joncoupal hp

The good Proposition 13 — the one from 1978, not the $15 billion school bond currently on electoral life support — was the beginning of the modern tax revolt movement.

 

That movement spread across the United States and even into Europe in addition to spawning several additional initiatives here in California. But it’s the bad Prop. 13 on last week’s ballot that is currently generating a statewide buzz because it appears to be headed for failure. Could this be the beginning of Tax Revolt 2.0?

 

The 2020 version of Prop. 13 was a massive $15 billion school facility bond measure, the largest such bond in state history. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association led the opposition with a guerrilla-style campaign relying on a relatively modest $250,000 statewide radio buy, social media and nearly a hundred interviews with television, radio and print media. This was in comparison to the more than $20 million spent by Gov. Gavin Newsom and his allies.

Because there are millions of absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted, it is possible that Prop. 13’s losing margin will shrink. But no matter the outcome, politicians have been put on notice that voters are growing increasingly weary of hundreds of bond and tax measures confronting them at the state and local level in every election cycle.

 

Here’s what taxpayers can take away from the March primary election:

 

The first is what we’ll call the “Proposition 13 blame game.”

 

Casting about for a reason to explain why Prop. 13 is failing, the author of the bond measure, Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach, is blaming voter confusion. That is why we look forward to supporting O’Donnell’s proposal to take Prop. 13 out of the ballot number rotation.

 

At HJTA, we have seen Prop. 13 used as a scapegoat for more than four decades. But if the bond measure fails, the blame will belong to Gov. Newsom, both for failing to properly gauge the California electorate and for cobbling together a strange mix of special interests to ride along on the bond’s assumed passage.

 

The measure included language that waived local developer fees and increased local bond debt caps. Bond proponents reportedly begged him for a smaller bond that did not include funding for UC and CSU colleges, advice that was disregarded. Prop. 13 was constructed in a haphazard manner with late changes and add-ons, finally coming together just days before the legislative session ended. The governor became the face of the campaign. Voters were unimpressed.

 

Another trend to monitor is the widespread defeat of numerous local bond and parcel taxes.

 

According to data from the California Taxpayers Association, voters have rejected nearly half of the 236 local tax and bond measures on the March ballot and another 56 remain too close to call. This is a remarkable statistic considering the history of local revenue measures in California.

This is in response to your obvious prejudicial report on March, 11, 2020, regarding our Sutter County District Attorney, Ms. Amanda Hopper.

 

One would think if you are going to report on a person, you would get your facts straight.

 

My wife and I have known Amanda Hopper and her parents since she was a little girl..

 

She is known throughout the community as extremely religious, honest and above board, much to the chagrin of some.

 

You said she was intimate with Sara Easton’s husband without a shred of proof, other than your friend, who will remain anonymous at this time which is an outright lie.

 

You also failed to mention in your falsehood that Amanda divorced her immoral husband for all his indiscretions, with no contact afterwards.  

 

I would think if you are the reporter you profess to be, you owe Amanda a huge apology.

 

Disrespectfully,

Ray Emerson

Yuba City, Ca.

 

Editors Note:  Both Lou and I have great respect for Amanda's parents and family and have also known them for many years. You do not have any idea of the investigation and interviews that occurred before this article was published. It is very possible that a murder occurred here that appears to be going nowhere. Justice for Sara is the issue; ignoring facts and preferential treatment is not in the best interest of Sara. Until this issue is resolved legally  there will be a cloud over Amanda's head.

 

There’s an ongoing discussion over the renaming of Fifth Street, Marysville.  Local citizen and business owner John Nicoletti and others have proposed renaming the street after Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. They would like to honor King year-round, rather than just on a federal holiday. Naming a street for Dr King would also be a way to openly celebrate the area’s diversity.

 

Not everyone agrees. An opposing camp asks, “What did Martin Luther King have to do with Marysville? He never came here, he never lived here.”  Some on this opposing side would like to remind everyone that Marysville is a Gold Rush town and that renaming Fifth Street with a Gold Rush name such as Gold Rush Boulevard or Gold Country Way would be a smart way to honor its history and also to attract needed tourism to the area.

Back in its colorful heyday, Marysville was the stopping point for the riverboats that brought prospectors to the digging grounds after gold was discovered in 1848. The population was almost 10,000 in the 1850s due to its strategic riparian location. According to Wikipedia, over 10 million dollars in gold was shipped to the US Mint from Marysville banks. Such was its prosperity that the city’s founders imagined Marysville becoming the New York City of the West Coast.

 

But gold, and the greed for gold, ultimately led to Marysville’s decline.

 

Debris loosed by hydraulic mining above the bustling town raised the riverbeds of the Feather and the Yuba and made the city vulnerable to serious flooding during winter storms and spring snowmelt. The same mining debris also choked off the Feather River and soon the riverboats could no longer reach Marysville.  Other adverse environmental impacts include the ravaging of forests for timber and pollution of fertile soil by chemicals used in mining.

