The Jeffersonian: Politicks, Sports, and Culture

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Vote Yes On Crime Control District

From the Express-News editorials:

Before citizens create a new taxing district, they should be certain that such an entity is necessary and that its mission is unique.

They also will want to know how the district will be governed and by whom.

Unfortunately, the proposed Crime Control and Prevention District, which would operate for five years and be funded by an eighth-cent increase in the sales tax, does not meet those criteria. As a result, this newspaper cannot endorse the proposal and recommends a no vote for the district on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The crime district would raise $18.8 million the first year and up to $21 million in subsequent years. It would establish an amalgam of new programs, many of them worthy.

I can see where they're coming from. There is a problem here with paying for new classes at the police academy through this district. It seems as if council wanted to have their cake and eat it too on this issue. That money needs to come from the general fund. But the good in what this district will fund- community policing, reducing family violence, and senior safety to name a few- more than outweighs the bad.

The rest of the editorial talks almost exclusively about the number of members and the make-up of the district. So my assumption is that this is their biggest problem. The only problem with their assertion that this could become an extension of the general fund should either the city council run it by themselves or through an eleven member board is that this would take a massive change in position by several members of city council.

About a month ago, councilwoman Elena Guajardo had a six-signature memo asking for a resolution to create a seven member board for the crime control district. Six members. That's a working majority. A seventh, Kevin Wolff, also supported a seven member district, but wanted the voters to approve it first. Only three members of council- Sheila McNeal, Richard Perez, and Patti Radle- wanted an eleven member board.

I'm comfortable enough with this city council to think that three or four members of that working majority wouldn't pull their support for the seven member board once this district is approved by the voters.

Count this as my first endorsement of the upcoming election.