Steven H. Baron | City Should Rescind HMNH Pledge

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

According to the May 4 Signal article under the headline, “City budget projections tighten with May revision,” city revenue projections from February to May increased by $3 million from $139 million to $142 million and expenditures increased by $6.2 million from $135 million to $141.2 million. 

According to City Manager Ken Striplin, the city is “requesting a variety of one-time adjustments to operational budgets.” That’s political jargon for cuts in the budget, and according to Striplin, this includes $200,000 for parks maintenance, just under the same for general services, and $20,000 for library services, among other areas. 

Recall in February that the City Council voted unanimously to donate $2 million of taxpayer funds to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital to construct new surgical suites. In return, what will the city receive? A plaque acknowledging the city’s largesse in the surgery waiting room. 

All it took for our gullible City Council members to approve this boondoggle was a letter from the HMNH Foundation, an impassioned plea of poverty from an HMNH board member, and nostalgic recollections of HMNH from our five council members, and voila! Two million dollars of taxpayer money given away. 

Was it too much to ask the council to exercise foresight and good judgment and politely say, “No,” to any giveaways? Instead, the city faces a financial shortfall in part due to the council exercising poor judgment. The council can right this error in judgment by reneging on any money pledged to HMNH. 

This should be a lesson to members of the City Council. Taxpayer funds are to be earmarked for city properties and obligations, and nothing else. No giveaways of taxpayer dollars! 

Steven H. Baron 


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