Items of interest on the Agenda include:
- On the consent agenda are the acceptance of funding for the Library's Big Read program, acceptance of the DPOA's contract for police patrosl for downtown, acceptance of homeland security funding for the city, and selection of Vice Mayor (it's Freddie Rodriguez's turn). as well as various contracts for alley improvements, the appropriation of CIP funds for Monroe Avenue street closure, and other items.
- The last item on the consent agenda is a resolution by the city to put a measure on the Nov. 3 election ballot for an update to the Telephone Utility User's Tax (TUUT). This one is interesting as it will add VOIP, Wireless (cellular) phone service, and other new technologies to the tax base. I had not even considered that with my home phone being part of my cable television service that it doesn't actually fall under the traditional category of telephone service. How do they separate the bandwidth used for my High-Def TV from the bandwidth I use for phone calls? Very interesting.
- There is a public hearing on a Pomona Congetstion Management Program.
- Public hearing on the denial by the Planning Commission of a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the 7-11 store at Towne and the 10 freeway to sell beer and wine.
- A public hearing on an HPC decision to deny the Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) for a home on McKinley in Hacienda Park that wished to retain 9 vinyl windows and install four vinyl windows and to retain in addition to a lot of other "improvements" to the property.
- Public Hearing regarding a modification, suspension, and/or revocation of CUP for Angelo's Pizza who has been in violation of their original CUP.
- Public hearing for approval and acceptance of the Police Department's user and cost recovery service fee adjustments study, which also includes some amendments to a couple of city codes.
Also on the agenda, under New Business, are three items regarding outsourcing of city services. The services that are proposed for outsourcing are:
- Park Maintenance and Landscaping Services, which includes maintenance of city highway medians
- Street Sweeping Services
- Building and Safety Services
Here's where I have a problem with this: If I, as a homeowner, choose to outsource something, say lawn mowing and basic gardening, it's usually done when I'm in fiscally good shape, when I can afford the luxury of not having to do it myself. The same is true of plumbing, window washing, car washing, etc. I would never consider outsourcing such jobs if money were tight, if I had lost income, etc. So, I have a hard time getting my head around how this is different for a city.
OK, so city's can lay off people and cut back on things and maybe the outsource has tools and capabilities that would be costly to the city (the homeowner might not own a lawn mower), but in the long-run is it really a savings?
In discussing this with people, one of the main issues that is brought up as the reason that the city can "save" so much money is that the city has to pay so much more for labor than the "union controlled" city workers demand. This appears to be the main argument for such actions.
If this is indeed the case, what we're saying is that we are trying to hire cheaper labor (denying our citizens a living wage?) and, especially non-union labor. So is this, in essence, an attempt by the city to "bust" the unions? If, the outsource vendors were paying the same wages as city union-member workers, would the costs still be cheaper? Would we actually save anything or would we then be better off using "in-house" labor?
I'll be interested to see how the councilmembers who claim to be "friends of organized labor" and who have accepted campaign money from the unions come down on this.
If, we truly just don't have the funds to run our city, then we're all in trouble. If we, the citizens, aren't willing to pay for the costs of our infrastructure, then we've got to figure out just what we can live without. I don't believe that outsourcing will, in the long-run be beneficial. I still can't see how we can pay for a service that we were providing ourselves cheaper than sending it to a company who has the obligation to make as much money as possible to provide profit for their shareholders/owners. A city is a public benefit organization, a vendor is a for-profit company.
A side issue which has no bearing on costs, except moral cost, is that every vendor (and most of these are companies based outside the city of Pomona) because a "special interest" who will wish to ensure their future profits and attempt to influence Pomona. In the last election it was the LA County Firefighters (a group with lots of resources whereas the Pomona Police Association is only within the Pomona PD and has limited resource) that appeared to have spent the most money and had the most influence in influencing the Pomona voters. Is it really in the best interest of Pomona residents to have businesses that profit from our taxes influencing our elections. Perhaps you feel that they do, as for me I'm always concerned about such things.
You can read the agenda and all supporting documents on the City Clerk's public documents web site at: http://public-records.ci.pomona.ca.us/weblink7/Browse.aspx