Friday, December 16, 2005

Bill Rodewald is a Great American

This was a comment posted regarding the proposed tax/fee:

Bill Rodewald, President of the Encinitas Tax Payers Association spoke something close to the following last night.

“I will again start my remarks by saying that clean ocean and lagoon water is very important. The truth is that the City of Encinitas has been complying with all Federal and State clean water standards for many years, and that the voters have been paying for it, thank you. This is not an environmental issue, its an economic issue.

I am not here tonight to convince the Council to abandon its efforts to tax the people of Encinitas twice for the same service. I am here to lay out my theory and opinion that the process has been rigged from the start. My opinion is that in this case and with this tax, the City has attempted, and may succeed in deceiving the people of Encinitas, the very constituents that it purports to represent.

I would agree that what I just said is strong language, and would not have made that statement had I not been interested in the opinion of the voters with regard to this issue and that the opinion survey portion of the process was fixed. The City got the answers that it wanted because they hired the team that promised to deliver just that. Let’s loook at some interesting events:

1) The City decided to spend $110,000 of taxpayer money to hire three consultants to deliver a new tax, to literally manipulate the opinions of its constituents. Interestingly, according to Jennifer Smith, the City Financial Director, there was no competitive bid process which seems odd given the value of the assignment. Even more interesting is the fact that there was no request for proposals process, and not written record of what the City was looking for in an opinion survey of the voters. Conveniently, the direction was given to the consultants verbally and without any documentation. Is anyone surprised that the survey questions were manipulated to elicit the desired results? If so, let’s get to the next item.

2) The City hired Tramutola LLC as one of the consultants and their web site is quit revealing. I’ll bet that it is meant to be seen by City Officials, not by their constituents because they spell out the playbook on how they can assist the City to manipulate public opinion. The opening page boasts that “Tramutola has advised and guided communities to successful passage of local tax measures.” The very next page is even more telling: it cuts right to the reason that the City chose Tramutola after failing to win a taxpayer lawsuit to tax its citizens twice for the same service. It says, “Working with you we will design a campaign to generate the DESIRED RESPONSE”.

They go on to say in their Planning to Win section that they will answer some though questions for the City like;
When should you hold your election? (Maybe right around the holidays so the so the opposition will be too busy to mobilize)
How do you craft a measure to maximize your chance of winning?
Can certain portions of the population be exempted from the tax?
They can even assist a city to recruit, train and empower a third party advocacy group to sell the idea of a new tax. Very interesting given the fact that one has sprung up right here in Encinitas, although I’m not sure that they all live and vote in our City.

3) This is the one that personally offends me the most. The City council had a meeting right here in this room on November 30, 2005 where they led us to believe that community input and Council debate would have some effect as to the decision to proceed with a public vote. Several people spoke in opposition to the idea and there was a support of the new tax that spoke as well. How is it that the Council voted to proceed at approximately 7:30 PM on Wednesday the 30th and voters received a letter and well crafted flyer less than 36 hours later? The picture of beaches and surfers were well chosen and quite appropriate in this marketing piece, but again the timing is most interesting. What marketing and mailing firm can pull together photos, draft and edit text, get approval from the client, fold, sort and mail a piece like this in less than 24 hours? Common sense would tell anyone that this process would take a minimum of 5 days and that the Council had given the authority to proceed several days before the November 30th meeting. Your decision had been made before you arrived here. That marketing piece that actually indicates that the clean water program has not yet been implemented, a lie, was approved and ready to be mailed days ahead of the meeting because you had made your minds up days before. That insults me and should insult everyone that believes in fair and open government!

Whether what someone here at the City did to fool the voters can be deemed illegal is for a lawyer to decide. The City attorney has said that “public funds (eg postage, mailers, and staff time) may not be expended to assist or defeat the passage of a measure submitted to the voters by the City Council”. I submit that, at a minimum, what has been done to raise our taxes is just plain wrong. I will work to educate your constituents as to the events that I have discussed and will encourage every voter in the City to demand a fair playing field in this and future elections. I would also encourage the Council to remember that you work for us, not against us.

My mother taught me that if I was going to point out a problem that I should be prepared to offer a solution, so here it is; Look your constitutes in the eye and tell them that this is not an environmental issue, it’s an economic issue. Then tell them that by voting no on this water meter tax the water quality will remain the same and that they will save $600 and be entitled to an immediate refund of close to $75. Let your constituents know that the City has the money to continue to comply with Federal and State mandated Clean Water programs. That is what I would do. “

Last night the Council also gave the City attorney a big raise. The City keeps loosing big lawsuits so I take this to mean that the City attorney is giving the Council good advise and they ignore it, the Council is too dense to identify bad service, or they want to keep the current attorney happy because a new attorney might go after the Council and expose them.

The Council also gave a juicy benefits increase to figherfighers and a raise to the City Manager.

