Chantal M. Lovell, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/07/2010 06:42:01 PM PDT

REDLANDS – Tea partiers filled the corners at the intersection of Redlands Boulevard and Orange Street Thursday night to protest the city’s ballot Measure A, which they said stands for “asinine.”

Members from the Redlands Tea Party Patriots, the Redlands Townhall Patriots and others held signs and chanted against the proposed half-cent sales tax, which goes to voters Nov. 2. They said the city needs to manage its resources better, not increase taxes.

“I think we have to send a message, to not only the politicians but also the people, that we have to stop spending if we’re going to avoid an endless debt situation,” said David Rempel of Colton. “Money is not real until it becomes tax money. That comes from us and we have to work for it. We just can’t work as fast as they spend it, so we have to get them to stop spending it.”

One Tea Party organizer said the solution to the city’s nearly $900,000 budget gap must come from the top, not tax payers.

“We believe there are more spending issues than revenue issues,” said Phillip Naman, a cabinet member of the Redlands Tea Party Patriots. “Taxes are a necessary evil to fund basic services, we all agree with that. We need to get the city trimmed back down to the basic services.”

Councilman Pete Aguilar said the tax is not intended to fill the revenue gap but rather to begin addressing some of the city’s long-neglected infrastructure needs.

“The goal isn’t to add money to our coffers,” Aguilar said. “The goal is to improve the Quality of Life of Redlands. It’s about addressing the infrastructure and improvements that have not happened over the last probably 15-20 years. I think we’re going to need to consider this if we want to make some improvements.”

But those participating in the “stop wasting our money rally” Thursday said the city must stop spending.

“Sooner or later somebody’s got to be the parent,” said Redlands Tea Party Patriots cabinet member Annie Rumary. “You can’t keep spending and then all of a sudden say `oops, we’re out of money.’ At some point you’ve got to say `no.”‘

Naman said department managers may be more willing to make cuts if rewarded for doing so.

“The problem is you’re having managers manage money that’s not their own,” Naman said. “I would love to see all managers get a financial incentive to be fiscally responsible. Give them 10 percent of whatever they save.”

Others in attendance agreed the council can find more cuts.

“We think they have a lot more cutting that can be done before they start cutting `essential’ services,” said Redlands Tea Party Patriot member Eric Wroolie.

Redlands residents have made it clear during council meetings and in a survey that they want streets and roads repaired and do not want police and fire cut any further, Aguilar said. The tax is a means of doing what the public wants.

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