Measure S Committee
I, like many others in the community am disappointed with the timing of the Police and Fire associations' decision to picket for more money. I do not have any official information on the current state of negotiations between the City and the Police and Fire associations, and cannot comment on the employee's frustration regarding their contract negotiations. As a citizen I support all the Fire and Police personnel who keep our community safe and can understand them wanting to be reasonably compensated. I also respect the fact that the City is trying to be fiscally responsible with funds at their disposal, to provide services to our community. All parties exist to serve us, the citizens of Selma. I hope that a fair and mutual agreement is reached quickly. I would like to state that this issue is a labor dispute between the City and the Police and Fire Associations and has nothing to do with Measure S.
As a member of the Public Safety Ad-Hoc Committee, I learned that the state of public safety in Selma has several major issues that need to be addressed. I also discovered the common reason behind these issues not being addressed, was the fact that the City did not have enough financial resources available to properly fund public safety. These issues would only grow to a more critical state if left unattended. I was astonished by the working conditions and environment of our public safety personnel and took a proactive stance in offering a solution to rectify the problem and supported Measure S.
I am confidant that the funds generated by Measure S will address the issues presented to the community, expanding anti-gang and drug prevention services, hiring more anti-gang/anti-drug officers and firefighters, improving police and firefighter training and purchasing protective clothing and equipment. It has only been slightly over one month since the passing of Measure S and it should be understood that Measure S does not go into effect until April 2008. It will take over a year before significant funds are even generated. Measure S is not a blank check for the City to subsidize its general fund or the Police and Fire association's agendas. It is additional dedicated funds to address the public safety needs of our community. As these needs are identified they will be put into an expenditure plan so that they can be addressed. Whether these needs are equipment, facility, or labor related .It is also important to note that Measure S was written to include an annual mandatory audit by an Independent Citizen's Oversight Committee to monitor spending and guarantee that the funds are spent as promised.
I am also disheartened that members of our community feel they were misinformed about Measure S; I would like to say this is not the case. Measure S can help support all aspects of public safety. I truly believe that the quality of life in Selma will greatly improve for everyone, because of Measure S. It will make our schools, parks, neighborhoods, and business districts safer. I feel what is needed at this time is a little patience and to allow the benefits of Measure S to take place. I would like to thank everyone who supported and voted for Measure S. Its overwhelming success is testament to the character of our community.
In closing I would like to thank the Selma Enterprise and Editor Mike Jensen for their continued coverage of Measure S, keeping the community informed in this matter is a great service to us all.