 

Gold mining also gave rise to a plethora of social ills such as price gouging, prostitution, alcoholism and opium dens. The Chinese population were driven underground and in 1886, all Marysville’s Chinese residents were driven violently out of town.

 

But no population suffered more than the Native Americans. While local numbers are hard to come by, it is documented that in the first two years of the California Gold Rush, 100,000 Native Americans lost their lives due to disease, mining accidents or violent clashes with settlers.  Those who survived were likely to be enslaved by settlers since in spite of California’s anti-slavery laws, enslavement of Native Americans was common. A slave’s wife could be raped and his children forced to labor in the mines.

 

To put it bluntly, the gold era was not something to be proud of.

 

Rather than romanticizing the Gold Rush, should we not choose a more realistic name for Fifth Street, such as Devastation Drive, Syphilis Avenue, or Genocide Boulevard?

 

I propose we support John Nicoletti and his MLK idea. Streets named for Dr King are found in many cities of the US and in nearly every major metropolis. Thirteen cities have freeways named after him. But of the more than 955 MLK-themed streets, not one is in Yuba County nor in any of the neighboring counties such as Sutter, Placer or Colusa.

 

As Steve Miller wrote recently in an Appeal-Democrat editorial, Martin Luther King was an American hero whose voice made a difference for all races, religions and cultures. He affected all communities in all parts of the nation.

King was such an influential figure that touched all of our lives through advocacy of civil rights, compassion, fair treatment, dignity and the building of bridges between diverse cultures; you could say that in many ways he was the antithesis of what was wrong with the Gold Rush. And in that sense, he had everything to do with Marysville. 

 

-Maree Gauper

Wheatland, Ca.

By Richard Crist, OMD

 

crist

 

     Will all those programs that address global warming, universal healthcare, family nutrition, affordable housing, sustainable minimum wages, affordable daycare, paid leave, job security, affordable higher education, adequate retirement, and a dignified safety net; will they lead America into socialism? Are they radical, far left, extravagant unnecessary luxuries? Or do they represent commonsense necessities that most people need, and are meant to help you live safe, healthy, and productive lives?

 

     The "Programs" that have been suggested to address the above needs have been labeled "Liberal," "Socialism," and "Unaffordable" By "Billionaire," "Moderate Left," and "Conservative Right" candidates that are running for President in 2020. These billionaires and their representives act like they are afraid they're going to pay for those programs. For the billionaires this maybe true.

 

 

     When you examine them you'll see that these programs are designed to help you, the working/nonworking people, to live healthy sustainable lives. And in doing so, they will help decrease the wealth gap between those who have and those who have-not, that's so blatantly huge.

 

     The Wealthy-Elite, who know they're entitled, they know they have the right, that they deserve everything they can get, by right of their birth and position; and they've no consciousness or thought, about perpetrating whatever they need-to-do, against whoever they need-to-do-it-to, to maintain their wealth and power over you.

     To the Wealthy-Elite this has never been "Immoral Behavior" because their "Morality" applies only to the people within their world of opulence; you and everyone outside their circle don't belong, your not real to them, your an inanimate object, an expendable cog in their infrastructure. The entire Working/NonWorking Class of people has been dehumanized by the Wealthy-Elite, for centuries, in maintaining their wealth by controlling you. 

 

     By you seeing how this Wealthy-Elite continuously supplement their wealth from Giant-Corporate Industry's; and seeing how these industries dehumanize you to keep those high-profits rolling in, should help you understand your situation; along with taking a snapshot look at three industry's that aren't even the worst offenders.

 

     BigPharma, an industry that's essential to the people they serve. They've conspired with the government to keep prescription drug prices at or above what the market will bare, reaping in unheard-of-profits.

     They've marketed opiates recklessly to the public, addicting a generation of people to drugs, for the sole purpose of high-profits.

 

     They have set back the research on autism forty years. Autism is diagnosed from birth to early childhood, and has gone from 1-in-10,000 in 1980 to 1-in-50 in 2020, and is supposedly still-a-mystery. Turning vaccines from a loser into a high-profit business during that same forty-year period.

 

     Telecom, another essential industry, has addicted the entire Nation, exposing people to excessive cell-phone radiation. Government studies have shown several cancers and many adverse health conditions that are directly connected with cell-phone use and living near cell-towers (1500'). Instead of telecom learning, trying to protect the public, and decrease exposure; without retesting, they attacked the studies, and the people who created them, continuing to raking in high-profits.

 

     Telecom has constantly used an obscure phrase in the 1996 Telecom Act that supposedly allow cell-tower installations regardless of the adverse medical effects to the public; continuously exposing everyone to this harmful radiation.

 

     Telecom has fought warning labels, with full knowledge of the science, that would alert you to the danger of cancer and other conditions, when having a cell-phone close to your body.

