My dear friends and residents in the wake of the Mayor, Council and City Manager criticizing our Barstow Firefighters (See last council meeting) for not taking a pay freeze or potential pay cut, let us remind them that the voters approved Measure Q, the 1% sales tax increase to “save the Fire Dept” and to ensure our public safety units would be fully funded to maintain their long history and legacy that is so important to all of the residents in Barstow.
Measure J in 2018 was narrowly defeated by less than 35 votes. Had Measure J passed, the city would find its Fire District fully funded and city hall scrambling today to fill what was a $6.5 million-dollar deficit in 2018.
Voters who approved J were critical of the city’s next effort in passing a new tax Measure Q, fearing city officials and management would spend the new tax revenues with no regard to their original commitment to fully fund our Fire Department…and they were right.
The current leadership to date has not shown any fiscal integrity and have spent Measure Q reserves irresponsibly, and now want to demonize our firefighters for standing up for themselves and questioning how tax revenues have been spent thus far. For current leadership to imply 35% of Measure Q revenues have been spent on Fire “So why complain?” negates the fact that our Fire Department has been neglected far to long.
Covid19’s impact on Measure Q revenues is unquestionable, what is questionable is why city leadership made the decision to deplete Measure Q reserves by hiring nonpublic safety personnel first, way ahead of hiring firefighters and additional police, and yet argue that our firefighters are now part of the problem. The current political leadership would like the voters to ignore that they sold us “Measure Q” on the backs of our firefighters after Measure J, let’s remind the current leadership that we are holding them to their commitment to maintain our Fire Department and will exercise our authority as the residents of this great city on Election Day, November 3rd.