Monday, January 30, 2012
Will Tom Huening's Voice Be Heard?
San Mateo County's government operation based in Redwood City is often a one-trick pony. Serious debate on major issues frequently lacks much staying power. That's because the overwhelming majority of the decision-makers speaks with one political voice which leans heavily liberal and Democrat. This circumstance tends to constrict any sort of healthy give-and-take on important matters of substance. That's where Tom Huening comes in. As a generally conservative County Controller, he's regarded as something of an alien in the halls of county administration. So there is a real question as to whether his latest alarms will be heeded, especially by the Board of Supervisors. He's been warning about two potential budget-busters for some time: Unfunded government employee pension liabilities and the annual cost of debt service for a proposed new County Jail. He has plenty of facts and figures to back up his red flags. But it will take some real gumption on the part of the supes to act on his findings. Are they paying attention? Dave Pine certainly is. As for the rest, well, we're waiting.