Your Budget Solutions

EDITOR’S NOTE: As promised, here are some reader suggestions for solving San Jose’s chronic budget deficits, taken from comments posted in response to a blog by Bobby Lopez on Friday, June 19th. Selections have been edited for readability and length but remain true to the words and intent of the authors.

We’ve also received several interesting ideas through anonymous tips on our Contact page. We’ll examine some of those as we continue to dissect this troubling (and popular) issue. Keep ‘em coming...

How about cutting all the money that gets directed to "new plants" along the Coleman/880 interchange, or the money spent on a mural for the new high-rise parking garage at the SJ Airport? Or perhaps the Saigon business, err, Little Saigon banners should go. Is all that crap really necessary?

Dan Steeley
I read Herhold religiously and on most things he has the pulse of the community right on. But when he defends a Mariachi festival, there's no way he's going to win an argument in my Rose Garden neighborhood. Nothing wrong with festivals, but there is something wrong with wasting money.

Yeah, we need a festival over Neighborhood Watch Programs, Gang and ID Theft Prevention, Child Safety, and Business Watch Programs... NOT! It must be nice to live in a world where public safety isn't a priority but fun is! Welcome To Figone Fantasy Land where crime and mayhem doesn’t exist... I don’t think people realize how much wasteful spending goes on in all government agencies. $50K is one full time position for a GA service worker, two Council Aide positions, one EA position; I think you get the point. The sad fact is that the City Manager, and the Council seem to lack the concept of prioritizing things that money should be allocated to and fall victim to sentiment instead of focusing on necessities.

You gotta watch out for the city manager. She has a bad habit of misleading the Mayor and Council about the budget. She protects her own employees and sells citizens and police down the river... Figone put every public safety program and department on the chopping block but passed out big cash prizes to pet projects. Good thing Mayor Reed knew better and listened to the public or we'd be in deeper poo than we are now... Some of these non-profits are a joke but they keep getting millions. Many offer the exact same services, so we don’t need ‘em. And don’t even get me started on the overpaid consultants the City hires to tell them how to do things that these overpaid supervisors should already know how to do. If private companies ran their businesses like this they’d be long gone by now. Not to mention throwing millions into downtown. Give it a break already. We could have hired 25 police officers for the money they’ve wasted on that dumb effort.

Scott, the problem is not just the $50,000 for this festival... If we added up all the small amounts, it soon becomes real money... Real people are losing their jobs, and you want cultural festivals? Talk about being out of touch.

Councilman Pete Constant
What was not mentioned in Scott's column is the fact that the Mariachi Festival already receives over $1,000,000 in donated advertising and marketing each year. This figure was provided to me directly by Marcela Davison Aviles who is president and CEO of the Mexican Heritage Corp., which produces the San Jose Mariachi and Mexican Heritage Festival. She also references this figure in her June 3, 2009, opinion piece in the Mercury News. Give me $1M, and I bet I could make any business or event successful without additional money from the city!

What about the money the SJPD spends on having a helicopter waste gas watching people with clipboards and video cameras who are watching police? Is that a good way to spend our money? I am sure the gas for a helicopter to go around in circles for 20 minutes is quite expensive. Oh, and don’t let me forget about the outside firms hired to scrutinize SJPD's questionable tactics. More waste with much haste. And how about the officers hitting on the girls at the nightclubs every weekend? I am glad we are paying for SJPD's social time as well.

Lets not forget how we were conned into believing that the new (and UGLY) city hall which we just "had to have!" cost triple what we, the public, were told... Oh yeah, they left out the cost of the marble floors and new artwork for the walls (as if anybody would care if it wasn’t there) and all of the millions of dollars in interest payments, too.