Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Depleting the City Reserves Would be Dumb.

The following landed in my e-mail inbox. I should note that I have never met Bob Bonde.

April 29, 2006

Open letter to Encinitas City Council,

The City of Encinitas has never had a revenue problem. It only has a spending problem.

Twenty years ago, when we became a city, LAFCO declared that we were the most economically viable city to have sought incorporation in recent California history. Since then, to the best of my knowledge, income has almost always exceeded projections.

The Encinitas Taxpayers Association wants you to add one more alternative to the three so-called evil budget cuts proposed. We would like you to reduce the amount of money now spent on staff salaries and benefits by at least 10%. Other agencies have done so in the past and you know that if necessary the city could still effectively operate with this small cut.

We found it amusing that the staff recommendation honed in on capital outlay projects but never mentioned cuts to the largest city expense.

Please ask yourselves, if the world would end if the Hall project or fire station projects were delayed a year or two? While one could argue that costs will continue to increase, there is nothing to prove that they could also over time level out or even fall.

Borrowing money to solve today's minor timing problems is definitely not the answer and would probably meet stiff resistance from the taxpayers. Borrowed money is too easy to spend.

Playing games with lease revenue bonds are equally unacceptable because taxpayers end up paying the bill.

Depleting the city reserves would be dumb.

Bite the bullet and face up to the fact that you are between a rock and a hard spot because you recently granted overly extravagant staff salary and benefit packages. Now you want the property owners to bail you out. Cry if you will, but you will get no sympathy from me and other informed citizens who consider your actions totally unacceptable.

Do what is right! Share the wealth of this community with the citizens for a change, by cutting staff costs rather than those capital projects that improve citizens quality of life.

Robert Bonde

Bob Bonde is a retired university dean. He is known as the father of the City of Encinitas . He is married and has three adult children. Dr. Bonde was named environmental activist of the year by the San Diego Press Club. He has resided in Encinitas since 1972.


Encinitas Taxpayer's Association

20 comments:

  1. Is Bob Bonde still around? Seems like all he ever does is complain about the size of staff. I think that the Council and Kerry Miller have been spending money on too many projects (like the library) and citizen satisfaction surveys (what are we Carlsbad) and lobbiest to pass propositions. Why 20 million on a library that will not be used. The new generation of kids will be able to download any book ever written from their their portable book reader that is in development. The library is about 25 years past its prime. Oh that is when they first wanted it. Seems like everything takes about 25 years to build in Encinitas.

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  2. Libraries have been called the "cornerstone of a democracy". I would hate to see them thought of as an extravegance. Not all people can afford computers, even though some might find that hard to believe. Libraries offer much more than books. A well informed citizenry needs libraries,even those with computers. I hope the city does not throw away the money that was set aside for the new one. Perhaps it could be downsized, but it is needed.

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  3. The library is under construction and not mentioned by Bob so its a moot point. Bob is right on in what he says. Cut the fat!

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  4. The Library is extravagant. There is a perfectly good library in Cardiff and two in Carlsbad. Construction has already started behind city hall so it is a little late to change this library. The library is a monumment to wasting taxpayer's money. The 20-30 million or so they are planning on spending to construct this outmoded form of information could have been used to build other things in this city.

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  5. Kids can get 98% of the information available at a library from their home or school or friends computer.
    Kids cannot get into soccer, baseball etc. without a field and the Hall property sits vacant.

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  6. Give me a break... A 10% reduction in the city's operating budget would be about 4 million dollars. How the @$%@ does that pay for about 40 milliion dollars in planned city construction projects?
    This city has ALWAYS had more #$%@ planned than it had the cash to pay for. Then they either saved for it, or take out a mortgage for it by bonding for it. That's how we got City Hall!
    The current situation is no different except grouchy man has decided to describe it as a funding shortfall which it is NOT!And it is a little different because of the hyper-inflation of construction costs lately.
    The grouchy man should crawl back under his rock and let civilized people(who will be alive for the next 30-40 years)make pragmatic choices about what we need to do.

