The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

October 6, 2008
City's top priority? Public safety? Really?

Both incumbent Heather Fargo and challenger Kevin Johnson say public safety is the No. 1 issue for the city.  And both agree that the city needs to devote more resources to public safety.

That's where the agreement ends. 

Fargo supports getting more resources by putting a quarter-cent sales tax increase on the ballot.  That originally was a county proposal, but was rejected by the county board of supervisors. So Fargo supported a city go-it-alone tax.

Johnson notes that the city currently spends 53 percent of its General Fund on public safety where comparable cities spend 60 percent.  He rejects the quarter-cent tax idea and would get the resources, he says, by auditing every department and "reprioritizing."  He expects to get $21 million from that for public safety.  Believable?

So voters face a tax-only or cuts-only approach to getting more resources for public safety. Voters need better answers from the candidates on what cuts they'd make to get more resources.  They need better answers from the candidates on how the city can increase revenues by improving the economy, not just increasing tax rates.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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