Torrance’s Excessive Spending: Guest Commentary by Elaine Wilson

IN RESPONSE TO THE DAILY BREEZE ARTICLE: http://www.dailybreeze.com/…/rising-pension-costs-crimp-tor…

“Gadfly”!!!! –  A pejorative, demeaning and a typical response voiced by Torrance City Government when a community member forces them to face their excessive spending. NEVER would they have begun to address budgetary problems facing the City, if Mark Stephenson had not continued to bring up the fact that current ‘accounting proof” shows that Torrance cannot continue to spend the amount of money on pension benefits that are NOT SUSTAINABLE and have been ignored for too long. AA rating??? Has anyone heard of Enron, Bernie Madoff, Countrywide or the Collapse of OUR economy 10 years ago???? Those were “excellent risk investments” with high credit ratings – UNTIL THEY WEREN’T .

Mark Stephenson made Torrance City Government face a very real problem. The City may not like the TITLE of Mr. Stephenson’s article:
“ACCOUNTING-WISE – TORRANCE IS BANKRUPT” but it was the ONLY response the I have seen to this problem OR TO Mr. Stephenson in the 2 years that I have been attending City Council Meetings.

In talking with long-time residents, the consensus is that Torrance is ‘stuck’ in the glory days of the 1970’s when money was coming in to City Coffers as if there was not going to be a 21st Century.

As a Torrance homeowner, I am acutely aware and concerned with increasing tax levies. These increases seem to be used to “Balance The Budget”. Curiously, a Budget, when presented, weeks ago, had an admitted ‘shortfall’ of at least $4 million dollars and then was inexplicably announced one week later as suddenly ‘balanced’!!! Councilman, Tim Goodrich was correct in asking for an AUDIT of Torrance City Budget. Thanks also go to Councilman Mike Griffiths who has expressed dissatisfaction with the disturbing process in which City Staff presents budget items and project costs to City Council and taxpayers. Projects never describe continuing costs for maintenance, landscaping, or replacement. Examples are: Proposed Gazebo for Wilson Park (over $800,00) – Proposed Splash Pad for Wilson Park ($1 Million which does not cover water costs, insurance, Two times a day–Chlorine application by worker in hazmat gear) – City Hall “Renovation” (Begins at $1 Million and includes New Fountain and ‘Great Seal’ of Torrance embedded in concrete at the entrance as well as Annex buildings ‘landscaping’) – Proposed Columbia Park ($1 Million Pathway Improvement) – Current and Proposed Electric Signage (Costs Unknowable –Continuing escalating costs for removal and relocation of ‘inadequate’ sign, new signs, upgrade of electrical connections, landscaping and sign ‘protection’ bollards)….the list goes on and on. Project ‘costs’ of $1 million dollars are recurring and misleading for both Council Members and Tax Payers.

Torrance Homeowner and Concerned Citizen,
Elaine Wilson

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