Son of Frankenstein: Proposition 13 Spawned Redevelopment, Now the Monster Must Die
Opinion: Zero Tolerance for City Council No-Shows

Opinion: Pacifica Must Choose the Lesser of Two Evils

On February 18 I attended an excellent lecture by  Bruce Banco, chairman of the City of Pacifica Financial Services Task Force. The lecture improved my understanding of our town's dire situation and the various things we might do about it. The first two options Banco spoke of are the only ones I might consider. The half-cent sales tax increase impacts poorer people more than rich ones, but it is revenue that the state can't rob us of. I also think that the poor people and the rest of the 99 percent who have to pay it will benefit more from its passage than they are paying in increased sales tax. It is the sausages of politics. The second suggestion—outsourcing the Pacifica Police Department—was something I have opposed in the past. A woman in the audience who has worked on consolidation of several police forces in Southern California said that it had worked well down south. Banco pointed out that several Northern California jurisdictions had consolidated law enforcement and saved some serious money by doing so. A representative of the police department came to the fore and pointed out that our local police officers have an understanding of the local demography that makes them better at what they do than our county sheriff's department would be. Somebody pointed out that in virtually all previous law enforcement consolidations, police personnel with expertise in particular towns or neighborhoods were hired by the larger entity and assigned to their neighborhoods of expertise. I am for either of the first two of the task force suggestions. To paraphrase Banco: We need to do something we don't like. Which of these alternatives is least distasteful?

Dan Underhill


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How much we save in a transfer to the county is entirely dependent on what we ask the county to do. This is, according to the only Pacifica police officer (now retired) I actually know, a la carte policing. How many officers do we want on duty? At what times? Do we want a substation here in town? Etc. San Mateo County Sheriff's deputies get paid more than Pacifica police officers, so if we wanted the same number of officers working the same number of hours with the same infrastructure, we would be paying more.

I am not arguing for or against this, the number two suggestion of the Financial Services Task Force. I haven't needed or been bothered by a police person for quite a while. This may be an indication that we live in a predominantly virtuous town or that the Pacifica police are doing a very good job.

At the very least, we need the real numbers on consolidation of the police with the county. How much will we save?

Oh, and we need those numbers now! Come on, how is it that the city hasn't come up with them yet?

Dan, thank you for your concern and taking the time to partake in the process. As for this committee's work, where is the minority report?

Your comment about pensions is a key part of the public's obligation. We're attempting to look into that obligation, and how large it is. That the committee didn't have that as a part of its purview is telling.

Dan, the choice isn't ours to make but rather senior staff, department heads, fire and police. Without a scaled wage reduction, the cost of these people to our community will only continue to rise. I respect your views but differ on who among us must field the cost. We already are. City folk need to do this also. We have over 80 full-time employees out of 150 full-time employees with taxable incomes well over $100,000 a year. In a community of our size, this is, and should be considered by all to be, outrageous. I'm sorry, Dan, but this handpicked committee with its heavily biased data mining has come up with nothing useful to our town. It only guarantees that city wages for senior staff, department heads, fire and police will remain astronomical.

The issue I neglected to mention was the existing pension agreements that were negotiated at a time when we were seeing a very different future than we see now. All that was said about them was that they are being renegotiated as they come up for renewal, but there is no procedure for implementing a change until they are up for renewal. Please correct me if I got that wrong or if I am leaving anything out.

Jeff Simons also had 4,500 votes; let him be on City Council?

Just a thought?

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