an additional 15 percent this budget, while public safety was cut heavily in both budgets. It is the necessity of public safety that deserves overwhelming priority.

    This proposed budget cuts all nine Police Services Officers, animal control, and part time Officers working with the Problem Oriented Policing unit. Essentially, PSOs are support for the “boots on the ground,” relieving sworn officers of those things that can be done by civilians, such as assisting in criminal investigations, missing persons work, cell phone extractions, fingerprinting, vehicle abatement, tracking sex offenders, taking reports and generally serving as a liaison between the community and the sworn officers. They also respond to collisions, help blocked traffic and take traffic accident reports.

    Under the proposed budget the workload currently carried by PSOs are to be redistributed between officers, technical support, volunteers, citizens themselves, or will simply not be done. They will not respond to some calls, including non-injury accidents. We will be left on our own to sort things out and arrange for whatever tow truck or other assistance we might need, and file our own police reports.

    Not at all what we expected when we voted for O and Q.

    They say that they want volunteers to staff functions previously handled by PSOs, such as Neighborhood Watch. The PSO currently handling that function, as well as support for the POP unit, has 24 years with the department, vast institutional knowledge, as well as seemingly boundless energy and dedication. Whereas I, at 81 and a volunteer for the past six years, simply do what I can to assist with Neighborhood Watch while relying heavily on the PSO. I would also venture to predict that any volunteers that might step forward to fill the vacant PSO slots will be toward my end of the age scale where age is riding the brakes on a spirit that might otherwise be willing. Expecting volunteers to fill the vacant PSO slots is at best a very weak solution.

    If you don’t like the proposed budget cuts to public safety, and the failure to give overriding priority to necessary vs.

    nice, the council needs to be told in no uncertain terms that you want the proposed cuts restored.

    It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and a sea of bodies flooding Eureka’s council chamber at the Wednesday June 3 at 4 p.m. budget hearing is an opportunity to place an indelible picture in the minds of the City Council.

    Leo Sears

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    • Originally written and published on the TS 6/1/15.

      Like

      • Way to go LJ!!!! The readers on the TE were too dumb to put two and two together. The TE put up editorials from the TS and the LCO. Thank goodness you’re here to set us all straight.

        BTW- Did you have time to study Eureka’s budget in between all the blog etiquette articles you’ve been studying? I only ask because I spent so much time reading your comments, without learning anything about the budget in EUREKA, I figured you might have actually come up with some points instead of philosophy about “republicans” and “democrats”. Or maybe you’ve been to busy studying how we should be involved in another middle east war with ISIL? Either way, I can’t help but wonder where you’re actually coming from, or if you have a point!

        Thanks

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Public safety is extremely important to this community. The passing of Measures O and Q have demonstrated that the people of Eureka value Police and Fire. To say that they have, and are, being underfunded is deceitful and in no way serves our community. The fact is that 99% of measure Q funding is allocated to Police and Fire. This is not a shell game either. A little over ten years ago, approximately 50% of all general fund monies were allocated to Police and Fire. Currently, over 71% of the general fund is allocated to Police and Fire. So even after the extra four million dollars in revenue Measures O and Q have generated, a larger portion of an even bigger general fund balance has been directed towards Police and Fire.

    The City’s finances are not much different than personal finances. When the cost of living increases, my wife tells me we can’t go on our routine summer vacation. When the costs of pensions have increased drastically over the last four years (mainly in Police and Fire), on-going cuts to the budget must be made. There is a structural deficit in the City’s budget, and there has been for many years. The City is no longer able to kick the can down the road. Non public safety departments have been cutting their budget for years now to prevent a collapse. But now it has gotten to the point that such a large portion of the general fund is allocated to public safety that it’s necessary for Police and Fire to participate in cuts.

    All departments proposed cuts for this upcoming fiscal year to make sure the structural deficit is addressed. It was the Fire Chief, not the City Manager, who chose to address the Department’s cuts by eliminating over $600,000 in overtime. No loss in staffing is being proposed by the Chief, just decreasing overtime. This will require the “browning out” of the Myrtle Street Station for two-thirds of the time.

    Now the Chief could have proposed other options which some may feel wouldn’t affect service levels as much. He could have proposed going away from the two 24-hour shift schedule and four days off in which staff is being paid to sleep approximately sixteen to twenty hours of each shift and change it to four 10-hour shifts similar to Police. This would eliminate a majority of their overtime problems and provide a higher response time as Fire staff who currently get called while they’re sleeping have to wake up, get dressed and then respond. If they were awake during the call while working a 10-hour shift, the response time would increase significantly, and the budget cuts could still be addressed. He could have also proposed minimum staffing levels at each Eureka station, and only utilizing the ladder truck when necessary.

    However, this is the way the Chief proposed to address their portion of the structural deficit. This was not proposed by the City Manager or Council. So if you want to discuss budget cuts for any City department, you should discuss it with the person managing the department, not City Council.

