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home : opinions : opinions September 14, 2014

5/23/2013 5:00:00 PM
TIMES EDITORIAL: The more we're taxed, the less service we receive

If you love Blythe, then you don't mind the limited services available here. The people who have lived here for any length of time don't expect a lot from anyone and are, for the most part, proudly independent. As time goes by though, it seems as though we're being expected to become more and more self-reliant, especially when it comes to government services that we pay and pay for, yet receive less of each passing year.

The expected closure of the Blythe courthouse is one example of this. Don't for a minute expect the government to lessen your taxes because court services will now be move 100 miles to the west of us. If anything, they'll increase - as will your costs to participate in the judicial process through extensive travel.

This won't matter to most people in Blythe because they have already been priced out of any kind of justice. Still, too many people are relying on the courts and the government in general to solve their problems, which more often than not creates even bigger problems for those seeking intervention. Being forced to solve problems without a judge making decisions for your life could turn out to be a benefit for some Blythe residents, and for them the closure might be good. But it's those extreme cases where a life may be in real danger that are going to make the closing of the local courthouse catastrophic.

As Blythe City Manager Dave Lane and Police Chief Steve Smith noted in a May 10 letter to the court, delays for those seeking protective orders could threaten the safety of residents who are the victims of domestic violence. In fact, many low-income residents of our community cannot afford a round-trip visit to a courtroom in Indio, even if the courts rule they're indigent enough to be excused from paying court filing fees. This is not only an injustice being inflicted on the poor, but an inhumane act as well.

Another injustice will be imposed on the people who want to fight their tickets but won't have a courthouse close by to argue their case. It might be cheaper to pay a ticket then take time off of work to travel to Indio to fight it. That's really unfair to people who have a strong case proving their innocence.

It's not as if our city, county and state don't have the money to provide services for residents. The many taxes and fees we pay the government when we work and when we shop, already consume 40 percent or more of most people's income. But instead of providing services to residents as taxes were meant to do, the money instead goes to paying salaries of $100,000, $200,000, $300,000 or more for government managers.

So while the few prosper, the majority goes without - and in this case, it's Blythe residents who will go without justice.

On the criminal side of things, local law enforcement will have to find more effective ways of enforcing the rules without resorting to locking people up - if that's possible. While imprisonment should be the primary alternative for predators and those who resort to violence, it's the ones who irritate us the most that will benefit from lax law enforcement: the race car drivers on residential streets, those who talk on the phone or text while driving, veering their vehicles toward ours, the tasteless graffiti slobs and vandals.

It already costs too much to lock up every person in Blythe that is subject to an arrest warrant for not paying tickets and that's only going to get worse.

Lane and Smith concluded in their letter to the courts that the closure of the courthouse would have "adverse impact" on the city's financial picture of more than $250,000 annually.

"Very simply, it would be impossible for the City to overcome an impact of that magnitude," Lane and Smith concluded in their letter.

We partially agree... and the only options that may be left for the city, which refuses to cut management salaries, is the loss of its police department followed by disincorporation.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, May 27, 2013
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

I agree with most of what was written. But what does the Court have to do with the salaries of the Cities Administrators? If anything their salaries has more to do with the services the City provides to the community. On the other hand the State takes away from the City. To do anything it wants with that money. Pet projects, like The fast rail to nowhere, Free tuition to illegals, Housing, medical care, Food Stamps. Plus most of the prisoners get the same benefits as most illegals. That makes you think like what the hell is happening here. But lets get back to the City. They now have hired a new Financial Director. His name is Frank Luckino. Read up on him if I write about it will be deleted. Just know that he cares not for the average Joe or Jane. So read up on him at his last places of employment. Council member and the water Department. Just know that these people in City Hall have your back. But with a sharp instrument. So remember when voting time comes around again.

Posted: Saturday, May 25, 2013
Article comment by: Tweety Bird

And don't forget jury duty! U will have to drive to Indio to serve on the jury when u r time comes around.

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013
Article comment by: Seriously Now

How is the closure of the County Court the fault of the City Manager? I thought for once I was going to read a fair and balanced account in the PVVT, but as usual your bias is showing. What ever happened to reporting the facts and not inserting personal opinion?

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