I have lived here in South Pasadena for more than 44 years. I have lived here before and after both Proposition 13 and the Utility Users’ Tax (UUT).
After Proposition 13 and before the UUT, there was little or no money for services, streets, sidewalks, trees, water reservoirs and sewers. I watched how this city deteriorated. I also watched as new life was breathed into our city after the UTT was implemented. We still have a large backlog of projects, but the city has made very important investments to our water supply, sewers and streets. Without the UUT, we will return to the days of deferred maintenance, which will cost the city much more in the long run in both repair costs and state and federal fines.
I know that some feel that the city wastes money, particularly on pensions and salaries. First of all, if we are to attract qualified people to our city, we must offer salaries and pensions that are competitive with other cities. As it stands now, the city’s salaries are actually lower than most other cities.
Secondly, the increase in pension funding is not determined by the city but by the State of California. We will have to pay these increases whether we keep the UUT or not. I have attended many city council meetings and public budget meetings during the last six years after my retirement. I have been impressed with how the city is constantly looking for ways to cut costs. Although I haven’t agreed with every decision made by the city, I am convinced that good fiscal management and the well-being of our citizens have been very much in in forefront of their decisions.
I feel so privileged to live in our beautiful small city in the midst a huge sprawling metropolis. I feel safe here knowing the police and fire responders are minutes away and that every firefighter is also a paramedic. I love seeing the roads finally being repaired. I love running into my neighbors and friends at the library, in the parks, at the 4th of July parade and at events around the city. I love how the city cares about its seniors. I love seeing the faces of children enjoying the many activities the city has to offer.
My city has given me so much through the years. This is my home, my community. I do not feel that it is too much for the city to ask me and our residents to help pay for all the services we all enjoy. I particularly do not think it is too much to ask since the city has a program in place for low-income residents.
I can’t think of another city in the area that has all the wonderful qualities that our city has to offer. Please save our services—Vote No on Measure N this November.