While city officials won't come out and say it directly, I will: The city is a financial wreck, and right now, city government is trying to figure out how to fix it. You know the wreck I'm talking about: The police department is understaffed (if you're robbed, it's not just a longshot the perpetrator will get caught--it's a longshot that the crime will ever get investigated). The streets are a mess; the bus system sucks; and the traffic keeps getting worse and worse.
The response of City Manager James Keene to this wreck was to handpick a committee that basically recommended all sorts of things (mainly tax and fee increases) that he'd previously recommended and that had been shot down before. Now, the City Council appears unlikely to approve most of these increases they've already said "no" to--big shock there.
Anyway, I urge you to read this cover package and then let your elected leaders know what you think they should do. Be warned: It's looking more and more like the response from the City Council is going to be to do nothing, and just hope to hell that somehow, the economy gets better, and that the tax revenues magically start to flow in.
If you think you have a good idea about what the city should do to fix this mess, feel free to e-mail me, and we'll print the best responses (and maybe some of the worst, just for kicks) in Mailbag.