Former Los Banos City Councilmember Joe Souza had a fire in his belly. As a retired city department manager he understood the needs of our city. He didn't hesitate to voice concerns on issues pertaining to Los Banos, especially on budget issues.
He lost in the last election by less than 9 percent in an attempt to steer our city in a new direction.
Councilmember, Elizabeth Stonegrove recently voiced similar concerns. She didn't rubber-stamp on a recent important issue. It doesn't matter whether we agree with her on every issue. It's more important that someone is in disagreement; and she provides more diverse opinion to represent our community.
We need less slated voting, instead we need more discussion, debate, no hidden agendas, and certainly more honesty on our city's true financial status.
At a recent council meeting, Stonegrove stated, "...since the economy has improved, the city has been able to restore some money from those give backs". Finally, someone from the city council is providing us with an honest assessment of the financial status of our city.
The city has a balanced budget and a surplus of over $6 million. The bottom line is that there is no need for Measure A, nor is there a need to spend $110,00 to a consulting firm. Sixty percent of our city's budget is already allocated to our police department, 10 percent for the fire department, and one percent for the animal control department.
Our concerns should not be with the fire department or the animal control department. We are paying an exorbitant amount of money to the police department, and the job is not getting done. Crime in Los Banos continues to increase. In order for our police department to be held accountable, they all need to be paid through the general fund and not from redirection of funds through Measure A.
We passed Measure P in 2004, we stipulated exactly how it was to be spent. Measure A in 2009 altered those stipulations due to the harsh times at the time. Measure P was a mandate by the voters, we don't need another Measure A.
Baldo SalcidoLos Banos