Measure S is highly misleading. Rather than ask for what is needed to pay for a new jail, the sheriff has created a sales tax monster that would cost twice as much as is required and be in effect for the next 14 years.

At a time when families and small businesses are struggling to balance budgets and are learning to get by with less, local government bureaucrats and our elected officials are still avoiding living within their means.

If one is to actually believe that a new jail is necessary — and many don’t — then the amount of money asked for should be the amount it takes to build the jail. That would be an honest proposition. As it is, the slush fund created by Measure S would be split three ways among law enforcement, fire departments and intervention programs.

I suppose the idea was to get people behind spending money on public safety and more social programs. I doubt it will work. It is obvious that the real winners here would be local governments, which can avoid dealing with the hard decisions of cutting out the fat.

Government needs to learn to balance the budget just like everyone else, and that includes putting money aside for future capital expenditures. Social programs for those breaking the law are not the kind of frills our county needs right now.

If anyone wants to see the result of this kind of liberal mindset, where the hijacking of personal responsibility becomes the government’s mission, just take a look at lower Milpas Street, where the City of Santa Barbara has created a blighted zone of drunks, dopers and misfits with its open door homeless shelter.

It is said that if Measure S passes, our sales tax would go down. This is not true. Our state sales tax is due to drop 1 cent, and if the sheriff’s tax passes we would get a net drop of a half-cent. The Sheriff’s Department and government in general need to get back to basics, and that includes using simple math. If you need X amount of money, don’t ask for 2X.

Vote no on Measure S.

John Culbertson