Long Beach Deficit

Gerrie Schipske

Homage to Jonathan Swift: A modest proposal for Long Beach:

I sit in the Port of Dublin concerned by the latest news that Long Beach is facing a $7 million deficit.

This is inconceivable after the passage of a sales tax increase which makes the highest sales tax in the area. It is also unfathomable that just recently the mayor proclaimed the budget was debt free. So what to do?

The city could easily reduce this deficit by cancelling the 2018 election. That would save a million or more.  Actually there may not have to be an election at all because there aren’t any candidates challenging the incumbent mayor, city attorney, prosecutor, or auditor. And of the council districts up for election in 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 it doesn’t look like any challengers there either.

What a savings. This would also mean that incumbents wouldn’t have to be bothered worrying about accountability to voters for at least four more years. Just think about the fun they could have.

Like approving cost-change orders for the new civic center or pushing through a costly pool at the same seismically unsafe site. More studies of studies could be approved. And let’s not forget bringing back airport expansion with an international terminal. And because they received a “mandate” they could continue to vote in lock step union without discussion or dissent. What magic!

But canceling an election is not enough. More savings are needed.

Canceling council all together would result in another $4-5 million savings. Cutting out the mayor and contracting out the city attorney and prosecutor and auditor brings another $7 million or more. 

Okay that might be too drastic. Then just cut salaries, benefits, travel, car allowances and staff and let the council tweet their votes. Limiting comment to 140 characters would be in keeping with minimal discussion and no dissent. Perfect.

A side benefit of these cost savings besides reducing our debt is that think of the hours you are saving these elected officials in time spent for fundraising. My God, the poor lads and lasses must now fundraise full time to fill their campaign and officeholder accounts.

Now I know some of you are saying, it’s their own fault for demolishing campaign finance reform by voting to triple their office holder accounts and to raise money at election time.  So while the good citizens of Long Beach restricted fundraising to just the year before an election, these gluttons for constant fundraising can do it 24-7 for the four years they are in office. You can save them from this terrible fate by canceling their election and offices.

Oh damn. I forgot they voted to allow themselves to use officeholder accounts to help other candidates or to run for other offices. So they can’t just stop fundraising.

Well a $7 million deficit is nothing to sneeze at. And it is raining here in Dublin and I am getting a cold. So if you all have a better idea on how to help our deficit-ridden elected officials send them along.

(Jonathan Swift was an Irish satarist who wrote a Modest Proposal on how to help the problem of starving children.)


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