Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fundamental Priority

Keegan Kyle of the Voice of San Diego wrote an article today (11-18-2009) titled, "Next on the Chopping Block: Public Safety." The issue addressed in the article was the discussion by city government of cutbacks to public safety. Keegan correctly identified why this is an important issue that people need pay closer attention to. Keegan goes on to explain why this is now being considered.

"There is no room to cut in either department," said Jeff Bowman, a former San Diego Fire chief. "I realize the city has budget problems, but the city has immense public safety problems." Bowman said public safety should be the fundamental priority of city government over other obligations like infrastructure, recreation or social services.(Taken from VOSD article)

Erik Bruvold, president of the Institute for Policy Research at National University, compared a trimmed-down public safety force to a less costly insurance policy. As the city invests less money in public safety services -- mostly police, rescue and fire -- its residents are going to receive less coverage when an unexpected event happens. (Taken from VOSD article)

We are being told things are not as bad as first thought; things are getting better; the stock market has rebounded; there will be no layoffs; and there will be no cuts to wages or benefits (guaranteed). The city is spending money like a drunken sailor and the police department moves forward with the promotional process for sergeant and lieutenant. Consultants were hired TODAY to begin evaluation of the downtown site for a new stadium for the Chargers; the land necessary to begin the expansion of the Convention Center was purchased this week; and work continues on the planning and development for a new city hall and downtown library.

Yesterday's revelation from the mayor's Financial Director the city's revenue projections are off by $10 million, pushing the projected deficit to $190 million does not sound BETTER to me. Things are getting better folks. Things are not as bad as first thought. I still have that land for sale and I know it's expected to be cloudy the next couple of nights, so if anyone wants to check the land out I am available.

Jeff Bowman, former chief of the San Diego Fire Department seems to be the only person willing to point out the obvious. His honest, reasoned comments are and always have been refreshing. Chief Bowman points out what the mayor and council seem to forget; government's fundamental priority is public safety. Infrastructure, social services, recreation, and other obligations, while important fall in line behind public safety. As Eric Bruvold points out, trimmed down public safety is akin to a less costly insurance policy and the less money invested in public safety will result in less coverage when an unexpected event happens. Keegan understands fully why cutting public safety should be avoided at all cost. Keegan writes, "Reductions in public safety funding could lead to slower response times for some neighborhoods and increase the risk of property damage and loss of life."

Is there anyone in this city willing to stand up and demand the city's politicians focus their priorities on those fundamental priorities that make sense? Public Safety; safe and passable streets; refuse collection; clean water; and adequate education for our children need be the priorities before a stadium; convention center expansion; new city hall or library; parks; pools; seals; fire pits; museums; operas; needle exchange; DARE; STAR; staffing in the mayor and council offices; or any of the other political social service programs provided by the city.

Glen Sparrow, professor emeritus at San Diego State University's School of Public Affairs was quoted in Kyle's Voice of San Diego article as saying, "I don't think that there is any good way that [the City Council] can come out of this. This is going to be a bloodbath." I could not agree more with Mr. Sparrow's assessment of the situation. The sad part is Sparrow is referring to the cuts to employees and services; I believe the bloodbath is going to be the human loss by way of serious injuries and the loss of life. Who is going to accept responsibility for this blood?


Headed for the door said...

The chief is still telling ROT attendees things are good and there will be no cuts.

I agree with you there is going to be a blood bath on the streets. We do not have enough officers to protect this city. Who is kidding who?

The changes I am hearing are a bigger joke. Removing SDPD from task force units will save money how? Eliminating division narcotics teams will save what? Eliminating take home cars for people on call will save maybe $50? This is a huge joke and nothing but a shell game.

Lay off all the POI's and watch what happens. Stop nickle and diming us. I will not take another cut in any way. I will quit if this is even offered. I will not wait for it to be imposed.

SDPD Copper said...

Lansdowne needs to put down his cheerleader pom-poms and be honest with the members of SDPD. What decisions have been agreed on between him and the mayor? What lies ahead for SDPD? Honest dialog needs to take place. Where is the POA in this matter?

I agree with the previous post. Shuffling people around accomplishes nothing. It is truly a “smoke and mirrors” gimmick which historically fails. Also mentioned were task forces. They are force multipliers, bringing in additional resources. Scaling them back or taking away take home cars from the worker bees is a terrible mistake. I can’t believe SDPD upper management would be so ill informed and make such miserable decisions.

SDPD upper management is not taking the human factor into consideration either. It’s pencil pushing and numbers crunching with total disregard of the VVM’s and the human element. And management wonders why morale is so low.

Politicians orchestrated the various underfunding schemes, and now the blame is pushed on the city employees. City Managers and Councils formulated plans to underfund the pension to free up funding for pet projects. Now we are made out to be the bad guys and the citizens have no comprehension as to how this all occurred. They have no historical knowledge of MP-1, MP-2, etc. There were Russian Faberge Eggs to pay for, Convention Centers, Political Conventions, Charger Ticket guarantees, and many other politically motivated spending sprees. Now Sanders is trying the same thing with a New City Hall, Convention Center Expansion, Library and Charger Stadium. Consultants are being hired, land is being purchased, etc. but San Diego is broke. What a mess we are in.

2nd Watch Patrol said...

Wow, is he really going to shut down the narcotics squads? Drugs are the common denominator relating to criminal activity. Drugs and domestic violence, drugs and gang activity, drugs and robberies, drugs and burglaries, drugs and murder, drugs and street violence. Is the 7th floor so far removed from basic police work that they no longer see this? What about the spillover violence from Tijuana? That is drugs and violence too. I’m not a dope cop, I am a uniformed officer. I witness the interaction between drugs and violence every working day. I also appreciate the efforts put forward by the narcotics people. They make my job a little more easier. Crime is going to skyrocket.

Does the City want to cause a skyrocketing crime rate so they can convince people to pay more taxes?
As a City of San Diego resident, and with parents living in the City as well, we will not support financially or with a vote any politician who does not support public safety.

Anonymous said...

Hold a press conference and announce we're closing Northern - and all the cops that work there are probably going to get laid off.. Divide the division up among W,E, and NW.

Like we all know - people are going to be cut. Line up all the cops at Northern behind the podium and tell the public that they are all losing their jobs.. The people who actually vote in city elections (La Jolla, PB) will absolutely flip out..

America's Finest? said...

La Jolla doesn't care they will use it as a push to get their own city.

As for getting rid of units and putting them back in the field. The only thing that will do is make our extreme understaffing into just badly understaffed. But now who handles all of the narcotic issues. Who investigates the increase in reports that are going to be generated. We are one of the biggest departments in the nation yet we already are not part of major task forces and we are going to pull out of more. What a disgrace. This department is becoming a joke.

Who cares about the spillover violence from TJ? The city is just going to cover it up and keep it from the media. Its already here but talk to any citizen about it. Do you think they know? No way, the Department wants to cover it up. If the people in San Diego knew it was out there, they might be a little worried about what is going on with our department. Phoenix got so tired of it they raised taxes to pay for a better airplane for surveillance of the cartels.

Why isn't our 7th floor out demanding more cops and better treatment like LAPD is.