I just finished reading through the city manager's budget recommendations that Anonymous just posted in the comments to John's comedy club report, and it's a doozie. Go read it now -- I'll wait.
There are some things that make perfect sense to me, like reducing graffiti removal, deferring median maintenance, and not keeping the cop-chopper up in the air circling over my house when there's no crime underway/reported (for a savings of $132k). All of these cuts will have negative effects on the city, but they seem easy enough to beef back up in better times (assuming we ever have better times).
The library cuts -- $800k worth -- pain me enormously. If these proposals are accepted, we'll be going from 18 positions to 10, with many of our favorite library employees being cut to halftime. The library would be open only four days a week, and they'd close the computer lab (which, as someone mentioned in the April 19 city council meeting, is the only place to get on the internet for free in the city). It's enough to make you weep.
The budget proposal also pretty much does away with the historic district entirely, leaving only the fancy signs. No more in-progress violation support (whether it's stripping materials from foreclosed homes, unpermitted construction, or illegal tree-trimming; greatly-reduced enforcement overall.
Moreover, the report recommends the dissolution of the Historic Planning Commission (among others), and that is what I interpret as the city manager's complete dismissal of the historic districts. Without code enforcement or the HPC, tearing down your Craftsman bungalow and building a zero lot-line McMansion in its place will be officially in violation, but there won't be anyone to do anything about. At least, not unless the neighbors go vigilante. Want to cut down the city-owned sweetgum or linden tree in front of your house? The city says, "Go right ahead!"
There are many terrible cuts recommended in the budget report. Most departments are getting it in the neck, the police most of all (from what I can tell). There will be many negative effects for our fair city, on nearly every level and for nearly every citizen. Over and over, the budget report describes the impact as reduced property values and increased crime.
I am not saying that historic preservation is more important than library services, after-school programs for kids, or police protection; it's not. But the historic districts are what drew me and K. to Pomona in the first place, and several of our friends have followed us here for the same reason. If historic preservation becomes a thing of the past, the city will lose cultural diversity and become even more the cesspool that the rest of the county thinks we are now.
Claremont Insider used to call us Poor-Moana, and I -- ever the optimist -- thought that was unfair. But not any more. Our city is poor, and I'm moaning.