December 21, 2007

Public Forum.... El Foro Público...

Developers thrive in Chula Vista, meanwhile senior citizens have to learn to do with less

This week I had a call from a very distraught senior citizen who had just learned that the dances she attends at Norman Park Center every Tuesday night would be no more in January when the City cuts the hours at the center and closes at 4 p.m. She wanted me to know that some of the dancers, including her, have been attending for twenty years. Someone had referred her to us for help.

We talked about how she might make her voice heard at City Hall but I haven¹t been able to get her and her plight out of my mind. At first I rationalized that our young people are not going to like it when they find recreation centers closed, readers are not going to like it when the Libraries open later and close earlier.

But that didn¹t work. How can I tell these people with a straight face that an ill-conceived jail in our new police station is still costing us $1.7 million annually; that the laundry and cleaning budget alone ($8579) would probably be enough to keep Norman Center open on Tuesday evenings. No budget cuts there!

And then I see that the City Council is probably going to vote Tuesday night to “authorize a loan in the amount of $4,161,570 from the Parks Acquisition Development Impact Fee Fund to the Public Facilities Development Impact Fee Fund and appropriating $1,161,570 of those loan proceeds to Phase 3 of the Civic Center renovations project.”

While this is beyond my understanding I do see that the City is still living beyond our means, they are robbing Peter to pay Paul. Jim Pieri likes to talk about his world class office space, I heard Councilman McCann tell Robert Kittle from the UT that the Chargers coming to Chula Vista would make us a world class city and Ian Gill is very proud of “his” Civic Center.

Just which city are we talking about? The one where developers continue to thrive or the one where a senior citizen is learning there will be no more Tuesday evening dances. There is nothing “world class” about that!

Susan Watry
Chula Vista

Chula Vista balancing the books on Santa’s lap

I know times are tough in Chula Vista but do we really have to balance the budget on the backs of our pre-schoolers? I just talked to Chula Vista Parks and Rec and found out that again this year they are having Breakfast With Santa. The only catch is that there is limited seating (reservations only!) and it will cost that tot $2 for a brief audience with the big guy.

Should an adult feel the need to consult Santa it’ll cost them a whopping $4.

I guess I should stop being such a grinch and look on the bright side. At least Santa didn’t get laid off in the public employee purge and will probably qualify for full lifetime pension and healthcare for himself and Mrs. Claus courtesy of CalPers. Besides, the kids are learning a valuable lesson, namely, if you want to lobby someone (in this case Santa) who has some influence over your situation have your contribution ready.

Ted Kennedy
Chula Vista

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