The Pomona City Council has come up with a good idea, a tax-fee package on developers (Times, July 9).
The idea is good, that is, until you read the part where council members say it will give the council greater latitude in allocating funds.
The current shortfall in the Pomona budget could well be resolved with these additional funds. Unfortunately, I've watched this council in action and they are so deeply entrenched in private (and public) battles that progress has little hope. I fear that these additional monies will simply give the "Gang of Three" their chance to impose their "bully pulpit" tactics on the community.
Will they allocate these funds only as they see fit, with no apparent regard for the masses? Will the council vote as if they are molded of "Clay?"
The monies are earmarked to increase our police force by 19, but how did they come up with this arbitrary number? The article stated that the only city in the San Gabriel Valley with comparable size with a development tax is Pasadena. What is the "per-capita" police count in Pasadena? I, for one, would like to know what criteria was used to determine the need for 19 additional officers. Why not 24; why not two? Give us some tangible data please.
Make no mistake. Extra officers will be welcomed. But at the same time we must not alienate the business community. Our council must work to attract businesses in order to eliminate the empty lots and decaying downtown areas that are "breeding grounds" for gangs. Get rid of the element and expanding the police force may not be a necessary option the next time there is a dilemma.
Frankly, you would have to wonder about another set of tangible data that could be realized from these fees, the amount of tax-revenue base that may be lost from these increases. Maybe the council could unite for the good of the city instead of following some mindless allegiance, and take a pro-active stand to fill empty lots with businesses. Instead, it seems they have reacted to a budget shortfall with a very short-term fix.
Personally, I would like my City Council to be planning long-term solutions in a positive and progressive manner. Perhaps it's time for the "Gang of Three" to become the "Force of Five."
MICHAEL J. SMITH