Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 03/2004

« Newstalk for Wednesday April 25th 2007 | Main | Hot problems at local fire stations »

April 26, 2007

Comments

Dominic Santos

Events like these show the real need for a larger police force. My analysis suggest that Somerville should retain approx. 200 officers. We don't even have half as many.

Somerspeak

Hey Dominic, why don't you tell your good friend Joe Curtatone we need more cops on the street instead of more streetsweepers.

brickbottom

Dom,

By law, through the city's ordinances the Police Department is supposed to have 140 Patrol Officers. But of course, were is this city going to get the funding to comply with this rule.

I believe we have at the moment 85 Patrol Officers, not counting those who wear gold badges. As of now we have about 10 police officers patrolling our streets at night. Seven one man/female cars, the supervisors car, traffic car and maybe the wagon. Can you imagine a city with over eighty thousand people being protected by such a small contingent of officers?

But tell me where is this city going to find the funding to put new recruits through the academy and then pay their salary?

If you have the answer please share it with us. Are you willing to add to our already absurd taxes to attain the number of officers that you called for?

Lobo

brickbottom,
The shame of the staffing issue is that the Mayor and his cohorts would have you believe that Somerville has too many police officers and compares our city with other cities in the region with less officers. Another thing to keep in mind is you quote the population at 80,000. I think that't the correct official number, but Somerville has a high illegal immigrant population (thanks Clean Gene/Connolly) and a large transient population made up mainly of students.

Where are we going to the money? Well we have to start somewhere, so let's take a crack at the do-nothing jobs awarded to the Koty family and the family of the BOA members. Add those up and you'll get a few extra cops. Dump the "forestry truck" and we can add an extra body.

Anybody else have any idea?

Dominic Santos

The question posed is how to fund an increase in police officers in light of already high property taxes and municipal fees.

As is usually the case, the analysis begins with a look at the municipal budget. I will be referencing the FY06 budget for those following along at home.

Municipal government (at least in Massachusetts, where municipal government is stronger than county government) should focus on providing residents with safety (through police and fire departments), sanitary conditions (through the Board of Health, DPW, and a building department), and a quality education (through the school department). These elements are a municipal government's first priority.

Below is a list of items in the FY06 budget that should not have been funded because the core priorities of the City (noted above) remain unmet.

BOA Clerk of Committees
Amount: $ 35,000.04

This line items seems to be a waste. A full time secretary for the BOA would fulfill this duty and provide residents a contact at City Hall that is not under the direction of the Mayor. I would propose eliminating this line item and creating a full-time secretary for the BOA.

Capital Projects Management
Amount: $ 103,877.22

This department is not required. If the City is going to engage in a capital project that requires oversight, it can, and in some cases is required to, hire a construction project manager who will perform the same function.

Council on Aging
Amount: $ 330,178

This is a great program with a great goal: helping seniors. With that said, however, this service can be provided by the private sector through a not-for-profit receiving grant funding. Keeping it in government is inefficient.

Arts Council
Amount: $ 82,649

Again, great program, but not a governmental function. Let the private sector handle this one. I would recommend keeping a cultural council, however, as it receives free money from the State.

Communications Department
Amount: $ 168,009

When we need the services that this department provides, we can procure them from a consultant or contractor. There is too much employee spending in this department. I would eliminate it.

Personnel Department

With all these cuts, the City could reduce the number of employees in the Personnel Department.

IT Department

Same as Personnel.

Just a couple pages through the budget shows how much fat need to be trimmed, or in most cases cut.

These are difficult political choices (e.g., Council on Aging); however, we can not expect to provide extraordinary services (e.g., Aging & Arts) when the people those services reach are afraid to leave their homes.

It is an election year, so I do not expect bold moves. After the election, however, the new administration and the BOA should make bold moves and take on crime in our City by funding our officers. Our officers have a responsibility as well. Unions are the rope that chokes a free-market society. And police unions in Somerville could surely choke out even the most bold package of increasing police forces by making unreasonable compensation and benefits demands. If both sides care about the real issue: protecting the people of Somerville, then I think an agreement could be reached where more cops are put on the street and unions relax their demands with respect to pay and benefits.

Dominic

Dominic Santos

The question posed is how to fund an increase in police officers in light of already high property taxes and municipal fees.

As is usually the case, the analysis begins with a look at the municipal budget. I will be referencing the FY06 budget for those following along at home.

