CORRUPT CITY OFFICIALS
City officials and their allies who oppose BM 20-283 for an independent elected auditor claim it is “overpriced and overreaching.” They’re just trying to scare you into voting against your own best interests. In reality, it is the city that is “overpriced and overreaching.”
Just consider: $16.5 million (and another $1 million annually) from Comcast, stashed in already generous reserves, to be tapped later when the public is distracted; $7 million that magically materialized for train horn projects around ex-mayor Obie’s developments; over $4 million to provide high-speed fiber-optics benefiting downtown landlords; $1.2 million per year to rent downtown city office space because they demolished city hall, not to mention the loss of parking revenue from the vacant lot; $10 million for Capstone; $7 million in City Hall cost overruns and overpriced consulting contracts (the tip of the iceberg); $5.5 million obligating taxpayers for EWEB’s property development deal.
Every one of these city “deals” raised your taxes. When the city subsidizes the profit margins of private entities by waiving taxes, they don’t collect fewer taxes; it means your taxes increase to backfill the shortfall. The city collects a fixed amount of taxes and fees regardless of how many freebies they give their cronies.
Then they plead poverty and repeatedly ask voters to pay more for essential public services, like public safety, parks, libraries and roads.
Measure 20-283 will not raise taxes!
It’s time for accountability: vote yes on 20-283, no on city measure 20-287.
Ron Bevirt, Eugene
FOX IN THE HENHOUSE
Opponents of the citizen initiative for an elected auditor, 20-283, have criticized its budget, salary and broad scope. A competitive salary, budget and scope are more likely to achieve savings and efficiencies in city operations, and raise city standards for relationships and obligations.
A salary and budget attracting the most competent candidates is more effective than one that depends on Eugene city council approval. Voter’s measure 20-283 allows sufficient staff, scope and resources to independently investigate graft or misuse of public funds.
The council’s measure, 20-287, has its scope set by stakeholders in the annual budgetary process, namely city council and manager. The weaker auditor option would be hired and controlled by insiders and bureaucrats, and would not answer to Eugene’s taxpayers.
I urge voters to choose our elected officer rather than trusting city manager and council to do so. Don’t be confused into thinking you should vote no on both options.
Failing to make your choice is likely what those who don’t want an auditor are slyly hoping for, and have offered up a weaker alternative to achieve. Their shenanigans will continue if both measures fail. Please vote NO on 20-287 and YES on 20-283.
Ethen Perkins, Eugene
In the voter’s pamphlet, City Councilors Pryor and Syrett state that the supporters of the independent auditor believe “the city manager, city staff, elected mayor and elected city council are all so bad that only a separately elected” auditor can fix things. BINGO!
Please read recently retired councilman George Brown’s argument on page 13 of the pamphlet. His experience is that there is a “serious lack of transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility at city hall.” Read the statements of the opponents of the independent auditor.
Every criticism they level toward the independent auditor are ones that councilman Brown fruitlessly tried to get the mayor and council to address. Not only won’t they acknowledge that there’s a problem, but they think they can con the voters into accepting the useless “auditor light” measure.
I’ve come to believe there is a good old boy and girls club that determines decisions made by the city. How many citizens and prominent architects testified against taking down city hall? It seems like their mind was already made up.
Something has to happen to shake this city government out of its rut. If there are problems with the auditor measure, they can be fixed. If it is voted down, it will be back to business as usual in the city with increased confidence that they can do anything they want.
The public be damned.
Ken Rosemarin, Eugene
DON’T FALL FOR IT
This in response to Ed Moye (Letters, 4/19), who appears unaware there are Eugeneans who do not support 20-283, the elected auditor measure.
I for one believe this measure is flawed and is not worthy of our support. The claim is that it will provide an independent auditor and bring transparency to city government. Who wouldn’t support that?
The fact is that all professional auditors are expected to be independent, no matter how they are hired. The elected auditor must fundraise and campaign, and do it again every four years. The position then becomes politicized. Still independent? Who does this auditor report to? No one.
And there is no oversight. Transparent? The city-hired auditor, on the other hand, does coordinate with the city council — our elected representatives — and works closely with an independent oversight board. With this integration and oversight, the auditor would be more likely to achieve buy-in and cooperation from the various city departments they will audit — in other words, more likely to succeed.
Finally, the excessive budget and staffing levels of the elected auditor starts to look like the city gets another level of bureaucracy. Probably the last thing we need. And where is all that money supposed to come from? Unknown.
Bottom line, the elected auditor measure may sound good, but the way it is constituted, it is unlikely to produce the desired results. Don’t fall for the slogans. No on 20-283.
Brian McMurray, Eugene