So, the Mayor sent an almost comically whiny letter (PDF) to the Council last week explaining why he decided to cancel December’s police academy. First, he seems shocked to learn that Measure Y isn’t just a bottomless pit of money he can use for whatever he wants forever:
Measure Y funding will soon became unable to sustain the full cost of the problem solving officers. This fact – coupled with the City Attorney’s most recent advice that our police overstaffing costs can no longer be charged to this funding source – leaves us with no other alternative but to pay for the additional officers that just graduated from the 165th academy with our General Purpose Fund money.
Wow. What a burden, having to use the funds actually available to you to pay for ongoing expenses! Too bad nobody realized that Measure Y funds weren’t endless before you threw them all away.
Wev. He then goes on to boo-hoo about NN and how hard it is to get a two-thirds vote, and how it’s totally unfair that you can elect the President with a smaller percentage than it takes to pass a tax in California. Then, he promises to bring back the police tax:
A two-thirds majority vote was necessary to pass Measure NN, and I am confident that this will be accomplished through subsequent ballot measures.
He just doesn’t get it. I don’t think the Council gets it either. Tomorrow will be the first day of the monthly City closures that were part of last month’s budget cuts, so I hope you weren’t planning on visiting the library. Because it’s going to be closed. Nevermind that we all pay a special tax that was promised to keep our libraries open. The City Attorney says this is all perfectly legal (PDF) because avoiding library closures is only an “objective” and not a “requirement” of the tax, and hey – he’s probably right. But just like with the Measure Y lawsuits, this haggling over what’s legal and what isn’t legal misses the point, which is that when people vote to tax themselves in exchange for something, they expect to receive that thing, regardless of what the technical legal requirements of your ordinance are. Closing the libraries in the city shutdowns or collecting Measure Y funds without providing the officers they were supposed to hire might be legal, but it’s also an abuse of the public trust. And the Mayor and the City Council need, at some point, to get that through their heads if they ever want anyone to vote for another tax in this town again. Because as long as nobody trusts you to spend things like you promise – and why would they, you give them zero reason to – you are never going to get a two-thirds vote for more police or anything else.