Modestans sound off on Measure X
10/14/2013 4:27 PM
10/14/2013 7:51 PM
City doesn’t deserve money
Measure X is another attempt by the inept Modesto city government to extract more taxes to continue their incredible string of poor decisions.
When has city government impressed you with their financial planning abilities? I know, never. Unfortunately they just stagger from one costly mistake to another, never learning the money they are spending is our tax money.
The new “low cost housing” fiasco is an example. City government paid almost double for the land, did not have the property checked for toxic substances, and could not build the number of units they had planned. This example alone is sufficient evidence city government is incapable of managing any extra tax money. One could write a book on the poor decisions made by city government, but I am limited to 200 words. No on Measure X.
No guarantees on spending
Anyone thinking of voting for Measure X might want to read Section 2 of 8-2.1117, page 35, of the Sample Ballot. It reads, “USE OF TAX REVENUE. The tax authorized by this ordinance is a general tax. The City may use the revenue from the tax for any general governmental purpose, including without limitation those spending priorities adopted by Resolution of the City Council.”
So the same folks who gave us the recent public housing disaster will decide where Measure X revenue will be spent, not the Oversight Committee which appears to me to be just an appeasement effort to get Measure X passed. We need help for our police and fire departments but Measure X does not guarantee it.
Reconsider opposition to X
It is particularly simple to acknowledge some of Modesto’s most glaring problems: auto theft, meth and heroin addiction, high unemployment, unhealthy air, etc. Similarly, should we not also recognize some of our more positive attributes? These include, but are not limited to, Graceada Park (and MoBand), Gallo Center, State Theatre, Peace Life Center, Modesto Junior College, John Thurman Field, Modesto Gospel Mission and The Salvation Army (as well as their numerous volunteers), the I Street “triple crown” (McHenry Museum, mansion and library) and, lastly, the thousands of wonderful trees that provide both shade and beauty.
That said, I think most responsible people would agree that our overall quality of life can also be linked to our police and fire departments, and the necessary services they render. If they lack the funds to adequately serve us, is it not our responsibility as taxpayers to respond to their essential needs?
Based upon available information, it seems that Measure X is doomed and we, the citizens of Modesto, will ultimately suffer the consequences. It is not too late for those opposed to the measure to reconsider. Please.
Measure X not the answer
“No one should be a crime victim ... fight back.” “We won’t allow drug dealers, street punks, gang members and car thieves to run our town.” These statements were on the “Yes on X” flier I just received. Who could disagree with their headlines? I certainly don’t.
Collecting a 1 percent tax for six years is not the answer. The proponents say the money will be used to hire more policemen and firemen. Do we need them? Yes, but what is going to happen to them in six years when the money flow stops? Unless the tax is renewed, they will have to be laid off.
I demand to know from the “Yes on X” committee, in this column, exactly how these new hires will keep their jobs when the tax ends. My guess is they will have no answer. How fair will that be to the families of the new policemen and firemen?
The answer to the problem is to have city employees pay a larger percentage of the cost of their benefits if they want them maintained at the current level, or reduce their benefits to a level that the city can afford. Then start hiring.
JOHN E. SCHONWALD
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