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Vallejo leaders should have seen crisis coming
San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 5/9/8 | Chip Johnson

Posted on 05/09/2008 7:54:33 AM PDT by SmithL

The question you have to ask about the officially bankrupt city of Vallejo, and other California cities with similar financial profiles, is this:

Didn't you know something was wrong when you realized you were spending 75 cents of every dollar in the general fund on public safety costs?

In a broader sense, how can any city anywhere make a legitimate claim of vibrancy when so many essential social services are shortchanged?

It seems we're about to find out in Vallejo, a city with a population of 117,000 whose City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to file Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection to reorganize its finances.

In the meantime, a city already well-known for its lack of basic municipal services, such as filling potholes, seems certain to be in for even leaner times.

Some residents, already up in arms about the city's bankruptcy, don't expect things to get much worse, mainly because city services have been slashed to rock-bottom levels already.

"I think it will be more or less the same," said Vallejo resident Marc Garman, whose Web site, ibvallejo.com, has become a public forum for the city's governmental collapse.

"We have a dearth of services right now," he said.

Even before the council voted on the bankruptcy, Vallejo city officials drastically cut funding to a variety of social services, including those for senior citizens, libraries, museums and the city pool, along with laying off city planners and public works employees.

Vallejo's two county library branches will continue to operate, although probably with reduced service hours to the public, said Ann Cousineau, Solano County's director of library services.

...In addition, services for the city's senior citizens face a minimum 20 percent cut from the current budget of $500,000 a year.

(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...


TOPICS: Editorial; Government; US: California
KEYWORDS: bankruptcy; unionthugs; vallejo; yourtaxdollarsatwork
Government cannot be all things to all people!
1 posted on 05/09/2008 7:54:34 AM PDT by SmithL
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To: SmithL

Maybe Vallejo residents should apply for concealed-carry licenses since the city is obviously unprepared to provide meaningful police services.

Perhaps people should take the initiative to fill their own potholes - they’re responsible for the cracks in their driveways already.


2 posted on 05/09/2008 7:59:15 AM PDT by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: SmithL

Especially if the cops and firefighters make huge salaries. You would think the pothole fillers union would have gotten in on the action....


3 posted on 05/09/2008 7:59:38 AM PDT by proxy_user
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To: SmithL

Just like California leaders should’ve seen that crisis coming.


4 posted on 05/09/2008 8:00:32 AM PDT by A_Former_Democrat
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To: A_Former_Democrat

Liberal leaders want to do to the country at large what they have done to California..... sound of crickets


5 posted on 05/09/2008 8:02:19 AM PDT by SMARTY ('At some point you get tired of swatting flies, and you have to go for the manure heap' Gen. LeMay)
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To: SmithL
Yep, it was the housing crisis that did it.

It's Bush's fault!

6 posted on 05/09/2008 8:02:23 AM PDT by paddles
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To: John Jorsett; Puppage

Vallejo Bankruptcy Ping


7 posted on 05/09/2008 8:02:40 AM PDT by SmithL (Reject Obama's Half-Vast Wright-Wing Conspiracy)
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To: SmithL

Some Vallejo muni salaries:

4 Ronald W. Becker Police Department $299,143
5 James L. Higgins Fire Department $251,094
6 Lamonte K. Morris Fire Department $247,902
7 Russell S. Sherman Fire Department $238,725
8 Richard E. Mackenzie Fire Department $236,701
9 John A. Barbuzano Fire Department $236,467
10 Gordon C. Moncibais Fire Department $233,338
11 Michael Kirchner Fire Department $229,317
12 Gregory R. Falkenthal Fire Department $226,235
13 Alphonzo L. Love Fire Department $223,933
14 Michael Deroque Fire Department $222,755
15 Douglas T. Robertson Fire Department $221,458
16 Kurt P. Henke Fire Department $218,830
17 Raymand R. Dandridge Fire Department $217,920
18 David A. Urrutia Fire Department $215,060
19 Sean Fields Fire Department $214,219
20 William G. Donovan Police Department $213,768
21 Mansfield S. Simmons Fire Department $212,395
22 Herman E. Robinson Police Department $211,556
23 Kevin M. Kelley Police Department $211,382
24 John J. Ha Fire Department $209,547
25 Robert W. Nichelini Police Department $207,294
26 David C. Jackson Police Department $206,559
27 Michael Brooks Fire Department $205,793
28 Michael H. Humphrey Fire Department $205,335
32 Joel Salinas Police Department $199,361
33 Larry W. Bohlig Fire Department $199,298
34 Maynard B. Catiis Fire Department $198,971
35 Lori A. Lee Police Department $197,037
36 Johah Nuuhiwa Fire Department $196,300
37 Matthew E. Fenzl Fire Department $195,896
38 Patrick S. Higgins Fire Department $195,397
39 Mark S. Sharpe Fire Department $195,238
40 Jerry A. Valenzuela Fire Department $193,562
41 Raymond W. Jackson Fire Department $193,216
42 William J. Tweedy Fire Department $192,641
43 Gregory A. White Fire Department $191,996
44 Thomas M. Liddicoet Police Department $191,361
45 Patrick W. Walsh Fire Department $189,698
46 Dyhanne E. Strohmeyer Fire Department $189,584
47 Kenny Park Police Department $188,882
48 Vincent J. Sarullo Fire Department $188,825
49 Donald R. Parker Fire Department $188,727
50 Charles R. Rivers Fire Department $188,576
51 Eric B. Strom Fire Department $187,825
52 Craig A. Whittom Community Development Dept. $187,300
53 Jon D. Riley Fire Department $185,640
54 Frederick Taylor Fire Department $184,366
55 Daniel L. Sarna Fire Department $184,069
56 Michael B. Carpenter Fire Department $183,641


