Or so we are led to believe. But our public employees come first, of course.
At last night’s council meeting the discussion rolled around to what to do with $34,000.000 that will be coming Fullerton’s way courtesy of the federal governments latest orgy of largesse. Fred Jung opened the discussion with an emphasis that the City’s massive infrastructure debt be addressed. That sentiment was echoed by Councilman Dunlap and Mayor Whitaker.
Then the predictable began.
Ahmad Zahra cautioned that there might be restrictions on the money of which we are unaware and not to “count our eggs.” Of course this is code for: protect our employees.
At the 5 hour and 20 minute mark, Jesus Silva raised the topic of making our employees whole for their wonderful pay reduction sacrifices during the pandemic; City Manager Domer, reminded the council that the various bargaining units had taken pay cuts with the understanding that they would be reimbursed when new revenue was discovered (Measure S passage, no doubt, or failing that more fed bailout).
And that’s where the discussion wandered off into bureaucratic miasma with nothing resolved and no policy established. Once again the proverbial can was kicked down the road for another day.
Yet one thing is crystal clear. A public that has suffered itself tremendously over the past year, financially, psychologically, and personally is very likely to be on the hook to recompense public employees whose incomes, jobs, health insurance, and overall well-being was guaranteed (by us) throughout.
That’s right, the local hero unions dropped $10,000 each to try to help sell you on raising your taxes. As always we have to stop and ask “why?”.
It can’t be to fix the roads because the unions don’t care about your roads or infrastructure as most of their members don’t live in Fullerton. If they DID care about such things they wouldn’t act like mercenaries demanding unsustainable pay, playing cities against each other, while watching your city crumble.
So why did each hero union drop $10k? Because, as we’ve been saying for some time now, Measure S is just a pension tax. Allow me to illustrate the problem with our budget USING the budget.
This is the oldest budget I can find online currently and it’s from 2004-05. I’ve added the percentages in total dollars. Remember, this is from 15 years ago.
And THIS is from this year’s budget. I’ve added the percentages to correspond to the previous example.
Do you see the issue?
In the 15 years between these budgets, the budget TOTAL has gone up by over $20,000,000 (20 Million) and in that same amount of time the Police/Fire budgets have gone from consuming 26% of the budget to now consuming 37% of it.
That’s NOT just the General Fund. That’s the entire budget – all special taxes, grants, all of it.
Right there in plain math, that is where your money for roads & infrastructure went.
It should surprise precisely nobody that the city is demanding more money for infrastructure considering that they’ve been systematically cutting it for decades to give it away in payroll and pensions.
Now this is important: The total budget increased by 11.71% over fifteen years.
An 11% increase in the total size of the pie and still the heroes ate an additional 11% MORE (a larger slice) of the budget for a growth of $25Million+ in Public Safety spending over those 15 years.
It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out what’s happening here and why it might be a problem. This is not an issue of revenue. Fullerton takes in more tax revenue than it ever has in the city’s entire history. Every single new dollar that came in from your sales and property taxes, every single one, went straight to public safety salaries, benefits and pensions. It went to fund their outdated and ridiculous service models / toys (such as using a ladder truck to respond to every third passed out drunk or rolling 6 police cars up on every DUI).
And there you have it. This is why our roads suck and our pipes are bursting. This is why our water rates went up and will continue to go up. And yes, this is why the heroes dropped $20,000, so far, into trying to convince you to tax yourselves and your neighbors more. It’s also why the same types of people get endorsed by Police and Fire Unions year after year. The bought and paid for candidates will always make sure the heroes have their lifted trucks and river toys before you have safe roads.
There is no such thing as enough when it comes to taking your money and the return on investment for the unions here is enormous. This isn’t about bias, union hating, or “anarchy” as Ahmad Zahra likes to pretend. This is about simple math – the kind Jesus Silva claims to have taught but refuses to understand. Just look at the city’s own numbers.
Some recent commenters on our humble blog have wondered aloud who outgoing Mayor-for-Hire, Jennifer Fitzgerald was going to pick to be her choice for successor. Now we know.
Today a Friend forwarded some sort of statement (an English version) from a fellow by the name of Andrew Cho. Who is this person? Nobody I’ve asked today has ever heard of the guy; but, one thing is certain: he was chosen to be a reliable vote for all the things the Curt Pringle lobbyist Fitzgerald holds near and dear. I’d rather not slam the guy right out of the chute, but, hell, just look at who this mysterious person reports as his endorsers.
First, of course is the utterly unspeakable Fitzgerald.
If that weren’t bad enough, number two (and I really mean number two), the completely corrupt Dick Ackerman whose record running a fake non-profit to pay his wife, creating a fake address so she could run for the legislature in our district, and illegally participating as a lobbyist to promote the 2008 OC Fair swindle, have been well-documented on these pages.
Next we discover Ling Ling Chang, our current State Senator who originally ran for office pretending to own a business and attending Harvard. Both were lies, but that mendacity didn’t seem to put a dent in her armor of shamelessness.
Then there’s the support of Young Kim, the bubbleheaded perpetual candidate and her slimy husband Charles, who foisted the incomprehhensible nitwit Julie Sa on Fullerton way back in 1992.
Of course poor Cho must not have a clue that these endorsements will do a lot more harm than good, and if he doesn’t yet, he soon will.