This year — 2012 — has special significance, as does every year divisible by four.
First, yesterday, Feb. 29, only arrives every four years. I believe the gradual diminishment of the tradition associated with Sadie Hawkins Day is further proof of the advancing maturity of our species.
Why was Sadie Hawkins Day, when women invited men to the dance, only once nearly every 1,500 days? Too bad it wasn’t more frequent.
But the other relevance of the divisible-by-four years is the American election process. The Presidential election is this year.
Many pages wouldn’t contain my opinion about the primary and the future presidential campaign. Nevertheless, I have one rant (maybe only my first) to share with you.
Not only is the presidential office up for election, but two Riverside County Supervisors’ terms end in December 2012.
Third District Supervisor Jeff Stone has already filed for his third term. So far he has one possible opponent — Joe Scarafone. He has until Friday to confirm his entry in the race.
But First District Supervisor Bob Buster has two opponents — Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries and Mike Soubirous — whom I’m glad aren’t planning to campaign in the third district.
Both Jeffries and Soubirous are advocating term limits for supervisors, lowering their salaries and eliminating their pensions.
While these might be bona fide issues to debate, I don’t think 2012 is the year. The county is facing its fourth consecutive year of major deficits. The interim County Executive Larry Parrish is estimating Riverside County could be bleeding $80 million next year unless action is taken to balance the budget.
These two candidates think a nickel is sufficient to address the county’s major fiscal crisis. Expenses for supervisors are insignificant within the total $500 million county budget. Revenues have fallen nearly $200 million in four years. Five supervisors’ salaries are barely $700,000.
The candidates are simply playing to the anger among voters. If you’re frustrated, get even by cutting their salaries.
Even if you eliminate all compensation — salary and benefits — for the five supervisors, the county’s deficit would still be nearly $78 million.
But what are their plans for public safety which consumes the vast majority of the county’s revenues? Read about the recent growth of crime on the Hill on pages 1 and 2.
Now you’ll argue, don’t cut the Sheriff’s Department any more. The unincorporated area is already feeling the effects of fewer deputies.
So where do you turn? The nonpublic safety agencies are planning for a 28 percent cut this year, which is in addition to cuts totaling more than 50 percent in the past few years.
At the state level, recent polls indicate voters may be willing to support temporary tax increases to fund schools. But what about the local level? Animal Services has closed compounds and reduced officers. If we protect fire and deputies, where do we turn?
Of course, no need to cut anything else once we reduce the fat in the supervisors’ wallets, right? That’s my point, these guys focus on inflamatory issues without addressing their constituents’ needs.
If one is elected, he’ll be making decisions affecting us too.
Letters to the Editor
I’ve gotten two letters and the promise of a third about the letters to the editor criteria. I’ll publish them all next week.