8 posted on 05/09/2008 8:07:35 AM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder ()OK. We're still working on your ones.)
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To: SmithL

And their solution is to cut city services and not social programs? The next time they have an earthquake tell them to call the Senior Social Center or the Library.


9 posted on 05/09/2008 8:08:53 AM PDT by CometBaby (You can twist perceptions .. reality won't budge!)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

Awful big list of big salaries for a small city like that - I’d expect that for NYC or LA...but a city barely over 100,000?


10 posted on 05/09/2008 8:10:09 AM PDT by RockinRight (Supreme Court Justice Fred Thompson. The next best place for Fred.)
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To: SmithL

I live in Florida. We not only fill our own potholes, we pave our own roads. And I am talking about suburbia, not rural.

Here in Pasco, the street takes a vote to pave or not. If you decide to pave, the cost is split up among residents and paid over several years.


11 posted on 05/09/2008 8:13:07 AM PDT by I still care ("Remember... for it is the doom of men that they forget" - Merlin, from Excalibur)
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To: SmithL
Vallejo, a city with a population of 117,000

That's an interesting (ok, slightly interesting) difference in nomenclature between the US and UK. 117000 is about the population of Ashford in Kent (UK), and yet its enough for a City in the US.

12 posted on 05/09/2008 8:14:41 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: A_Former_Democrat

As a native San Franciscan, and Californian who left the State 15 years ago......All I can say is those politicians who helped F@#$ up the State are now some of the major players in the politics of our country!!!!

Dianne Frankenstein,Barbara the Boxer(who has a daughter married to Hellary’s brother)NancyPelosi(a carpebagger from Baltimore, whose father and brother were once mayor there) That two bit House member Waxman, and a guy who just died, Tom Latnose, all have had a big say in our government!!!There’s more too but I forgot their names...
Hey, you can add Arnold Schwarzennegger too....

He says he a Republican but would you want him dealing in our nation’s politics?

Wake up America, and throw the bums out!!


13 posted on 05/09/2008 8:14:54 AM PDT by Old Phone Man (ks)
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To: SmithL

Chip’s premise is a little flawed. The city’s leaders saw the problem coming three years ago. The labor contracts signed over prior decades limited their ability to deal with it.


14 posted on 05/09/2008 8:16:07 AM PDT by ArmstedFragg
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To: RockinRight
Awful big list of big salaries for a small city like that - I’d expect that for NYC or LA...but a city barely over 100,000?

I think you have it right. These are big-shot salaries - and plenty of them - for a frankly tiny "City". How many taxpayers out of 117,000, to support this level of largesse?

15 posted on 05/09/2008 8:17:25 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: agere_contra

City’s really a political subdivision in the US, so size can be quite small. I spend time regularly in a California city of 17000.


16 posted on 05/09/2008 8:18:48 AM PDT by ArmstedFragg
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To: RockinRight

“Awful big list of big salaries for a small city like that - I’d expect that for NYC or LA...but a city barely over 100,000?”

Exactly. I’m in favor of paying firemen & cops pretty decent, but there are a few too many $250K+ dudes in there, not to mention the $180K guys. Forget not that there are undoubtedly some good numbers of retired muni employees not shown and their pensions are of course calc’ed on their old salaries. And oh yeah, I couldn’t find nos 1-4!


17 posted on 05/09/2008 8:21:17 AM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder ()OK. We're still working on your ones.)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

Can you share the link with us?


