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Money Poorly Spent

December 04, 1988

I have been appalled the past few days to watch San Diego's new ploy to get higher taxes. City Manager John Lockwood says the city needs new taxes to hire more police officers. In 1984, the City Council adopted a goal of having more police officers--two per 1,000 city residents--but, since that time, little progress has been made. The city spent lots of new money, but not on police.

The city found an extra $4 million for the budget of a newly created "Commission for Arts and Culture." More money will fund a "city architect." And, keeping with the arts motif, the city found more millions for the Russian arts festival.

While this was going on, of course, San Diego's downtown area couldn't be allowed to run down, so the city gave millions to private property owners to fix things up. The now-bankrupt U. S. Grant Hotel, for instance, got a loan of $1.2 million.

If you want to see some really big bucks, take a look at the city's plan to build a $1.5-billion--yes, I said billion --sewage treatment plant. The plant wouldn't even be needed if the city had applied for an environmental waiver for the present system. To put this in perspective, $1.5 billion would put 330 extra police officers on the street for a whole decade. So that's where our police money is going.

Then, to add insult to injury, the city voted to spend $1.2 million for a public relations effort to sell this sewage plan to the public. That is, they are spending more of our money to try to persuade us that they aren't wasting our money. Amazing!

We deserve more for our tax dollar than this circus at City Hall. Instead of passing the buck, our City Council had better start taking care of the bucks--and spending them responsibly.

JACK SANDERS

President, United Taxpayers

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