Issues

The Human Cost of a Balanced City Budget

By Mike Crogan in the Camp Pendleton Patch on August 29, 2012

In the August 29, 2012 issue of the North County Times (NCT), we are treated to an article
telling us that Oceanside ended the previous fiscal year in the black.

Like anyone, I enjoyed the good news and praise for the stewards of the city's budget. But
then I got glum. According to Peter Weiss, City Manager, the city made it to the finish line
without debt mostly because sixty-eight employees were not replaced.

On the one hand, I am grateful for the difficult decisions made by many during these difficult
times. I am especially grateful to the city's employees and their unions for their sacrifices and
contributions to help balance the budget.

On the other hand, I see sixty-eight unemployed people. I see sixty-eight people possibly
drawing on tax-supported services rather than contributing taxes to those services. I see
sixty-eight unemployed people without salaries to spend on local, regional, and national
manufacturers, retailers, and service providers. I see sixty-eight families who must tell their
children that the next family outing will have to be canceled for lack of money. I see sixty-eight
more possibilities for foreclosures, evictions, and homelessness. I see sixty-eight people who
are not spending money and therefore not creating wealth or jobs for others.

Occasionally, I give a few bucks to the guy selling newspapers on the corner. When I do, I don't
find myself destitute or passing up a purchase I would have made with those few bucks. I don't really
miss them. I have to wonder. Why don't I and other folks in Oceanside band together and pay a few
extra bucks in taxes so that sixty-eight people can be employed. How many jobs, how much wealth
could we create for our city, our state, our nation.

Listen and read what they say and you'll find only three people running for City Council worry about these
sixty-eight people. If you worry about them - and the rest of us who benefit when they have jobs - you
need to vote for Wood, Sanchez, and Corso.

Life and Death Politics

written by Mike Croghan

Recently, I read a friend’s message about outsourcing services currently provided by our city (Oceanside).
That evening, I took a seat on a wall in my front yard to enjoy the peace and quiet of my neighborhood and
an adult beverage. I live on a very nice street in north Oceanside where my neighbors sometimes remind
me it would be an elite street but for the fact I live on it. Anyway, I was sipping and listening to the neighborhood
children conspiring something only they could understand while in their makeshift cardboard home (inhabitated
by girls. Were it boys, the place would be called a fort). (Is that sexist or what???)

While sipping and thinking how lucky I was to live in such a neighborhood and city, the loud growl of a
diesel engine drew my attention. Slowly, an OFD truck came into sight and parked. Three firefighters
emerged. I hoped their visit would help, even save a neighbor's life. After a short visit, they boarded the
truck and drove away. Evidently, the crisis that called them here had passed.

I sipped again, relief, gratitude, concern, and anger crowding out the earlier peace of mind. I was relieved
the cause for their visit had passed. I was grateful for the knowledge that they'd come from a firehouse less
than a mile away. Then I got concerned. In the future would a neighbor, a loved one, or I lose this benefit of
fast response by trained paramedics to a life-threatening crisis?

In her yard, a neighbor has a sign saying, "For Mayor. Jerry Kern. Leadership. Accountability". Pondering
the question, I got angrier. How many of my neighbors will die for lack of quick response when Mr. Kern's
self-styled "Leadership and Accountability" outsource life-saving of Oceanside's citizens to those more interested
in profit than service to our community?

What’s next? Mr. Kern would have us believe he’s saving us taxes. In exchange for our lives? Thanks anyway!
Maybe Mr. Kern’s leadership would take us to a place where, to save on our insurance premiums, we have EMTs
staff our hospitals’ emergency rooms. Anything to lower costs. Using his logic, we could wait for taxis rather than
have to pay for expensive luxuries like the city’s emergency response vehicles.

I have a son who served as firefighter in a city where firefighters are not required to be paramedics. Without exception,
he and his fellows arrived at an emergency scene a few to several minutes ahead of the privatized ambulance service.
My daughter, an ER physician in the same city, assures me that minutes – no, seconds! – can mean the difference
in saving a patient’s life.