18 posted on 05/09/2008 8:23:22 AM PDT by Michael.SF.
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder
"At the time of the city's fiscal meltdown, the Vallejo firefighters union was angling for a 21 percent pay increase over the next three years." At a time when the guy in 39th place is earning $183,641. That's one heck of a union.
19 posted on 05/09/2008 8:24:27 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Who Would Montgomery Brewster Choose?)
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To: SmithL; djreece; Amerigomag; calcowgirl
They politicians saw it coming. They were warned repeatedly. They just wanted to get theirs and didn't care what came later.

So were the people who voted for them. The union goons who wanted the dough were perfectly happy to stick it to the stupid voters later.

The enviros, afraid of a liquefied natural gas terminal, didn't want the commerce. The guys who promised unfunded goodies and "protection" from the gas terminal won the election.

No terminal. The "stupid" voters who got stuck blew town.

A "crisis" ensues.

20 posted on 05/09/2008 8:24:41 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (We have people in power with desire for evil.)
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To: ArmstedFragg
I spend time regularly in a California city of 17000.

That is illuminating, thank you.

21 posted on 05/09/2008 8:24:51 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: Old Phone Man
"Wake up America, and throw the bums out!!"

Won't matter. They will just be replaced with a new group of bums.

The problem is that citizens looking to govt to fix everything they don't like.

That guarantees you will always have bums, and lots of em.

22 posted on 05/09/2008 8:24:55 AM PDT by GourmetDan (Eccl 10:2 - The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

I did a quick addition and that’s about $10.2 million just on the list you posted.


23 posted on 05/09/2008 8:26:22 AM PDT by chrisser (The Two Americas: Those that want to be coddled, Those that want to be left the hell alone.)
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To: agere_contra
Well, don't leave us in semi-interesting suspense, man!

What do you call the entity of Ashford in Kent (UK)?

HF

24 posted on 05/09/2008 8:26:46 AM PDT by holden
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder

I’m sure these high salaries have nothing to do with a decent portion of them going to union dues, and then transfered to democrat election campaigns.


25 posted on 05/09/2008 8:26:53 AM PDT by Proud_USA_Republican (We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good. - Hillary Clinton)
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To: SmithL

Should have seen it coming, just like all the CA liberals “should see it coming” that the entire State of CA is headed for insolvency. But either they are blind, or they simply don’t care.


26 posted on 05/09/2008 8:26:59 AM PDT by Brilliant
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To: chrisser

Thats about 100 dollars a taxpayer, just for those guys. Sheesh.


27 posted on 05/09/2008 8:28:24 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: SmithL

It is not unthinkable that our federal gov’t will spend 75% of each dollar on entitlements if they meddle any further in health care.

Don’t worry though..... they will just keep borrowing money to ensure no other services or obligations are cut.


28 posted on 05/09/2008 8:28:48 AM PDT by volunbeer (Dear heaven.... we really need President Reagan again!)
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To: RockinRight

San Francisco Bay area, right next door to Marin County.....big saleries are the norm....(also illegal immigration)


29 posted on 05/09/2008 8:31:10 AM PDT by Guenevere (If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.)
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To: holden
Well, don't leave us in semi-interesting suspense, man!

LOL!

Our beloved leader Gordon Brown probably calls it "collective tax-farm #1447" but to the rest of us Britons it's just a town, albeit a very fast-growing one.

30 posted on 05/09/2008 8:32:19 AM PDT by agere_contra
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To: Guenevere

or ...salarie, if you wish :^


31 posted on 05/09/2008 8:33:54 AM PDT by Guenevere (If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.)
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To: SmithL
What they need is what I used to call a “hatchet man” who will come in and cut costs regardless of who squeals the loudest. These cut are not cosmetic cuts, but cuts that remove the fat.
32 posted on 05/09/2008 8:36:48 AM PDT by Citizen Tom Paine (Swift as the wind; Calmly majestic as a forest; Steady as the mountains.)
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To: agere_contra

Each State defines what consitutes a city differently as well.


33 posted on 05/09/2008 8:36:58 AM PDT by RockinRight (Supreme Court Justice Fred Thompson. The next best place for Fred.)
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To: Michael.SF.

“Can you share the link with us?”

Sorry, no link!


34 posted on 05/09/2008 8:37:53 AM PDT by Attention Surplus Disorder ()OK. We're still working on your ones.)
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To: SmithL
services for the city's senior citizens face a minimum 20 percent cut from the current budget of $500,000 a year.

That's almost the cost of two firemen/firepersons !

35 posted on 05/09/2008 8:46:35 AM PDT by glorgau
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder
I wonder how many of those salaries were based on "over time" vs. salaries for higher level people. Overtime by cops and FD people is one of the biggest civil service ripoffs around.

Thanks for the info though, as it does help to put things in perspective.

