“I hate to be the first speaker after the lovefest but I’m afraid I’m not going to follow in their shoes….as I said at the last meeting of the city council….you continue to nibble around the edges of the problem: the elephant in the room is the 70% of the budget that is eaten up by the emergency services.” Corinne Lambden, 6/28/2011 City Council Meeting
It’s pretty hard not to see the very real problem ROCs (regular ol’ citizens) are appropriately and repeatedly addressing at city council (to deaf ears!):
Police budget comprises 33% of total city budget and gave a 5% cut. A $26M budget has been cut by $1.3M, $734K of which is from the elimination of Animal Services. That means the concessions gotten from the police total $566K, which is 2% of their total budget. TWO PERCENT.
Fire budget comprises 33% of total city budget and gave a 3.5% cut. A $23M budget has been cut by $800K. No staffing cuts, no pay/benefits cuts…none. ZERO PERCENT.
Libraries, Parks & Rec, and Public Works combined comprises 12% of total city budget and gave an 8% cut. A combined budget of $8.7M has been cut by $700K. All services to residents. Cut. EIGHT PERCENT.
Let’s go over that again: ….
Police: $26M budget. $566K in cuts. 2%.
Fire: $23M budget. $0 in cuts. 0%.
Libraries, Parks & Rec, and Public Works: $8.7M budget. $700K in cuts. 8%.
And again: 700 is to 8.7, as zero is to 23, as 566 is to 26…no wait! That makes no sense!
People are outraged for good reason. If you cannot see it, you’re choosing to be blind, and you’re part of the problem here in Alameda.
Tam said last night that you can’t just start negotiations suddenly with the unions to get pay/benefits concession. I beg to differ. One word: Quan.
Moreover, there’s been absolutely no indication whatsoever that those in charge will now, or ever!, negotiate with the fire and police unions for real pay/benefits concessions. I mean, we might very well be happy with the new budget if we were also told that the city was going to earnestly focus on gaining concessions from the union pay/benefits.
Goldman—newly promoted with what, $40K increase in salary?—kept saying something about needing to talk to ROCs about what additional cuts residents will be willing to tolerate to city services. Yet I have not once heard anyone in charge talk about talking to the fire and police unions about what cuts they will tolerate to help sustain our city and protect our quality of life services. I know, they don’t live here, but they do work here: better quality of life here is also better and safer quality of work for them too, right?! So not getting, and not intending to get, pay/benefit concessions from fire and police makes no sense from either side.
Alameda’s leadership and management continue to focus on pushing harder on residents…it feels like they are trying to get blood from a turnip when there’s two ripe oranges sitting right there in front of them: the fire and police unions!
Moreover, passing a budget with a multiyear deficit funded by city savings with the oft repeated “I hope” statements last night from just about everyone on the dais that the economy improves before we really have to do something about it…..is the definition of insanity. There are no indicators that the economy is going to improve. Hello?!
BEING OUTRAGED IS A RATIONAL RESPONSE.
Last night’s city council meeting video is here.