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  7. You know what? I so appreciate Bob Bonde. His comments are right on, too. He knows what the financial situation was and is. If we could save 4 million per year, that would be a huge help. We had to spend bunches of money on Prop C which was only over about $5.00 per month, per EDCO trash service bill, and amounted to about 1.5 million dollars, plus interest and costs for the election.

    My kids played soccer. There are many fields here and in other cities, at the school yards, that are used. Council should not have put the public works yard at Pacific View and paved over those fields, if it was interested in preserving the fields.

    It doesn't help to take those who are compassionate and informed and label them grouchy, etc. Many of us are grumpy who worked hard for the incorporation of Encinitas to slow growth, provide local control.

    City Council is out of control. It does not have good spending, taxing or litigation integrity. Council and staff are not being realistic, or accountable. When James Bond called for an internal audit a couple of years ago because our projections are consistently off, by millions, as far as capital project costs, and operating expenses, Christy Guerin told him, dismissively, "You are so far out of touch with reality."

    Now Mr. Bond will be here for about 2 1/2 more years, at least. He is not up for re-election in November. So we can look to him for some leadership, fiscal restraint, and yes, an independent audit, to help us dig ourselves out of the hole of diminishing returns Christy Guerin and Dalager have buried us in.

    We do want to have a library here. I liked the old one. But yes, that is a moot point. The new library is extravagant. An ocean view deck with a coffee bar is surely a “warm fuzzy.” A new library is being built. However, demolition was so much easier than paying for new construction. Council and Staff were lax in not having redesign contingency plans, alternatives, built in, should the project come in over budget, as it has. We could put this off, hoping the prices will come down. That did happen with real estate, back in 91, through about 98. The big spenders want you to believe that prices can never, will never come down.

    I believe prices, such as gas prices, can come down if we cooperate and work together. Let's not attack one of our founding father's here. Bob Bonde is a caring, compassionate man. He is well informed, and involved.

    Give me a break, go climb back under your rock. Your bitterness and divisiveness is not needed or wanted here. Are you a staff member who does not want to take a 10% pay cut? Judge not least ye be judged. I know we have cut our living expenses to the bone, to afford to continue living here. We want to work together for a positive change, not pull down, put down the messengers advocating a revolution in consciousness.

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  8. As for "Council should not have put the public works yard at Pacific View and paved over those fields, if it was interested in preserving the fields".

    There were no fields at Pacific View. The city paved nothing when they started using the school site. Jeeze, at least try a little harder to see through your haze and come close to reality in your posts!

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  9. So according to this dude, whoever, we should demand a 10% cut across the board? So that's in lifeguards? Ambulances? Firefighters? Pot hole fillers? Park maintinence workers,and people to call us back when we call the city?

    It's so cheap and easy to call for some BS reduction. Where's the specific recommended reductions?

    Whee's the real and specific accusations of over-staffing?

    Without real and progressive recommendations this is just lame politics taking advantage of the people's blog.

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  10. So according to this dude, whoever, we should demand a 10% cut across the board? So that's in lifeguards? Ambulances? Firefighters? Pot hole fillers? Park maintinence workers,and people to call us back when we call the city?

    It's so cheap and easy to call for some BS reduction. Where's the specific recommended reductions?

    Whee's the real and specific accusations of over-staffing?

    Without real and progressive recommendations this is just lame politics taking advantage of the people's blog.

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  11. Who is older? Bonde or Bond? Which one is grumpier?

    You guys love the internet a little too much. Libraries are a good thing.

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  12. I dig the guy who uses #@%$# instead saying fuck like everyone else who post on this blog. Have some class homies.

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  13. Start with the increase in job positions since 2000. The Encinitas population hasn't grown so fast as to need the number of additional employees.

    Ambulances are part of the county CSA 17 system that is paid as an assessment on property in the CSA 17 area. The city council doesn't pay for the ambulances.

