Dan Walters: illegal use of taxpayer money continues to be a problem “because local prosecutors and the state attorney general’s office ignore complaints about its illegality”

6 Jan

I’m not alone in my complaints about misuse of taxpayer funds to run tax increase campaigns – here’s what Dan Walters has to say about it:

https://calmatters.org/articles/commentary/finally-a-crackdown-on-misuse-of-taxpayer-money/

Here’s something the city of Chico and CARD have both done.

“Local governments hire “consultants” to poll voters on what tax and bond measures they would find acceptable, to draft those proposals accordingly and, finally, to run so-called “information” campaigns to persuade voters to approve them.

It’s so blatant that firms seeking lucrative contracts openly boast of their successful campaigns, eliminating any doubt that they are truly political operatives.”

I’ve sat at meetings listening to these consultants, all they talk about is how to get the public to pass revenue measures. I’ve seen their websites, bragging that they can pass tax measures.  Sit in on a meeting sometime – and then look around the room and add up the staff salaries. That’s spending of taxpayer money to promote a tax measure, it’s right in front of our faces, like that big elephant that just took a giant dump on your carpet. 

Furthermore, Walters says, “The practice has ballooned because local prosecutors and the state attorney general’s office ignore complaints about its illegality. Indeed, local district attorneys often benefit from the higher taxes.”

Didn’t I just say that in my last post – theButte County DA and all his hangers on benefit from every tax measure that comes around the pike – it just perpetuates the salaries and pensions. He’s not going to answer a complaint from a citizen – we are forced to take our gripes to state agencies. 

I told you about the complaint that Yuba County citizens took to the FPPC with the help of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. They charge that a recent tax measure passed in Yuba County, Measure K, was passed illegally with only 54 percent, when it was written as a special tax requiring 2/3’s voter approval.  Another Yuba County citizen, Territorial Dispatch contributor Lou Binninger, has taken up the issue of the use of taxpayer funds to promote the measure. 

Unfortunately the FPPC (all on public salaries and benefits) has sent back Binninger’s complaint, saying he needs “evidence.” 

We all need to use our eyes and ears people, because nobody is going to come riding in to save us.

 

8 Responses to “Dan Walters: illegal use of taxpayer money continues to be a problem “because local prosecutors and the state attorney general’s office ignore complaints about its illegality””

  1. Jim January 6, 2019 at 10:47 am #

    This was in the ER op-ed today.

    • Juanita Sumner January 6, 2019 at 11:58 am #

      Oh good. They ran my letter about the Yuba County complaint yesterday. I hope people are paying attention, it’s time to put pressure on these public agencies.

  2. bob January 6, 2019 at 1:24 pm #

    That’s where the prosecutors should come into the picture. They should do their duty, enforce the law and seek personal fines from the officials involved.

    Walters is right, of course. But I could never see Ramsey fining anyone on the City Council or Board of Supervisors. When was the last time a local politician was fined by the DA?

    And the Legislature could, and should, invalidate any local measure that’s passed when those officials ignore the law.

    I wonder if Gallagher or Nielsen will try to do anything to invalidate Measure K.

    • Juanita Sumner January 6, 2019 at 2:07 pm #

      Good questions!

      I was just listening to Lou on KMYC, talking about his complaint and why the FPPC rejected it – they expect you to be a lawyer, cite the law, and provide evidence? I thought they did the investigating, silly me.

      Apparently Lou isn’t the only person who filed that same complaint about use of taxpayer funds to run their revenue campaign. Unfortunately, like so many groups now, they post on Facebook, and a person isn’t even allowed to read anything unless they join Facebook.

      Good luck with that Yuba County!

      • Connie K Walczak January 15, 2019 at 6:15 am #

        Good Morning Juanita, It is good that you are still fighting the good fight. Together, we fought the Cal Water rates many years ago. I wanted to give you an update on the FPPC complaint by Lou Binninger. The FPPC stated they need evidence and supporting documents. Lou and friends were able to send them a boat load of documents. So, that case is still open and he has been communicating with the FPPC. A court date should be scheduled soon for the litigation to nullify Measure K. Hopefully this changes the elections and campaigns for local measures. People deserve an honest campaign to to vote on.

      • Juanita Sumner January 15, 2019 at 6:23 am #

        Thanks Connie, it’s great to hear from you. It’s tough this time of year, trying to stay motivated, it’s so good to hear from old friends. I’ll keep an eye on this case, come on back with any good news you get.

  3. Connie K Walczak January 18, 2019 at 3:53 pm #

    Juanita, Lou Binninger received a letter today from the FPPC saying they need more time to sift thru everything that was sent to them. The letter was from the Chief of Enforcement Division FPPC. A court date will be set soon for the litigation to nullify Measure K.

    • Juanita Sumner January 18, 2019 at 4:30 pm #

      thanks Connie, I’ll post a new blog about this update!

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