COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Stop Kern’s welfare plan

An Op Ed I wrote elicited a comment that sticks in my mind. “Those of us who support recall are not anti-business. We are just tired of the welfare doled out to business by Jerry. Jerry’s welfare queens drive BMWs instead of Cadillacs but otherwise there is no difference.” (
Ronald Reagan used the concept of a welfare queen driving a Cadillac to describe someone getting payments from the government dole through fraud or manipulation. With all the recent stories about fraud, manipulation and political payoffs surrounding AIG and the Wall Street Banksters, it should be apparent that our new welfare queens do indeed drive BMWs, live in ritzy neighborhoods and probably avoid taxes with off-shore bank accounts. What does this have to do with Oceanside? Our own Jerry Kern takes care of Oceanside’s developer welfare queens.
Don’t we frequently hear that development is required to pay for all costs associated with it? Did you feel betrayed when you learned that the Kern-approved 30 percent increase in sewer rates you are now paying is really for the cost of increased sewer capacity needed for downtown development? Lonnie Thibodeaux, Oceanside’s utilities director, said so in a Coast News article ( If you check the planning documents for the Citymark downtown development, you can see for yourself that Citymark is not required to pay one tin dime ever for increased sewer capacity.
Our sewer rate increase includes multi-millions in welfare giveaways to Citymark. On the KOCT-aired Ocean Hills Recall debate, Jerry said we need these rate increases to replace old infrastructure. Don’t you wonder why he never once mentioned increased capacity needs for Citymark? Could it be because he knows Citymark should have paid for the costs? Now we are paying! That’s developer welfare.
While cutting essential service budget items to balance the budget, Jerry Kern didn’t look for ways to increase revenue to our city. Instead, he voted to increase the city deficit by over $3 million per year by reducing the revenue to our general fund that developer fees provide, according to the City Financial Services Web site. At the same time, he increased the monthly sewer rate even more than the cost of Citymark extra sewer capacity. How did he do that? He deferred all developer fees. This means that residents will be paying for all costs associated with any future development until and if development actually occurs. The over $3 million per year in lost revenue to the general fund previously mentioned doesn’t include the loss of upwards of $9 million for residential development and unknown millions for commercial development that a Utilities Department memo estimated will result from this fee deferral. We will never get back the Citymark welfare millions. Some deferred fees may be recouped in future years if development actually happens but millions may never be recouped. We pay and Jerry’s developer welfare queens profit even more because under his welfare plan no interest will ever be charged on those multi-millions to any developer who starts a project.
Developers in BMWS have learned to work the system just like welfare queens in Cadillacs and Jerry obliges them with his handouts. Those of us who are working to recall Jerry are not against development. We never have been. We just don’t like Jerry’s handouts and want a council that will require all development costs to be paid for by developers and not by us. Jerry says the developers need these handouts during these tough economic times. Doesn’t Jerry realize that with unemployment in California over 12 percent, about one in eight Oceanside residents will be paying Jerry’s developer welfare sewer rate increase with unemployment checks? Doesn’t Jerry realize these are hard economic times for all of us?
Why does Jerry work so hard to take care of the “queens”? Jerry is paying back the club of office buying developer elites from La Jolla who put him in office in 2006. “The Lincoln Club also unabashedly acknowledges that it has spent substantially more than has been previously reported to defeat the recall and keep Kern in office.”(
Make Jerry’s developer welfare queens pay their own way by voting Yes on Recall.

Lizbeth Altman is an Oceanside resident.


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