 

     When GMO's were found to cause health problems, again instead of working to protect the public, this time "BigFood" (now heavily owned by the cigarette industry) attacked the studies and the people doing them. They also fought warning labels that would alert the public and give them the choice of not purchasing GMO infected foods.

 

     BigFood has a bad history of fighting good nutrition with false claims that promote "high-profit process foods" over "natural foods." The "Western Diet," which was created by BigFood, maybe the unhealthiest diet in the world, with fat-free foods containing 200% more sugar than it's fat containing rivals. Diet beverages contributing to weight gain, and pizza being considered a vegetable in your child's federal school lunch program. All contributing to obesity.

 

          I'm not a Democrat or Republican because I believe both party leaderships main support is for wealthy "Giant-Corporate Industry's" interests. These Party leaders give us candidates that promote and perpetuate this culture that disproportionably benefits the wealthy; giving us very little in return for our vote. I also believe that these social programs are drastically needed to help bring all working/nonworking people's standard of living up to where their lives are sustainable, and for us to live our lives with dignity.

 

Note: Here is the condensed Google description: "The term socialism refers to any system in which the production and distribution of goods and services is a shared responsibility of a group of people. Socialism is based upon economic and political theories that advocate for collectivism. In a state of socialism, there is no privately owned property."

As an NYWD customer I am grateful that there are people asking questions on behalf of the public good, in Public Record Requests.

 

There are NO discussions at the public board meetings between the directors themselves. It appears that if a director had an idea, a question, or recommendation that the director must go to the G.M. for an answer in private. The ideas, recommendations, or resolutions are put on a consent calendar, not discussed in open forum.

 

The consent items always pass without public hearing any positive or negative discussion. If the public objects they are told they have the opportunity to question their director privately (that being within a very short time). Only 48 hours between release of board packet and public meeting.

 

I think Ms. Casey has a misunderstanding when she reports how easy it would be for Ms. Flohr to obtain the information all of which, she as a director is entitled). I believe that her requests for documents and information via the office staff and G.M. are unfairly denied. Therefore the requests are filed through legal means.

 

            Let us all remember that it was Alton Wright who lead and guided us through defeating the excessive rate increase of 2015 and is still involved.

 

            Please note, that I too, cost the district almost $1,600.00 in records requests for the 2019 year.

 

Donna Corson

Dobbins, Ca

by Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

 

joncoupal hp

A couple of months ago, this column sounded the alarm concerning the big statewide school bond on the March 2020 ballot.

 

Voters have already started casting their ballots on this measure, ironically identified as Proposition 13 (2020). Unlike the beneficial Prop. 13 from 1978, this Prop. 13 is a huge $15 billion statewide school bond that threatens taxpayers in several ways. And the more we learn about this proposal, the worse it gets.

 

Although the amount of debt is “only” $15 billion — setting a new record for school bonds — the total cost will be $27 billion when interest costs are added.

 

We also pointed out that Prop. 13 (2020) is a huge threat to California property owners. While it is true that the bond itself, plus interest, will be repaid out of the state’s general fund, local school districts are usually required to provide matching funds. Those matching funds are generated by local bond measures, which are repaid exclusively by property owners. The threat to homeowners is that, if Prop. 13 (2020) passes, those debt limits are nearly doubled.

 

After our original column ran back in November concerning the debt limit increase, several taxpayers inquired as to where that language could be found in the text of Prop. 13 in the ballot pamphlet, the state’s Official Voter Information Guide. And there’s the rub. Proposition 13 (2020) was placed on the ballot by the legislature through the passage of Assembly Bill 48.

 

The language of the law relating to the debt limit, under the terms of the bill, takes effect if Prop. 13 passes. However, this language relating to the debt limit is nowhere to be found in the text of the ballot measure that is printed in the voter guide.

 

The provisions of AB48 regarding the local debt caps aren’t the only provisions not appearing in the printed text of Prop. 13. The same is true with the language relating to the preferences for construction projects that employ “project labor agreements.”

 

These agreements, as noted previously, can result in 25-30% higher construction costs and freeze out non-union construction companies from competing for the business. That’s money that could actually be spent building and refurbishing more school projects that benefit our children.

 

What’s the response to criticism that the voter guide is missing many of the important provisions of AB 48 that will take effect if Prop. 13 (2020) passes?

 

First, it is argued that it’s a common practice in ballot measures to incorporate additional legal provisions by reference to them. To require that the full and complete text of the law be included in the ballot pamphlet could substantially increase the costs of printing ballot material. Second, other material in the voter guide summarizes the provisions of AB 48 that would take effect with Prop. 13’s passage.

 

We don’t buy it, especially in the context of Prop. 13 (2020). The provision increasing the debt limits is short and could easily have been included in the text of the measure so that voters could actually read it. At a minimum the voter guide should include a statement at the start of the printed text of the law explaining that other provisions would also become law if the proposition passes, and there should be a link printed in the booklet that allows voters to find and read the text online.

