Guest Opinion | Sheryl Turner: Pasadena Elected Officials Should Own Their Management Mistakes, Voters Should say No to Measures I and J

Published : Thursday, October 25, 2018 | 11:34 AM

As the political calculus around the minimum wage has been shifting, with inequality and homelessness on the rise and ballooning housing costs eating up more and more of the average worker’s paycheck, the City of Pasadena has decided it should impose an additional tax on the local poor and struggling business community.

Measures I and J represent an additional theft of income mostly affecting those who can least afford it. While the City represents the tax would be revenue for the General Fund, designated to repair aging infrastructure, maintaining public services for residents and providing services to the homeless, the real benefit is to give cover to the bad management decisions made during the last two years by the City Council. The measure in no way requires these designations for the funds, but merely “advises” that the monies be placed in the amorphous General Fund to be used as the City Council deems fit.

Anticipated to provide $21 million in annual revenue, Measure I would give one-third of the revenue to cover the concurrent bad management decisions made throughout the last two years by the PUSD Board of Education, scrambling to rectify its out-of-control deficit so the Los Angeles County Office of Education won’t declare it insolvent and take it over.

The previous $6 million embezzlement of City funds notwithstanding, Measure I also requires an annual audit of the sales tax funds generated, with public review of the City’s budget being widely available. But have you ever tried to wade through the almost 500-page budget document or carry home a 10 lb. copy of the onerous printed work for review?

Perhaps if the City had allowed the development of the Kimpton Hotel project, they would have the estimated $14 million they now must allocate to keep the historic YMCA building from falling down. Perhaps if they had kept their promises to National CORE there would be a supported homeless development housing project on the books. Perhaps if they had a retention plan to support their top 10 revenue-producing auto dealerships, Rusnak would not have moved its lucrative Mercedes-Benz dealership from Pasadena to Arcadia. And if the PUSD Board had cut their own administrative salaries and benefits to begin with, they might not be under LACOE scrutiny.

Measures I and J are a poor solution to the lack of business acumen by both of our elected entities. Vote No on Measures I and J.
Sheryl Turner, CEO, Friends of the Miracle Mile, Pasadena

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