Another Perspective on Save Mart’s Save the Pools Campaign

This essay is the first in a series of postings about the city budget and spending. If you’d like to publish an essay, please contact us.

Another Perspective on Save Mart’s Save the Pools Campaign

By Nancy Cornelius, an East Sacramento resident

If the City of Sacramento had been conservative and thoughtful about spending the money they had in the last few decades, I would feel more optimistic about Save the Pools.  But, in reality, I have attended meetings with the city administrators and it became very clear rather quickly that the city administrators have no idea what it costs to manage something like the Clunie Building. At one meeting I attended there was no budget for the building, they had no idea what it cost for SMUD or PG&E, they had no idea how to better market the building for wedding use or community gatherings, etc. They could not answer basic questions that were asked of them. 

In this day and age, I feel it is pure luxury for the city to be in the dark and oblivious about basic costs.  In this economy, while these administrators are earning high salaries and not even being asked to pay into their own retirements, it is foolish for taxpayers to be asked, once again, to step up and donate to Save the Pools. I have lived in East Sacramento since 1975 and I have witnessed many city councils. I think this city council needs to learn new and innovative ways to run government in a more realistic and conservative fashion. Vallejo is in trouble.  Stockton is in trouble.  We could be next.

If we ran our homes and businesses like the city (throwing money away and never looking at how to improve our budgets and our spending) then we would not be able to pay the taxes to the city nor would we be responsible citizens. It seems as if the city has a “disconnect” to budget reality.

I would like to see the pools kept open just like everyone else. I also think it is the city’s responsibility to look at the aging sewer system (that they have delayed replacing) and they need to look at their budget and they need to make the hard decisions just like I do in my family. If we don’t have money, we give up something! If they saw it coming about the expense of the pools, they plan ahead and come up with a solution NOT SPEND MONEY they do not have. If they see the aging sewer system, they develop a logical plan to remedy the sewer system. Instead they have ignored the aging sewer system. It does not make sense for city council to think of ways to spend money they don’t have.  I am speaking of the parking money and their plan to build an arena we cannot afford.

The Clunie building could have been insulated and it could have energy efficient light bulbs.  It could have a city manager who knows how much it costs to run it. Instead of the building being cared for (compare it to the new city hall!) it has been ignored. It seems obvious to me that the city has not learned to pull their belt in and they are not creative about ways to improve their budget situation and their spending. In our household, we have learned to change our ways if it includes eating beans and rice or shopping at thrift stores, we have learned to conserve. This is part of being a citizen and being a responsible budget manager.

It is not up to a grocery store and the citizens to match dollars to rescue the city council.

The city council has a job and they are being paid to do their job! It is supposed to run the city efficiently and should not expect a private business to bail out city administrators so they never have to practice restraint or hold themselves accountable.  


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One Response to Another Perspective on Save Mart’s Save the Pools Campaign

  1. Mic Nugget says:

    You haven’t proposed a valuable solution.

    It’s unrealistic to believe that after years and years of government mismanagement that this will go away any time soon. I support SaveMart’s efforts to help keep the pools open. We should consider turning to private industry to manage our parks in general. Having a company that can be held accountable for their budget and spending is an intelligent plan. Pushing for the government to get organized is a useless effort that will never produce a positive result.

    Put the park management out to competitive bid. There are efforts elsewhere in the country that we can leverage to determine what it does cost to manage a park and how to come up with guidelines on how to preserve the park’s purpose, integrity, and fair use. I’m not saying that there won’t without problems, but establishing accountability is the best first step, not building on an infrastructure that can’t be fixed.