Why are Progressives backing a measure that on it's face seems anti-union? If you don't live here in San Bernardino you wouldn't understand. But if you were to stay awhile, you would feel that something is fundamentally wrong. When I first moved here 10 years ago, I didn't pay attention to local politics much but as I did I started to get that feeling of wrongness.
The wrongness is that the public safety union (whom up to 80% don't live here) dictated our budget. There was a palpable fear on the council dias to cross them and when anyone did public safety moved swiftly to remove him/her. When we stood up in a bi-partisan fashion in 2011, we dealt a severe blow to that wrongness. However, work to build a San Bernardino for San Bernardino residents continues.
Some residents are so consumed by the fear of the "criminal element" that they vote no on this measure. Public Safety at any expense, budget be damned!! This is the wrong mentality to have because we control our future.
I want to dispel a myth on Measure Q specifically and make a persuasive case for voting for this measure.
The Less Safe Myth
41 residents on average will be victims of murder/non-negligent in San Bernardino in any given year, according to FBI statistics for the past 30 years. It doesn't matter how many officers we have on the street. An initial regression analysis shows that the murder/non-negligent homicide rate have a statistically insignificant correlation to the amount of officers we have at any given time. Again, this means that the murder/non-negligent homicide rate is not influenced by the number of police that are on the street.
This is shown by our murder rate over the past 30 years. The murder/non-negligent homicide rate has never been in the single digits. The lowest amount of homicides was 17 in 1985 and the highest amount of homicides was 82 in 1993.
Fears about crime in San Bernardino are relative. Personally, I feel safe in the city because I know the data and I know where the hot spots are. Crime is like a virus, but police can only do so much, we have to stop the spread ourselves.
Back to Basics Government
We are the only city in the state of California to have this type of provision enshrined in its governing document. In addition, when other charter cities want to renew their charters they don't look to San Bernardino as a model. We used to be an All-American City and a model for city governance, now we are a poster child for what not to do.
Back in the day, Section 168 was beneficial because it smoothed out the averages and San Bernardino had a solid tax base. But a triple whammy happened. We lost our tax base, SB 400 passed (which created the 3 at 50 formula and made the benefit retroactive), and the population is aging (put pressure on pensions).
Now we are in a situation in which we pay a premium for salaries, but our police force will remain stunted due to the 3 at 50 formula and the unfunded liabilities.
Collective bargaining is used by every union in California, San Bernardino can be apart of this tradition too if a Yes Vote is cast for Measure Q. San Bernardino should not be leave the majority of the budget on autopilot.
Section 186 is a trap for our city, because as salaries go up so do benefit payments we have to make to the California Public Employees Retirement System. This reduces the amount of general funding that we use to provide other needed services and creates a service insolvency. This service insolvency then creates a vicious cycle that elminates our focus on economic development, parks, libraries, and roads.
Autopilot Funding will Lead to 2nd Bankruptcy
A No Vote on Measure Q will lead San Bernardino down a path to second bankruptcy. Because we can't make economic development a priority, we will have stunted growth at best. While other cities with collecting bargaining have more robust tax bases, because we peg our salaries to theirs, our costs will continue to go up eating more and more into the budget and increasing our unfunded liabities.
This leaves little room to hire planners and other economic development personnel who are able to grow our way out fast enought to keep pace with rising costs. Without economic development personnel we are left with haphazard growth and stunted growth. With increased costs and stunted growth second bankruptcy is not to far away.
Please Vote Yes on Measure Q and R.