‘Disintegration of progressives’ letter disappoints
I’m responding to Rev. Bob Steht’s letter of early December regarding “disintegration of progressives being a good thing.” I recognize the Reverend has every right to his opinions – that’s the American way.
I read his article with some interest, some revulsion, and more than a little chagrin at his often derisive, divisive, and hyperbolic comments. There were occasional facts, but I was truly disappointed in some of his uncharitable (read un-Christian) comments (heaven help us if I espouse “social justice,” “diversity,” “inclusion,” etc.). And his defining a progressive as a communist is pretty insulting.
But rather than pursue this further, however, let me shorten this letter by offering this thought: didn’t that little baby Jesus, born some 2,000 years ago, grow up to teach some of the most progressive (and radical) ideas of his time? I think so. And please remember, we are all God’s children.
Putting the cart before the horse
The much anticipated 1 percent Measure U General Fund tax money won’t start to be collected until April and the Hemet City Council, Police and Fire Departments have already spent $2,239,243 – a typical case of putting the cart before the horse or, in other words, spending money you don’t yet have. The plan is to spend $1,492,814 for police to tackle “quality of life” issues and $746,429 on additional personnel and equipment for the fire department. One can only assume that for now this money will be coming out of the existing general fund.
Even though much has wbeen said by the City Council and chief of police about “quality of life” in Hemet, questions such as not being able to walk the streets for fear of being accosted or mugged or worse; businesses being afraid to invest in Hemet because of the crime, panhandling, homelessness and other social phenomena, the fact remains that all of this lawlessness is a subjective appreciation of the matter collected by an expensive made-to-order Quality of Life Survey conducted in 2013 by the Institute for Applied Research of Cal State University San Bernardino, with meager objective evidence to support it.
Based on the imagined and exaggerated gravity of these problems, the city government saw an excuse to impose a sales tax increase on the unsuspecting residents of Hemet.
Whether in private business, government, social organizations and others, the operative standard is to first optimize the utilization of existing assets before spending on new ones. This is especially true when money is tight. The city manager is responsible for making sure that taxpayers are getting their money’s worth and that waste is eliminated or kept to a minimum.
Has anyone ever seen a report from the city manager, police or fire departments stating objectively that the city has exhausted its resources in these areas? Has the City Council even demanded to see such a report or are they blindly approving every request for more money? Before any funds are approved by the Hemet City Council, they should want to know the level of operating efficiency of every department in city government and communicate this information to the taxpayers, instead of concealing it — this is an elementary principle of effective management.
On the other hand, has the police department informed the citizens of Hemet which services they intend to improve with this new deluge of cash, other than with vague assertions and the expulsion of a vagrant from Florida Avenue with the help of a city prosecutor costing the taxpayers $100,000 a year on a part-time basis? Is this really the most cost-effective way to deal with this type of nuisance? Aren’t there more pressing criminal activities in Hemet for example like the brothels, pornography and drug and human trafficking that need urgent police intervention?
The taxpayers of Hemet need to wake up to the fact that their city is being run by a slew of corrupt incompetents.
Hemet’s borrowing from Measure U sends wrong message
[Editor’s Note: It is our established policy to deny publication of anonymous letters, however in light of other anonymous communications coming from Hemet citizens addressing the same concerns, we have decided to print this letter that is representative of the others.]
Once again, the city of Hemet is on a spending spree and the funds from Measure U have not even arrived. The police and fire chiefs are in a rush to bolster their departments and the city council members are simply rubber stamping their requests. Also there is not even a citizens’ oversight committee impaneled.
I thought we were promised more “boots on the street.” After reviewing the expenditure lists you published, it reveals the chiefs are hiring more management and support personnel than actual officers/firefighters. The police chief shows he prefers eight officers and nine support staff. The support staff includes two highly-paid management positions. There will be a lieutenant position heading the Special Operations Bureau. This begs the question why a sergeant can’t manage this bureau at less cost. As I’m sure you know, the entire San Jacinto police department is headed by a Lieutenant Police Chief from the Sheriff’s Department.
On the other hand, the fire chief is being allowed by the Council to hire about eight employees and add hours to other part-time staff positions. Again, only two are “peak demand firefighters” and three are captain positions, along with three staffing positions.
As one can see, the chiefs are rapidly adding management and support personnel at the cost of first responders on the street. I’m sure there will be an argument made that these personnel are needed now in anticipation of future hires. That is a typical wasteful government approach and not consistent with private sector hiring practices. These decisions are being made absent an oversight committee who should be allowed to add comment and question the financial requests by the chiefs much like any government commission.
*Editor, my name is withheld due to my position in the community. Repercussions would be imminent.