 

It is regrettable that there is a lack of transparency with respect to the impact the passage of Prop. 13 (2020) would have. Our political leaders have perfected to an art form the ability to keep things hidden from voters and taxpayers. They need to be held accountable at the ballot box and we can begin that process by voting no on the 2020 measure that’s labeled Prop. 13.

Vote NO; It’s the neighborly thing to do. Voting NO on taxes and bonds encourages our elected officials to use creative problem solving. When we vote to approve bonds and other methods of taxation, we are voting to force our neighbors to pay or risk the loss of their property.

 

When the Yuba County Supervisors were unable to use disputed Measure K funds, they buckled down, put their heads together and figured out how to pay for the public safety improvements they wanted without the Measure K sales tax, demonstrating that if there is a NO VOTE, officials will find a way.

 

The cost of a bond is double the asked amount and paid over 30+ years; a $15M bond will cost about $30M. Yuba College is already collecting four bonds and is asking for a 5th. Plumas Lake School District levied a special tax and now wants a bond; Wheatland Union High School is asking for a 2nd bond. And at current growth rates, WUHS will probably be asking for a 3rd in the next 10 years to build another school.

 

Voting NO will protect your neighbors’ pocketbooks, and force officials to think outside the box. Is there a donation button on any of their websites? Let’s join together and VOTE NO on ALL BONDS and TAXES, regardless of how charismatic the official, how earnest the plea, or how noble the cause. Ignore the scare tactics. Do the neighborly thing . . . VOTE NO

 

Johnna Bartholomew

Wheatland Ca.

by Rick Dais.

 

In 2009 Live Oak water well #5 was decommissioned over nitrate issues.  Eleven years later and over a million dollars in cost overruns; a replacement well #7, is nowhere near completion!  The City staff doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry.

 

In contrast, at 10 a.m. on January 30 this author collected some dis-incorporation papers from the local Sutter County LAFCO.  By 11:08 a.m. Live Oak City staff was already raising the alarm. Nice to know they have a pulse after all.

 

Why the great concern on the part of Live Oak staff?  If the dis-incorporation is approved by Live Oak citizens after a mandatory election, Live Oak City Hall and our ill-fated Live Oak City Council will disappear. Sutter County will then assume all functions carried out by the City of Live Oak. The dis-incorporation process is still in early infancy. Hopefully a lot more public debate will ensue. After all this is an election year.

 

Voters should note the County already provides our two main services; fire and law enforcement.  The latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report indicates Sutter County performs these two critical functions way more economically then Live Oak provides less critical services such as Parks and Recreation.

 

More information on the dis-incorporation proposal will be forthcoming.  I and others look forward to talking with the hard working citizens of Live Oak about this exciting development. I can be reached at (530) 844.4757

The North Yuba Water District was formed on July 22, 1952 as an independent special district.  It is a multi-county agency, as a portion of its northern boundary extends into Butte County. Yuba County's LAFCO has jurisdiction over this district. 

 

At this time the water district is:

 

  • Proceeding to build an undersized pipe with support from the Yuba Water Agency
  • Trying to avoid CEQA documentation for its Forbestown Ditch Piping Project
  • Is in an argument with South Feather over water sales
  • Ignoring a request from South Feather to start a dialog over their 2005 agreement
  • Has the General Manager denying district documents to a duly elected director, that would be provided to any other director
  • Being sued by one of its own directors
  • Is not transparent and ignores questions about its activities 
  • Paying a publicist $40,000 to improve its public relations image
  • Has earned a widespread reputation for having governance problems
  • In the last nine years, has had a number of "short" seasons and complete failures to provide water to its irrigation customers.
  • Is publicly attacking private citizens through its tax-payer funded newsletter

One could characterize the North Yuba Water District as troubled. Not just troubled but engaging in actions of questionable legality.  The Yuba County Board of Supervisors, having jurisdiction over this troubled water district, bears the responsibility to see this district properly functions for the benefit of all of its customers.

 

It is not the job of the district's customers or private citizens to undertake correcting the way this water district is being mismanaged.  That responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the County Supervisors.

It is this Board of Supervisor's responsibility to address and fix the troubled North Yuba Water District.

 

Charles Sharp

NYWD Customer

Oregon House, Ca

The new bond if passed could add another 20% to our taxes which in my case was added in 4 parts over 4 years time for just a single bond because the initial tax and 3 that followed could not cover all the interest.  That bond was passed 10 years ago after passed by  3 of the 4 counties to which it was presented.  As usual, most of those  voting did not have to pay for it themselves, not being property owners.  I own a small farm in Sutter.   

 

 Joan Joaquin Wood

Sutter, Ca.

It seems to me Pelosi should be impeached. She wasn’t elected to go after President Trump. Pelosi was elected to help people in the United States of America, to have a better life and to take care of issues important to our people; such as: health issues, the homeless issue, the drug problems( both legal and illegal), senior issues, high cost of hospitals, 75% of Veterans are homeless, meat from without country of origin labeling – 2 of our Biggest Packers in the USA are from South America and John Batisita Sobriano was arrested and jailed for bribing meat inspectors and he is still importing meat to the USA and 67 people went to the hospital last year with E.coli.