    Firefighters/paramedics have a certain number on the truck. Some cities have decreased the numbers.
    How many in Encinitas and how does that number compare with other cities in the state? Who knows. How many calls and the type of calls? Who knows. The fire chief seldom if ever gives public reports about the department.

    Pothole fillers - Does anyone really believe that pothole filling is a major goal of the council? They let a street become cracked and broken and then institute a major street reconstruction using private contractors.

    Art director -$86,000 budgeted. A big council goal is public art, a master art plan, and a grand theater. Expect this city department to grow and consume more money in a year or two.

    The city manager may get to hire a communications officer, a new job position. Encinitas government is moving into the big time.

    From a laid back beach city to a high powered corporate powerhouse in just 5 years.

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  14. Truth PrevailsMay 03, 2006 3:16 AM

    I remember our cousin in law’s son playing baseball on the fields at Pacific View. I walked on those fields myself. You are dead wrong about there never being fields at Pacific View. Ask some of the longtime neighbors.

    When school was ongoing at Pacific View, there were definitely playgrounds, a small field, perhaps, but a field. I remember my kids playing soccer there, too.

    This field was later paved over with blacktop. Have you been to Pacific View lately? That is where the County probation department takes all the slave labor to get their assignment for community service in Encinitas for the day.

    What was with all the garbage along Encinitas Blvd. the other day? We know for a fact, too, that through temp services, we presume, the City has hired illegal immigrants, too. I wonder, was the City affected by the boycott?

    Anonymous, how many of your posts are from one and the same guy? Aceti? Stocks? Pattinson? who? Put down the blog all you want. But you won't kill the messengers for delivering a message that rings true. We are fed up with lies, deceit, big spending bureaucrats, locally, and yes, nationally, too.

    I do think we could have a 10% cut across the board for operating expenses. That is not unheard of, and could help to pare down, get out of debt. Why are individual debtors advised to cut back on spending? This advice must hold for our local government, too. I think people can and will demand a five day work week, eight hours per day.

    We just gave a big ol' pay raise to our public servants, including more benefits than we can afford right now. There was little or no public discussion about this. Why wasn't last Wednesday's City Council meeting televised?

    And why do we need a huge truck and ladder, with a ladder taller than the highest buildings allowed in Encinitas? That fire truck and its equipment cost over $100,000, alone. Well, Glenn Sabine's cars probably add up to that much, too. And we, and, presumably other cities, each pay him a car allowance of $500.00 per month. Check out the contract. That is way too much.

    Anonymous, your calling BS on us is just you projecting your own BS back onto yourself, in heaps and mounds. Wish we could fertilize a few of the schoolyards with you. You are so glad when you think you find any kind of discrepancy in anyone's post, because you can distract others with your name calling, judgmental condemnation of those who propose solutions, instead of just defending rhetoric, hyperbole, and spin. You are full of it, you scoundrel.

    You can't win, anonymous. Because the truth eventually prevails. BS is good for manure, too. It's all good.

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  15. Cow Pie in the SkyMay 03, 2006 3:29 AM

    No such thing as too much love. Yeah libraries are a good thing. But proper pre-planning prevents piss poor performance.

    Hope that word's ok, Johnny Taco, bro. Yeah, the F word is kinda harsh. Perhaps, here, it could stand for fields?

    Who cares who is older, Bonde or Bond? I respect Bob Bonde far more. Politicians, particularly incumbents, are usually suspect, believe me. James Bond ran for the Assembly, said he was stepping down, we all thought for good. But he came back. Now he's not holding back the reins, as he seemed to want to at one time.

    That nag, Bossypants Guerin has gotten away, is galloping out of control, spending willy nilly, weaving in and out of her field of political dreams, racing along with Lawnmowerman Dalager, on his rider mower, chomping at the bit to sharpen some more blades for those over-priced, contaminated, cow pie in the sky, "warm fuzzy" dream fields to be, at the Hall Property.

