By Anzell Loufas
Whether we want to or not, taxpayers are going to pay for Osby and Rozz’s vacation travel to the Philippines and Japan.
In spite of the many persons showing up at the council meeting and asking them to seek private donations, both Davis and Verder-Aliga voted to have the taxpayers pay for their foreign travel along with council members Pippen-Dew and Malgapo.
Verder-Aliga was so angry that the “common people” were speaking against the trip, that she crushed her water bottle in her right hand and the sound went over the microphone and you could hear the noise all the way in the back of the council chamber.
The city attorney said that the travel policy was changed in 2008, when Davis was the new mayor. Now it is no longer a conflict of interest for them to vote to fund their own travel to foreign countries…how convenient.
If not a legal conflict of interest, it certainly is ethically obscene in my opinion. As one citizen yelled out after their vote, “YOU HAVE NO SHAME!”
They made the $3100 sound like a pittance, but that is not the point. It’s the principle. They didn’t say a word about the $100+ per day per diem for this 18-day vacation that will be on their travel claims.
There are no economic development ideas, suggestions, tactics or policies that ever come out of these trips. The purpose of the trip is for their self-aggrandizement.
They know it.
We know it.
They know we know it.
And they still don’t care…
Perhaps those who think their trip is such a good idea could donate a few bucks to cover their travel. Or perhaps a few Skype calls to the Philippines and Japan could accomplish the same good will, and might even produce an actual working relationship with our sister cities without the shopping, midnight sushi and expensive hotels.
Council members should not be allowed to continue voting for their own self-interests. It’s wrong to spend city funds on a trip that is so obviously a personal benefit to them and of absolutely no benefit to the rest of the city. It is a moral and ethical conflict of interest if not a strict legal one.
Note: All opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin.