In Spite of Municipal Bankruptcy, Vallejo has Money to Squander




In the hue and cry of anguish about the estimated future costs of public employee pensions, those who argue that drastic measures are needed to reduce those future costs tout the City of Vallejo as the poster child of what needs to be done. Vallejo, you see, filed for bankruptcy in part because of the estimated future costs of retirement promises made by the City Council to its employees.

After much anticipation and gnashing of teeth by self-proclaimed good government advocates, Vallejo’s bankruptcy filing actually did not excuse the city from its pension promises. It did give the city fathers enough backbone to insist that future city employees will have a less costly pension plan though (something that many California cities and counties are doing without the drama and expense of a municipal bankruptcy).

Did it bring good government to the city going forward? Doesn’t look like it to me.

The Reporter.Com reports that the Solano County Board of Supervisors and the City of Vallejo are “teaming up” to help a private company to revamp a former city hall and Masonic Lodge by loaning $1.9 million dollars to the project for a period of time “not to exceed 57 years.” 57 years? You’ve got to be kidding! The county will be charging a simple interest rate of 3% from a budget for low and moderate income housing.

Oh yes, the “revamping” is to convert these old structures into affordable housing live/work units for – hold on now – artists!

The article points out that the county received this money from the City of Vallejo as a settlement in a legal case; with the understanding the county would use the money for affordable housing in the city. So, perhaps Vallejo’s city fathers had a gun to their head and settled a lawsuit in this manner.   But, filing banruptcy and then being party to this kind of unnecessary (and risky) expenditure of public funds just does not compute for me.

Wouldn’t be the first time Vallejo’s city fathers did something that has taxpayers shaking their heads. Perhaps the City can get some pointers on this project from Santa Ana on how successful live/work units for artists can be.

In the meantime, where can I get a 3% simple interest loan from the taxpayers for 57 years?  City of Vallejo and Solano County, I guess. But geeze, have you ever seen downtown Vallejo?  I have, and can’t imagine any marketable artist wanting to set up shop there.  Guess this is good government though – isn’t that right Vallejo lovers?

About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.