Vallejo's Measure B and my stolen vote
Posted in the Vallejo Forum
#1 May 7, 2012
Vallejo's Measure B and my stolen vote
The Times-Herald's front-page news of April 19 read: "Vallejo council OK's public input on new tax funds". Pray tell, what was I doing on Nov. 8 of last year when, using the specific language in the sample ballot, I voted "yes" on Measure B?
Revenues raised by the measure were targeted as follows:
* Enhance funding for 9-1-1 response.
* Police patrols and paramedic services.
* Youth and senior programs.
* Street and pothole repairs.
* Graffiti removal.
* Economic development.
* General city services.
* All revenue and expenditures subject to annual independent audits.
* All revenue legally required to stay in Vallejo.
That was the bait, and I bit. I thought I was engaging in "participatory budgeting" when I cast a vote to constrain expenditures to specific needs of the city.
Now, the switch.
The vote by four members of the April 18 meeting of the Vallejo City Council was a bold-faced effort to throw off the spending guidelines written into Measure B. Although one newly elected council member mused that staying within the constraints imposed by the ballot language was probably legally and rationally the right thing to do, nevertheless, this council member voted to modify the specific expenditure terms of Measure B by making the expenditures arbitrary and subject to a cadre of self-evident altruistic, prudent, virtuous and wise public servants, and those whose opinion they can influence. Can anyone say "vote buying"?
Then we were treated to a good-cop, bad-cop show where the bad cop made a motion to assign half of the annual anticipated revenue of $9.5 million to the participatory budget collective. The good cop then, by a motion, reduced the amount of these set aside funds (not mentioned in the voters' pamphlet) to $200,000. This $200,000 is sold as startup money for the consultants and staffing in order to process the purposed "participatory budgeting." One would hope this expenditure will be spent in Vallejo, according to the sample ballot item No. 9 in this letter.
Afterward, disagreeing with some rational arguments for standing by the directives in the sample ballot, we were treated to tortured explanations of why these revenues were able to be redirected by these council members.
The Gomes/Brown explanations, as they appeared in the Times-Herald, are as follows: "Predetermined uses" would make the tax a "special" tax. A special tax requires a two-thirds vote of the public, while a general tax only calls for simple majority -- i.e. 51 percent. I ask you, are not the nine items specified in the sample ballot "predetermined use"? And if so, then it was a "special tax" and didn't pass, or it was a "general tax" and was fraudulently advertised. I say have the vote declared null and void, and conduct a truth in advertising voting effort. However, by the present fog of politics, we get a political maneuver that lets others spend your generous tax dollars as they see fit. Hello, Vallejo Police Department, I want to report the theft of my vote ... yes, I have four suspects.
#2 May 7, 2012
Excellent points Robert. Is it any wonder why politicians are held in such low esteem? This happens over and over and over again here in Vallejo.
People, vote NO on all tax initiatives. Our political system is broken and there is absolutely no accountability for your tax dollars.
#3 May 7, 2012
The best answer would be to not vote to tax yourself in the first place.
#4 May 7, 2012
The tax language was fraudulent, in addition to the fact that it was a "special tax" by naming specific uses, ozz also stated in the language that it was a penny tax increase not a percent.
#5 May 7, 2012
you dummies voted for it ! just like france, now just watch what happens
#6 May 7, 2012
but the one third that marti brown and her friends will try and dictate how to spend is thus larger by this alleged fraud, right?
#8 May 7, 2012
So just tax everyone else to subsidize Vallejo. You know like take a bigger portion of property taxes from the State coffers.
#9 May 7, 2012
O'RLY? Brown and Gomes idea of letting the committee decide is closer to a general use tax than ozzie and the GOB list "pre-determined uses"
#10 May 7, 2012
The reason I did not vote for the tax increase was that it was NOT a "Special Tax", or a designated specific purpose tax. I did not want this "One Cent" to automatically be directed to the General Fund!
If I recall correctly there was some disagreement during the discussion and the difference between the proposals was stated and explained.
It was also mentioned that a Specific Tax which required a higher percentage of Yes Votes, would most likely not be successful.
So my question is: If we knew that the additional taxes collected would go into the General Fund and could be used for "anything" usually considered General Fund monies and therefore up for grabs by council members for their pet projects, why the outcry?
Taking into consideration what politicians do and how they are determined to see issues the only correct way, their way, why are we surprised and angry at all?
Well, the taxpayer has been snookered again and may I add Vallejo is not alone when it comes to deceiving the voting public.
The first impression when trying to digest a proposal up for a vote by the people is usually not the intended meaning.
When a Yes vote means No and a degree is needed to understand the meaning, a red flag should be raised by every voter.
#11 May 7, 2012
orly? and what are some of the uses you would spend it on? give it to non-profits? we have hundreds, you know that don't you?
#12 May 7, 2012
#13 May 7, 2012
so that's a yes?
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