COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Time for the mayor to fess up

Why is Mayor Dalager acting surprised that citizens are demanding real fiscal transparency, rectification of very poor city management practices, and that he keep his promise of being open about unethical gifts and his unreported $100,000 loan with a developer? Weeks ago, the mayor sent Encinitas residents a mailer that said we deserved to have a full accounting of his ethics violations, but he still refuses to let his kitchen be inspected by the press or release the terms of the financial transaction he had with a local developer. Why is the mayor delaying?
I am saddened that Dalager continues to deflect critical issues and that he has to doctor up a list of accomplishments. Four years ago he promised to build the Hall park and he wrote in a mailer that the library was on time and on budget. The park is still not built and the library was already years late and millions over budget. The park lawsuits account for only 26 months of the delay. Dalager was boldly lying to the voters about the library and the public has been manipulated over the park.
Here is a response to Dalager’s current distortions:
Reserves
The city does have large reserves, but that was made possible by a $20 million bond, which the council (minus Barth) approved without voter approval. Before taking out the loan, the city was quietly liquidating city real estate to infuse the budget. Dalager attempted to enact an illegal and deceptive tax increase in an effort to increase revenue. Contrary to Dalager’s public statements, the city has not been adequately maintaining streets and the city has now accumulated $18 million dollars in deferred maintenance. Dalager helped to keep that number secret. Dalager has been lying to the public about core city services being adequately funded.
Pensions
This year’s shocking Dalager lie is about pensions. Dalager has not taken any sort of real move to initiate pension reform, unless you consider his vote to boost pensions by 35 percent a type of reform. Dalager is responsible for the huge liability that will haunt us. It is ironic that Dalager’s pension vote could result in the city closing recreation facilities as the city’s budget becomes dominated by pension burdens. Dalager has already quietly cut the six-year Hall park operations funding to zero dollars.
Layoffs
Dalager says we’ve had zero layoffs, but contract employees have been laid off. These employees are people too. How many have been laid off? Good luck getting a straight answer from city hall. Under Dalager’s council majority the city does not always share information that the public is entitled to access (see www.encinitastaxpayers.org).
Project funding
Dalager is correct that capital projects are continuing; I say dragging on. Dalager will not explain why only one of the three fire stations funded with bond funds in 2006 have been built. After all these years of park promises, how come Dalager has not fully funded Phase I of the Hall park? Dalager recently approved a budget with the park millions underfunded.
Could this be why the Hall park construction has not gone out to bid? We can’t know if the park design construction plans and estimates are overdue or just being hidden? There are no deadlines in the contract for the park plans and the way the Dalager majority chooses to keep public documents secret, the public cannot check the status for themselves. According to Dalager, we must have trust and faith in him, instead of documentation and plans.
When we had faith, Dalager’s city hall wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars and delayed projects for years in a retrospectively obvious effort to manipulate the public process. Examples of projects artificially delayed are the Streets Maintenance study, the Citywide Traffic Study, the Cardiff specific plan, and the Hall park EIR.
Danny is covering up his ethics violations and what is really happening at city hall. There are a growing number of former Dalager supporters from around the city that are speaking up and demanding Dalager come clean. The worst aspect of the cover-ups is it delays serious discussions about solutions to the city’s problems. It’s time for Dalager to come clean.

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