36 posted on 05/09/2008 8:47:32 AM PDT by Michael.SF.
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To: Guenevere

Very true - making $150 grand in the Bay Area is like making 70 grand in flyover country...but that’s still a large list of high salaries for a small city like that.


37 posted on 05/09/2008 8:53:41 AM PDT by RockinRight (Supreme Court Justice Fred Thompson. The next best place for Fred.)
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To: Attention Surplus Disorder
uh hello, you got to be kidding me. It doesn't take a math wizard to figure where all the money is going. You can file bankruptcy and restructure your debt but if you keep paying salaries like this you will continue to have the same problems. I wonder how many of these guys actually live within the city limits......
38 posted on 05/09/2008 9:16:19 AM PDT by martinidon
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To: Michael.SF.

http://agency.governmentjobs.com/vallejo/default.cfm?SearchLetter=F&action=agencyspecs&AgencyID=1108

That is the City of Vallejo’s HR page which lists salaries of firefighters. Looks like they actually make about $81k a yr base salary. The newspapers in California are famous for taking the top income earners in a department and posting it as if it is a regular salary, it is not. Most of the top incomes are made via overtime. The papers never mention it though.


39 posted on 05/09/2008 9:16:31 AM PDT by sheana
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To: agere_contra

“City” refers to the form of government, not the size. There are also towns and villages, but you can have a village bigger than a town and a town bigger than a city.


40 posted on 05/09/2008 9:23:13 AM PDT by RonF
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To: sheana

Yes but the scam is that the overtime pay is loaded up in the years just before retirement which leads to a higher basis which is used to calculate retirement pay. Meaning a guy that makes 110K as a fireman, working 14 days a month by the way...works OT for the last 3 years, averages $165,000 and then receives 80% of the 165,000 for the rest of his life. By the way that fireman might be 53 years old when he retires.....


41 posted on 05/09/2008 9:36:26 AM PDT by samadams2000 (Someone important make......The Call!)
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To: RockinRight
Now we've Heard alot of discussion on a topic that is near and dear to many American hearts. So what do we do about it. Talking about it doesn't do much, except get ‘em fired up!!!! I'm quite fired up!!!! how alone am I! I sit in the salon and diner, and listen to people complain about these exact issues all the time. everyone has a solution. everyones a genius! I'm wanting to DO something. I vote but I don't believe my vote really makes a difference except to get folks off my back. What do I do I want to see change, and I feel I may have to embarrass someone to do it (probably myself included) I'm tired of talking!!!!!! Is there a genius out there who has some kind of real solution. Just so you all know. I Own the salon and the diner. I am also a homeschooling mother and grandmother. not just some disaffected young adult who is determined to be pissed off at something. I'm just ready for real changes!!!!!!
42 posted on 05/09/2008 10:14:58 AM PDT by CallToAction
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To: Carry_Okie
They politicians saw it coming. They were warned repeatedly. They just wanted to get theirs and didn't care what came later. So were the people who voted for them. The union goons who wanted the dough were perfectly happy to stick it to the stupid voters later. The enviros, afraid of a liquefied natural gas terminal, didn't want the commerce. The guys who promised unfunded goodies and "protection" from the gas terminal won the election. No terminal. The "stupid" voters who got stuck blew town. A "crisis" ensues.

I don't know about Vallejo, but I believe what you say is true in many situations. They either don't care, believing that there will be some safety net way down the road that will correct their current ill-doings or they have their own personal escape-hatch to retreat with their goodies and the ultimate "crisis" is actually by design.

As someone posted above, we need to "throw the bums out."

43 posted on 05/09/2008 11:52:54 AM PDT by calcowgirl ("Liberalism is just Communism sold by the drink." P. J. O'Rourke)
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To: calcowgirl
I had a speaking engagement in Vallejo about five years ago when this was all on the table.

They knew.

44 posted on 05/09/2008 1:19:48 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (We have people in power with desire for evil.)
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To: mvpel
Maybe Vallejo residents should apply for concealed-carry licenses since the city is obviously unprepared to provide meaningful police services.

CCW is under control of the local Sheriff in California. Given that it's Solano County, that's not as bad as some, but still iffy.

45 posted on 05/09/2008 1:23:23 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (We have people in power with desire for evil.)
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To: CallToAction

There is nothing that you or I can do. In a Democracy when the majority decides that it wants everything and it wants the minority to pay, it is all over. The minority votes by leaving. That is why there are gutted cities sprinkled around the country.


46 posted on 05/09/2008 8:12:09 PM PDT by LeGrande
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To: agere_contra

In Florida a cirty is any incorporated municipality. We have cities with less than 20 inhabitants.


47 posted on 05/09/2008 8:43:52 PM PDT by Lucius Cornelius Sulla (All of this has happened before, and will happen again!)
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