Thursday, April 14, 2011

Crash tax, Escondido cuts, Grantville, disabled parking, Oceanside raises, landfill

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Crash cost recovery hardly double taxation

“Vista halts plans for crash tax” (SignOn San Diego, March 23) shows how a campaign by an insurers group has successfully made the issue politically toxic.

Everyone seems to accept the cost recovery as double taxation argument being promoted by an insurers association. Yet anyone who knows budgets and property tax revenue knows the argument does not apply in California, where Proposition 13 does not allow a local government unit to raise property taxes to meet anticipated budget needs. The commentary “It’s a sneaky route to double taxation” (Dialog, March 13) failed to look at Proposition 13’s implications. In Oceanside, property taxes don’t even cover police and fire personnel costs. -- Lizbeth Altman, Oceanside


East County facing a transient problem

East County does not have a “homelessness” problem so much as a “transients” problem (“Homeless survey shows affordable housing need,” East County, March 24). Often, an unemployed, low-skilled individual from another state was “invited” to the San Diego area by a family member with the baseless hope of finding quick employment. When that doesn’t happen, the host asks the visitor to move on.

East County proves attractive for living out of vehicles because it has pockets of open space that aren’t well-patrolled and public drinking is tolerated. Not surprisingly, individuals find it easier to live in campers in Lakeside or El Cajon than in a colder climate. They won’t go home until we enforce existing laws about trespassing and illegal camping. -- Debra Lynn, Lakeside


Great inconvenience if library is closed

Mayor Sam Abed thinks closing the East Valley branch library will cause a few inconveniences for Escondido’s citizens (“Council, public get look at proposed Escondido cuts,” SignOn San Diego, March 23). There are nine schools near the library. What is being proposed is not only inconvenient for some but irresponsible for all the children and elderly who use the library regularly. There must be a way for council members to balance the budget – perhaps paying a bit into their pensions? Giving up their cell phones? Giving up their gas allowance?

Step into the East Valley branch library and see smiles on the faces of children there who are finally understanding multiplication or the teen who uses the computers to apply for college scholarships or the toddler excited about hearing “The Cat in The Hat” during story time.
How is giving children a chance at a future inconvenient? -- Khristina Martin, Escondido


Flooding risk overlooked

In response to “Ballroom, skating rink among redevelopment proposals,” (Business, March 24): More than three years ago the city Planning Department and Redevelopment Agency established the Grantville Stakeholders Committee for the purpose of creating the land-use plan for the Grantville redevelopment project area. The GSC is stocked mostly with Grantville real estate developers, with just enough residents to make it seem legitimate.

During the course of the committee’s deliberations, one member, who is not a real estate developer, asked that the panel establish a subcommittee to study Grantville flooding. The response of the committee’s chair, who is a lobbyist for the Building Industry Association, was, “Flooding? What flooding?”
So how important is flooding at Alvarado Creek to the future of Grantville? Not much, according to the Grantville Stakeholders Committee. And it is certainly not the reason for establishing a 990-acre redevelopment project area. -- Brian T. Peterson, DVM; CEO, Grantville Action Group


Parking for disabled doesn’t mean free

I support J. Hostetler concerning handicap parking (Community Dialog letters, March 17). I am in favor of reserving space for disabled people. I am not in favor of free parking for the disabled.
I cannot understand why there is no charge for disabled spaces. Is it because being disabled equates to poverty? If there are valid reasons for this free parking, those reasons should be made clear to the public. -- Robert O’Donnell, South Bay


Raises spark outrage

It’s outrageous for Oceanside City Council members Jerry Kern and Gary Felien to support giving police management raises at this time (“Oceanside management police officers sign 2-year contract,” North Coast, March 24). This after they both promised pension reform. They lambasted Chuck Lowery for giving the same raises to the Fire Department last year. They just showed they don’t care about residents facing huge cuts to city services like the library, pools, parks, senior centers, recreation and at-risk youth programs. --
Mandy Barre, Oceanside


Tribe’s opposition to landfill questioned

Sheila Seagrave (Letters, March 19), writing in response to the Pala Band of Mission Indians and their opposition to the Gregory Canyon landfill, forgot to mention that the tribe is profiting from other uses considered undesirable by some neighbors.

It has the largest off-road facility in the county for motorcycle enthusiasts and makes thousands of dollars from a use that can’t be permitted in the county. A casino plus a rock quarry plus an off-road park equals sacred land? I don’t think so.

The voters spoke twice to approve landfill infrastructure needed in the North County. They need to be heard. -- Frank Ohrmund, Chula Vista


Priorities gone awry

At the top of the March 19 Local section of the U-T, we learned of the opening of a pedestrian bridge connecting the San Diego Convention Center and Petco Park, just in time for the Padres’ Opening Day on April 5 (“A walk to the park: New bridge opens”). The cost: $26 million.

On Page B2, we are reminded that because of a $114 million deficit, the San Diego Unified School District has issued layoff warnings to 1,335 educators (“Seniority layoff rules could decimate schools”). On Page A14, we read again about the $500 million or more budget reduction for the University of California system (“UCSD alters rules for community college students”).

Who let this happen? When did our priorities go so awry? -- Virginia Redman, Encinitas


Zoo board needs diversity

That the Zoological Society of San Diego’s board of trustees has never had an African-American or Latino member is absolutely indefensible (“For zoo trustees, it’s a labor of love,” Local, March 20). Because the article lacked a comment from the board about its lack of diversity, members’ plan to address it or even whether they deem diversity important, one is left to conclude that it is entirely possible that the board will never have an African-American or Latino member. -- Michel Anderson, Mission Valley