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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Vote Yes on Measure K

Dear El Cerrito residents,

As I leave the El Cerrito City Council, I look back on our recent accomplishments as well as the ongoing high level of services provided by our city employees with a sense of pride. Our fire and police department employees respond to thousands of requests for help and medical assistance a year in a remarkably timely, courteous and professional fashion. The recreation department provides a multitude of services to seniors, youth and children in an energetic and professional manner. Our community development and public works departments have recently worked to design and oversee construction of our new swim center, redevelop El Cerrito Plaza (including the recruitment of Trader Joes), upgrade Fairmount Avenue, replace playgrounds at Castro and Harding Parks, improve roads throughout the City and improve the overall appearance of our parks and right of ways.

Unfortunately, all of our quality services are threatened should Measure K fail. The funds generated by Measure K bring in $2.2 million annually, over 12% of the City budget; two-thirds of which goes to police and fire protection. This charge is not new as it has been in place for 12 years and is a small price to pay ($13 per month), to maintain a stable, locally controlled, revenue stream for our City. A loss of this magnitude would not only result in a reduction of staff and services, but would eliminate most of the City's reserves which have been placed there by the City Council in order to provide a safety net in the event of an emergency or natural disaster.

I have worked with many branches of government and can confidently say that the city of El Cerrito is the leanest and most frugal. Our city staff works extremely hard in spartan conditions without complaining. Measure K will not fund any frills or extravagance. It provides the lifeblood of the essential services that make our community safer and better for everyone.

Don't let the very small group of Measure K opponents convince you otherwise; our City needs the funds generated by Measure K.

Please join me in protecting our local services, Vote YES on Measure K.

Mark Friedman

El Cerrito City Council

Run dates: 2004-10-29 - 2004-11-02

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