Municipal government (at least in Massachusetts, where municipal government is stronger than county government) should focus on providing residents with safety (through police and fire departments), sanitary conditions (through the Board of Health, DPW, and a building department), and a quality education (through the school department). These elements are a municipal government's first priority.

Below is a list of items in the FY06 budget that should not have been funded because the core priorities of the City (noted above) remain unmet.

BOA Clerk of Committees
Amount: $ 35,000.04

This line items seems to be a waste. A full time secretary for the BOA would fulfill this duty and provide residents a contact at City Hall that is not under the direction of the Mayor. I would propose eliminating this line item and creating a full-time secretary for the BOA.

Capital Projects Management
Amount: $ 103,877.22

This department is not required. If the City is going to engage in a capital project that requires oversight, it can, and in some cases is required to, hire a construction project manager who will perform the same function.

Council on Aging
Amount: $ 330,178

This is a great program with a great goal: helping seniors. With that said, however, this service can be provided by the private sector through a not-for-profit receiving grant funding. Keeping it in government is inefficient.

Arts Council
Amount: $ 82,649

Again, great program, but not a governmental function. Let the private sector handle this one. I would recommend keeping a cultural council, however, as it receives free money from the State.

Communications Department
Amount: $ 168,009

When we need the services that this department provides, we can procure them from a consultant or contractor. There is too much employee spending in this department. I would eliminate it.

Personnel Department

With all these cuts, the City could reduce the number of employees in the Personnel Department.

IT Department

Same as Personnel.

Just a couple pages through the budget shows how much fat need to be trimmed, or in most cases cut.

These are difficult political choices (e.g., Council on Aging); however, we can not expect to provide extraordinary services (e.g., Aging & Arts) when the people those services reach are afraid to leave their homes.

It is an election year, so I do not expect bold moves. After the election, however, the new administration and the BOA should make bold moves and take on crime in our City by funding our officers. Our officers have a responsibility as well. Unions are the rope that chokes a free-market society. And police unions in Somerville could surely choke out even the most bold package of increasing police forces by making unreasonable compensation and benefits demands. If both sides care about the real issue: protecting the people of Somerville, then I think an agreement could be reached where more cops are put on the street and unions relax their demands with respect to pay and benefits.

Dominic

Ron Newman

An "Arts Council" and "Cultural Council" are the same thing, so you appear to advocate both abolishing and keeping the same department.

Dominic Santos

Ron:

A traditional cultural council merely acts as a pass through for funds provided to the municipality by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The Somerville Arts Council, in addition to administering Massachusetts Cultural Council funding, administers its own programs: e.g., ArtBeat, Window Art Project, etc. The only part of the Arts Council that I would keep is the grant administration arm.

Dominic

Ron Newman

I'll disagree with you on that, as these programs are an important part of the city's identity. People attending them spend money in local businesses. (I would not cut the Council on Aging, either.)

Dominic Santos

The Arts Council and the Council on Aging are important. But why keep them as govt. functions. A lean government is the way to go.

Yorktown Street

Somerville Cambridge Elder Services could probably take over the Council on Aging, but there is no replacing what the Art Council does.

At

Get along home Cindy get along home your time has come.

Cindy Hickey stole my wallet

Cindy Hickey is an embarassment to this city. She has a bad attitude but fortunately for her and unfortunately for this city, she is the leader of the hack pack and privy to any do-nothing high paying city job she wants. I encouraged my mother to stay away from the council on aging after seeing how Cindy talks to people. She is the latest in a long line of no good white trash Somerville stock. You're a bum Cindy.

Ron Newman

Could you be more specific? I don't really understand your complaint as stated.

Kate

Yes, 'stole my wallet', do tell.

For the kids

Can someone tell me if the arts council sponsors programs for the children of the city? Do they work in the school system, or provide programs for at risk children; do they work with other non profits in the city using their network of artist to provide services for after school programs or school vacation programs? It all well and good to offer programs that appeal to adults or promote the arts at city events, but since they are funded by the tax payers I would like to see them provide services to our children.

Kate

Excellent question!

Ron Newman

some Arts Council programs that work with children:

Art Without Walls
Art in the Garden
Books of Hope
Mystic Mural Project

(I'm not a member of the Arts Council, so I can't tell you the current status of each of these programs. But I think they're all still active this year.)

