The city of Victorville has Measure K on next Tuesday’s ballot. If passed, it will reportedly raise $8.5 million per year for public safety. As a taxpayer, I would rather not have to pay any additional taxes, but in the case of Measure K, whether I vote to pass it or not, the end result will be additional taxes. It’s a question of paying more in sales tax — shared by everyone who buys in the city — or property owners alone paying a parcel tax. I opt for the sales tax.
But regardless of which tax, the city of Victorville needs to decide how it is going to address crime in the city. The argument in favor of Measure K states that “The city has been unable to keep pace with the rising costs of providing fire and police services…” That says the motivation for Measure K is strictly financial.
To simply impose a tax to hire more police (and firefighters) does nothing but compensate for the annual increase in costs to provide public safety services, which in and of itself, does not answer the question — what is the city going to do about crime?
Crime seems to dominate discussions here, it dominates coverage by the local media. People are afraid, angry and frustrated but all people seem to do is complain about crime without anyone stepping forward with common sense strategies, costing very little if any financial resources, and would serve as a way to galvanize, mobilize and organize our residents to do their part to make our communities safe.
So I developed a 14-point plan (“Strategies to Prevent/Reduce Crime”) that would help, and presented it via email on Oct. 10 to Victorville Mayor Gloria Garcia and City Manager Doug Robertson, asking if the city would endorse/support the plan as a starting point leading to short-term and long-term solutions to our crime.
Much to my dismay the city of Victorville has decided it would rather keep its head in the sand and instead of embracing a multi-dimensional approach to address crime, continues to only look at chasing the dollars.
The city can hire 10 additional police officers (not sure if the $8.5 million will have to be in the bank first or the officers will be hired over many years), but regardless of the number the city will NEVER have enough officers. The crooks will ALWAYS outnumber the cops. So until and unless the city decides it wants to look at solutions to address crime, it’s just a matter of time before taxpayers will be asked for more money.
If you believe that Victorville City Council should focus time and attention on finding solutions to our crime, let them know by visiting the city’s website (http://www.victorvilleca.gov/council.aspx) where each Council member’s email address is listed. And just maybe, one of them might respond to your email.
A coalition — Citizens for Safer Communities — is being formed as a grass-roots effort and soon, for Councils with their heads stuck in the sand, the taxpayers will begin to demand serious solutions to address crime in the High Desert.
Michael Stevens is a Victorville resident and former candidate for City Council.