In my Council Update on Tuesday, what with all of the DPOA, VPD, and Fire things to report, I neglected to report on a minor item that came up later in the evening. On the agenda was an administrative item regarding that budget that could very well have missed everyone's notice. It was a consent agenda item, which means that it very well could have pass quickly without debate, as did the appointment of Mr. Torres to the VPD.
The item had to do with the City of Pomona selling to the City of West Hollywood, some of its Prop A Transportation funds. Pomona, who needs general funds money more than it needs transportation projects (presumably) is selling the Prop A funds for $.55 on the dollar (interestingly my own research shows that both West Covina and Ranch Palos Verdes sold Prop A money to West Hollywood and got $.77 on the dollar, I wonder what they're doing with all the Prop A money they're buying on the cheap?). Stepping up to speak on the issue was Pomona resident Hank Fung.
Mr. Fung has spoken on many issues over the course of the time that I've been attending council meetings and while I don't always agree with his point of view, he always makes compelling, well researched and thought-out arguments. For this particular issue, he asked that the council look at these funds in a different way in the future. He had his research and pointed out that Prop B funds can be used for a wide variety of projects beyond bus service. They can be used for special transportation such as taking seniors or students on field trips, they can be used to supplement the school district's transportation programs, they can be used to build and maintain bus shelters at the bus stops within the city, they can be use (and here's the good one) for parking structures at transportation centers, such as downtown near the downtown Pomona train depot. He noted that other cities have used their funds in this manner, using the additional parking for rail users during the day and for other uses during the evenings (Fox, Glass House, Restaurants, Art Galleries/Museums, etc.).
The council listened intently and it seems that they had not considered such uses for these funds. One wonders why someone of Mr. Fung's knowledge and interest hasn't been tapped to server on a commission or board. I don't know if he has an interest, but he certainly seems to understand issues and come up with solutions. If he has been approached, I'm just sorry that he hasn't felt that he could serve. If he hasn't been approached, shame on our city.
I wish to personally thank Mr. Fung for helping our city. So maybe next year, instead of getting $.55 on the dollar, we'll be able to get some real value for our community instead of exporting it somewhere else.