City Council Can't Pass Half-Cent Sales Tax Increase
Opinion: Leo Leon Should Fill Jim Vreeland's Council Seat

Council Gridlock: Local Police, Sales Tax Increase Lose

Despite impassioned pleas by everyone from Police Chief Jim Tasa to a working stiff in his overalls, City Council battled to a 2-2 draw on the issue of keeping Pacifica Police local and fully funded by means of a half-cent sales tax increase in a special election in June. The council declared a state of fiscal emergency, but could not agree on a course of action. Councilmembers Pete DeJarnatt and Sue Digre were stymied by Len Stone and Mary Ann Nihart. Jim Vreeland, a potential tie-breaker, had already resigned before the meeting. Stay tuned for more details on where the city is headed in this fiscal emergency.


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Dan, consultants are part of the political class, as are all of our elected officials.

Lionel, I don't have a problem with the term "political class" in any kind of blanket sense, as there are politicians who feel that they are entitled to rule based on their family history, but I fail to see how it might apply to anybody in any office in Pacifica right now.

I think people should take a look at "Pacifica Index" and see the reporting on the council meeting.
My questions would be: Who is running the site?

How accurate is their reporting of the meeting?

Who or what entity is funding them?

I found the reporting and knowledge of state law to be impressive, but how are we to know it's accurate?

I especially liked this passage: "Councilmember Nihart's opposition was primarily couched in terms of message control....Nihart characterized as an inability of Council to combat an increasingly negative and toxic atmosphere promulgated by Pacifica's most vocal critics, has created a climate which offers little chance of tax measure passage."

To be fair, we have no idea if this reporting is accurate; Ms. Nihart isn't interviewed. If it is, it's amusing, as she was also paraphrased as saying: "Nihart stated that she had spoken with many political consultants who had expressed misgivings with regards to a tax measure's chances of passing given California's current economic situation."

Maybe if she had talked with constituents as well as consultants, the answer would have come from the grassroots, rather than the political class.

Sorry, Pacifica Index, but AOL/Patch already has the job of City Council lapdog.

The sales tax is the subject of our latest featured story ("Anatomy of a Vote") over at should anyone desire further analysis of last night's actions.

The sales tax was not for the police department, nor would it have guaranteed the city would ultimately keep the PD. The two are unrelated. It (sales tax increase) may be on the November ballot. One thing that won't be is a ballot measure that would allow us to decide whether or not to reduce compensation for senior staff, department heads, fire and police. That would be a nice countermeasure to a tax increase initiative.

No, Todd, we need to rid ourselves of the "we-are-at-one-with-the-earth" NIMBYs who think Pacifica should be run like a park or wildlife refuge, rather than a city.

The joke of it all is that our senior staff are so out of touch with basic reality, they don't see the irony of taxing people who, on average, earn 3 to 4 times less than senior staff do just to ensure their city paychecks keep coming in. It's hilarious to me to watch these folks try to justify taxing us some more. Quite the self-inflicted drama.

We don't have a revenue problem; we have a payroll problem. Oh, and this so-called saving by outsourcing the police department is pure conjecture. The city has not engaged in any sort of negotiation with the county sheriff's office to understand what costs, much less any so-called savings, would come from such a shortsighted move. Senior staff are not of our community; that is clear. We need to rid ourselves of Mr. Rhodes and Ms. Ritzma.

As it is, retail is suffering here in Pacifica. If you add another tax, then all you will do is to drive people to shop over the hill.
We do not have deep pockets and neither do the retailers.

There is nothing to study about saving by contracting out our police services to the county sheriff's office. They can do it cheaper, and usually all current Pacifica police officers will be offered jobs and they will continue to work the Pacifica beat. They will just wear a different uniform. If you want a study, just make a few calls to cities that now contract with the sheriff's office and they can tell you their savings and quality of service, and save the cost of a study.

The money will go toward whatever this city government wants and the transfer of authority to the county sheriff's department may happen anyway.

When the community meeting occurred last year, the community was told that outsourcing to the county for police services would save, what was it, $1.5 million? Turns out that they were guessing; city staff has no idea what it would cost, and didn't even take it seriously enough to get a cost range for the public.

Now City Manager Steve Rhodes says it will take four months to get an estimate. Are these people working in slow motion or what?

I will never vote them another penny of tax revenue for such incompetent and grossly irresponsible fiscal management. Look at the city reserves; they are largely gone, because the city had to make a payroll that is unsustainable.

Ask them why.

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