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This is a joke, right? Thadeus Greenson's "Reckoning Day" (May 7) was a joke, right? Greg Sparks, the city manager, "broke the news" that the city budget is short $2 million. Our city department heads just found this out? Wasn't Measure Q supposed to fix our city police/fire departments? Don't get me wrong, all respect to the police/firefighters, but for every $1 they earn we're contributing $.42 to $.45 to their retirement? C'mon man. Fifteen percent of the city's general fund will be used to pay pensions in the upcoming year and then it gets worse. These pensions are breaking us.

Greenson's article gave the impression that our city department heads and, I assume, the city council were totally surprised with the $2 million shortfall. No one talked to our city manager before this? Is everyone communicating? These 2012 reforms stated that 2015 would be the drop dead year. No planning was done? Was the plan another tax increase? What's being done with the pensions? What are our leaders doing?

Our taxes are paying for the police/fire/safety personnel and the hundreds of social welfare programs the bums/derelicts/homeless/deranged/druggies/criminals are using and there is nothing left for us. Half the county budget is spent by the Department of Health and Human Services ($150 million a year!). Thirty-three percent of the city's budget is spent on police and fire. We are told the choices are tax increases or we might die. Let's try to cut costs in an efficient logical way; reduce/eliminate redundancy; pay an arbitrator for negotiations; show accountability; shrink the government, use technology, promote Humboldt to business and stop threatening our safety.

Things need to change. They aren't working and haven't worked for a long time. Governments only create more government jobs. Our county and city need better, bolder and more creative leadership to progress. Pretty simple.

Rick Brennan, Eureka

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