A call for restoring the full funding originally promised to Comprehensive Extracurricular Activities Program
To the editor:
(Plain Press, May 2019) This was said about holding children in cages, “There is no situation where it is ok for innocent children to be taken advantage of by anyone.” I am sure you all agree. So where do we draw the line?
I have informed each board member of the yearly theft of $1million from the children by the mayor. I have also made the public aware and will do so again. What the mayor has done and continues to do is not only an attack on children but also on the sanctity of the vote in a democracy.
Back in the 90’s the football gods extorted the county and city into funding a half-billion-dollar stadium. This came with a tax abatement for life of $4.5million, thus depriving the children of approximately $2.3mill per year.
The powers forgot to build in maintenance money for the stadium. They introduced ord1025-95-A, the parking, entertainment and leasing tax. Council balked and a deal was struck to hold the children harmless for the abatement in the amount of $2mill per year. Council feared for the children and language was installed which stated that the children must be paid first, then the stadium and if any money remained the city could use it.
The children received $2 million each year from 1996 up to 2009, when the stadium spent $4 million more than the $20 million it was given. That was when the mayor began taking $1million of the children’s $2million. This was done in secret without any discussion or public approval by the anointed board.
In 2010, when we had real budget meetings, I accidentally discovered this travesty. I thought that restoring this money would be a no-brainer because it was so inherently wrong. The yearly theft from the highly successful Comprehensive Extracurricular Activities Program continues to this day, a total loss of $9 million.
The mayor’s first rationalization of the theft was that the ordinance did not specifically state the amount of $2 million per year. This was weak since the intent to hold the children harmless was established by the ordinance language and the precedent set by the $2 million payment each year from 1996 to 2008.
The mayor has shifted his position to, “it doesn’t matter because holding the children harmless was added to ensure that the ordinance would pass.” This is even more troubling because it breaks the promise to those who voted for the ordinance. Note, this is a lucrative tax. Last year it generated approx. $33 million rising from the $19 million initially. So where do you draw the line? Your allegiance should be to the children, then to the tax payer/voter, not to the mayor and his agenda.