Sun. May 19th, 2024

Opinion by Samuel Strait – March 18, 2022

I don’t often pay as much attention to what is going on at City Hall as
I should.  While I live in the County and only have a few interests that
apply to City doings, I know I have been remiss in the attention I give
to the City’s Fathers.  After all much of what Crescent City does,
affects us all.  I had planned on attending the recent”workshop” the
City Council hosted, billed as “The City’s priorities”, which also
included four members of the Measure “S” Citizen’s Oversight Committee,
but did not make it. Thus this opinion piece is based on the YouTube
Video of the three hour and fifty six minute marathon.

The meeting was advertised as what the Council “felt” were the
“priorities” demanded of them by the City’s residents.  The list began
with the typical City Council Obsession with Front Street and Beach
Front Park, then wandered over to the pool, the City’s prime real estate
location for City Hall, then settled on the police building.  That was
pretty much the extent of the priorities, although some money was
casually referenced as being for road repair on A Street and K Street
almost as if forced, as well as some equipment for the City’s police and
Fire Departments.  Other than that the meeting pretty much talked about
millions of dollars being spent on the pool, and Front Street. Money was
to be borrowed for the City’s new hall and the Police Building
refurbishment to the tune of a few more million, but what is money when
you are flush with cash.

According to the City’s CAO, Eric Wier, nearly $2 million of Measure”S”
money by fiscal year’s end, $1.6 million from the Feds, $800,000 from
the General fund unallocated money, and talk of borrowing several more
millions.  Must be nice to be so casual with tax payer money.  The focus
of all this extravagant spending was mainly with the pool, $1.2 million
and a two block section of Front Street from “G” to “I”  $2.2 million. 
The remaining sections of Front Street were broken up into more
manageable chunks all over a million dollars each, $7.7 million for the
grand total not to include a whole bunch of amenities that will be
scheduled for future appearances and cost.  Its all so grand, but mostly
meant for the “tourist’s”, after all we must dress up the “pig”. 
Appearances matter, in times where food and gas money are upper most on
the minds of many in the City, and the County as well.

I suppose it isn’t all that bad when you consider nearly two thirds of
the City’s residents approved of removing $2 million dollars from their
pockets in just the first year of what the City is planning on a revenue
stream to extend into the mists of time. Nearly four hundred thousand
dollars to keep the pool operational, $2.75 million to convert the
former Bank Of America into the City’s new town Hall, and $1.2 million
into the City’s Police Station so they might have a “better” parking
lot, bathrooms, and a place to take a shower.   While all this is
precisely what the City’s voters expected the Measure “S” money to be
spent on, the question becomes “Is It Worth It?”  Think, as long as
Measure “S” continues to fund the Council’s “dream world”, is this what
you were expecting?

What you didn’t understand that the pool would occupy that much money
each and every year?  You didn’t realize the cost of the “needed”
systems at the pool had a price tag of $1.2 million? You thought some
“grant funding” would take care of the rest of Front Street?  And that
is just the here and now.  Where will the substantial amount of money
come from when all the “new” draperies start to look shabby  and dated
in the park, at the pool?  Where will the money come from to empty the
trash, mow the lawn, tidy up the shrubbery, clean and service the new
restrooms, and take care of day to day maintenance?  Not much forward
thinking in this lot making the decision to spend millions.  What
happens if Measure “S” goes down in flames and that multi million dollar
loan package comes due next year?  All good questions that nobody on the
Council or the COC were asking.   Hmmmmmm.

What did you expect as you look in that shrinking wallet which may not
cover next months rent, or groceries, or even that next tank of gas?  As
cost goes up, the large bite will come out of that wallet to pay for the
City’s “dream world extravaganza”.  Not only that, those in the County
that understand the cost of sales tax, will be taking a greater share of
their business to the North.  The City may be flush with cash now, but
do not expect that to continue, once spent it is gone.  If the City’s
residents choose to look more carefully at what they are getting for
Measure”S”, they will have a choice in November to call a halt to the
fleecing of their wallets.  Then will the City Council realize that
times are tough and Ice Cream Castles, Palaces, and Fantasy Land have no
business in our pockets….

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