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Opinion: Public Safety is No. 1 Priority

Letter to the editor: Candidate Loella Haskew talks about the courage to consider raising taxes.

By Loella Haskew

There are two things you should know about me. First, I love Walnut Creek.  That’s why I’ve chosen to live and work here. Second, I firmly believe that public safety is the number one priority of any city government.

I am sure you are thinking: “Big deal – every candidate says they love Walnut Creek and supports public safety.” You’re right, all the candidates do.

But here is the thing that every voter needs to consider: what will it really take to preserve the Walnut Creek that we know and love – and which candidates have a realistic plan to do that?

I am a licensed CPA who served on the city’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Fiscal Health, so I understand the financial needs of our city.

I am the only new candidate in this race that has identified and publicly stated a multi-pronged approach to increasing revenues and decreasing costs, including support for a referendum to raise the sales tax. Contrast that to the other two new candidates who have pledged to increase funding for public safety but not raise taxes.

Here is what will really happen. Our City’s tax revenues (that took a big hit in the recession) will not rebound in line with the projected growth in operating costs. If no additional revenues are identified, there will be cuts in programs and services. In addition, infrastructure maintenance must be put on hold and that will mean bigger replacement and repair expenditures down the line.

Thus, we start the slippery slope to the erosion of the perceived special value of our City. That reduces the attractiveness to new homebuyers and visitors, reducing our property tax and sales tax base, which limits our revenues and so the cycle goes.

For decades, our city council understood this critical balancing act and acted accordingly. As citizens who love Walnut Creek, we cannot allow our council to head in the opposite direction.

I am the only candidate willing to go on record supporting a sales tax increase so we can expand City funding and accomplish the goal of maintaining the balanced level of everything we appreciate in our City including solid, effective public safety.

It takes courage, as a candidate, to say we need to consider raising taxes. It takes courage to stand up to innuendo. It takes courage to have a vision for the community and run for City Council to make it happen. I want to take a stand for what is right. I am running to make a difference.

Sincerely,
Loella Haskew

Loella Haskew is a candidate for Walnut Creek City Council Nov. 6.

P.S.  There is one more thing you should know about me. I’m not a big fan of people misrepresenting the viewpoints of others to skew an outcome. I refer you to the Rossmoor News to see what each candidate really said at the forum and page 10 of a recent City report that provides accurate crime data.

Opinion piece: An Inquiry Into Police Staffing

Steve Rohwer October 30, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Continued: Is the city council to blame for the staffing shortages? Yes, but only partially. Freezing positions has the effect of leaving our Chief with less 'wiggle room' to absorb unforseen circumstances of multiple long term injuries, drawn out military leave for 2 yrs, officers suddenly leaving for other agencies, or leaving LE altogether. That, coupled with several service retirements has put us in this pickle, and the frozen positions certainly don't help. Our Chief has asked for many more positions than the council has given him, thus my statement of long on words and short on deeds which is addressed not to any particular member or part of the council but rather the group as a whole. I would like also to thank Councilman Gary Skrel and Kish Rajan for their service to the citizens of WC. Gary served on the Council 12 yrs and Kish 4. I knew them both personally. Although I never agreed with all of their politics or decisions, that's okay, I never expected to anyhow. Both Gary and Kish I found to be very personable and I have had occasion more than once to chat over a beer (off duty of course) with both men and talk about many other interests besides what's going on within the City. I wish them both only the best. There are no mysteries this year as to whom is backing whom in this race. The voters will have their say in 8 days locally, statewide, and nationally, and we can all breathe and go about our business again.
One more time with feeling October 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM
What happened to (Editor) Lance Howland?
michael frederick October 30, 2012 at 07:11 PM
OMTWF, I noticed your question. It made me wonder -- what happened to Lance? Lance now shows up on Lamorinda Patch. Either we drove him away or he decided WC wasn't safe enough for him(?)
One more time with feeling November 02, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Ms Haskew, Your silence is deafening.
Jim November 02, 2012 at 05:48 AM
http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/patrol-unit-rowdy-downtown-walnut-creek-set-lose-o/nStqT/ Hopefully we won't also hear there are more patrols downtown.

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