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Alameda’s White Elephants

Dear Editor,

I know for some people weekends are for football, but as participants in a working democracy we also have to keep our eye on ball regarding the fiscal health of all our different levels of government. The effects of our vote are far reaching, but that is not enough involvement to make our community as good as it should be. We have to pay attention and share information, first with friends and neighbors while doing normal activities, walking dogs, meeting for coffee, or at school assemblies, etc, and then an important step is to communicate our communal wishes and worries to our elected and appointed representatives.

Our ‘City’ itself seems incapable of keeping the financial boat afloat without more taxes. It became clear this week that our City Staff’s attempt to balance the budget has more to do with protecting City Staff than the services to our population. (I was shocked to hear the proposed cutbacks to Mastick Center, and cutting one of only two of their custodial positions, or to cease funding to our city museum, more cuts to city parks, or to stop contributing to the 4th of July Parade and the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, and most of their other recommendations). Maybe it is time that our citizens are given the choice of which or our departments or department positions, and community services are most important, and which should be downsized or eliminated. For now it takes citizen involvement other an just voting.

It is undeniable that a lot of our city tax money now earmarked for developers of un-necessary projects that cost our city and benefit politically connected developers. Clearly our city personnel spend the hours we pay for to do the work to benefit private corporations. We have to keep examining what our City Staffers are doing and recommending to our City Council.

I was recently surprised when thru our City’s website, following links on services and housing, I learned that our City ‘Development Dept’ manages this website and on that website is a link to projects which includes this link , a Warmington Homes advertisement site. It is certainly a surprised to find advertising for private developers on our official city website.

For a balanced budget our City Staff and Council must learn to stop buying white elephants. If they can’t do it, let’s put department downsizing on the ballot. Perhaps some of our city departments that are creating, or recommending the biggest debts with the least benefit are the real white elephants.

– David Kirwin

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