My piece last week on crime prompted a call from Supervisor Lovingood and we chatted about the idea being floated to ask voters for a new sales tax wholly dedicated to crime prevention people and projects.

Like me, Lovingood is a business owner and not a big fan of taxes for any reason, although, I must say, I much prefer sales tax increases rather than property or income tax or sneaky fee hikes. At least with a sales tax, everyone has some skin in the game and no one can escape paying something or get a “free pass” because of their income level.

My major concern, which I expressed to the supervisor, was how — after we raise the money for new jails, equipment and larger contracts for law enforcement personnel — will we here in contract cities be able to afford even more dollars going to our police budgets? It’s great for the county to raise all this capital, but how about those municipalities struggling to afford the understaffed sheriff’s stations we have now? Will the county share the tax dollars with us? Will they track the extra cop tax raised in Apple Valley and knock it off our bill or rebate it?

If not, the strain on local budgets will be at the breaking point. Will every city be forced — as Victorville is contemplating — to ask residents for more tax dollars if the county spends more new money to pay better salaries and upgrade equipment which amortized cost gets passed onto to local contract cities?

It’s a conundrum which Lovingood says is one reason why the major questions and problems with such a tax hike proposal need to be worked out in advance with local stakeholders before it goes to voters. Voters are likely to be unimpressed with “ironclad” promises that the new crime tax money will only be spent on crime issues. It will take some heavy quid pro quo horse trading with local municipalities or you could see smaller cities dis-incorporating purely because they can no longer afford to pay the bill for county sheriff or fire contracts.

Lovingood indicated there are some new ideas in the hopper to make any proposed tax hike more palatable to all who must live with it. You know it’s serious when almost all the locally elected officials who are conservative by nature are seriously talking about supporting tax hikes.

Mr. Lovingood is pulling resources and ideas together and plans, he said, to share some of these ideas with all of us through newspaper editorials in the coming weeks to help kickstart meaningful dialog about solutions. That will be interesting reading, for those who read a newspaper.

What would it take for you to vote "Yes" on a new sales tax dedicated to county law enforcement? How much should it be? Should it be a forever tax or have a sunset clause?

Now is the time for your constructive ideas to be heard — not just negative comments — while the plan is in the formative stage. Are there other legitimate options to fight the crime epidemic in felon-friendly California?

Quality junk this weekend

The second and last Rockin’ Flea Market of 2017 will be held at Lion’s Park this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. This huge display of someone else’s junk features food, music and so many things you can’t do without. You just must go and see for yourself.

Occasionally, I catch myself watching a show on cable called “Flea Market Flip” and it is amazing what some creative people can do with a piece of junk they pick up at a flea market to repurpose and flip for a nice profit. Whether you are looking to find a fixer-upper dresser for the guest bedroom or a frame for Aunt Tilde’s yarn-weaved picture of a duck in flight, this is your place.

If you have quality junk to sell yourself, call 760-240-7000 ext. 7071. It may not be too late to get a good spot. Get there early, good junk goes first!

Environment versus state pensions

It’s not unusual for big unions to side with the environmental lobby against big, bad conservatives because as we all know, liberals care first and foremost about every living thing and want to nurture and protect the world at large and all its beings. Then it came to pass that the environmentalists launched an attack on the investment habits of CalPERS. “Why,” they demanded to know, “did the largest public pension fund in America keep making money (investment returns) off oil, tobacco and other companies that rape and pillage, not only Mother Earth, but our very citizenry?

CalPERS and CalSTRS have billions in unfunded pension liabilities and any threat to the investment strategy that produces substantial returns could be more devastating that the truth they already face.

Immediately springing to action, union officials from various public employee organizations lined up to testify that CalPERS and CalSTRS could not afford to “leave any money on the table” when it comes to investment returns and derided any effort to withdraw investment dollars from profitable companies on the environmentalist’s hit list.

You see, there are things liberals say they believe in and things they really believe in. Of topmost importance is never threaten my income or retirement. I don’t care how bad the environment is if my check is good every month.

Not so different from those evil conservatives after all, eh?