.The advocates for charter change have put up a video on their website that purports to show furniture owned by the city, dumped in the rain behind the recreation center.
Mark Pingel, who is identified as one of the founders of Common Sense Saratoga, alleged the same waste in a post on Next Door with a link to the video. He asserted on the site “We witness that when the recreation center furniture, used for 2 years and still serviceable, is thrown out so we can buy new, at the same time laying-off city workers.”
In the video, as it pans the pile of construction which is partially covered by blue tarps a banner proclaims:
While commissioner of finance zeros out the Rec Departments budget
Thousands of dollars worth of city owned furniture (some used, some never opened)
Sits in the rain outside the Center after the administration moved back to city hall
And the Center’s floor was so damaged, the city had to spend thousands
To restore it — And then cut the Center’s fundingVideo on Common Sense Saratoga’s website
First of all it is patently false that the “commissioner of finance zeroed out the rec department budget.” The Commissioner of Finance in the draft version of the 2021 budget allocated $1.2 million to pay for the rec director and one staff position along with the maintenance of the city’s fields and facilities.
Secondly, the city did not throw out the furniture it used at the rec center. This furniture was leased and has been returned to the vendor.
Third, the city did purchase partitions (they are what what are shown in the video) using insurance money to construct the temporary offices at the rec center. These were auctioned and the high bidder is scheduled to pick them up.
The gym floor is redone annually.
I have written to Ron Kim and Julie Cuneo who chair Common Sense Saratoga and asked them to take the video down. I will post their response when I receive it.
Spectrum News did a story on the charter controversy. In a bizarre segment of the video Ron Kim and Julie Cuneo are shown walking in Geyser Crest. They stop at what appears to be a random house where a young man is raking leaves. The narrator of the video asks him what he thinks about charter change and he extolls the need for a new type government.
As it happens, the young man is the son of Gordon Boyd who is a leader of Common Sense Saratoga (he donated $10,000.00 to them). In the background, also raking. is Gordon’s wife, Sharon. Spectrum News is supposed to act with some kind of journalistic standard. I would love to know how this episode came about.