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Letters to the Editor

| Opinion | February 21, 2020

NO on CA Proposition 13

I write to urge your readers to carefully consider the long-term ramifications of Proposition 13, as presented for this year’s Election Day, on March 3.  Its multi-generational taxes will negatively impact us, our children and grandchildren for over three decades!

This $26 BILLION school bond obligation ($15 billion for principal plus $11 billion estimated for interest expense) is proposed to build and repair public schools (K-12, community colleges, and universities. The exact costs will depend on the specific details and interest rates of the bond sales.

For a state which sadly ranks consistently near the lowest in the country, with declining test scores and high dropout rates, this is all for yet unspecified infrastructure and does nothing for actual improvements in classroom education. Jerry Brown’s High-Speed Rail fiasco gets full funding but not its failing schools?

The debt servicing to the taxpayers for this measure is projected to average “about $740 million per year over the next 35 years.” This multi-generational taxing commitment will repay Wall Street the $15 billion principal, plus the projected $11 billion in accumulated interest, which is 73% for the initial $15 billion and over 42% of the entire bill of $26 billion.

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All of this “new debt” to us, our children and grandchildren is on top of the $9 billion voters approved in 2016 for the same purposes: build and repair public schools. Apparently there are billions left unspent from that fiasco and the public Bond Oversight Committees have been viewed by many as ineffective and inefficient.

Here’s the kicker: due to progressively higher taxes, much of it based on rapidly rising appraised values of our homes, California’s General Fund has a $21 billion budget surplus!

It makes no sense for California voters to have to take on a $26 billion multi-generational debt obligation when the state could pay the proposed infrastructure budget of $15 billion out of these excess funds and the voters avoid the added $11 billion over the next 35 years!

Vote NO on Prop. 13. There has to be a better way!

Gary Curtis
-Santa Clarita resident

 

Re: How a New Station Chief is Selected
The method the LASD now uses to select station captains is a radical departure from the past. Currently ALL eligible lieutenants who have the requisite line experience and education are eligible to compete on a level field with their peers. Any claim that this process is the same for the last sixteen or so years is false. In the past only a handful of lieutenants, part of a cronyism driven “batting order,” were allowed to interview, leaving more than 98% of all lieutenants out of luck.
Alex Villanueva

 

17 FEB2020 Something Fishy about California election ballot

I have read some of the other strange voter requirements articles in the Gazette and I would like to point out another one.

I received a “post card” with a mail address of; REGESTRAR-RECORDER / COUNTY CLERK, VOTE BY MAIL UNIT, PO BOX 30450, LOS ANGELES, CA 90030-0450. There is a box on the reverse side that states;

“I am not currently registered with a political party. For the March 3, 2020 Presidential Primary Election, I request a Vote BY Mail ballot that includes the Presidential contest for one of the parties below:
• American Independent
• Democratic
• Libertarian
“Select only one”, signature required.

In another box on the back it says “To receive a ballot for these parties; Green, Peace & Freedom, Republican you must change your party affiliation by Monday, February 17, 2020.
(See options at lavote.net)

I went to the WEB site and when I selected Republican, this was my response;
“The resource you are looking for has been removed, had its name changed or is temporarily unavailable”

If I don’t send the card back then I cannot vote in the Presidential primary election.

Only a fool would NOT vote for President Donald Trump, but how can I, if L.A. County will not allow me to vote for a candidate of my choice?

David Bright
Common Sense Party

 

Re Measure US

I am distressed and disappointed when individuals in the local education establishment attempt to fool and hoodwink the taxpayers and residents who elect them.  That is the case in the Sulphur Springs Union School District where District Trustees  put Measure US on the March ballot.  Frankly, I have no trust in the Trustees.

Measure US is a stinking pile of wasteful and ill considered proposed capital expenditures that will double the voted indebtedness for property owners in the school district.  The voters and taxpayers can hold the Trustees and administration accountable by voting NO.

Measure US is a proposed $78,000,000 general obligation bond repaid by a direct assessment on essentially each property parcel in the district. The Tax Rate Statement hidden deep inside in the Official Sample Ballot reveals that total repayment is estimated to be $148,000,000 with repayment stretching out to the year 2056. Surprisingly there is no maximum interest rate and the  payment factor is merely an estimate ($22.00 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.)There is no exemption for seniors, veterans, or low income property owners.  Young families buying new homes will be disproportionately affected.

You would never accept a mortgage with these terms. Why  would you even consider a school bond that is vague in purpose with a  questionable repayment obligation?

Measure US appears on the ballot eight short years after the voters approved Measure CK (2012) a $72,000,000 general obligation bond that was intended to do many of the same things proposed in Measure US (2020).

A moderate sized district of 5500 students has no good reason for borrowing $150,000,000 within this short amount of time.  The Trustees refuse to reserve for adequate maintenance and repairs to the facilities within their jurisdiction.

The ballot argument wants you to believe that most of the buildings are aged and decrepit, “built over 50 years ago” they plead.  However all of the schools have been modernized and are structurally sound , more than adequate for classroom instruction.  Ask for a tour and see for yourself..

The School Accountability Report Cards filed by the District indicate that all schools are in good condition, with two of them ranking exemplary.

Do not believe the project list put forth by the District.  There is no project  specificity as required in the California Constitution Article 13A.  District Trustee Denis DeFigueiredo revealed in an interview with the Gazette that they avoid specificity because they want to be flexible.  I am sorry , but we expect what the law requires “, a list of the specific school facilities projects to be funded”.  Voters ,  expect no less !

Even the County Counsel noticed that the project list requires State Matching Funds, that are not guaranteed.  “Approval of the Measure does not guarantee proposed projects will be funded…..”

The Trustees want you to believe that there is taxpayer protection in the form of a Citizen Bond Oversight Committee.  Really ?  For two full years (2017 and 2018) the Trustees could not recruit enough qualified members to form a quorum to review expenditures related to Measure CK.

The school bond industrial complex is bank rolling the Yes on Measure US campaign,  filling your mailbox with lies and half truths.  Out of district contractors who profit from school bonds contribute to the campaign.   The campaign Treasurer is a high profile political consultant based in Sacramento.  It’s all about winning and gaining easy access to your tax dollars.

Have courage and resist the phony “but it’s for our children” appeals to your heart,  Use you head and demand financial stewardship.  Protect your property from excessive taxation.

Vote NO on Measure US before the polls close on March 3.

Stephen C Petzold
Santa Clarita, CA  (Saugus Area)
Community Activist and Open Government Advocate
The Center for Truth in School Bond Measures   ID   1408280
www.caltaxsos.com

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