Letter to the Editor: Vote YES on LFP Prop 1!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


To the Editor:

I am voting YES on LFP Proposition 1. Why? Because I live in LFP for the quality of life it provides. I appreciate City services when the sewer backs up and knowledgeable staff help me through the clean-up process, when my house is burgled and a competent policeman arrives, and when pot holes are patched. I appreciate City support for the Friends of the Commons facilitating our vibrant, inclusive community center and Farmers Market, including programs that help low income families enjoy a healthy diet. I appreciate City support for the Arts Council, teen programs and Senior Center providing needed programs for residents.

The NoLFP committee continues to perpetuate the myth that a YES vote will raise your property taxes by 38% in the first year. Wrong! That is the increase in the RATE on only the 10% of your tax bill that goes to LFP. Your total property tax thus goes up only 3.8%, about $11 per month - a latte a week.

It is outrageous that former City Council members, who were entrusted at one time to oversee and guide the City’s policies and finances, are purposefully touting misinformation and innuendo to frighten their fellow residents into voting no.

This requested increase is not the result of out of control spending, but largely from Eyman’s Initiatives (not passed here) that kept increases at 1% - lower than inflation. LFP salaries are not excessive, but in the middle of the pack with some below (per recent wage and benefit survey) and reflect costs of doing city business in the 21st century. Our current City Council is thoughtful, smart and civil. I am glad that they support the hiring of competent staff to sort out day-to-day business and help us envision a good future.

A no vote leads to downward spirals of services and morale. Like communities that fail school levies, a city cutting $700,000 in just the first year would be hard pressed to recover any time soon. A YES vote is not for frills. A YES vote is to maintain the current services and quality of life - the reasons we live here. Please vote YES!

Ros Bird
Lake Forest Park 

9 comments:

Anonymous,  July 30, 2010 at 9:38 AM  

Hi Ros, what is REALLY outrageous is that current City Council members (and the Mayor, City Administrator, Community and Gov't Affairs Mgr and others), who are entrusted to oversee and guide the City’s policies and finances, are purposefully touting misinformation and innuendo to frighten their fellow residents into voting YES...

Anonymous,  July 30, 2010 at 1:17 PM  

Ros has spent a lifetime supporting the Arts for this community, and we should be thankful for all she has done in this regard. However, Ros,
is completely off base, and wearing rose colored glasses when it comes to Prop 1. The City government does not make our quality of life. It might contribute towards it, but, the community itself creates the high quality of life we enjoy, which for the most part, is fueled by intangibles - and not as much by the dollar subsidies which some community groups now feel are undebatable permanent entitlements.
Folks like Ros, might need to dig deeper into their own pockets and cough up more of what they they have, and carry the load for a while until the economy recovers. Other groups in this City have run completely in the black without any government handouts, and it is time, some of the others do the same.

Anonymous,  July 30, 2010 at 1:28 PM  

Ros,
I started out where you are with trusting the current group you refer to as City Council members. I usually vote in support of city initiatives but this time as I learned more I changed my mind. I could not figure out why so many former city council members, and one current one, would be so against such an initiative. They have nothing to gain - that I know of none of them are running for office again, and they've put in years and years of mostly thankless service to build the city we have today. Clearly they are more in the know about City finances than most of the rest of us, what's reasonable to cut, and what can be done.
Then came bi-partisan support from both parties.
Then I learned that the "projected deficit" is based upon a 10% decrease in our property assessed values, but King County is now saying they think assessed property values will be flat and not decline - poof - there might go the entire 'shortfall'.
Then I learned of the high salaries and benefits. I know they have made some cuts, but the very fact that even with the proposed tax increase we still have a shortfall in a couple years (by the city's own graphs) tells me we have to dig deeper if we want to remain independent and not end up the way of Juanita, who has a much higher business base than we do and still was absorbed into Kirkland.
I'm voting no not because I don't want higher taxes, but because they haven't proven to me this is really anything more than a band-aid solution. The fact that they are trying to get something this important done during a summer mail-in election just confirms to me the city doesn't want too much scrutiny on the whole issue. I think people are waking up.

Anonymous,  July 30, 2010 at 3:09 PM  

Ros - how much of your budget comes from the Cities of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park, both of which are asking for levy lift lids?

In the interest of full disclosure, I believe you tell the voting public how much your organization receives in grants from these municipalities annually, your involvement in the public art programs, and thereby your interest in the levy lid lift each has before the voters in their respective jurisdictions.

DKH July 30, 2010 at 5:40 PM  

Ros Bird retired from the Arts Council several years ago and now works part-time for the City of Shoreline, Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Services.

Anonymous,  July 30, 2010 at 9:16 PM  

So Ros will be advocating for the Shoreline levy lid as well since she is employed by the City of Shoreline.

Aaron Hoard,  August 1, 2010 at 8:54 PM  

“The City government does not make our quality of life…”

No – but it plays a pretty big role. “Intangibles” won't fix the streets or make sure a cop is around to help. We moved to LFP in part because of the good services – I’d hate to see that eroded. Once you let something slide, it’s difficult and expensive to bring it back again.

“Then I learned that the "projected deficit" is based upon a 10% decrease in our property assessed values…”

I don’t think this statement is correct. We have a levy-based system for property taxation. Assessed values determine what proportion you will pay of the total amount the City collects, not how much the City will collect. Learn more here:

http://www.cityoflfp.com/news/2009pr/pr20090721.html

“Then I learned of the high salaries…”

What are the average salary/benefits for similar positions at similar municipalities? Are we higher or lower than market for these positions? That seems more relevant to me.

Anonymous,  August 3, 2010 at 10:58 PM  

Mr. Hoard, fixing potholes, and maintaining basic services, is what cities are supposed to do - and this is simply not due any gold stars for such. How many folks didn't have their streets plowed, when the snow arrived a few years ago? Trying to qualify having street potholes filled and regular street maintenance, as quality of life issues is laughable. In addition, trying to make the public believe, government workers deserve better pay than the private sector, because, of comparable salaries at other cities, versus, comparable salaries for the same type of work in the public sector is something the public needs to make government understand they won't tolerate any longer. More competition should be introduced into the government marketplace, and kick the union in their pants.
Intangibles such as safe neighborhoods, friendly citizens, spirit of volunteering, is the quality of life, we enjoy, along with, a shared appreciation for the environment. Our quality of life is more subdued than many other city or urban environments, especially for a city referred to as similar to Mayberry RFD. If the City spent as much effort, informing citizens their trash days had been switched and rearranged, as it has, for this Proposition 1, perhaps, folks might believe, Proposition is worth paying extra money for.

Aaron Hoard,  August 4, 2010 at 9:41 PM  

"Trying to qualify having street potholes filled and regular street maintenance, as quality of life issues is laughable."

Have you ever lived in a city where infrastructure wasn't taken care of and basic services weren't a given? I have - it definitely was a quality of life issue.

"How many folks didn't have their streets plowed, when the snow arrived a few years ago?"

I'm sorry some people didn't have their streets plowed - we did. It sounds like the people who didn't get their streets plowed had their quality of life affected. If Prop 1 is defeated, how much plowing will LFP do? More or less?

"In addition, trying to make the public believe, government workers deserve better pay than the private sector, because, of comparable salaries at other cities, versus, comparable salaries for the same type of work in the public sector..."

So, where is your list of comps? I see lots of complaining about this issue, but little evidence to support these complaints. The "No" group could easily post comps on their website.

"If the City spent as much effort, informing citizens their trash days had been switched and rearranged..."

I received a letter in the mail & figured it out. Do you need more than that from the City? I don't.

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