Mission Viejo

                             Pork

                                      By Larry Gilbert

In our lifetime we learn that there are two types of pork; one found in supermarkets and restaurants and the other where our elected officials put their hands out grabbing government funds. In this example they often make the argument of our being "donor" cities, counties or states as we provide more in taxes than we receive back from other agencies. To justify their actions we often hear elected officials say "if we don't grab it someone else will" and, “it's our money.” If every elected official focused on our "needs" rather than their "wants" we would all be better off and our national debt would not continue to break records by the minute.

We even have pork in Mission Viejo and I'm not referring to the Mission Viejo HS farm. Council member Reardon's $450,000 "earmark" to add street lighting along Muirlands Blvd was approved by a 4-1 vote at the June 16th Mission Viejo City Council meeting. We have not added any housing along this street since long before we became a city and annexed Aegean Hills (in 1992). So this project is not required infrastructure for new development. As to public safety. from what I have read there are no reported complaints of people being mugged walking down Muirlands or an increase in car accidents due to a lack of street lighting. All of the intersections along Muirlands are well illuminated. From what I can determine this project was not on the Agenda for consideration by our City Planning and Transportation Committee whose members surely should have been given time for their input.
When discussing the funding source to cover this non-budgeted $450,000 special interest project, we were told by staff that the required funds are residual from prior CDBG Grants. But why not set it aside for a valid use such as moving up the schedule to repair some of our deteriorating streets?

The Oxford English Dictionary distinguishes pork barrel spending from normal appropriation spending as "projects designed to please... and win votes." Let's face it; when serving as mayor, Council member Reardon wanted something for her area of the city. So once again we have someone who will campaign as a fiscal conservative yet it was her personal earmark that was added to an Agenda in the year she is up for re-election. It appears staff is diverting SDBG funds that could be used to fix our city streets as a gift for her special interest.

Larry Gilbert, a retired electronics industry executive, has lived in Mission Viejo since 1977. He is an elected board member of the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights. Larry is also a former Board Member of South Coast Christian Assembly church and leader of their Senior Ministry.

Questions? Comments? The CCS wants to hear from you! Contact Mission Viejo Contributing Editor Steve Magdziak at: (949) 441-0499.



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