Should the public have a voice and a vote before a city incurs a bond debt?
Should cities be required to obtain a public vote before spending tens of millions of taxpayers’ money to revamp downtown areas?
If you said yes to both questions, you are likely a red-blooded American and a freedom-loving taxpayers who continues to believe in the democratic process.
Both city officials in Sacramento and Twentynine Palms have manages to stiff arm the public in attempts to keep them at arms length.
They do it because they can. However, the public in Sacramento is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
The City of Sacramento may be forced to obtain a public vote before taking out a $250 million bond to build an entertainment and sports arena at the Downtown Plaza to revamp the cityscape.
This is exactly what the City of Twentynine Palms should have done. Seek a public vote on a measure to decide if the public wanted to execute a 30-year Bond debt to build expensive things and revamp the downtown area with unnecessary and duplicated things.
An attorney in Sacramento working with a citizen group calling for a public vote said — “The city needs to think long and hard and provide a robust debate before it invests significant resources into a project that evidence overwhelmingly shows will not provide economic benefit to the city.”
Sacramental City officials want to execute a debt bond in order to use public finds to build things, very expensive things. Things that cost taxpayer a lot of money, and take a very long time to pay it back. Sacramento officials want to build a entertainment and sports arena to house NBA franchise in Sacramento.
Given the hullabaloo over the the 29 Palms daunting expenditures of taxpayers’s money — “over $577,321.10 of tax dollars which as of today has built or bought nothing” — the 29 Palms City Hall establishment ought to contemplate holding public meetings seeking taxpayers input before spending any any more on administrative costs and attorney on a projects that essentially no longer has a funding source.
The cost of obtaining a public vote in Twentynine Palms was and still is small in comparison to spending “more than $577,321.10 of tax dollars which as of today has built or bought nothing” ( Steve Spear) for administrative costs, consulting fees and legal fees to a law firm with many conflicts of interest.
In spite of 29 Palms city officials predilection for closed meetings and doing things away from the public eye, it’s time for a talk and time for meetings with the public before any more money is spent for attorneys fees, fighting the state or — should money fall from the sky — resuming the very costly Project Phoenix to revamp the downtown area.
Back in Sacramento, Lawyers for the citizen group said they will “back off” its call for a referendum to stop it if the council voluntarily puts a subsidy to a public vote. Many taxpayers are’t very happy with Mayor Kevin Johnson’s push to bond against future city downtown parking revenue and possibly selling some nearby city land for private development.
The Twentynine palms bond commitment is a $31 million pay back range over a 30-year period, while the term sheet for Sacramento is expected to contain a city commitment in the $250 million range.
Note the League of California Cities supports a bill that stiff arms public input on revitalizing cities with public funds. Senate Bill 214 by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, removes voter approval altogether. Link here to read article
While the city entered into debt for $31 million and frivolously spent another $577,321.10 for naught, it was done because they can — purposely without a vote or public input.
Any move forward to that end simply has to be done with public discussions and a public vote should funding be secured in furtherance of revamping the downtown Project Phoenix area.