Monday, March 28, 2016

Do We Really Need City Politicians? - Opinion Editorial

The typical corrupt politician
Recently, because of everything I've been seeing in local politics, it makes me wonder if we really need city politicians, like mayors and council members. On March 26, 2016, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune published a story on how the politicians and directors of the City of Industry spent a quarter of a million dollars on hotel rooms, meals, and massages. How City of Industry spent $284K on city credit cards: Meals, massages and pricey hotel rooms In another related story, on March 4, 2016, the Los Angeles County District Attorney Office dismissed charges against the three City Council Members of Irwindale (another neighboring city of Baldwin Park), whom spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars on a trip to New York, wining and dining at Manhattan's finest. L.A. County D.A.'s corruption case against three Irwindale officials is dismissed (The Council Member Breceda in the photo looks like he got away with murder.) In the City of Baldwin Park, as we recently saw, on Waste Management money, the City Council Members stayed at the exclusive Fess Parker in Santa Barbara and ate at the finest Steak Houses in Santa Barbara. Do we really need local politicians? I'm starting to think we don't.

The main purpose of a city is to provide services for the local population that a centralized service could provide for better than any individual could. President Obama restated that sentiment at the end of his State of the Union Address by quoting former President, Abraham Lincoln, who said "[G]overnment should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more.” Really, governments should provide services that are necessary that none of us could do alone, such as raising an army to fight foreign invaders; having an independent justice system; and perhaps prosecuting big corporations or local government entities (such as some that are polluting an entire city, like the problem at Porter Ranch), which would be nearly an impossible for an individual to do. But those centralized type of services are good for the federal government to provide for us; so what is it that cities are doing for us?

It's arguable that cities provide contracted trash collection services and a police force and perhaps parks. But even then, do we really need cities to provide this for us? And another question, what are they really providing for us?

The answer to that question is raising taxes, license fees, and the taking of our property. In short, they're stealing from us.

In the City of Baldwin Park, the city towed away thousands of vehicles, to generate $1.2 M in profits for a year. That's the stealing of property. Those cars didn't belong to the city council members or mayor. After being laundered in four bank accounts, the city officials and the contractor all took their cut.

The City of Baldwin Park is also notorious for redevelopment. They've been in the practice of condemning private property to buy it cheap, resell it to their cronies, and to make a profit of it. What that means, is that private landowners lost money in the homes they've been investing in for years; so, that the politicians could take their land and make money from it.

Another thing they're really good at doing, is wasting millions of dollars on attorney's fees to shut up critics like local business owner Greg Tuttle and a local attorney like myself. None of these are legitimate city services. So, why do we need city officials? I don't think we do.

And their behavior in stealing that money for themselves on lavish trips and meals is harming us. There's no such thing as a free lunch, meaning we're paying for them to go to New York, San Francisco, or Santa Barbara from the money they collected from us in taxes. If we weren't taxed that money, we could either use it to spend it on clothes, food, or cars for ourselves, which would in turn stimulate the economy and jobs. Or, we could use it to start our own businesses. In short, crippling taxes (which keep going up because these people need to keep stealing for themselves), stifles the growth of economy.

To be sure, there's an argument that someone needs to clean our streets (which isn't happening in Baldwin Park) and bust gang bangers and violent criminals. To answer those concerns, I believe the resident should chose the trash service it wants to use. Crime is a more complex issue, and I'm not prepared to answer that question yet, but that doesn't mean an answer doesn't exist.

In the meantime, I hope all of you could see we have a festering and growing cancerous problem in the San Gabriel Valley. These local politicians think they're above the law and have run amok. Things need to change. We don't need them anymore. In Kiwi talk, we'd say: "They've been made redundant."

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