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'Wasteful' Programs in Santa Monica

July 29, 1993

Every citizen of Santa Monica would be well served to read Dellinger and Ludwinski's analysis of the hidden and wasteful social services spending in Santa Monica's proposed budget. Their objective reading of the budget's many line items is a valuable public service.

However, perhaps because it was a donated service, and not funded by SMRR (Santa Monicans for Renters Rights) ideologues, they did not have time to be as thorough as they might have liked. For instance, there are many hidden social service expenditures which they missed. I modestly propose to list a few here.

First, they did not mention the library. The library misspends $3.5 million every year by duplicating services already provided to the community by Crown Books and Bookstar. This wasteful duplication is a not-so-clever scheme to furnish reading material to the homeless and others too lazy to buy books. Such hidden social service spending would not be tolerated by most Santa Monica property owners if they knew the facts.

Next, the combined budgets of the police and city attorney are nearly $30 million. Why should the comfortably middle-class citizens of Santa Monica pay exorbitant taxes for arrests and prosecutions, when it is the poor people who commit most of the crimes? This is a subsidy for criminals. It would be more efficient for those who choose to be protected to use their tax savings to hire Westec. Then, guilty people who are caught committing crimes could be forced to work to pay Westec's fees. This is only reasonable.

Last, the parks. Taxpayers don't use the parks, criminals do. Taxpayers go to health clubs, pay green fees and swim in resort pools. Nevertheless, taxpayers shell out $4 million for parks so that homeless, drug-addicted rapists can sleep near their victims. This hopelessly misguided social service must end.

The parks should be closed permanently. The land should be auctioned off to developers, ensuring that it will be used wisely. And the money from the auctions would further reduce the tax burden of good citizens.

These are just a few of the many wasteful social programs that could be easily eliminated. If they were eliminated, government could devote its resources solely to programs that are truly devoid of the taint of social engineering, such as the mortgage-interest deduction and federal deposit insurance.

JOSEPH W. DOHERTY

Los Angeles

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