Claremont Insider: State Budget Woes - Trickle Down

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

State Budget Woes - Trickle Down

File this one under "Rolling Down Hill":

With California facing a $14 billion deficit, our elected representatives in the state capitol - Democrat and Republican - are doing what they do best: nothing. In the meantime, they're blaming each other for the lack of solution.

The choices are really very simple. Either spend less or earn more. Or do a mix of both. Democrats lean towards cutting some services while raising taxes or ending tax corporate and individual tax breaks, and Republicans want to cut spending without raising taxes. Any budget agreement will need 67-percent approval, so the Democrats, who control the State Assembly and Senate, will need some Republicans to go along with any proposal.

In the meantime, you'll see the problems trickling down to the local level. Governor Schwarzenegger, who is against tax increases, recently proposed an across-the-board 10-percent reduction in state spending. Most observers don't take this threat of Draconian spending cuts too seriously because programs like Medi-Cal that receive matching federal money will be imperiled.

The cuts would also mean our schools, police services, and other projects, from parks and recreation programs to funding for the Base Line Rd. affordable housing project, would be affected.

One would hope all of this talk would serve as a reminder to the Claremont 400 and our City Council that Claremont does not exist in a vacuum. As we've noted before, Padua Sports Park has been denied $3.2 million in park grants because the city foolishlessly refused to listen to the complaints and criticisms about the Padua Park design.

The state agency that doles out park grants denied at least three Clarmeont grant applications for Padua Park after those deficiencies were pointed out. Because such grants are competitive, it was easy for the state to find other projects in other cities that had much wider community acceptance. With Padua Park, the city's refusal to work with people opposed to the park design resulted in a loss of grant money. For a $12 million (and counting) project, the inability to qualify for grants is a killer.

Similarly, as we've seen with the affordable housing project, the Claremont 400, in particular the Claremont League of Women Voters, haven't learned a thing and continue to jam a controversial project down the throats of local residents while ignoring the objections of the Southern California Air Quality Management, L.A. Supervisor Mike Antonovich, area residents, and the scientific evidence of a 10-year long study by the USC Keck School of Medicine.

The city's refusal to adequately address the alternatives to the project will result in a loss of state and federal grants, as well as in lawsuits costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend. (Expect City Attorney Sonia Carvalho and/or her surrogate at the January 8th hearing to downplay the chance of a suit - Don't fling me in that briar patch Br'er Fox!)

Call it karma, or blowback or whatever, but there is a price to paid by the Claremont 400 and the League for their way of doing business.

The matter will come to a head on Tuesday, January 8th, when the Claremont City Council meets at 7pm in the Padua Room of the Alexander Hughes Community Center to vote on approval for the project's draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

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A reader wrote in with a link to the January 8th affordable housing meeting notice:


First off, I read your blog DAILY !!! Keep up the great work.

I don't know if the distribution of the attached Public Hearing notice included you but I thought I would pass along a copy of mine (hopefully, I haven't violated any copyrights in doing so). I was hoping you could offer some in-sight as to why the public hearing is scheduled for the same date and time as the next City Council meeting?

P.S. You have been dead-on in your arguments regarding the ignorance of some of our elected officials regarding the affordable housing issue. The iron lung picture had me on the floor laughing.

Happy Holidays...

[NOTE: The reader later answered his own question:
Since my email yesterday, I found out that the Public Hearing at the Hughes Community Center IS the Council Meeting... ]

See the notice here:

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