 

If that isn’t enough problems Pelosi should be leading our government down a better path to prosperity in the USA. Pelosi is wasting time and money going after President Trump when the population elected him – but we did not elect her, and the next vote will take care of changing the President, if the people don’t want to keep him. How do we get her to do her job, instead of wasting time and money in Congress when she was elected to do her job not chasing after the President.  Shame on her. She’s a disgrace to our country and an embarrassment to President Trump, to the rest of the world.

 

Louise Ahart

Marysville, Ca

     If you are a customer of North Yuba Water District (NYWD), you recently received the District’s January 2020 newsletter in the mail.  Did you read it?  There is some very disturbing news on Page 2 regarding the number of Public Record Requests (PRA’s) submitted to the district between January and November 2019.  Nine individuals and one organization submitted a total of 106 PRA’s, an unusually high number for a small agency such as the NYWD.   According to the newsletter,  94 of the 106 PRA’s were submitted by just three individuals:  Charles Sharp (an irrigation customer) made 24 requests, Alton Wright (not a customer) made 30, and the grand prize goes to our newest Director, Gretchen Flohr, who made 40 requests for information.  These 94 PRA’s cost the district a whopping total of $53,994.30 in legal fees out of the total of $60,394.80 billed. 

 

    Now keep in mind, as a director of the water district, Director Flohr is privy to district information that can be obtained directly from the manager or office staff, which could avoid the need for legal research and costs.   At least twice during board meetings, other directors have advised her that they go directly to the office whenever they need more information.  She can email the office, call or go personally into the office with her questions.  Apparently she is not using any of these options and prefers to submit her PRA’s directly to the legal team.  Why? I can concede that she could be asking for some items that are best handled and explained by the district’s lawyers, but 40+ times seems quite excessive. The legal bill she alone has racked up is almost $50,000!!!  And this figure will most likely go up when December’s legal bills for PRA’s are calculated into 2019’s yearly total.

 

     I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am more than just a little angry to see district money (yours and mine) unnecessarily paying lawyers if this could easily be avoided and the money used for more worthy needs. To me, this shows a total disregard for protecting district assets on Flohr’s part.   As I perceive the job of board directors, they are responsible for the needs of their constituents in their own divisions but, most of all, for the overall health of the district.  And it is our job, as customers and tax-payers alike, to pay attention to what this board director is doing with one of our most valuable assets in our foothills, our water district.  Director Flohr seems to be thumbing her nose at the district and its customers and pursuing a very expensive path where our water district is concerned.

 

Nancy Casey

Brownsville, CA

I have known Ms. Spies for over 20 years and have found her to hold whatever office she has held in the utmost regard for doing a fair, impartial, and complete manner.  Being from the local area, raised here since an early age, she has strong ties to the community.  What she has she has earned herself and worked hard for it, completing her degrees and law school while being a single mom and working full time (not just at one job, but often two).  Having started in the courts as a clerk and worked her way up, she has a complete knowledge of the court process.  She continues to expand her knowledge of the court system and process with ongoing education.  Now that she is a sitting judge (pro tem) she has already obtained the knowledge and experience needed to be a judge.  As a clerk, court manager, attorney, and judge pro-tem, she has knowledge and experience in all aspects of the courts; Civil law, family law, criminal law, and juvenile cases.  Lastly, she has the life experiences to be firm, compassionate, and thorough. You bet I endorse her.

 

James Casner

Retired Lieutenant, SCSO

Retired 1SG US Army

Yuba City, Ca.

To the Property Owners of Yuba, Sutter and surrounding counties

In March, Yuba Community College is again asking to add to your real estate taxes; more money for the Junior College.

 

This is in the form of a Bond Issue, in March Election.

 

They are already collecting on your taxes 4 times for previous Bond issues. They want more and more dollars.

Check your property tax statement. You’ll see what I mean.

 

Stop this endless money grab by voting  NO IN MARCH.

 

Darryl Schmidt

Yuba City, Ca.

by Jon Coupal, President of HJTA

 

 

joncoupal hpRecently, this column exposed the foolishness of two proposed statewide bond measures: A $15 billion school bond, which will be on the March 3 ballot, as well as a “climate resiliency” bond.

Both are horribly flawed for several reasons, not the least of which that it makes no sense for California to go further into debt when we have a large surplus.

 

But at the local level, taxpayers need to be aware of a recent resurgence in the use of pension obligation bonds, a risky financing method that fell out of favor during the recession but is now making a comeback.

 

Fortunately, there is more scrutiny on this form of debt financing than in years past, which may help to dissuade our elected leaders from making ill-advised decisions.

 

There is a technical definition of POBs set forth below but we prefer a definition that most people can understand: A POB is basically paying your Visa bill with your MasterCard.

