The Riverside County Board of Supervisors recently voted to splurge $75,000 on a State of the County gathering later this year.
We understand why politicians like hosting big events to shake hands and grandstand, but this profligate spending sends the wrong message at a time when the county should demonstrate fiscal discipline (for a change).
“Supervisor Kevin Jeffries was the sole dissenting vote on whether to allocate the $75,000 from county contingency funds to cover the cost of the event, which in past years has received sponsorships from businesses and chambers of commerce to cover at least half of the expenses,” reported City News Service.
The event, set for Dec. 8 at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa near Cabazon, really doesn’t merit spending that much county money. If the supervisors really need to feel important, they should put the effort into getting sponsors to support the effort.
When Jeffries was chairman of the board in 2019 no such event was held and during COVID no such event was held in 2020 or 2021.
Can anyone really say, with a straight face, that anyone missed the event?
“Like state-of-the-city speeches hosted by Inland cities, the State of the County has been an opportunity for the five supervisors to share county accomplishments and milestones and discuss the future. Upper-level county staff and business leaders typically attend,” reported the Press-Enterprise in 2021.
In other words, it’s an event for county leaders to pat themselves on the back.
“We’re going to make this kind of a catch-up after two years that were horrible in all of our lives,” board Chairman Jeff Hewitt reportedly said at the meeting. “This is a county event that’s kind of a three-headed monster.”
Well, sure, but now this is a $75,000 three-headed monster of no actual value to taxpayers. The board should revisit this irresponsible spending binge and go back to the drawing board.
If they really need to hold this meeting, they should find sponsors and rely on sponsorships and ticket sales to make it happen. If they can’t, maybe that’s because no one really cares and it isn’t worth the expense.