Entitlement Versus Affordability – Letter to the El Segundo Herald by David Burns

The following letter to the editor was published in the El Segundo Herald newspaper (HeraldPublications.com) on Thursday, April 7, 2016 in the Letters section on page 14. The El Segundo Herald has a strict 250-word limit, including the title.

Entitlement Versus Affordability

There’s been frequent talk about what El Segundo residents “deserve” when it comes to funding public safety services. The discussion should really be about what we can afford. Residents got what they deserved in past budgets that funded public safety services from 2000 through 2009. Police and Fire enjoyed annual pay raises in the range of 5% to 9+% annually from 2000 through 2009. They received a public benefit of enhanced pensions that saw city costs rise by ten’s of millions of dollars over a decade. By getting what our past City Council’s felt our public safety officials were entitled to or “deserved” nearly bankrupted our city. City Hall’s past culture of entitlement nearly cost us our independent fire department and paramedic ambulance services. El Segundo had a platinum spending culture, unfortunately, our budget couldn’t sustain such entitlements or costs.

That’s the hard lesson residents and elected officials must remember. The City Council has taken a lot of hits for maintaining fiscal responsibility and balanced budget accountability, resulting in a barrage of disrespect from the public safety unions displaying unprofessionalism by name calling and disrespecting city leadership. This must end.

The new City Council must remember the lessons of the past. If Measure B passes, we must look to the future of what El Segundo can afford. What El Segundo deserves is quality public safety services, living within our means, maintaining services that are affordable, and ensuring that public safety is provided with quality equipment, resources, and training.

– David Burns

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