Ken Szutu: What is the plan to fix Vallejo’s finances?

Letters to the Editor | Match 6, 2021

An open letter to the Vallejo City Council:

If I tell you that my personal finance plan is based on me winning the lottery, what would you say? That I’m doomed to failure? Headed toward bankruptcy?

Unfortunately, this is how I see how our city finance are being managed.

From the first day 400 Mare Island Way was on the Vallejo City Council agenda, I asked: “Where is the money?” “What is the plan to implement this vision?”

It’s not a shame to acknowledge that we don’t have money. We can then figure out how to move forward with what we have. Instead, the city council and the city staff have been playing a game of pretend.

Pretend we will have the money because we will win the lottery.

Unfortunately, we did not win the lottery. Measure G did not pass. How much money did the city spend to buy Measure G lottery tickets? – over $353,000?

$70,000 for the company FM3 that conducted the two 300 person “surveys.”
– $113,000 for the Lew Edwards Group for public relations and advisement.
– $100,000 for the marketing firm Tripepi Smith to provide marketing consulting.
– $70,000 to list the measure on the ballot.

Are we now shooting for the grant lottery and basing our planning on that now?
We don’t have money. Let’s acknowledge that first and start from there. Figure out a plan based on reality instead of wishful thinking. Playing this pretending game will only get us into bigger trouble. 

As city council members, I like you to ask tough questions and look closely at the city finance. “I did not know” is not an acceptable answer when the agency you are supervising goes bankrupt.

I also expect the city manager to plan for the long term instead of practicing short term planning and kick the bomb down the road. It is not good for our health.

Let’s hear a plan on Tuesday.

Ken Szutu


Published by John Glidden

John Glidden is a freelance journalist reporting on the city of Vallejo. The native Vallejoan also covers the local school district, Vallejo elections, and public safety.

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