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  16. We can do betterMay 03, 2006 4:09 AM

    Yeah, the San Diego Union Tribune, I think it was, said we spend 90% on staff pay, benefits, and contractors, and only 10% on capital improvements. So a 10% cut accross the board on operating expenses is going to have a much bigger effect than just cutting back on fixing potholes, storm drain maintenance, etc.

    We can't afford to cut back on mandated services required by the State and the Feds.

    The City of SD is in big trouble with its 80% operating expenses to 20% capital improvements rate. And in SD, they don't have such outrageous sewer fees, which have tripled, I know, in parts of Cardiff. Why do certain citizens, living in pre-existing neighborhoods, have to subsidize new development more than others?

    Our City Council and staff is inconsistent, ill prepared, and lacks vision. They are not in touch with the citizens' desires, which is becoming more and more obvious after the last three elections, including Props A and C, and the Lighting and Landscaping defeats. Council and staff promoted yes on all those proposed measures. They failed; Props A and C failed miserably. Why? Because the citizens want controlled growth, controlled spending, fiscal restraint, not ambitious spin masters using our city for sound bites and political brownie points.

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  17. "Kids cannot get into soccer, baseball etc. without a field and the Hall property sits vacant."

    Are kids unable to play ball right now because of a field shortage? Seriously, because that statement seems a bit dramatic.

    If it is true, how much worse will it be for the kids if they add hundreds or thousands of new kids to the population of Encinitas by rebuilding and densifying the El Camino Real corridor?

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  18. My goodness. Steve Aceti seems to have been cloned, and we are now being attacked by a platoon of Aceti sound-alikes. Anyone who looks at the city finances will be befuddled by its opaqueness. The creative financing instituted by Kerry Miller confuses even the city itself. Remember the One Million Dollar mistake in the Cardiff Sanitation District? The council discussed this in January 2005 and was considering a suplementary property tax bill for Cardiff residents. All the council did was praise the hardworking staff for their outstanding work and tacked the increase onto the December tax bill. It was very interesting to watch the council. They were beaming like happy children just given a dish of ice cream. But Lynn Werbs, then head of the Public Works department, never cracked a smile. She looked pissed. She left shortly thereafter and now works for another city. I guess she didn't like being made the fool.

    The city's financial structure is an entwined web of Encinitas Financial Authorities, Lease Revenue Bonds, interdepartmental money transfers, and financial obligations that don't show on the books. Ever wonder why the San Dieguito Water District financed the purchase of the Hall property and the development of the golf course? Now the city wants to do more of this creative financing because the city itself is not responsible for repayment of the bonds, the SDWD is. Even though the SDWD is part of the city, the repayment responsibility has been shifted around by means of the financing authorities.

    Yikes, my head is starting to spin! I better stop before I fall out of my chair. ONLY A FULL AUDIT OF THE CITY'S FINANCES BY AN INDEPENDENT, OUTSIDE FIRM WILL REMOVE THE VEIL OVER THIS MEDUSA WITH ITS TANGLED TENTACLES.

    A year ago I listened to Kerry Miller say that the city was in great financial shape until the year 2010. He was pushing for raises for the staff. What has happened in the meantime? All the capital projects were already in the works, including the Hall property, the library, and the Public Works yard. I cannot believe that everything is fine at city hall. I respect Gil Foerster's comments on another section of the blog, but I think he is being naive. Let's get that independent audit and really find out.

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  19. Why do the people that belong to the San Diguito Water District finance city wide projects? Is that why their feesa have tripled while the rest of the city water fees have stayed stagnant? That sounds like the same illegal move the City of San Diego finds itself in. Perhaps the district attorney or State Attorney general's office consumer fraud division needs to investiagte Miller, Sabine and the City Council.

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  20. What did Kerry Miller do with the one million dollars he moved out of Cardiff Sanitation district in his financial shell game? Just asking.

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