Somerspeak

Domenic, more excellent suggestions. Please send these along to your friend Joe Curtatone and see how far you get. Not far I think.

As for the Clerk positions, I wholeheartedly agree. Those two hacks in there now also hold positions with the state. Talk about the hacks of all hacks. One damn good administrative person who has abosolutely no ties to any elected official in the city, reporting only to the City Clerk(a hellava good city employee by the way)could do three times as much for the BOA as Twiddlededee and Twiddledeedum to for them now.

rzabala001

Personally I think it'll be a long wait if we're waiting for the city to take action on more cops, which I agree we definitely need. We need quick action NOW. The best thing we can do as Somerville residents is start taking measures ourselves. I think the Neighborhood Watch idea is a damn good one. It won't cost the city anything as it would be staffed by citizen volunteers with Somerville businesses covering the cost of gear. I for one would step up. We have to start being responsible for our own safety. Hey, it might even bring back some of that "Somerville Pride" we used to be able to have!

brickbottom

Arts, Arts, Arts...that is all I have been hearing for years now from Davis Sq. to the new Union Sq. Which by the way is supposed to have an Arts area and at least 25% of the affordable housing built there for the Art Community.

How much tax relief will the Art community really bring into this city?

Screw the Arts and help the people who really need help to actually survive from paycheck to paycheck. Take any money earmarked for the Art community and use it to hire more police and open up Firehouses that have been closed.

What's really importan here?

Hiltzy

brickbottom,
You're sounding downright Republican the morning. This is what your buddy Jehlen has wrought for the city.

Remember, you get what you vote for!

Bob Trane

Within the last 10 days, 3 sexual assaults were reported in the neighborhoods surrounding campus. Two were similar in nature. On April 10th at 9:45 pm on Winthrop St. near Capen St. in Medford, an unidentified male, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, grabbed a female and fled the area. The second incident, reported to Somerville PD on Saturday night, April 21st occurred on North St, Somerville. A female victim was approached from behind and grabbed by the suspect, who then fled. The suspect was described as a heavy set, light skinned Hispanic male with a dark beard. He was wearing a white baseball cap (backwards), white t-shirt, blue shorts and white sneakers.

The third incident occurred on Friday night, April 20th around 11:00 pm and was reported to Medford PD that a female walking from the bus stop at Boston Ave. and Winthrop St. was approached by a male in the area of Winthrop St. and George St., Medford. The suspect forced the female into a driveway at knifepoint and sexually assaulted her. The suspect then forced her into a small red SUV with a black top and black interior. The suspect drove up and down side streets for an unknown amount of time and then released the female. The suspect was described as a Hispanic male, heavy set, approx. 5'5" tall, 20-25 years old, no facial hair and was wearing jeans, a black hooded sweatshirt with a small logo on the left chest.

The above cases are being investigated by Medford & Somerville Police Departments.

Fund the real stuff

Just because a program is good doesn't mean it should be funded by the taxpayers. If the programs run by the Arts Council are so good, then they should become self-sufficient, and fundraise or charge fees just like every other organization. Why aren't youth sports funded by the city? There's more need in this city now for drug prevention and rehab programs than for arts events, but these programs are not being provided by the taxpayers. And of course the real reason that government can never be 'lean' as was suggested above...follow the bouncing ball....the more programs there are, the more jobs there are, the more jobs to give out there are.

Yes

Well now Cindy maybe you can be Mrs. Santa and take that boat out with global warming and find some more toys? I am sure you will soon have time on your hands, some of us will never forget or forgive. Remember Joey Cakes you are as only as strong as the people you gather around you, they seem to be getting out before it good ship lollipop sinks,more to follow.

brickbottom

Hiltzy,

Yes I am a Jehlen suporter, but that doesn't mean I support every decision she makes. I am not a republican who would toe the line on any issue (whether I agreed with it or not) because that is what the party wants. I have my own mind and am not a robot for any candidate or party.

I agree with a lot of Sen. Jehlens' issues and find her to be a politician who is honest and doesn't talk out of both sides of her mouth like most politicians that we are represented by.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Most Recent Photos

  • Danehy_Park_Family_Day
  • Bloco
  • 3517a
  • Web_toon_7_21_10
  • Prospect hill
  • Web_toon_7_14_10
  • 3224a
  • Art1(2)
  • Art5
  • Art10(2)
  • Union_square_flood
  • Flood_pic_(bridge_1)