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Commentary- "Winds Of Change" Are Coming PDF Print E-mail
Written by Irwin Rosenberg   
Thursday, 05 July 2012 05:23

"Winds Of Change" Are ComingThis week we received the very long awaited welcome news from the County of Los Angeles and our City Clerk. The signatures for the Recall petition have been certified and we will now have the opportunity to change the course and direction of the City. This historic special election will allow the residents of this community to restore integrity in City Hall and end the patronage demanded by the City Council's majority, Mayor Brenda Esqueda, and Councilmembers Mario Hernandez and Maribel De La Torre. If they care at all about this City, they will now simply step down to avoid being driven out through this election.

As we embark on this special election, which the City Council must schedule and will happen before the year's end, I ask you to remember why we got to this crucial point. It is why as a City we face significant financial challenges. The City's proposed budget reflects almost $18 million dollars in expenses with just less than $17 million in revenues expected to come in. The revenue projections are optimistic at best and include an expectation by the City Council Majority that residents will face increased code enforcement fines. The budget reflects more than a 75% increase in fine revenue meaning code enforcement officers must issue more citations. It also reflects an unrealistic projection of $200K in collected fees for people arrested and booked, something not done before and impossible with 7 less officers in past two years. Even more ridiculously, the budget includes $335K for augmenting pool operating costs with general funds, the equivalent of 3 police officers salaries and benefits, another legacy of incompetent decision making by the Majority Three lead by Councilmember De La Torre.

While businesses continue to leave this City, driven away by Mayor Esqueda's, and Councilmembers Hernandez and De La Torre's lack of leadership and vision, they set priorities for the City which include a 4th of July fireworks event, which is only possible because they demand patronage of the trash companies bidding on an upcoming contract for the City's Waste services.

Their other top priorities are a shopping cart ordinance and raising money for snack bars at the parks and building a Skate park. It is important to provide recreational activities for our community's children, something the police officers of this community support, but public safety is not even mentioned on their list of priorities. If our City streets and parks are not safe, no one will use a skate park or feel safe at our park baseball diamonds.

In the past two years, the police department has been reduced by almost 20% in budget and staffing and crime rates are beginning to climb and it is taking longer to get a police officer to respond due to lack of resources. The City Council Majority's answer to this is to make a policy decision to leave vacant police officer positions unfilled as officers leave. Officers will leave this city because pay has been cut and they have been treated with disrespect and the council majority has demanded their patronage doing all they can to eliminate those who stand up to them. Is it possible Esqueda, De La Torre and Hernandez want to erode the police ranks to the point where they are ineffective so then they can contract with the sheriff?

Please don't forget the Council Majority just last month snubbed the LA City Fire department canceling an event that would have showcased the services provided by our Fire Department and Police Department.

The City Council Majority claimed it was because of a lack of the City of Los Angeles providing specific liability language for a certificate of insurance.

This was simply a smoke screen for the truth. Esqueda and De La Torre were upset the event was not a showcase for them to take credit and their egos were insulted after they tried to run LA City Fire out of town and jeopardize all our health and safety with a private fire department, an action declared to be illegal by the State Attorney general.

This past weekend, a group of residents, led by the Recall Committee leadership and business leaders held a rally to save JCPenneys. They have waged a noble fight. They lead this fight because the City Council Majority again doesn't have the skill set, knowledge and ability to wage this fight or convince JC Penney's to stay.

The event was allowed and pushed through by the Council Majority, unlike the Fire Department event, only because Mayor Esqueda was provided a role and forum through this event to try to look as if she was doing something to prevent business from exiting our City. Business leaders, labor leaders, like the Police Officers I represent, and most important, the residents know better and want as well as demand change.

The winds of change are coming and the County's certification of the recall signatures provides great hope. We need leaders with vision, integrity, courage, common sense, moral and ethical values that provide examples for us and our children and not people who will continue to morally, ethically and financially bankrupt this City and demand the patronage of others.

Rosenberg is president of the San Fernando Police Officers Association

Last Updated on Friday, 06 July 2012 19:36