July 24, 2013 |

Commentary

Commentary

Stormwater Runoff-Taxes-Muni Bankruptcy

By Neil Rubenstein

Observer Columnist

One can easily see why the federal government is prodding cities to clean up their storm water run-off. The most recent data available shows that in dry weather the mouth of Ballona Creek rates an "A" and in rainy weather it is an "F." Then there is Culver Blvd. at the ocean -- an "A+" and "B+."

Just when you thought taxes were high and couldn't rise again, the county figures it needs $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion to tear down and rebuild the Men's Central Jail. Ready for a big laugh? The Board of Supervisors were advised by their consultant we could finance the bond interest from the general fund so there wouldn't be a tax increase. I don't believe that for a second.

How is your retirement savings doing? Do we realize nearly half of all Americans will not outlive their assets, dying with practically no money at all? Is there any wonder reverse mortgages advertise so much? Most of us know reverse mortgages are bad for the senior with no options or hope, but a financial blessing for the banks.

From the "I Cannot Believe It" file -- In 2004 the good people of Oxnard passed Measure H with 63%. This was a $135 million bond measure to pay for two new high schools and improvements to existing schools. It's been nine years and no new high schools have materialized, the payments and interest are being paid, the money is in the bank and the grand jury is investigating.

From the same file, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives cut the 2014 budget of the IRS by $3 billion or 24%.

And from the "What's Happening" file, where is gun control? Or the North Korean missile crisis? Or Assad's war in Syria? Or the drug cartel murders? These big stories are no longer mentioned in the newspapers or on television.

Has the Detroit bankruptcy opened the eyes of Culver City Mayor Jeff Cooper or the city council? Some people around town feel Jeff is more interested in the outcome of the Board of Education election than the pension and retiree medical costs. Let's give Jeff and the others an opportunity to reform the system before we pass judgment in his 2014 re-election bid.

On a nostalgic note, August 8th would have been the 79th birthday of our very good friend, Congressman Julian Dixon. I am grateful to Efrem Violin, longtime Los Angeles County Commissioner, and Supervisor Burke for their help in renaming the library on Overland in his memory.

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