Cutting the junkies off their dope – $70,000 a month “loss” to defeat of Measure J

1 Jun

I was making dinner tonight, watching Ch 12 news, and I heard Alan Marsden report that the city is losing $70,000 a month as a result of the defeat of Measure J. He almost seemed to scold the voters who defeated that ill-conceived grab, reminding us that the city is in heaps of financial trouble. Tsk tsk!

I had already heard Chris Constantin report this figure at the Finance Committee meeting Tuesday – Stephanie Taber had requested a report.  Constantin said they’d got their last check from the cell phone carriers two months ago, and that they’d lost $70,000 a month since. That would somewhat explain the “$840,000 – 900,000” figure he gave us at the May 21 council meeting.

Of course, that’s a projection. We don’t get the exact dollars and cents, we don’t get to see the receipts or any paperwork from the phone companies. I assume he rounds up, to what place I don’t know.

In December, Jennifer Hennessy reported we had lost $500,000 to the defeat of Measure J in 2012. Again, this is a projection, we don’t know the exact amount.

And it just doesn’t add up. We didn’t defeat Measure J until November of 2012. They didn’t start notifying the cell phone companies until later that year, and some companies were still collecting as late as February. How could they possibly have lost $500,000  so fast? In one month? And now, only $70,000/month?

These figures just don’t make sense to me, but I’m going to let it go and try to have faith that these new people are giving us the straight dope.

Something that bugged me about Marsden’s “news story” was, it wasn’t really “news” – he didn’t give any details, didn’t mention Constantin or the Finance Committee, no real practical information. He  just wanted to say that the city was losing $70,000 a month from the defeat of Measure J, and now we voters shouldn’t  feel too smart about that!  Scott Gruendl called it a “threat to Democracy” – what, voting? Scott thinks Democracy is when everybody votes his way. 

If  Marsden had been at that meeting, he would have heard Constantin’s first report, detailing the shenanigans undertaken by $taff over the last ten years – money moved from fund to fund to make certain expenditures legal, without any supervision; purchases made without supervision; development fees deferred for work performed, without any oversight by the accounting department; budgets padded so department heads would get an excess that they would be forced to “spend or lose”; and on and on.  Maybe if Mr. Marsden had taken his eyes of his teleprompter for two seconds, he’d understand why the voters put a wooden stake through Measure J.

Scott Gruendl heard every word – he chairs the Finance Committee. His only reaction was to question Constantin – “wait, didn’t we vote to do this, didn’t we vote to do that…”, mumbling into his shirt sleeve.   If I were Gruendl, I wouldn’t be planning to run in 2014. 

Let’s have some more perspective here. While we’re supposedly losing $70,000/month to the defeat of Measure J, we’re losing more than twice as much – about $158,000 a month –  paying  the “employee share” of pensions.  That was the figure for 2012. We pay more every year, as their wages creep up, and their “share” – which WE pay –  goes up correspondingly.  Management just got a gi-NOR-mous pay raise – about $30,000 a department head – but still only pay 4 percent of their pension premium. OUCH!

Some nerve these assholes have – and that includes “news reporter” Alan Marsden – complaining that the voters (oh damn that DEMOCRACY!) pushed back against an illegal taking. Screw US for demanding some accountability Downtown!   

Here’s some more perspective – remember how they HOWLED about spending $150,000 on the election for Measure A?  That’s got to sound funny in light of this $158,000 a month figure they spend on their own benefits. In fact, I’m going to use the EMBEZZLE word again, cause that’s how I see it. 



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