July 1, 2012 in Uncategorized
We’ve moved our Highlands’ Guy’s regular Thursday column to Sunday night partly because of a mistake by your humble editor.
However, given the importance of this topic, I’m glad we ended up posting it on Sunday, one of our busier nights, when discussion of this important post won’t be interrupted by our typical weekend lull in readership and discussion.
A bleak but timely warning from two California cities who’ve been making sad news lately:
(Los Alamitos, 7/1/2012) by Highlands Guy: If you haven’t read the newspaper in a while, I would encourage you to take a look at the lead story in the LATEXTRA section of Monday’s Los Angeles Times. The headline says it all, “Stanton at bleak crossroads.”
Like a number of cities and towns throughout California, they may not make it, as a separate civic entity. As I read through the article it became more and more evident that there were a number of similarities with our little community.
The first thing that struck me was the beginning of a quote by a guy who has been on the city council for 24 years and has lived there for more than 40 years, “It was Mayberry-small… .”
I can’t tell you have many time I’ve heard the term Mayberry and Los Alamitos in the same sentence, usually from long-term residents. But the similarity to Mayberry ends with a similar size of population and area. [ad]
Like Stanton, sales tax, at least via the Telephone Users Tax, has been declining. And we, hopefully, will have a chance to capture some of the lost revenue in the upcoming election.
As one Stanton resident noted, “It just looked like somewhere you would pass through…in the blink of an eye, you’re through it.” Sound familiar?
While Los Al may have a more affluent “look” we also have a whole bunch of empty storefronts and offices, and a humongous tennis shoe starring at folks driving through our main intersection.
And they continue. In both cities, kids programs have been cut and there are holes in full-time city staffing needs. Heck, I saw just recently that the City Council will meet only once per month, instead of the usual, every-other week to say money. Is the amount of work they have to accomplish diminished? Are the many and varied deadlines being abrogated? Have they done all they said they were going to do during electioneering? I don’t think so.
Although our City Council and City Attorney have measured their words carefully (because by law they cannot push for a new tax), I have heard “utility users tax” initiative and “police and fire services” in the same sentence. What a coincidence that a Stanton official noted that, their next targeted cut could be fire fighters, sheriff’s deputies, and the city’s only paramedic truck.
Hopefully they can regroup and rise from the ashes on the foundation of a solid history, locals who care, one park still open and a really good, traditional Japanese restaurant and sushi bar, Mitsuyoshi.
And it’s not just the little towns like us and Stanton. Up in Northern California, Stockton is in a terrible economic state and on the verge of bankruptcy.
At this point I have more questions than answers, but thought it warranted to make sure the Let’s Fix Los Al crowd is kept aware of important local matters. As is noted in my title, take heed and if you care, take action.
He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.
- Confucius (551BC-479BC) Chinese teacher, politician, writer, philosopher
And that’s just the way I see it…