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Advice for Board on County Budget

December 25, 1988

Many of us, though not enough, seldom find ourselves agreeing with Supervisor Harriett Wieder. Pell-mell growth is not our style. But two exceptions do stand out.

First, her plunking for an elevated monorail (this will come; it's not an "if," it's a "when").

Second, her call for a budget advisory committee (Dec. 17). Sound values seem accruable. A locked stable of stale air would be ventilated, allowing the fresh air of genuine public opinion to sweep the stable. The committee's ideas, too, would be factored into the draft budget before it reaches public hearings. And it would help democratize county government. It would puncture the epithet often aimed at county supervisors: offensive exhibition of assumed superiority.

More, the county could benefit from committee suggestions. Not all productive ideas lie in the minds of five officials. Electorship doesn't automatically confer wisdom.

Arguments opposing an advisory committee seem off target. Even silly. Like: "I'm not ceding my authority to unelected officials." Either the supervisor doesn't understand the committee wouldn't have decision power, or this is pure demagoguery. And objections to citizens becoming involved in county business? Wow! This seems to indicate a dictatorial philosophy. Or a leave-it-to-me philosophy. Are the supervisors afraid of an advisory committee? Afraid of what?

Yes, Supervisor Wieder's plan seems to make sense. What are we waiting for? In fact, more advisory committees might make even more sense.


Laguna Beach

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