    And Mr. Broberg, I assume that you are aware that yours and other fire department overtime salary is readily available on the Transparent California webpage. Seeing as though you made approximately $40,000 in overtime in 2012 and 2013; one could make the assessment that your “service” to the community could be achieved more cost effectively. For all other regular employees of the world, overtime is “discretionary.”

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  5. I would like Miles to spend a couple of weeks living at the Fire Station an see what “getting paid to sleep” is really like.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we are all looking at the problem from the wrong way around.

      We complain about so called bloated city budgets. Perhaps they are.

      But no one complains about who increasingly picks up the tab for those budgets… the poor.

      We seem to be fine with regressive means of getting money by taxing sales… which proportional to incomes are more a burden for those making “living wage” salaries (or less) and less on the wealthy.

      Since Proposition 13 (and it’s twin, Reaganomics) we seem to feel that paying for government is less and less the responsibility of the people who benefit most from it.

      After all, the benefits of well off people “trickle down” for the benefit of everybody else. Right?

      It reminds me of those movies where they show the despot eating a piece of meat and then throwing the leftover portions to the starving peasants at the gate.

      As long as this mind-set governs our decisions, we will never have a “fair” budget… the poor can only do so much to support our government.

      This isn’t really about pensions, zoos or chamber of commerce’s… It’s about the proverbial chickens coming home to roost after years of denial and abuse.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Anyone paying attention since the 1980’s knows damn-well that Leo Sears and the usual gang said NOTHING decade after decade while the Good Ol’ Boys kept subdividing and developing great-granddaddy’s land that they inherited in Cutten, Elk River, Myrtletown, Pine Hill, and Humboldt hill, far exceeding Eureka’s rural infrastructure.

    The “Town Fathers” would have no part in logically extending Eureka’s boarders to ensure that Eureka is rightfully funded as a city of 60,000 instead of the ludicrous 28,000 that wins them high-ratings in every shitty statistic for crime, poverty, health, child abuse, police shootings, and streets too deadly for pedestrians, cyclists or motorists.

    To this day, the same well-healed sycophants like Sears and many others keep their traps shut, even as they drive past Eureka’s new and desperate banners begging motorists to watch for pedestrians.

    Since most of us “good people” of the unincorporated, greater-Eureka area probably don’t want to be annexed, even though the vast majority of us drive into Eureka everyday for…EVERYTHING…I suggest the immediate construction of toll-gates at each street entering the city. Until then, Eureka’s malaise will worsen and the responsibility for the people suffering dearly under it will be on our hands. Eureka’s police force will never be effective or fully staffed until they return to walking a “beat”, like Leo Sears remembers.

    Sears is representative of those who oversaw the thorough undermining of Eureka’s amazing potential; building beyond infrastructure capacity, filling its wetlands, welcoming a nuke on an EQ fault, closing schools, surrounding the bay in brownfields, squandering the Victorian city potential with ugly, indignant tenements. They even wanted to raze “ugly” Old Town in the 1950’s!

    Cloistered within the same churches, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Ingomar, Masonic, Moose and Elk lodges, (nothing binds people tighter than money, religion, and booze), it’s 50 years later and they’re still demanding to be taken seriously!

    Considering the outrageous and avoidable problems that beset Eureka, and the residents that will increasingly suffer from it, local “representatives” and “leaders” that preach “stay the course” are clearly high-functioning psychotics.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. JP
    Thamks for reading. I didn’t know where those articles came from and it looked like they were written for this comment zone. Glad you understood this. I did on Leo’s, did not on Miles’. If I had not read Leo’s TS my word first, I might not have realized at all.

    If more people are to get involved in politics and civics the access has to be lowered. Part of reducing access is making things more transparent.

    Right now the only access is through ready made interest groups. Somehow information has to be accessible to those who might not have time to read through the budget.

    How much do we pay for police and fire? How much has that percentage increased over the years? How much higher will it go as the economy staggers without a middle class and we chose to have a drug mono crop as our #1 export?

    Sometimes a little big picture helps, otherwise we are trapped in a never ending internecine battle between department managers and anon bloggers. Right now my worry is that we are continuing to be led off a cliff by people who want to continue making a profit without government intervention and people who don’t want to pay taxes.

    Like

  8. Midnight anon. Wow, a classic post.

    Like

  9. JP. My point is simple. Live within our means, balance the budget, but not at the cost of losing living wage jobs or breaking promises to former employees.

    And let’s then get to work at finding ways to win the back the narrative of our time.m Government and civics are valuable.

    Like

    • 100K is a little better than living wages, jon. as a matter of fact, it is better that 95% of everybody. 2X the median household income. give me a break. these guys are fleecing the system, and it has nothing to do with the rich not paying their share.

      Like

  10. Didn’t know all city employees were making > 100K. What percent are? 10, 20?

    Liked by 1 person

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