UPDATED OPINION: The City Council and Mayor worked their tails off last night - for over three hours. A Budget Hearing took up a lot of their time. (The final Budget Hearing is November 16).
Over six human services organizations lined up to request funds or thank Mayor Marchione for funds budgeted. Every presentation stirred emotions and elicited concerns. The one that touched me the most was Therapeutic Health Services (THS). They treat folks with severe drug, alcohol and mental illness. My younger brother, Rick, had all three, including prescription drug addiction, and died in his 40's.
Manager Joellen of THS rattled off some startling statistics: A least 10% of the general population is afflicted with either mental illness or drug abuse (or both). Mothers Against Drunken Drivers say every 45 minutes someone is killed by a drunk; and for every one DWI conviction, the violator will have driven an average of 87 times without getting caught.
So how does the Council help fund these human services to treat the afflicted and get them safely back to a normal life? One citizen* recommended eliminating the 1% Cost of Living increase ($680,000) that's budgeted for 624 city staff -- to help fund requests (and keep down property taxes.) This election offers another possible source of funding: If voters defeat state liquor store privatization measures I-1100 and I-1105 the city will save over $350,000 in tax revenue/year.
I've lived in New York, Florida, Ohio, and Arizona where liquor sales were privatized and a bottle could be had at any street corner; please not here. The TV ads show giggling, liquor-toting youth, jumping into cars after tricking convenience stores into a sale. Yes, my brother would remember these times, if he were alive.
Please vote NO on I-1100 and I-1105.
Opinion By Bob Yoder*
Letter to: Redmond Reporter