Letters to the Editor: All mayors start fast. What will Karen Bass do differently?
Karen Bass is a strong woman, an effective mayor who has been effective in City Hall. In her first term, the city has made progress, in her words, “getting our fiscal house back in order.”
So now what?
Last year, she is calling for a two-year freeze on fees and taxes, and she is encouraging the use of more of the money saved by the previous two years to improve our education, and create new technology jobs in our city.
These are good ideas. But now, we are facing the same decisions in our budget next year we faced last year.
The mayor is proposing to freeze the department of human services, which currently provides more than $1 million a year in aid to the city’s poor.
In other words, she would “freeze” the aid, while calling for $1.1 million in new spending.
So who benefits? The poor, which is why the proposal is so unappealing to a large swath of city workers and residents.
The mayor proposed to keep our parks department, which is responsible for over 1,000 city-owned acres, and would give the parks department another $1.1 million in funding, which is a major cut for a department whose budget already has been reduced by half.
Then there is the question of how we get to the next fiscal year without a freeze.
The governor has proposed to freeze spending in his budget. The question then becomes which way the freeze goes. Does the governor want to go in the direction the mayor would go, to the benefit of labor unions and large corporations? Or, does he want to go in the direction she would go, to the benefit of the city’s poor and the poor in other states?
As city manager, we must be realistic. That’s why we need people who look at budgets and not at the mayor’s ego. This is a budget that pays close attention to spending, and I hope you