Get the facts on public safety positions
I’ve had several calls recently from residents who are very concerned about the staffing levels of our Police and Fire departments. On June 7, 2017, a Lompoc Record article titled “Lompoc Police chief 'worried' about future, effectiveness of department,” stated our Police Department has 10 officer vacancies. The Police Chief also stated that six of the current officers are in the hiring process for other departments, and he expects that number of vacancies to grow to 16 in the coming months.
Our City Council was able to move quickly with significant raises to our city police officers along with the collaborative support of the Police Chief, the Lompoc Police Officer Association, the City Finance Department, and the former City Manager. By working together, we ensured that our city avoided the potential catastrophe of 16 vacant police officer positions.
After mutual agreement, the police officer positions have been held open with those wages divided among all other officers. The current vacancy report from the City Manager showed no vacant sworn officer positions.
Likewise, the Fire Department was having difficulties with retaining staff. The turnover rate was high, and the training of new fire staff was routine and expensive. Thankfully, our City Council, the Fire Department, Lompoc Fire Union, and city staff came together with a mutual agreement that was beneficial to all. Based on the most recent vacancy report, there are only two positions open, ensuring we meet the service obligations for the community of Lompoc.
While we still have much improvement to do, everybody who was responsible for avoiding vacancies should be commended.
For the members of our community, if there are concerns raised in the future regarding staffing levels, please feel free to contact me or our new City Manager Jim Throop to get the facts. It is imperative to recognize hearsay and misrepresentations that aim to incite fear in our town. As members of the community, know you can address these concerns at the quarterly Public Safety Commission meetings. Please see the City of Lompoc for meeting times and dates.
Lompoc City Councilman
Hoop structures need to be regulated
I loved reading the commentary by Lisa Bodrogi in the Oct. 13 edition concerning the infestation of hoop structures in the county. Comparing these structures to irrigation pipe and plastic ground cover is like comparing a landing strip to the control tower. Pipes present no visual impact, just like the landing strip. The hoops and the controller tower are visually obtrusive. The hoops should be regulated. Not everyone should be able to erect these structures when and wherever they want to.
Right now they seem to allow for the production of crops that don’t grow with much success year-round in our area, such as berries, tomatoes and marijuana.
Not only are the hoops an eyesore, but they can hide extensive marijuana grows, as witnessed by the 400,000 plant grow on Telephone Road. There are plenty more of the non-permitted grows hidden under these hoops, that are costing the county money. Many in our farming community use them for legitimate reasons, but there are those that push the envelope for profit in the illegal market.
No amount of “logical thinking” can convince me that these hoop structures are good.
Let’s get rid of them and bring back the green of the hills and not the glare of thousands of acres of plastic.