Back in the realm of issues that really matter to the great majority of Anaheim voters, Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and Councilman Jordan Brandman have called for restoring public safety staffing levels to pre-recession levels. From the OC Register:
City Council members Kris Murray and Jordan Brandman called for restoring public safety staffing to levels not seen since the start of the recession – an undertaking that could cost up to $11million by the middle of 2017.
The effort calls for hiring 49 recruits to bring the Anaheim Police Department back to 403 officers, its highest staffing level since 2008. The Fire Department wants to add 23 hires, allowing it to reach its high of 229 firefighters in 2008.
“I think it’s important that now we’re in a period of recovery that we work as hard as possible to bring our core services back to pre-recession levels, and that starts with public safety,” Brandman said about the proposed staffing levels.
Murray and Brandman said they wouldn’t call for any new assessments to fund the endeavor, relying instead on Anaheim’s recovering hotel, property and sales tax bases. Some hiring has already happened.
This is brass tacks – the kind of stuff (as Barack Obama might put it) about which residents truly care – because the primary thing we expect our local governments to do is keep us safe from criminals. As conservative icon Barry Goldwater once said:
“Security from domestic violence, no less than from foreign aggression, is the most elementary and fundamental purpose of any government, and a government that cannot fulfill that purpose is one that cannot long command the loyalty of its citizens. History shows us – demonstrates that nothing – nothing prepares the way for tyranny more than the failure of public officials to keep the streets from bullies and marauders.”
The reality of Gov. Jerry Brown’s “re-aligment” is that we are less safe from that element. Last fall, the Anaheim Police Department detailed the negative impacts of re-alignment on the city, and there’s no reason to expect that to change given the fiscal and political realities of state government. It is incumbent of cities, where and when possible, to beef up their ability suppress the criminal element, and that means putting cops on the street.