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What to do? Do it the Owen Gillick Way

By   /   February 9, 2013  /   5 Comments

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Twentynine Palms, CA –  A Task-Force Feasibility and Desirability Committee dedicated to funding or helping fund  the TPFD for the public good ought to have  taken place earlier this year. Something akin to the movement Mr. Gillick was involved in cira 1985 when a few did the impossible and accomplished cityhood.

CURRENT COMPLACENCY AT CITY HALL

The four councilmen have been fed the pabulum far too long and they are in many ways far too complacent. That is not good. It’s the opposite of good.

Another thing, our councilwoman doesn’t even know what took place in 3 closed informal meetings with Councilmen Joel Klink, Dan Mintz and a couple of TPWD Directors to discuss the issue of public safety and the TPFD.

That’s not good either.

TPWD Directors were pressured to keep mum about all three meetings in terms of everything discussed. This is not the way a representative form of local government is supposed to work.

It’s more the style of government practiced by North Korea, The Republic of China, the old Soviet Union or by the Afghanistan Taliban.

THE CITY IS LOADED

The prestigious outside auditing firm of Rogers, Anderson, Malody and Scott, LLP report in the 2011-2012 29 Palms *CAFR audit documents that there is $9,620,967 of unrestricted net assets available for use to meet the City’s ongoing obligations for public use. This is addition to the $13 million in current budget in reserves.

City Reserves are for emergencies and special needs. Funding a fire department is a public safety and special need. Thus reserve funds must be tapped.

Said $9.6 million of CAFR funds are readily available to help fund the fire department because auditors tell us this is earmarked for public use.

All told, CAFR has $39,976,099  in liquid assets, stocks and bonds, etc. (not included in the annual budget).

Bureaucratic get very edgy when people start talking about CAFR because it not the usual info the public is aware of. It’s not suppose to come up. I am willing to meet with Mr. Warne to discuss it.

* The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is something every local, county and state government is required to report, even thought  it does not show on annual budgets.
WHAT TO DO? 
To use the words of Owen Gillick in the article he wrote for the 29 Palms 25th Anniversary of  Cityhood publication — when he was tracing the beginning of cityhood movement —  he wrote the two essential ingredients for cityhood were feasibility and desirability. Subsequently, he was involved in a Feasibility Committed that was formed to gather information concerning an important issue of the times — Cityhood.The year was in circa 1985.Fast-forward to Sunday, February 9 2013: The only serious reconnoiter done thus far regarding the fire department downturn and public safety — an important issue of our times –is the informal meeting kept secret  mentioned above.Sure, they TPWD has had public open meetings but no real input from the City. The City even poo-pooed a request by the TPWD  to have open joint meetings with the city, the fire department, the TPWD and the public. No dice. The city preferred clandestine meetings far away from the public eye.

Rather it’s been an obvious game of dodge to obscure and doublespeak with unclear extraneous information.

The city can still form a Taskforce of Feasibility and Desirability Committee of citizens to move rapidly forward on fire funding for the good of the entire community, its schools, churches and businesses.

This can be approached it in a positive manner without all the finger-pointing  and with a manager and legal counsel at the sidelines (both have hindered public safety).

When Mr. Gillick and other in 1989 reconnoiter to become a city they formed the Feasibility and Desirability Committee made up of local citizens,  There was no city manager’s negativity views or bad advise of an outside hungry law firm back then making hundreds of thousands of dollars off local residents. They did it themselves with community backing. It was tough going, but they did it.

It’s not too late. The city first needs to come up with temporary ad hoc funding for the current year to fund the fire department. Meanwhile, citizens can workout permanent funding vis a vis a Task-Force Feasibility and Desirability Committee. Funding could be accomplished without even tapping into the — available for public use — CAFR $9,620,967.

FOOTNOTE

Mr. Gillick reports in his fine article in said publication that “The first explicit steps toward becoming a city were taken by the leadership of that water district in 1985.  He also wrote “We heard a lot of grumbling about it at  first…”

Given the amount  of  community spirit at that time, coupled with a “can do”attitude,  it was accomplished  Note that these men and women hired a consulting firm to help them deal with the obstacles of their time.

The Firm was positive and quickly adapted the “can do” spirit. We do not have  this at city hall today.

Today, our local elected officials are controlled and shoved-around by money-hungry outside influences. 

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About the author

Branson Hunter

Senior Corespondent At Large

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.

5 Comments

  1. Dan OBrien Dan OBrien says:

    Gllick? Gllick? Who the hell is Owen Gllick?

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  2. Steve Spear Steve Spear says:

    Hi Branson,

    Much of what you talk about has already been done back in 2008 when the city and the water board worked together to try and have the city take over as lead agency for fire services in the city.

    I can email you the final draft report that was done if you would like.

    This is a city council matter at this point. The water board tried to reach out and work as a team and was rudely treated by the city manager. The irony of that is the water board reached out because it listened to the citizens that came to them asking for them to find another way to save our fire department. So far the council has not responded to the citizens, however perhaps they may on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.

    I have not found many people who want our fire department to be turned over to the county so maybe the council over the last several weeks has also found that out in their conversations with citizens. We shall see.

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    • Hi Steve,

      Please do email me the final draft report. The fact that water board was rudely treated by the city manager is a council matter that hasn't been addressed, and apparently will not be addressed. If an employee is rude to its customers, the employer will correct the problem, or do some remedial training.

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  3. RescueGuy RescueGuy says:

    Ben, it is a done deal. Let it play out. No goofy committee or chicken little citizens will sway the $$$ out of the fund and into your fantasy of a fully funded and operating FD. The meetings are not secret, it is just that you and your ilk are not invited, for obvious reasons.

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  4. reyes73 reyes73 says:

    Why is the city manager dead set against supporting the fire department? The county fire chief made it no secret that the county fire department will come back to 29 palms in a few years and ask for an increase of funds, what will the city say to them then? Is the city manager aware of the unfunded liability that the city and the county have? How can we expect to get the same service year in and year out when the cost are increasing yearly. Perfect example is the rise in gas prices, it has gone up as much as .50 cents in the past two weeks. The same $20 dollars doesn't put has much gas in my car as it did a week ago, a month ago or even a year ago.
    Can someone provide me the answers?

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