Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is Mansoor Running Already?

MANSOOR'S RUNNING ALREADY!
Last Saturday our young jailer/mayor, Allan Mansoor, jumped up on his campaign soap box for his first public pronouncement of his 2010 campaign for a state Assembly seat as the Daily Pilot published almost 800 words (double what would be permitted to us mere mortals) in which he tried to address our local budget problems and groused about the abysmal way the state and federal governments manage theirs. You can read Mansoor's epistle HERE.


WILL WONDERS NEVER CEASE?
Hard as it migh
t be for you to believe, but I actually agree with Mansoor on most of what he wrote. I know, I know - better watch out for flying pigs and ice skaters in hades.

HE IS CORRECT...

Mansoor is correct when he complains about how the state and federal governments manage our money, and goes on to talk about the skill
and transparency with which budgets are managed here in Costa Mesa.


...EXCEPT ON THE TOT
I don't agree with him on the subject of the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), though. He shrugs off the fact that the city council failed to permit the voters to be heard on the subject last year, when they simply filed the request to place the TOT and a possible increase in the Business License Fees on the ballot last November. For those issues to be considered by the electorate they must now wait until the
elections of 2010 - a long, long way off when our city is bleeding red ink.

THEY SHOULD HAVE ALLOWED US TO VOTE

In my view, we should have had the chance to make our opinion known in the voting booth
on those issues. Although reasonable increases in both certainly wouldn't balance our budget, every little bit helps.


LOOKING FOR WISDOM...

I read Mansoor's "angry" piece and kept waiting for him to tell us what he has planned to balance our budget. Those words of wisdom never came. Not a hint as to how we can balance the budget without significant staff reductions.


...FINDING NONE
Mansoor didn't really tell us anything we didn't already know. In fact, part of what he told us was a little off the mark. He said we may be $19 million short this year when, in fact, we will more likely be well over $22 million short if the propositions on the ballot today don't pass.

HAS MANSOOR CHANGED HIS MIND?

Councilman Eric Bever has brought bac
k the issue of fees to be charged to folks in town for Emergency Medical Service which was recently passed by the council on a 3-2 vote, with Wendy Leece joining him to vote no. One must assume that he's managed to convince his buddy, Mansoor, to change his mind because the fees look and smell like a "tax" - Mansoor's least favorite word.

OK, WHAT'S YOUR IDEA, MR. MAYOR?
Mansoor and his colleagues asked the city staff to come up with new revenue sources a few months ago when it became clear that we were going to be in deep trouble budget-wise. The Fire Department did, but now stands to have two of their three proposals shoved back in their faces.


BUDGET WILL INCLUDE STAFF CUTS, UNLESS...

The staff is going to have a budget for the council to consider early in June. If the employee unions have not re-opened negotiations on modifications of their contracts before that time, the budget proposal will almost certainly include significant cuts in staff throughout the city ranks - including public safety positions. There is no other way to come close to balancing the budget - unless the unions agree to concessions that spread the pain.

...THE UNIONS DO THE RIGHT THING

The big question here is will the union leadership have the wisdom to do the right thing, or will they dig in their heels and force the city to thin their ranks significantly? Instead of trying to help resolve this crisis by spreading the load over many, will the union choose to simply watch many of their compadres lose their jobs? Which ever way this goes, I'm sure the good people of Costa Mesa will remember...

LOOKING FOR LEADERSHIP
Now is the time for strong leadership within the unions and the elected officials in our city. Now is the time for them to meet and resolve the issues that may force this city into even more difficult decisions than they already face. The clock is ticking...


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