Letters to the Editor

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TACOMA: Don’t cut essentials

Letter by Joshua C. Pemberton, Tacoma on Dec. 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm with 26 Comments »
December 13, 2011 11:42 am

As a victim of a violent crime, I find these layoffs to be unacceptable. There are plenty of other ways to trim the fat from Tacoma’s budget. Firemen and policemen should be one of the absolute last things affected by this economy.

Maybe first they should consider eliminating all banquets, luncheons, parties, out-of-town business trips, bonuses, city-provided vehicles and holiday decorations throughout the city, 5 to 10 percent pay cuts for everybody, switching to cheaper office supplies/tools, and not wasting tax dollars on ridiculous parking meter systems that deter commerce downtown.

This stuff is not rocket science. Maybe they should print out a giant alphabetical list of everything Tacoma spends money on, and start crossing off unnecessary stuff. I bet they could come up with a better solution then.

Leave a comment Comments → 26
  1. LarryFine says:

    You’re absolutely correct Josh… but, the comeback line from the establishment it “… it comes from a different fund”.

  2. sandblower says:

    That’s two with no clue about how dificult the task is. The City is not run by a dictator which is in reality what your ideas would require.

  3. itwasntmethistime says:

    I don’t completely disagree with you, HOWEVER, the stuff you listed does generate business in the city. Out-of-town business trips are considered an investment because they produce business that generates more income than the trip cost.

    It’s kind of like saying I could save a lot of money each month if I got rid of my car, but then I couldn’t get to work so that cut would actually damage my bottom line.

  4. Educator1 says:

    In my personal opinion the cuts to fire could have been prevented if it was an independent organization and not controlled by the city.

    Why is it that when money is short the first cuts are Fire, Police, and Schools? Rearely if ever do we hear of the administration and other departments taking similar cuts.

    Stop money to charity and political organizations and save our Fire Fighters and Police.

  5. What about a payroll tax, say 0.25%-0.5% or a set payroll deduction for everyone that works in Tacoma (thereby also allowing those that work in, but don’t live in Tacoma, to contribute) to generate revenue for EMS/Fire/Police services? After all, the residents of Tacoma aren’t the only ones that rely on these essential services. I believe they have something similar in NYC to help pay for their public safety.

  6. RW98512 says:

    CTong – you used the “T” word

  7. truthbusterguy says:

    Face it folks, the liberal progressives that run Tacoma are out of your money, can’t raise your taxes and don’t know how to do anything but make cuts that punish the people and soften you up for tax increases.

    Learn to protect yourself. NO ONE is going to take care of you, but you. Get a gun and learn how to use it. Things are going to get much worst before it gets better. We are into a “lost decade” and will go down further before things get better. You had better prepare.

  8. thruthbuster — “those darn liberals! all they wanna do is fire the police and the firemen!” so we all better “get a gun and…use it”

  9. muckibr says:

    Joshua C. Pemberton, if you were running for mayor of Tacoma, and your second paragraph was your campaign platform*, and if I lived in Tacoma, I would vote for you!!!

    *Except the pay cuts for everyone. I’d suggest just cutting the pay of the upper third highest earners to start with.

  10. aislander says:

    Democrat S.O.P. is to hold police and fire protection hostage (while protecting administrators’ jobs!) so that the public will bend over for more taxation…

  11. itwasntmethistime says:

    CTong — How about an across-the-board 20% pay cut for all firefighters and police officers since they earn a lot more than most of the people they serve?

  12. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Thanks for contributing, jellee. Very mature and helpful.

    This letter is straight common sense. Non-partisan, except it attacks a dem mayor and her cronies. The childish attacks from the left show how hard they have to reach in defending big, bloated govt.

    It’s 2011, one can attend a meeting virtually, skype is free. She needs be in Tacoma fixing the city.

  13. Pay cuts may need to occur in order to keep people employed, but I don’t think it will be enough nor sustainable in the long-run. It also doesn’t generate any revenue for the city, but it should be a consideration.

  14. sandblower says:

    Essentials are in the eye of the beholder. Let’s resolve that. Oops, I forgot. The extreme right wing already knows what the essentials are.

  15. itwasntmethistime says:

    Everything is essential to someone.

