Paige warns of more budget cuts next year; says district needs trump his less-government ideology

       District 3 City Councilmember Sean Paige gave a brief but sobering talk on the city budget at the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) membership meeting Nov. 19.

Sean Paige
Westside Pioneer photo

       One of his advisories was that the reductions in city services that have taken place over the past two years probably won't be enough. “I don't think we can get through the next year without more cuts,” he told the group of about 20 people at the Westside Community Center, also commenting that “the crisis of the city is serious. This is a multi-year challenge.”
       He pledged to keep seeking ways to limit the impacts on his district, which includes the older Westside. An example last month was convincing other councilmembers to support a three-month respite (through March 2010) for the city-owned Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site and community centers (including the Westside Center) - allowing more time to seek alternative funding to avoid closure. “I will fight for the things I need to fight for in this district,” he summarized.
       In such financially strapped times, he predicted that new leadership strategies will be required. His approach, he explained, has always been to “bend the rules” and now as a councilmember he's positioned “to make new rules.” As for community-spirited citizens, more help than ever will probably be required. “This is a city that gives, but how much can you ask?” he questioned. “I'm going to ask you to do more.”
       Paige shared with the attendees certain personal conflicts. For one thing, he is “fully cognizant that I'm appointed [by a council decision in October]. I didn't get a vote.”
       (Note: Accor-ding to the City Clerk's Office, Paige's term will run until April 2011. Whoever is elected to District 3 at that time will serve until 2013.)
       He also described himself as supporting libertarianism, a tax-skeptical, limited-government political philosophy based on freedom. With his career as a libertarian- oriented writer, “it's been a big transition for me - a perpetual bomb-thrower to come onto City Council,” he observed.
       However, in working on the city budget, “I had to put my ideology aside,” he said. “My district needs certain things.”

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