Character in short supply

o the Editor,

Mr. Steve Psaros recently appeared before city council to air his views and gather information on the proposed water/sewer expansion project. He felt he got short shrift. Welcome to the club Mr. Psaros! From day one, this proposed expansion has been shrouded in a aura of secrecy and migrating rationalizations: the most foolish was the original one; an anonymous entity approached a member of the water board and expressed a possible interest in locating here if we had a half of a million gallons of sewage capacity to spare.

Mr. Mastrantoni said we are near our 4 million gallons a day water capacity and therefore need to double it for both industrial and residential growth. What has never been made clear is why we are near capacity when our population as well as our industrial base has drastically shrunk along with the innovation of water saving devices like washers, dishwashers, shower heads and toilets. A family of two, each person using 100 gallons a day would have a monthly water bill of 6,000 gallons, a family of three — 9,000 gallons. Given that, 18,000 residents combined would use 1.8 million gallons a day. Who uses the other 2 million gallons a day?

If future industry needs additional capacity why should the residents pay for it?

I applaud the city manager’s desire to cut cost to save money. Six police dogs are a luxury for our population size but so is an assistant city manager. San Jose, California, with a population of 60,000, has an assistant city manager. We have never had one until present.

After getting additional firemen and a pay raise, union president Jim Brueck said we are going to have the fire protection we have been paying for and deserve. I don’t know about that. Twenty years ago we had both paid and volunteer fire stations; the volunteers not only worked for free but funded their own trucks and equipment! Considering most calls today are medical, one could say we have a very expensive firefighting capability that responds primarily to medical emergencies with ambulances not far behind; fires are few and far between.

The difference fiscally between a conservative and a liberal is the conservative has a clearer vision of the future because they have a better memory of the past. Four years ago the city was flush in revenue because of the B&O and sales tax enactments.That has been gobbled up and now that Covid-19 has put a damper on revenues, the city is in a financial crunch once again.

It is easy to tax and spend. On the other hand, having the character to hold the line on competing departmental appetites takes leadership — the kind displayed by police chief Rob Alexander who recently sided with the city manager in the interest of the citizenry as opposed to the self interest of the rank and file. The man should be given a medal for such courage in this era where character in our leadership is in critically short supply.

Blaise Hogan



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