Sunday, November 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

California cities pay price for overspending

By
June 1, 2011 |

The B-word — bankruptcy — is being bandied about in Stockton these days as the California city faces a $37 million budget deficit with no light at the end of the fiscal tunnel.

Mayor Ann Johnston uttered it this month, telling local civic leaders, “We will do everything, absolutely everything, in our power to avoid bankruptcy.”

Vallejo filed for bankruptcy a few years ago under circumstances that are remarkably similar to those now facing Stockton. Both cities experienced rapid population growth as developers threw up subdivisions during the late and unlamented easy mortgage money bubble and house-hungry Bay Area commuters staged a feeding frenzy.

Both cities had seen their industrial employment bases erode and seized on the housing boom as an economic renaissance. Development fees, property taxes and sales taxes from new shopping centers poured into city treasuries. Officials responded with lavish contracts for city employees, especially police and firefighters, when unions applied pressure.

Stockton also sensed an opportunity to resuscitate its somewhat dilapidated downtown and borrowed to build a new baseball park, a new sports arena and a new marina, none of which came close to breaking even.

The marina cost $22.4 million to build, or more than $300,000 per berth, which is far, far more than any reasonable cost-benefit analysis would have supported. After it’s opening, the city revealed the marina would cost the city treasury about $700,000 a year in operating subsidies.

The marina, the ballpark and the arena drain some $3 million a year from city taxpayers — money that’s not available for legitimate civic purposes.

Stockton has laid off police officers and made other cuts to close its looming budget gap, and the city’s relationship with its police union is so contentious union leaders bought a home next to the one occupied by the city manager in an ill-disguised effort at intimidation.

Vallejo and Stockton are not alone in feeling fiscal distress. Throughout the state, local governments — especially those that bought into the housing bubble — are struggling with their budgets.

They are, ironically enough, following a pattern set in Sacramento, where governors and legislators also overspent windfall revenues and then dealt with the resulting deficits with gimmicks and borrowing, rather than face the music.

When former Gov. Gray Davis and legislators approved a massive expansion of state employee pensions, for instance, most local governments quickly followed suit. They now face stiff increases in their bills from the California Public Employees’ Retirement System that contribute to their budget shortfalls.

There’s a lesson in the past decade of profligacy. One only hopes that those we elect to office learn it well.

Email Dan Walters at dwalters@sacbee.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Fairfield-Suisun sits between bay, valley

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Teens at Boys & Girls Clubs get their own place

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

Salvation Army gets ready for Thanksgiving

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
New mobile office adds reach to The Salvation Army

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1

Time to start a local hall of fame

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
Conservancy plans Quail Ridge Walk in December

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Film festival brings people together for good causes

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Advance preparation mitigates frost damage

By Kathy Low | From Page: C4

 
Sudden Infant Death awareness and prevention

By Susan Whalen | From Page: C4

Weather for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
 
Two injured in Fairfield shooting

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A12, 4 Comments

.

US / World

Storms raise hope in California drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Gambling nuke commander linked to fake poker chips

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Winners and losers under Obama’s immigration plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Kohler introduces odor-eating toilet seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Civic group: No Ferguson grand jury decision yet

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
WWII mementos found in suitcase at thrift store

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Hawaii airline tells pilots to return $4,000 bonus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Dogfighting thrives in years since Vick case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Man sets house on fire, kills responding deputy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Report: Washington toddler shot playing with gun

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Police: Pregnant woman, 3 others fatally shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Official: SD man kills 4, including self, wounds 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Pope meets with autistic children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Biden announces new aid for Syrian refugees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
AP sources: Obama broadens mission in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Somalia’s al-Shabab kills 28 non-Muslims in Kenya

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

 
Kerry says gaps remain in talks about Iran’s nukes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Iraqi forces, Islamic State group battle in Ramadi

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Japan earthquake collapses homes, causes injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

 
State Capitol braces for budget battle

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Editorial Cartoon: Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Act of kindness at Raiders game

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Nov. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Give the gift of gratitude this holiday season

By Dalia Adams | From Page: C3

 
Buddhist community builds shrine in Pineville yard

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Caught up in the spirt of the music

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Hackers can get into everything, including your camera lens

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

Horoscopes for Nov. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Library project puts 50 years of yearbooks online

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

Metrosexuals be gone: Europe is agog for beards

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

 
Graphic novel teaching history at Mississippi schools

By The Associated Press | From Page: C6

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Lamott offers healing words in ‘Small Victories’

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Eddie Izzard has book deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Whoopi Goldberg writing book about marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Bryan Cranston reads profane hit nursery rhyme

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

49ers host Redskins looking for third straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cousins lifts sluggish Kings over Wolves, 113-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Stanford routs rival Cal 38-17 in 117th Big Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Sacramento State downs UC Davis 41-30

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Vermette nets winner for Coyotes vs. Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Green says he’s ready to return to lineup for Broncos

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bills practice in Detroit prepping for Jets game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

No. 4 Duke tops Stanford to win Coaches vs Cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vacaville Christian’s Kenyon voted Sierra Delta League MVP

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Suzy Whaley becomes 1st female officer at PGA

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Giants World Series exhibit goes on display Monday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Oklahoma’s Perine runs for record 427 yards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Rivalry 150 goes to Lafayette, 27-7 over Lehigh

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Harvard beats Yale 31-24 in The Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Bowling results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Bocce results for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Bicycle racing for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

Granada clings to 1-shot lead at LPGA finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Swiss lead France 2-1 in Davis Cup final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

 
Tips on getting deals during Black Friday blitz

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Most US unemployed don’t get benefits: Here’s why

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Businesses cash in as women chase bigger butts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

At a Glance: Pros, cons of mobile-payment systems

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
Review: No cash, cards, just mobile pay for a week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

Recalls this week: strollers, candles, chargers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Leslie “Esi” Gros

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Norah Dean

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Florentina R. Dulay Florendo

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Albert M. Ranzani

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Arthur Irving Weiner

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Comics