Mr. Kern’s peculiar definitions of leadership and accountability, his pious and pretentious pronouncements about
protecting the taxpayers, his quest to remove emergency services, library services, community and recreational
centers threaten my city’s vibrancy and citizens’ protections. I’ll pay my taxes to invest in the vibrancy and protections.
I’ll also be voting for Jim Wood.

Can Jimmy Knott turn the Oceanside Election?

By Ken Leighton in the NC Times on August 22, 2012

If you don't include the council members, city manager or city attorney, there is only one person
who can be counted on to be at Oceanside City Council meetings. Jimmy Knott is the robust,
late-50ish mobile-home resident who almost never misses a proclamation, inter-council squabble,
or a vote on the issues that confront our local government.

Jimmy is omnipresent, sitting there in the front row with his cane, hat and bolo tie, taking in all
the minutiae that city staffers feed to the council. He speaks regularly at each meeting, usually
on more than one item.

Most cities have a Jimmy Knott. If you like what they do, you call them watchdog. If you don't,
you might label them gadfly.

Fact is, people like Jimmy who pay close attention to the machinations of City Hall can be valuable
in discovering and exposing relevant facts that may be conveniently ignored by the city staff or council
members. Jimmy spends countless hours discovering pertinent data on the Internet.

Jimmy asks questions that need to be asked. Other times he seems like a self-appointed specialist
on everything. Some complain that council meetings are too long because they've become "The Jimmy Knott Show."

To read the entire Forum article, please go to:
http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/forum-can-jimmy-knott-tur...

Even more free market ideas

Letter to the editor in the NC Times written by Mike Croghan on August 9 2012

Wow! More free-market ideas make me tingle all over.

Oceanside citizens to guarantee loans for outsourced city services ("An Oceanside taxpayer 'bill of goods?',"
by Lizbeth Altman, Community Forum Aug. 1). City of Oceanside to grant deferred payments for city services
("City Council asked to continue breaks for developers," July 30). Can't wait to see what our three free
marketeers have in mind for outsourced police, fire and library services.

By the way, I'm calling upon all candidates for Oceanside mayor and council seats to make public statements
regarding their stands on these matters, and I am calling upon the North County Times to publish their statements.

Arnold Missed a few things

Letter to the editor in the NC Times by Jim Hayes of Oceanside

Arnold missed a few things

I noticed a few problems with Thomas K. Arnold's Aug. 15 column ("Winning through recycling"), where
he ridicules the Democratic party for running candidates who have long been out of office.

First, he refers to Jerry Brown as a candidate for Oceanside mayor; second, nothing that I've read indicates
that Terry Johnson's candidacy is the result of party recruitment; and third, the last time we heard publicly
from him, Terry Johnson had become a Republican, announcing his change of registration at a meeting of the
county Republican Party central committee meeting and drawing the Republican Party's endorsement in the
Oceanside mayoral race ("GOP endorses Johnson for Oceanside mayor," July 15, 2004).

Oceanside politics is already woefully chaotic. It would be nice if professional columnists avoided adding to
the confusion through five minutes of proofreading and research.

FORUM: An Oceanside taxpayer "bill of goods?"

By Lizbeth Altman in the NC Times, dated August 1, 2012

Even though the 50-year lease of the Oceanside Municipal Airport to Airport Property Ventures
APV) states that it is APV's responsibility to secure financing for improvements to the airport,
city management is asking the city council to approve a state loan guaranteed by taxpayers
with the loan proceeds pegged for use by APV to build new hangers.

APV doesn't want to pay the interest rate necessary to obtain its own private loan guaranteed
with its own airport operating income including rent from any newly built hangers. Instead APV
wants the city to obtain a lower interest rate loan guaranteed by taxpayers. APV offered the
currently unknown rent from new hangers for city loan payments.