 

Here’s the technical definition: Pension obligation bonds (POBs) are bonds issued to fund, in whole or in part, the unfunded portion of public pension liabilities by the creation of new debt.

 

The use of POBs relies on an assumption that the bond proceeds, when invested with pension assets in higher-yielding assets, will be able to achieve a rate of return that is greater than the interest rate owed over the term of the bonds.

 

Back in 2003, the state of California attempted to float a statewide pension obligation bond without voter approval.

 

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association sued to invalidate the bonds and prevailed in court.

 

For HJTA, the assumption of any long-term financial obligation by a government entity should be approved by those financially obligated for the repayment. That means the taxpayers.

 

More recently, others have questioned the return of POBs as a strategy to deal with unfunded pension obligations. State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, and Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector Shari Freidenrich, in an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, sharply criticized a plan by the city of Huntington Beach to use POBs to paper over that city’s growing obligations to CalPERS.

 

While many try to paint CalPERS as the bad actor — probably deserved in some cases — Huntington Beach’s wounds are mostly self-inflicted: It made promises to the public employee unions that are not sustainable over the long term.

 

As Moorlach and Freidenrich argue, “converting a soft debt into a hard debt, with bondholders unwilling to make payment schedule adjustments, may come to haunt POB issuers in the future.”

 

And it’s not just fiscal watchdogs who are worried about the resurgence of POBs.

 

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), an association of officials employed by government entities, has issued a stern warning: “POBs involve considerable investment risk. Failing to achieve the targeted rate of return burdens the issuer with both the debt service requirements of the taxable bonds and the unfunded pension liabilities that remain unmet because the investment portfolio did not perform as anticipated. In recent years, local jurisdictions across the country have faced increased financial stress as a result of their reliance on POBs, demonstrating the significant risks associated with these instruments for both small and large governments.”

The GFOA unequivocally states that local governments should not issue POBs.

 

The reasons for this recommendation include the fact that “the invested POB proceeds might fail to earn more than the interest rate owed over the term of the bonds, leading to increased overall liabilities for the government,” and “issuing taxable debt to fund the pension liability increases the jurisdiction’s bonded debt burden and potentially uses up debt capacity that could be used for other purposes.”

 

Unfortunately, some municipalities are ignoring these warnings.

 

In addition to Huntington Beach, the city of Simi Valley is likewise pursuing a POB issuance and has filed a “validation action” in the courts to insulate the bond against future legal challenge.

 

Californians face enough risks from fires, floods, droughts and earthquakes.

 

There is no reason we should assume the man-made threat of risky bonds, especially at a time when we are being told that a recession is just around the corner.

 

If local elected leaders believe that pension obligation bonds are a good deal, they need to convince their citizens and get voter approval.

*Under Measure C Yuba Community College District is asking for authority to issue $228.4 million in bonds. We are currently paying on four bonds:

 

Series A - $29,504,047 - Ends 8/1/2031 - 11 years remaining
Series B - $65,492,278 - Ends 8/1/2046 - 26 years remaining
Series C - $34,935,795 - Ends 8/1/2050 - 30 years remaining
Series D - $26,500,000 - Ends 8/1/2039 - 19 years remaining

 

  • *In addition, the College District issued $33,565,000 in new bonds on October 16, 2019 under Measure Q passed by the voters in 2016. You will start to see this on your property taxes for 2020 and it will continue for many years.
  • The district is paying $310,000 a year in rent for an administration building on Plumas Street in Yuba City. The administration offices should be located on the Yuba College campus where they were located for many years!
  • The district is paying its top four administrators a total of just under $1 million. Nearly 20 employees are making $200,000 or more, 75 receive $150,000 a year and one hundred eighty-six make more than $100,000 a year.
  • The district has a pension debt of over $52 million and an unfunded retiree healthcare debt of $48 million – which continue to rise causing a hole in the district budget.
  • *The 31-item project list for Measure C, is extremely general in nature citing such things as “heating, ventilation and cooling systems, irrigation piping systems, maintenance issues, electrical systems and wiring, automotive, plumbing, sewer and drainage systems, decaying walls, old ceiling tiles and flooring, leaky roofs” and many others which should be taken care of by routine maintenance. The project list is very similar to the list provided for Measure Q approved by the voters in 2016.
  • *Measure C will cost property owners $23 to $25 per 100,000 dollars of assessed valuation. Rents and costs for goods and services will go up to cover the increased tax.
  • *Vote No on C. Don’t put more debt on our citizens, children and grandchildren!

Liz Cervantes

Yuba City, Ca

By Stephen Frank

 

In California alone, the added cost of “renewable” mandates on the utility companies adds $800 million a year to the cost of electricity.  That is a tax on the people of California.  Money taken from families and business, given to utilities that then give it to politically connected alternative energy companies—using climate change as the excuse to fleece us.

