Monday, February 28, 2011

Council Meeting Tonight

Well, it looks like a very full agenda tonight. Unfortunately, I have a previous commitment which takes me out of town this evening. However, there are a few items of interest that everyone should be aware of:

First off, there is a special meeting at 4:00 pm when the council will get a presentation on the fight by most cities to save their redevelopment agencies. My personal take on this issue is that the city is cutting funding right and left and yet there is still funding, because of redevelopment money, to give money to developers. Right now Pomona is actually at a disadvantage in the RDA situation. Our RDA, because we haven't had any major developments to increase our tax increments, doesn't have the funding that a city like Ontario has. So, right now Ontario can offer developers  a lot more in funding and "concessions." Perhaps, deleting RDAs from every city might re-level the playing field? Note that item 6 on the regular agenda has the city writing off 3/4 of a million dollars owed to the RDA.

One of the things that I'd be all over if I were to attend the meeting is item 12 ADOPTION OF A RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING A `CONTRACTING FOR SERVICES' POLICY. This is how the city has decided it's going to operate, to outsource everything and let private industries take our tax money to provide services. Will we see savings in all cases? I find it hard to believe that "profit motivated" private industry can provide a service, in most cases, for a cost lower than we can ourselves. In the reports section of the meeting documents online, there is a report on our current outsourcing and evaluation. I'd certainly love to know if the citizens agree with some of the report's conclusions. (Click Here for Report) I'll probably write more on this later.

Item 16 is a review of Angelo's Pizza's Conditional Use Permit (CUP). Mr. Aboud has refused to sign a certificate that he will abide by the current CUP. While I feel that Angelo's has in the past year not had the kind of issues that lead up to previous modification of the CUP, he has not lived up to the CUP either. While his current modified CUP (MCUP) only allows beer and wine sales, I've heard that he is selling hard liquor. However, it appears that it may be a little different. According to a police report as part of the council report (Click Here) starting on page 24, undercover officers ordered a whiskey and coke, which they were given. When they went back in uniform and retrieved the bottle of "whiskey" they found that it was actually an orange-based wine drink (12% alcohol). So while they may be following the "letter of the law," they're dishonest with their customers. There were also bottles labeled Gin which were likewise wine beverages. In addition, they are sometimes operating the facility as a nightclub and not serving food which is another violation of the MCUP. How can we continue to allow someone to skirt the laws and treat the city and its citizens with such disrespect?

Finally, it looks like staff is still studying the issue of the proposed business park at Fairplex which would convert 20 of the stables to offices and a self-storage facility. Another eating away of the fairgrounds to commercial development as we've seen with the hotel and convention center. At what point will we actually have a fairgrounds? Are fairgrounds important to the city? What of the historic nature of the stables? A lot of questions to consider.


John Clifford said...

Hopefully someone will post what went on at the meeting.

Because it's more about my opinions than a report on what's going on in the city (and I don't want to impose on Meg's generosity on this site for such), I decided not to post my thoughts on outsourcing here, but have posted on my own blog at John Clifford.

Take a look and let me know what you think. It looks like it will be a three part series. Commenting is always welcome.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information as a life long citizen of Pomona and a ex- employee(temporarily) I saw the writing on the streets long ago when the City Mgr. was hired.

gilman said...

Hi John,

Found it remarkable that the outsourcing report failed to disclose the total amount of taxpayer funds spent on the City Attorney for the last year? How can Council determine if this is the most efficient system if they are told how much is being spent per year?.....well, of course they know how much is being spent. I suspect the real reason the number is absent, is so as not to alert the public to the actual yearly cost. I suspect it is millions....maybe you know the actual number?

John Clifford said...


There is a page on the city attorney and it says that the contract is for $216,216 per year base (260 hours per month at $138.60 per hour)plus supplemental at $149.00 per hour.

It would be interesting to see how many "supplemental" hours are spent on this.

Of course, there is no analysis of savings on this function as there is on the other outsourced departments.

John Clifford said...

For anyone interested in the outsourcing issue, I've posted part II on my own blog.

John Clifford said...

Outsourcing Part III just posted at:

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Anonymous said...

better yet pomona is claiming a budget shortfall but yet sent two park and recreation employees to a conferce for the day in scamento