THE ELECTION over, Upland is in kind of a transitional period.

A change on the City Council is coming when Glenn Bozar replaces Ken Willis next month. Decisions on how to chop spending lie ahead.

In the meantime, there was Monday's council meeting, which was on the dull side. Not that it didn't have its moments.

Concern about homeless people in Memorial Park resurfaced. One neighbor told council members that a dozen seem to have taken up residence in the park, leaving 99-cent cans of beans and empty bottles of pricier stuff.

"Decent liquor, not the Ripple and crap we used to drink when we were younger," the neighbor clarified.

"Sorry," he added.

Councilman Gino Filippi, a wine expert, held his tongue.

A second neighbor said the transients are so brazen, they actually knocked on his door on Halloween to trick or treat, and maybe case his house.

Is he sure they were really homeless? Dressing like a hobo is a popular Halloween costume.

Just kidding. I wouldn't want to be one of these neighbors, which must be why one suggested the homeless be invited to camp north of 16th Street for a while, just to relocate the discomfort to a less-challenged neighborhood.

The election came up only briefly. "I'd like to congratulate those who were elected," said Mayor Ray Musser, who was one of them. "Mr. Bozart, do you have anything you'd like to say?"

To his credit, Mr. Bozar ignored the fact that his new boss doesn't know his name and simply said he's looking forward to being seated.


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(I guess we'll see at future meetings which first name the mayor uses with Mr. Bozart: Humphrey or Wolfgang Amadeus.)

Musser did redeem himself by disclosing a fascinating piece of information, namely, how much dough Upland has spent defending itself against a lawsuit over the Colonies development filed by San Bernardino County in 2006.

Upland has spent $5,751,362. No wonder we never hear about homeless lawyers.

"We've taken that out of our reserves," Musser said. Reserves have dipped to $932,000.

Speaking of Upland's finances, a special meeting took place Nov. 7 on that very topic. The gist is that despite axing one-fourth of its employees, all revenue goes to current expenses (and lawyers).

City Manager Stephen Dunn says Upland has $12 million in unfunded liabilities. No money is being set aside to replace vehicles, replace equipment, repair streets and alleys, pay for pensions already on the books or attract businesses.

Dunn would like further cuts to the $41 million budget to free up $2 million per year, or more.

New revenue might include a business license tax on major retailers. If employees agreed to pay their share of their pension, that would save $1.3 million.

Cuts could include contracting out for such services as engineering, inspection, fleet maintenance, information services, the library, the animal shelter and the biggies, police and fire.

This could get interesting.

Council members didn't come to any conclusions. So what else is new?

"We have wasted three months with the election because we didn't want to make waves," Councilwoman Debbie Stone said at the meeting. She urged her colleagues to let Dunn bring back options and to make decisions rather than pass the work along to a committee.

Councilman Brendan Brandt countered that he doesn't want to make a hasty decision that later proves to have been unnecessary but can't be undone.

He said he's wiling to put the work in to resolve the problems.

Vowed Brandt: "I don't care if we meet on a Wednesday night, a Thursday night, a Friday night, a Saturday morning."

Hey, he might not care, but I do.

All this will come up again at the Nov. 26 council meeting. (That's a Monday night, thankfully, not a Saturday morning.)

"They need to set priorities on how they want the city to be," Dunn told me after Monday's meeting.

If the priorities are, say, police, fire and streets, "that means the cuts have to come from somewhere else," Dunn said.

He's worried the council will cut only enough to meet his lowball figure of $2 million.

"I can use $3 million, $4 million a year, if you want me to take care of streets, take care of sidewalks, if you want me to take care of aesthetics - get some of the 'gracious living' back - or have a business attraction and retention program," Dunn said.

On Dec. 10 he expects to present proposals from San Bernardino County, CalFire and Rancho Cucamonga to take over the Fire Department and from San Bernardino County to take over the Police Department.

That should also be really interesting.

My question to Dunn was, aren't you putting the cart before the horse?

If the council decides Nov. 26 not to touch police and fire, then that takes the wind out of the Dec. 10 meeting.

"That means all the effort the agencies put in and my staff has put in would go down the drain, and that would be a shame," Dunn admitted. "Just a shame."

Uh-oh. Dunn might have some Ripple in his future.