Friday, July 10, 2009

Open Letter To The Irving City Council

To my honorable Council Persons...

I want to express my grave concerns with the direction our city is taking in regards to it's budgeting. Especially the very fat pay raises approved for Tommy Gonzales as we enter a dramatic economic slowdown.

I know that as the city brags that it's economic conditions is great and revenue is great and all is well, the city continues to find new innovative ways to increase fines, fees, and other income. Like someone giving blood to earn extra income to cover increasing debts, there will soon come a time when this will not work to increase revenue. There's only so much that you can bleed the public, before you'll start seeing increasing costs that come from the citizens inability to pay. After all, incarceration and community service programs to pay off fines and fees, cost the city and county additional funds for housing inmates and hiring people to watch and track these people.

Now I know the bubbleheads on TV are wagging their tongues about green shoots. But these are people who are completely incapable of predicting a downturn. They only get it a little right, when the economy is improving. For a year, they've been wrong 100% of the time. Regardless of what they may tell you, not every lotto ticket is a winner. No bubble goes on forever and ever to infinity.

I have seen no sign that the City of Irving, recognizes that the US is in a serious economic decline. The city continues to place bets in payroll and expenses assuming that the economy is improving, despite the reality that unemployment continues to rise, further crippling the economy.

President Obama recently told us that we can't expect the unemployment problem to ease until the economy is on the rebound again. This in my view is a serious defect in his thinking, as without jobs, we have no real economy. An economy isn't just computers on Wall Street, sending streams of binary digits back and forth. An economy is made up of people doing productive work, while buying, selling and trading services. If you don't have that, you can transmit number between computers all day long and our residents, and our city will continue to see a decline.

As we are lacking fundamental leadership and expertise from the highest levels on the issue of economics, we should expect that the economy at large will continue to decline. The current Federal programs to stimulate the economy through bailouts, do nothing more than cover gambling debts of international banks. The money either disappears through the magic of fiat accounting, or goes offshore into foreign bank accounts to protect it from taxation. Even the Presidents vaulted efforts at saving people from foreclosure has only resulted in a total of 51 mortgage refinances and a stalling of foreclosures in most states. The administration is simply kicking the can down the road, in hopes of stalling until after the election.

The only solution to the problem of excessive debt that is plaguing our nation is to write it down, and take the entities through bankruptcy. This is a painful and difficult process and the current administration will not do it. This is akin to having a gangrenous limb, and refusing to allow it to be amputated. It won't get better, and the longer you wait, the worse it gets. the administration intends to continue to let the infection spread.

Though Irving has not been hit as hard as many cities have, it connected to the global community and the problems plaguing the rest of the nation will spread and worsen the economic and employment situation in our city.

An economic depression is defined as a sustained, long downturn in one or more economies. It is more severe than a recession, which is seen as a normal downturn in the business cycle. (Wikipedia)

As unemployment continues to rise, and no recovery is actually in sight, I think it is accurate to say that we are in a depression. As recovery in jobs according to President Obama, is years away, this depression will last years. And for now it will only worsen.

I know that the Mayor and City Manager both are big believers in eternal growth. but eternal growth in a confined space is the dream of a cancer cell. Healthy organisms grow to an optimum size or population and stabilize in harmony with their environment. Cancer cells never stop growing, even if though the continued growth is detrimental to the organism and eventually the cancer cells themselves.

Now human beings are not cancer cells. We have the capacity to see and understand the limits of our growth, of our spending. We can look to the future, and understand how that future is shaped by our actions today. We have the capacity within us to say no to growth, when we do not have the resources to fuel it.

And when it is clear that we are nearing those limits, we must say no. and when those limits are contracting then we must find a way to make do with less.

We all know in our personal lives the dangers of spending beyond our means, or writing checks when there's no money left in our accounts. Most of us to some degree have learned to budget our spending, and when our salaries are reduced or we know hard times are coming, we can cut back and adapt to changing circumstances. This is how we are better than a mindless cancer cell. We know that maturity is not measured by infinite growth, but by learning to live within our means.

As the economy continues to contract, the City Of Irving is going to be facing serious budget shortfalls. As council members, it is your duty to anticipate the ramifications of these shortfalls and respond in an intelligent and responsible manner. You'll be faced with some serious decisions soon enough. Votes for further raises for upper echelon employees will need to be balanced, against the jobs of city workers, and balancing the budgets of various departments. I feel confident that recent raises given to the City Manager, will lead to the city firing some hard working people. Further the Mayor and City Manager's quest for infinite growth during an economic contraction will force you to fire more employees and cancel more contracts.

Over the coming years, you're going to see the city's revenue decline as costs rise.

I hope that as you make these decisions in the future, that you will do so with the best interest of the community in mind. You have some tough years ahead of you. I pray that you make the best decisions you can, during this long term economic crisis. I sincerely hope that the course you take will not involve endless layoffs for city workers, and a steady stream of bonuses and salary increases for the Mayor's friends. What you decide now, will affect Irving for years to come.


At 6:35 PM, Anonymous edgar said...

Hi weaseldog,

Our city council & mayor will blow a million dollars just to have someone tell them what they want to hear. They are the biggest spenders of all time. The make CONgreff look like pikers.


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