 

Lets’ be clear about what that means. First, it’s not renewable energy, it’s only renewable electricity, and more accurately its only intermittent electricity. Renewables have been the primary driver for residents of Germany, Australia, and California behind the high costs of electricity. Second and most important is, electricity alone is unable to support militaries, aviation, and merchant ships, and all the transportation infrastructure that support commerce around the world.

 

Everyone knows that electricity is used extensively in residential, commercial, transportation, and the military, to power motors and lite the lights; but it’s the 6,000 products that get manufactured from crude oil that are used to make those motors, lights, and electronics. Noticeable by their absence, from turbines and solar panels, are those crude oil chemicals that renewables are currently incapable of providing.”

 

This going to get worse.  By 2030 half the cars sold in California must be electric—Without oil, oil or nuclear power, the financial cost will be massive.  Money needed for families, for innovation will instead go to the politically connected, donors to the politicians than mandate high costs.  The good news is that Texas will welcome you—as will Idaho, Florida and most of the U.S.

I would just like to say that I fully endorse Terry Spies for Yuba County Superior Court Judge. I spent 30+ years working for the Sutter County Sheriff’s Office and retired on June 30, 2018. My last 12 years of service were as a Captain. I was twice the Division Commander of the Operations Division. I spent 4 years as the Jail Commander working directly with judges. I spent 1 year as Commander of the Support Services Division. Prior to that, I was a patrol sergeant, deputy, and NET 5 Narcotic Agent. I have a lot of experience in the courtroom. I have known Terry Spies most of my career including the years she worked in the Sutter Courts.

 

Terry Spies is the only qualified candidate with the education and most importantly the experience to be Superior Court Judge in Yuba County. She has been a temporary judge in Yuba County Superior Court for the last 3-years. She is currently the Yuba County Superior Court Self-Help Attorney, Yuba County Family Law Facilitator, and Yuba County Superior Court Family Court Services Director. I believe she will continue to do a great job of representing the interests of the citizens of Yuba County. Her experience in the courts will give her the insight to be fair, impartial, and thorough in her decisions.

 

Vote Terry Spies for Yuba County Superior Court Judge.

 

Dave Samson

Bangor, Ca.

Captain-Division Commander (Retired)

by Pat Miller, President Sutter County Taxpayers Association

 

Yuba Community College District wants more of our tax dollars – this time $228.4 Million!  They have a lot of nerve since we are currently paying on four Yuba College School Bonds as follows. 

 

Series A - $29,504,047 - Ends 8/1/2031 - 11 years remaining
Series B - $65,492,278 - Ends 8/1/2046 - 26 years remaining
Series C - $34,935,795 - Ends 8/1/2050 - 30 years remaining
Series D - $26,500,000 - Ends 8/1/2039 - 19 years remaining

 

In reviewing the 31-item project list for Measure C, it is extremely general in nature citing such things as “heating, ventilation and cooling systems, irrigation piping systems, maintenance issues, electrical systems and wiring, automotive, plumbing, sewer and drainage systems, decaying walls, old ceiling tiles and flooring, leaky roofs” and many others.  The project list is very similar to the list provided for Measure Q approved by the voters in 2016.  The majority of the items listed should have been taken care of under the previous bond and on-going routine maintenance.  Why weren’t they? 

 

Perhaps it is because the District has a $52 million pension debt, a $48 million unfunded retiree healthcare debt, is paying $310,000 a year in rent for an Administration office in downtown Yuba City--which should be located on the college campus--and pays top administrators $200,000 to $300,000 a year in salaries and benefits. 

 

The college district includes all of Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties and portions of Butte, Glenn, Lake, Placer and Yolo counties.

 

Those of you who rent should be concerned – if property taxes go up, your rent will probably go up to cover the increase. 

 

If approved, the total cost is estimated to be $412 million.

 

VOTE NO ON MEASURE C!

By Richard Crist, OMD

 

     "The Constitution," gives Americans the idea that the government was created for them, to protect their person, property, and liberty. My question is, "Were the founding-fathers protecting you-the-people, or were they more interested in protecting themselves from you?"

 

     Will the answer, shine light on: The political polarization of working/nonworking people, that pits Conservatives against Liberals? Or is that a smokescreen, the real battle being between the "Wealthy Class" verses the "Working/Nonworking Class?" And finally, is "James Madison's Federalist Paper No. 10," written in 1887, the beacon-of-light that answers these questions?

 

     Federalist Papers No. 10, stresses James Madison's fear of factions, the common-people's constitutional right to form them; and the affects those factions have on aristocrats and their power to govern. He wrote, "By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community."

     Madison's concern was with the people's constitutional power to organize, advocate, and vote. Their superior numbers, and the vote gave them more power than the wealth of the aristocrats. They could vote them out of power and then take their wealth, "... measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority." He also wrote. "A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project ... " Listing fears where factions could take advantage of the rich and he characterized advocating against their interests as improper, even wicked.

 

     Madison categorized the players in these factions into classes: property owners, non-property owners, creditors, and debtors, and he worried about the divisiveness of the wealth gap, "But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society."