6 comments:

  1. You got served! It's time for all residents to realize that the city council of Encinitas is just like the sleazy corrupt San Diego council.

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  2. I dunno I hear he's part of the Bonzer cult

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  3. We think Council keeps giving city attorneys (we've got more than one, and they work for other cities, too, such as El Cajon) fat raises because they need the attorneys to watch their backs! In our humble opinions, Council has done so many shenanigans; they need wicked, crooked attorneys to cover their tracks.

    Glenn Sabine did walk over during Wednesday's Council meeting to whisper into Christy Guerin's and Maggie Houlihan's ears that the law states, and the terms of the agreement with the Jarvis Taxpayer Association, wherein the City had conceded that it lost, clearly specifies that the city is not to advocate pro or con re this new fee/tax issue, or any mail ballot, we presume, from what Sabine said at the meeting.

    Maggie would barely listen, kept insisting, "I advocate, I advocate!" She mistakenly equates clean water, which we all want, with her responsibility to make sure there is enough money in the general fund to pay for city wide services.

    In San Diego, citizens are not taxed for the citywide service of trash collection. Perhaps there, they do pay a small additional fee for stormwater services. Of course they are a model of poor management and corruption right now. And what has been the cause? Giving away too much of taxpayer funds by way of gonzo "consulting contracts," and public union pension perks. Pension problems are hurting GM and Ford too. Pensions are difficult. We wish everyone could get a nice fat pension. But the real world doesn't work that way.

    Our taxpayer money, from commercial and residential taxes must stretch beyond employee and consultant benefits and fees. The citizens must not be charged extra, increasing fees for every required service that the State and Federal government mandate.

    The Anti-Christy keeps comparing us to other cities. We are very young. Part of the reason that we may seem to misguided Council to be "flush" in funding, is simply that we have not had to start paying out these pensions yet. We need to cut back on staff, not hire more. We need to accomplish more in house, rather than hiring out all of our inspections to EsGil. Why did we need three new planners? Do they just shuffle paperwork around between EsGil and Planning/Building? Solana Beach is smaller than we are, as is Del Mar. All of our money seems to be going to increasing staff costs, including the ridiculous new position of "Art Director," who makes way, way more than the measly City grants he parcels out. The Community grants are separate from art. Those are processed, as usual, by staff, not the "Art Director."

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  4. Bill should run for council in 2006.

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  5. Tramutola.com should be called weaselfuck.com

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  6. Anti-Christy loses respectDecember 18, 2005 10:51 AM

    OMG! Just saw Anti-Christy's picture spread across NCT front page, huge headline, Citizen Guerin. Yeah, it rhymes; Ms. Bossy Pants doesn't.

    The article seemed pretty good, though, showed how and why Christy is losing, has lost so much support.

    What are you going to do, Anti-Christy, when people question you about Brown Act violations and spending like you have money to burn? We caught the not-so-veiled threats. Go ahead and "address" our claims. We would love to hear what you have to say.

    Care to comment about the alleged improprieties while you were a deputy cop? We know those guys put their lives on the line, sometimes. And sometimes they let the power go to their heads, as you have.

    No one should be against you, or your husband, captain cop, just because you are The Man. But we should be able to ask questions about your excessive use of force on the force, or allegations that you revealed private info, when you were not supposed to. I'll bet you don't even talk about that stuff in your many closed sessions.

    Yes, you are so very privileged, Ms. Guerin. You can live a lovely lifestyle, after having gotten your Workman's Comp Award, living off the dole, then run in foot races, here, and in Japan. Wasn't that PR trip on the taxpayer's dole too? Was it a one time big payoff from Workman’s Comp that allowed you to "retire" from the County Sheriffs after only 10 years? Or are you still getting disability? When you act as our mayor, we have the right to answers.

    We can hardly wait to get you out of office. You have betrayed many of us who helped to get you elected, in the first place. You campaigned on putting the "Service" back in Public Service, in 98. That might have been a good slogan, but you deceived us. We deserve better.

    You treated our gutsy ex-mayor, Sheila Cameron with great disrespect. You have used your police connections to trample over and oppress "the little guy." You know what you have done.

    We just hope the rest of the community can see you, now, for what you have become. A turncoat. And worse. A bully, pushing people around, when you don't think they have clout. When they do, as in the case of the Eckes, Prop A., you eat right out of their hands.

    Even Arnold rejected you. Respect has to be earned. We are not children anymore, Christy. We will keep and solidify our bonds of community support and self-empowerment, strengthened by our defeat of A, despite your signing the voter pamphlet urging passage as another perk to your buds, so generous in your campaign financing. We will use these ties, founded on opposition to corruption and blatant pandering to high end development interests, to get you, Ms. Bossy, and your playground bully, Hall Monitor mentality out of office this coming November. Count on it!

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