Letter to the Editor: What the Old Guard Cost Us

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With our city council elections approaching, you’ve been reading a stream of letters to the editor yearning for the old days of big, expensive, and bloated city government.

The small and loud old guard lost power in 2014, and they don’t like it. There was a time when you had to be anointed by the Chamber of Commerce, thankfully those days are over. They did some good things but consider what they left us with: $200,000 lifeguards, $350,000 city manager, $280,000 assistant city manager, $150,000 recreation manager, and $1.5 million in librarians, to name a few. If you think about the responsibilities of those positions and benefits, you have to ask “What were they thinking?”

Our unfunded pension liability exploded from $2,000,000 in 2007 when the old guard was elected to $253,000,000 in 2014.

Let’s talk about the old guard and city hall. The original thinking was to sell the old site and use the free land deeded to the city by the Irvine Company for open space. They agreed and we had the elements of a deal – money, no debt, service and free land. Even Steven – a good deal for all was hatched. What did the old guard do?

Without voter approval, they leveraged our City’s financial future on a $140,000,000+ civic center, replete with $225,000 bunnies. Through 2041, our City will pay $280,000,000+ with some Federal subsidies kicked in for that project.

And the land was free! What happened to Even Steven?

I believe the creed of the old guard was, “we are a rich city and it doesn’t matter how much we spend, we can afford it, and I need a $1,100 desk chair.”

Over the next few weeks I will keep reminding residents how much the old guard cost us.


Bob McCaffrey

Volunteer Chairman, Residents for Reform

Balboa Island

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