 

     He then writes about the different purposes of factions, their economic classes, and pondered what to do with them, "There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects." Madison settled on controlling, "... the causes of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects."

 

     To control, Madison outlined the two party political system to divide and animosity for polarizing the people, as a remedy to protect aristocrts power and wealth, "...divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good."

 

     The divide-and-conquer technique outlined in Federalist Papers No. 10 is still enforced today; it has keep the working/nonworking people polarized, powerless, and controlled throughout history. As time passes issues change to where today the moral issues are: Abortion, Immigration, Gun-Control, and LBGTQ Rights that keep you-the-people divided and impotent.

 

     It's noteworthy to say that the number of people who are directly-physically effected by these moral issues in their personal-life is small, and to most the affect on your everyday-life is minor to nonexistent. Whereas, the emotional-impact of you being upset or morally-outraged by the propagandized-distortions these issues have undergone, inciting strong reactions within you, can deeply polarize large portions of the population.

 

     Madison pointed-out the importance to form a republic, and within it a controlled democratic process, "A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking."

 

     In Madison's Republic, a small group (aristocrats) represents the people with a functioning Democracy within it  that allows the people to vote for candidates that will govern them. Giving the illusion of freedom-of-choice and democratic-self-government. An illusion because Madison and other aristocrats got to choose the candidates; and could appoint people to power (like today). Therefore, neutralizing the people's voting power throughout the States, and making people relatively easy to control.

 

     The deck has been stacked against you from the very beginning. Change did start in 2016, with Trump and in 2018 with AOC's squad. None of them were picked by their "Political Party's Leadership." These "Aristocrats" don't indorse Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or other progressive candidates or their programs either. "They" endorse Moderate and Conservative candidates, who will keep you-the-people poor/powerless and them rich/powerful, as it's always been. Although divided and weak, the power-of-the-vote is still there, it's been waiting for 232 years, how long will it take before you-the-people figure out how to use it?

Foolish California Bonds Put Taxpayers at Risk

By Jon Coupal  president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

 

joncoupal hp

If you had just won the lottery, would that be a good time to go further into debt or would it be smarter to pay down the debt you already have?

 

Most Californians would like very much to be debt-free, and the thought of being able to pay off their mortgage, car loan and student debt is surely attractive.

 

In some respects, thanks to the forced generosity of California taxpayers, California has won the lottery.

Our highest-in-the-nation tax burden has left our treasury full with billions in surplus revenue.

 

One would think that with all that revenue, our elected leadership would be a little more circumspect in taking on new debt or at least manage the debt we have more effectively. But this is California.

 

The Golden State is awash in debt consisting mostly of unfunded pension obligations. Unfortunately, our leadership continues to press on the accelerator in taking on new debt.

 

Just a few weeks ago, this column criticized a big $15 billion school bond that will appear on the upcoming March ballot, ironically designated as “Proposition 13.”

 

As we pointed out, there are two big concerns with this proposition.

 

First is that it would borrow $15 billion from Wall Street and then make taxpayers pay it back plus 80 percent in total interest costs. That’s an additional $12 billion we’ll be forced to pay.

 

Second, and by far a more serious problem, a hidden provision of the bond proposal would increase the current caps on local school bonds. Lifting the caps puts homeowners directly at risk of much higher property taxes.

 

But as bad as the “new” Prop. 13 is, it almost looks responsible compared to what is currently being floated in Sacramento.

 

Senate Bill 45 is a “climate change” bond ostensibly for the purpose of addressing various climate and environmental dangers in California. The bill is a holdover from last year, when it failed to clear the state Senate.

 

Even a cursory review of SB45 suggests that it is little more than a grab-bag of proposals onto which the proponents have slapped the label “climate change” in the hopes getting support both within the Legislature and with the public.

 

As currently drafted, the $4.2 billion in bond proceeds would be split among several purposes including $1.6 billion going to wildfire and drought prevention and $1.2 billion funding safe drinking water initiatives.

 

Granted, some of the purposes for which SB45 would provide funding are worthwhile. There is no doubt that water quality issues, especially in the Central Valley, are an immediate and pressing problem. But that problem can be resolved with existing revenues from the general fund without going further into debt.

Finally, this bond violates all the criteria for responsible bond financing, which includes the constitutional requirement that a bond should be issued only for a “single object or work.”

 

That single object or work must have statewide significance if payment involves a general obligation bond that all taxpayers are responsible to repay. Moreover, the “single object or work” should have a useful life that extends beyond the term of the debt repayment.

 

General obligation bonds should not be encouraged when ongoing state revenues are strong and proper fiscal restraint is not being exercised in the budget process.

 

If voters approve this policy, there will be no incentive for necessary reforms and fiscal discipline.

Like problem gamblers, Sacramento politicians seem addicted to debt no matter what the circumstances.

But we should reject their gambling with California’s future financial security.

215

Next