  16. harleyrider1 says:

    It’s the voter’s fault. People who live inside the City of Tacoma continue to re-elect their neighbor’s neighbor, that is someone that might be popular or who has been someone that has enjoyed political office for some time.

    Voters do not elect professional accountants, large business owners, or people with budget backgrounds. They elect “Tom”. Tom’s a nice guy, used to work for Fred and wants Tacoma to grow. The problem is that “Tom” does not know how to do this nor do people know that “Tom” is in debt up to his own eyeballs.

    We have had chances to get large business owners, successful self-made people on the Council. These are people who have the time to share their expertise, their fiduciary experience, their years of having learned of what’s right and what’s wrong. They know how to propose and live within a budget. They would recognize deceit or incompetence from “staff” when told we have plenty of money – then next month told, no we don’t.

    Voters. You’ll have the opportunity again and again to get it right. Consider this a very painful long-term learning experience. Vote city first, party second; vote a saver into office, not a spender.

  17. Please recall that Tacoma (and the U.S., and the world) is hurting economically because of an unregulated Wall Street that invented and peddled toxic investment products. Even as we debate the crisis of the moment in Tacoma, let’s not forget who committed the real crime. And when we discuss essentials, let’s not forget the working-poor, who absolutely depend on the bus-system, etc.

  18. Hughes, the USA was in deep trouble long before the housing bubble. All the housing bubble did was mask the trouble for a few years, made a few people rich, and too many Americans poor.

    Harley, it’s not rocket science to file the necessary paperwork to run for office. You have to file for office to get on the ballot. So were where the candidates?

    Educator1, those areas of the county with separate fire levies have very high mill rates for fire service. So what you are asking for is higher property taxes.

    Joshua, when I suggested pay cuts to the individual passing out yellow fliers at my house the other day, that didn’t go over very well. My take is that the unions are against pay cuts. Outside of the pay cut you are suggesting, everything else doesn’t add up to much savings. Note that 70% of the city general budget goes to the police and fire departments. Also note that these two departments are paid very, very, very well.

  19. itwasntmethistime says:

    harley — Which of the candidates on the last ballot fit your criteria?

  20. muckibr says:

    pawl wrote, “My take is that the unions are against pay cuts.”

    Hey pawl! I suggest you put your money where your mouth is, and you set the example first. Will YOU take a PAY CUT to show the union people and others how easy it is? Will you take a 20% pay cut right now?

    Please be honest if you reply to this.

  21. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Hughes- please explain how wall street plays into this. The economy is flatlined, admittingly. But the cost of borrowing is less today than in 08. If Tacoma has obligations not considering a possible downturn in the economy, whose fault is that?

    Why you defend excess spending is beyond rational. Take off your partisan blinders for a minute and act like an adult.

    If one spent like Tacoma, WA, and DC they would be living in momma’s basement begging for ramen. For years our pols have spent that way. It is time for adults to take over.

  22. “Will you take a 20% pay cut right now?”

    I’m not sure were you are coming up with the 20% number.

    The city is proposing to cut about $11,038,181 if no new revenue. Personnel costs for fire and police are budgeted at about $184,376,343. That’s around 6% by my calculation. Plus, the police still get to keep their cars.

    If it meant working in a crummy economy at still a very, very, very good wage or being unemployed with limited skill transferability and unemployment benefits, I would take the cut.

  23. pawl, Okay, I will rescind the 20% and accept your 6%, but you get rid of the qualifiers (“If it meant working in a crummy economy at still a very, very, very good wage or being unemployed with limited skill transferability and unemployment benefits…”)

    In your present circumstance and situation, will you, right now this moment, cut your salary by 6%, and give that all to charity?

  24. BlaineCGarver says:

    Pay more taxes or you will die.

  25. Really, the entire situation as it is constructed is hopeless. City employees rise through the ranks! The managers came from below and now control the action. The fox controls the hen house. Then Joe Ordinary Citizen with no personnel, administrative and financial abilities are elected. They are lead along to slaughter by the city staff (The Fox).

    I watch the city council and most of the time they just rubber stamp ordinances the Fox has written.

    And, for those who want us to take 6-20% pay cuts; There are many of us who have not had an COLA for two years, while city employees have been given raises that far exceed inflation.

    It’s shared sacrifice unless you are a city employee.

  26. Blaine – we are all going to die whether we pay taxes or not.

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