Monday, February 9, 2009

Commenter Theater with the forums!

I read about the layoffs while doing the Quick Links Friday morning. My first thought? "The comments on this story are going to be epic." And sure enough, they were! There's biased cops! There's a false sense of entitlement! There's exaggerations of our safety! And blatant ignorance as to how budgets work! Conspiracy theories!

As of posting time there were 157 comments on the Friday online version of the story. The full story posting right now has 94 comments. Totaling 251 on the layoffs alone. Half of which are all by the same people, all of which are hilarious and slightly sad.

A few of our favorites are below. We should note this is just from the first 5 or 6 pages of the original Friday post that we linked to. We'll being you more hilariousness throughout the week as we find it. We haven't gotten to the part where the Save Stockton guy shows up. We're looking forward to it.

As usual, quotes in bold. Our clever remarks, not bold. Consider everything sic'd and consider the fact that these are message board comments. Making fun of them is really like making fun of the mentally handicapped. Which is a past time we've enjoyed for many years.

Commenter SweetDream:
"What is the back up plan? Why are they eliminating police instead of some other less necessary entities? This sounds personal and not logical or well thought out."

Yeah. Thing is, those other, less necessary entities all took their budget cuts back in fall of last year. PD refused the budget cuts. So I guess what we're trying to say is this is the back up plan.

"I believe its time for a recall or vote of NO CONFIDENCE!"

We're about a month into the term of a Council that we knew would have to make these tough decisions. Again, this council is a month old, and we knew these problems were going to arise. They did not cause these problems, they were elected to deal with them. We're not ones to defend the City Council too much, but none of this is the current City Council's fault. It was the last one's (and even then, kinda not really). And we've already voted them out of office. Like months ago. So ummm, ok. Done.

But then of course, common sense (ok, common sensish) rears it's ugly head.

"SPOA is using fear to try to achieve a 15% pay raise. The City tried to work a deal and the Cops don't care. The City has to do what the SPD "Interim" Chief or SPOA won't do, CUT COST. The SFD and Firefighters Union made their cuts and pay raise deferrments, as well as reduction in staff. The SPD and its union refuses to acknowledge the truth about this economy and make some real cuts. They are willing to lose positions than take a personal financial cut."

And, let's face it, this is a message board on the internet. We can't let that stand!

"4Sanity obviously you are ill informed, living in a bubble, out of touch with reality, and completely lacking in facts. Change your name to InSanity."

Oh I see what they did there. Clever. So the person referring to previous news stories about budget cuts is in a bubble. And the guys claiming Stockton's crime is through the roof even though last year we had the lowest number of homicides since the 70s are the sane ones. Makes total sense.

But of course, what's a message board thread without the internet's famous witty discourse.


Not all commenters are bad though, some even notice the same stuff we do!

"Natalie Rencher? I can guess a few reasons that happened, but I don't know the exact reasons, and I would like to know...just personal curiosity. That lay-off alone should save some $$$ -- and what else -- in the public library scheme of things? Who's privy/brave enough to tell?"

Mike Fitzgerald apparently knows. Ask him.

And then, more common sense showed up!

"Months ago, the cops were given a choice: everybody take 10% for the team or throw the young guys under the bus. Look which one they chose.I can only wonder if they would have chosen differently if the layoffs were to have been by lottery instead of seniority."

Unfortunately that's pretty much the last of it. And it's all negated in the very next post.

"City Council, how much did Ralph White pay you to get his piece of junk land off his hands? Oh yeah, Gordon Palmer, do you have an explanation yet to what happened to that 40 million that was taken out of the general fund?"

Again, different Council. And what happened to that $40 mil? Well, I don't know if you've been downtown lately, but it's been spent. You can't respend money once it's spent. Were they bad investments? Probably. But there's no do-overs. No Indian giving. Shit's gone. Get over it.

And then there's the internet's blantant disregard of facts!

snapshot (BootyChaser):
"since they are decreasing police, where do I get a proportionate rebate on the taxes I pay? this is the equivalent of an increase in taxes, I am still paying the same but getting less."

No, just no. The problem is that the city didn't get enough revenue through sales taxes, property taxes, and other taxes. The problem isn't a misspending of tax dollars, it's that there aren't enough tax dollars. It's all about projections and estimates. The city projected they'd have more revenue and spent accordingly, then when the economy went to shit they had to backtrack and realized they had less money than they thought they were going to get. So they have to reconcile that with the books. It's like when you buy a computer or a nice flat screen using credit knowing that you earn enough money to make the monthly payments, only then your boss cuts your hours in half 2 months later and now you're stuck making monthly payments on something you can't afford. What happens? You can either refinance, or it gets repo'd. Stockton bought a bunch of police officers and the economy cratered. They offered a chance to refinance, PD said no. So they got repo'd. That doesn't mean you get a check for the money paid for the couple months you could afford it, you're just shit out of luck. That money's spent and gone.

We'll bring you more later in the week. We haven't even touched on the hilarious Police Department/Fire Department feud where the police officers seem to forget that SFD went through almost the same thing a few months ago when the city tried to shut down a station. Plus, like I said, we're only like 6 pages in to one of the 2 threads. We'll bring you other nuggets of comedy gold as we find them.

But before we go, I want to leave you with my personal favorite.

"Recently I saw 6 firefighters scuba diving at UOP pool. They call it water rescue training. Why do we need this? It's another boondoggle that we are paying for."

Why do we need this? Oh, I don't know. I'm sure they have their reasons. But yeah, boondoggle works too

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