The staff report, in its first attempt to justify hanging this loan on taxpayers' backs, states, "A
lower interest rate in turn, can potentially generate more revenue to the city under its lease
payment from APV per the terms of the agreements."

The staff report goes on to state that the city could get "additional revenue as rent" since the
hangar rent might be greater than any city loan payment to the state. "More revenue to the city"
and "additional revenue as rent" sound great, right, since that could mean more money for the
general fund to pay for city services to taxpayers?

Wrong!

To read the entire article, go to: North County Times

Candidate cannot have it both ways

Letter to the editor written by William Lyons in the NC Times on July 21 2012

I'm glad I wasn't drinking my coffee when I read the headline, "Chip Dykes running for
City Council," June 30. It would have burst out of my nose (which is painful and ruins the paper).

If I'm not mistaken, he wrote a letter to the editor a while back about feeling used as a
veteran in the rent decontrol issue, yet he lauds his military service (as he should), but
is using it as a pawn for whatever issue he decides.

He can't have it both ways. Mobile-home owners may be a minority, but I am confident in
saying that 99 percent of the 3,000 (or more) of us and our relatives do vote. Case in point?
Rent decontrol. Good luck with the status quo issue.

Decontrol is just the first step

A letter to the editor written by Christopher Wilson

If there is one lesson to be taken from the June 5 election, I believe it is this:
The strategy of pitting the voters of Oceanside against each other has failed.

The majority of Oceanside's citizens do not live in manufactured homes, but we as
a city were unwilling to see these fellow citizens singled out and targeted by a small,
well-financed group of out-of-town corporations with an agenda.

Further, I must express my disgust at the attempt that was made to single out thousands
of Oceanside residents as a "special interest." We all have our individual issues that we
care about, government programs that we support and protections that we rely on. It is
when we see the value of these things - even when they do not directly benefit us - that
we can work together as a city that benefits all of its citizens.

That is what happened on June 5.

Porta-potty issue

Letter to the editor written by Stephen Bustanoby in the NC Times on July 148, 2012

The front page story, "Pier Porta-Potties generate complaints," July 13, activated the
"sophomoric humor" part of my brain.

The report of over-flowing, under maintained potties had to have Oceanside visitors thinking,
"This place is a dump." One Strand resident described "feces ... rising over the seats" (sounds
like a John Grisham novel). I really laughed out loud at the guy that took photos of "filth on toilet
seats" and the bottom of these dirty johns. It might have gone like this, "Hey kids, bunch together
so you are all in the shot."

This is an issue I've addressed before. If businesses are to attract large crowds (not flies), to spend
money, promote a business or city, in this case, there have to be adequate and clean bathrooms. I
know we are slipping toward Third World status, but let's try not going to the bathroom like them.

Irony lives in Oceanside

A letter to the editor in the NC Times, written by Holli Morton published on July 13,2012

The June 27 City Council meeting ended with neighborhoods full of outraged citizens, which
has become the norm in Oceanside. Several longtime residents of Pacific Street pleaded with
the council, citing excessive noise, horrific parking problems and loss of their ocean view from
a large, beachside structure, which was first presented to and approved by city planners as a
private home, but quickly morphed into more of a hotel, with multiple floors and many
rooms for rent.

The owner now wishes to add an additional floor to the structure (which many feel will exceed
city height restrictions), and, it appears, is planning to build several similar structures along the
same block. The Jerry Kern, Jack Feller, Gary Felien troika approved the plan, stating the same
reason they used for supporting vacancy decontrol (Proposition E): Owners should be able to do
whatever they want with their land.

However, before the curtain fell on the meeting, the infamous three had voted to spend $1,500,000
(no word on where the money will come from) toward the Melrose extension, which would require
the capture of 14 properties by eminent domain. It certainly brings up the questions: What criterion
determines which land owners have the right to control their properties in Oceanside, and who gets
to decide how much nuisance is allowed?

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