Op-Ed: City Council Should Not Get Raises During Pandemic
By Joe J. Petersen
This week the Santa Barbara City Council voted to approve a 2.6% raise for themselves and the community should be outraged.
We are still in a pandemic and the businesses that have survived are slowly starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Many people lost their jobs, businesses, necessary income, and even family members in the past year.
We are all struggling and the city has bemoaned how much of a deficit we're in and how much tax revenue we've lost due to tourism. So they approve a raise for themselves? Granted the amount only comes out to nearly $2,500 total, but if it was only $1 we should be upset.
City officials already have bloated incomes that the rest of us pay for with our ever-increasing, no pausing, no deferring, no excuses taxes. The rest of us seem to make do on small incomes and sacrifices while the city conducts nationwide searches for new employees and lures them in with salaries over $150,000 and calls it the "market rate." It is not.
The City Council serves us, the people, the taxpayers. We should be able to determine who gets a raise and who doesn't because it's our money.
I understand the amount is determined not by the council but by the city charter, however, the council votes to approve. Why didn't the city council members vote against this? The city is already suffering from extensive salaries and pensions.
My idea to get us out of the hole, make salary cuts, reduce pensions for employees who retire at 50 with 80% of their salary for the rest of their life while getting jobs in other counties, stop voting to give yourselves raises, and lower property taxes for regular middle-income people who aren't large development companies.
Then you would all be worth voting for, but this latest selfish act will make me advocate for wiping the slate cleaning and voting in new people.
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