Wednesday, June 27, 2012


City council's favorite solution is to outsource. Privatize, privatize, privatize. It is always a shortsighted solution, which takes power away from the people. When the city outsourced the fire service to the county, they lost many chances for collaboration and pitted police against fire, fire against the library and parks, and so on.

They plan to outsource the parks, no matter how much the city's youth might benefit from current volunteer programs, and no matter how much money these volunteer programs might save the city. One youth cited the figure of 80K to me at the council meeting. In a city so strapped for cash 80K is a lot of money, or so they tell us.
The city is also considering outsourcing the library, although where is as yet unclear. Another bad idea. The American Library Association did a study on the problems of outsourcing, which you can read here. Even outsourcing to another public entity will cause:

  • ·         loss of jobs
  • ·         loss   of control over programming and collections
  • ·         difficulty in regaining the facility for the city
  • ·         loss of community involvement
  •        potential loss of access to space for community groups
  • ·         loss of accountability
Council did manage to find 400K. So why why not use that money to keep the library open for another three months while looking for additional funding. If August 1 is the deadline for a ballot measure, as stated at the council meeting, we should get moving. The public task force will meet every week at 10 am at the library to plan next steps for saving the library. Everyone is welcome.

To resist privatization, we need to take back people power in other ways as well. At the council meeting the main place for ordinary voices to be heard was outside the council chambers--once again the mayor found ways not to listen to his constituents, this time by slowing down the budget presentation. People came expecting to be able to be heard. Everyone was told to be on time, 6 pm sharp. By 10:00 pm, people were exhausted and discouraged. Many left. If the council won't hear us and persists in putting public funds and the people's power into the hands of private corporations, then maybe we need to find other ways to make Pomona a place for the people.


Ren said...

I agree and keep up the good work on keeping us informed about what is going on with our city goverment. And everybody out there don't forget to vote, we need a change in our goverment let's take our city back. And get those people out of office.

meg said...

I agree wholeheartedly, PftP. MORE than wholeheartedly -- wholebodily.

If we keep outsourcing services, why not just unincorporate? The school district is completely separate from the city, so that could persist. Seriously, I don't really see the benefit of being a city at this point. All it gets us is feeble and unimaginative leaders (and I don't just mean the councilmembers) who are so used to a particular and outdated way of doing things that they are digging us into despair at the double.

Erin Gratz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erin said...

After watching the pathetic (in construction & budget info) powerpoint, the news that Stockton, CA is the latest of 7 cities to declare bankruptcy, and the apparent filibustering of the council to listen to the 150+ citizens wanting to discuss the library closure...I do wonder if you are correct, Meg. Perhaps un-icorporation is best. The city can hardly provide services and resources any longer. And apparently don't understand when an outsourcing possibility to Rancho is not really a possibility at all. As a librarian and a dedicated library user, I fear the possibility of what outsourcing might mean for the Pomona Public Library, the people's ability to use it, and what occurs for the staff. There are some fine examples of partnerships between college/university libraries and cities, ex. San Jose (and others). Possibly an idea for Claremont College, University of La Verne or Cal Poly Pomona...

TJ said...

We can look at this crisis as a time to wake up to the direction Pomona has been going for many years. Until our citizens pay attention to how our city is run,and the disdain that some of our elected officials have for the public and any power they may have to change things, (mainly because not enough people pay attention to what this city has been lacking in terms of leadership, ethics, integrity, etc.)we will continue to suffer further losses such as libraries, city programs that we sorely need, and all of the other things that make us a city. Pay attention to who you vote for in the coming election so that we can begin to change this sad state of affairs!

John Clifford said...

Most of this is what I've been trying to say (I'm guessing without success) for the past couple of years. We've been on an outsourcing binge which has left the city bereft of any core competencies (leaving us with incompetencies?).

We no longer have street sweeping, park maintenance, building and safety, trash collection, and now probably, community services. And to pay the outsource bills we also are cutting out street maintenance and code enforcement (which actually brings in funds so I'm not sure why we've lost 2 officers).

Again, a sad situation that I can only attribute to a lack of leadership in our once-proud city.