Monday, 17 June 2024

Murphy: Measure G – the other side of the coin

While I appreciate the staff of Lake County News putting their cards on the table in their recent editorial regarding the coming election, I do take issue with one aspect of it in particular because it relates directly to me, and feel the need to set the record straight.

I do acknowledge the fact that the county is facing some very real financial challenges and that it is likely some tough decisions will have to be made – this much we can all agree on.

When the Board of Supervisors decided to put measure G on the ballot back in February, I told them I might be in favor of raising the sales tax IF they first conducted a serious review of the budget to see if they could keep any future tax increase to a minimum.

This never happened, and after having hundreds of citizens attend their “visioning” meetings that were supposedly held to get new ideas, none of the cost-cutting measures suggested were even considered by the BOS.

The many examples of waste in the current budget remain, and if the new tax is passed they are even less likely to be ended.

This isn’t my view alone, as both supervisors Scott and Steele have said inefficiencies exist but have never identified them or brought them to the board’s attention, and instead decided a new tax was a safer path for them.

What really bothers me about this is that the claim has been made that I have never offered any alternatives to the funding gap, when I have steadily been doing that for nearly twenty years now.

The list of county-funded boondoggles I have tried to shine a light on is long and varied, everything from $42,300 worth of satellite photos to study the lake that proved to be worthless, to the pay raises the supervisors gave themselves that they sneaked passed the public days after the Valley fire.

Right now I have a list of items I would eliminate from the budget that totals roughly $2 million in annual savings, but if Measure G passes they will never be even considered let alone be enacted. With well over 100 county employees making over $100,000 annually in pay and benefits, we need to address the fact that if you want Bay Area wages you need to find a job there, and not depend on this poverty-stricken community to support your lavish lifestyle.

We all make a choice in life as to where the balance point is between the need for money and the need for sanity and happiness, the fact is that most people accept that they won’t get rich living here but avoiding the rat-race makes it worth it.

But some in county government (starting with the supervisors), still whine that people doing the same jobs in Napa or Sonoma county get paid more, and never mind the fact that the average family here makes around $36,000 annually and many live in abject poverty.

This election isn’t just a referendum on taxation, it’s a chance to finally take a hard look at the county finances and fix the inequities and waste. We have the choice to try to make the system work as it should or to just throw more of our money at it and hope things work out.

In my view the latter has been tried, and we need a more efficient and professional county government if we want to avoid facing the same problem again in a few years.

Phil Murphy lives in Lakeport, Calif.

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06.18.2024 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
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06.19.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
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