Thursday, January 19, 2006

Who Is Going to Count the Votes? Trustworthy?



Burning questions:

Who is counting the mail in ballots? Can we trust them?

Do you trust the postal service to get your ballot to the city on time?

Can you drop the ballot off at City Hall? And if so, how do you know your NO vote won't be thrown in the trash?

Many of the NO on C signs posted around town are suddenly missing. Who tore them down?

Who is in charge of this election?

update, from Enc Taxpayers Assoc. website:

* Votes are going to be collected by the city and counted by one of the city’s paid consultants.

Who out there wants to count them for free?

11 comments:

  1. How can you trust anyone who can't identify the true issues any better than our current City Councilmembers did last night!?
    Our concerns have never been about the process of providing clean water. Our concerns center around the City's devious and deceptive methods employed to lead the voters to pass an unjustifiable fee/tax.
    And what about opening up the potential voters to include the thousands of parcels owned by the City?! How do they justify including these thousands of parcels and the thousands of votes they portend when all of those votes will be controlled by a handful of individuals!?
    So much for objectively determining the will of the people.
    Judging by this fact alone, the cost to retain Mr. Sabine is too high at any price.

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  2. Even after the nerd from MuniFinancial tried to explain the logic of who will be able to vote, Lawnmower man got it wrong and Christy was equally confused. How can they expect to hold an intelligent ballot process if they do not uderstand the rules themselves.
    It was fun to watch Sabine squirm when the Maggster ask him what his opinion was as to the legality of the process. He had an answer that did not come close to addressing the question. He was visibly relieved when she dropped the line of questioning.

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  3. have no fear. You MUST TRUST your leaders.

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  4. Last Night's Council MeetingJanuary 19, 2006 10:20 PM

    Just starting, missed the first few minutes on Cox 19.

    So far Donna Westbrook spoke regarding art "donations" suggesting that these types of city donations could seem inappropriate when given by people who have business, particularly in planning and building, or appeals, before City Council and/or staff. Yes, Quid Pro Quo considerations do come into play. Council ignored citizens' concerns, as usual, and accepted these donations unanimously, without any reservation. Yet they refused to delegate authority to an art jury, through Art Commission, before. Instead they hired a bogus Art Director at $80,000+ a year to waste more taxpayers dollars on.

    Now bogus Muni-Financial consultant is giving a canned "primer" on 1996 Prop. 218 requirements, Govt. Code requirements for assessing fees on property. He isn't addressing the fact that any such vote should be weighted per precedent, not given per property owner, per water meter.

    Technology used=bar codes, optical scanner will be used to count the ballots. I know how many times mistakes are made at grocery stores re scanning. Votes should not be counted by the pushers of Prop C, for hire spin masters.

    Good speakers, excellent presentation by Bill Rodewald, Donna Westbrook, several others. Now Jerome is droning on. Donna made excellent points about this being an illegal parcel tax, which should have to go by regular ballot, 2/3 vote.

    Dan Dalager is now talking about "fairness." Muni-Guy is giving more spin. Bossy Pants Guerin is now berating Bob Bonde, one of our City's founding fathers, telling him he cannot make comments or ask questions of Muni guy, or "you will be asked to leave."

    City Council has been rude to those who have raised legitimate, compelling concerns about the illegality of a new fee/tax, not weighted, and not based on active water meters.

    Maggie's turn to go on an on, advocating Yes on C, when she is not supposed to advocate per terms of the court ordered settlement stipulation with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

    Here comes Christy Guerin's long winded advocacy. Christy says she's not rich. She bought home 20 yrs. ago, or she wouldn't be able to live here. She said, "Come to my house and see." Right; if I tried that, I'd probably be shot.

    Christy is talking about how city staff has sat down for hours, Kerry Miller, his assistant, others, how accessible staff and Council is. That is not our experience. People who make public information requests are stalled. City does not have its "ducks in a row."

    Donna Westbrook was disallowed being able to bring a point of order from the audience. Mayor Christy Guerin was downright rude to her.

    Council members got to talk on and on about how they were required to let public vote on ballot per the terms of the settlement. They did not answer the repeated questions as why it had now become a parcel tax, and why City gets to vote yes on all its parcels, "in the name of the people."

    So sad to see this farce. Camera never showed Kerry Miller's face, that I saw, although I did have to take a couple of breaks. Just hard to swallow the whole stinking mess.

    Christy made a big point of making sure the library would have a deck, with an ocean view, so there would be room for a Starbucks Cart. Also, James Bond said he foresaw library as a type of coffee shop where people could drink coffee, intellectualize. I have never been in a public library where you could have food and drink, other than water, perhaps.

    This isn't Barnes & Nobles, with Starbucks attached. Adults and children at library should have eyes in books, perhaps on computer screen. Someone would certainly pay more for a residence with a view. But this is not to be a residence, nor a social club, or coffee shop.

    I am so grateful for all the good citizens who remain involved, do their best to stand up to City's blatant misinformation and politically motivated spin tactics. Council said we would have to tighten our belts. Yet they just passed big operating expense increases in raises and benefits. Also they did not factor in inflation, and regional increases in contractor's bidding due to higher cost of gas, cost of living, etc.

    In a nutshell: we are disappointed in Council, proud of those community activists who do not give up. One thing, if C does squeak through on the ballots, due to many govt. parcels, etc., there will be another lawsuit, or a follow through of the original Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association lawsuit. You can't cheat and turn a parcel tax into a fee. What was promised, a per active water meter fee ration, was not adhered to.

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  5. Taxpayers are paying 20 million dollars for a libary to be made into a coffee shop for smoozing.

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  6. Let's ask Steve Aceti if he will count them. He seems like a nice young man. And trustworthy too! Why, he dresses nicely and is very polite and says hi to people he meets in a most agreeable manner. He also is very smart. Did you hear how he told Councilmembers what the majority of Encinitas residents think about Prop C? Now, how would he possibly know that a majority favor being charged an additional $5 every month for services they already are paying for and under the auspices that without that $5 our water will not be clean, unless he was just uncannily smart?! What an honorable mission he is on -- to educate the unindoctrinated to follow the wolf in sheep's clothing. I wonder what it feels like to sell your soul for so little?
    Do you think he sees himself as something of a Pied Piper and the residents of Encinitas are either children waiting to be guided or rats dancing to his music? He seems capable of subscribing to the 'if we say it, it must be so' club.
    Did anyone notice he didn't seem as polished last night as we're used to seeing him? Could it be his conscience was distracting him from his evil purpose? I'm told even 'hired guns' sometimes have attacks of conscience. Could it have actually happened last night under the watchful eye of the television cameras?
    Regrettably, in the end his proclamation may come to pass. Especially in light of the make-up of prospective voters (many who do not even have water meters on their property and will not pay even if this silly thing passes). And he does have an ace up his sleeve, what with all the City owned property that will be eligible to vote -- and all of the voting power that property holds is controlled by one or two people within the City government. So I guess he can comfortably predict an outcome seeing as how the opposition is starting off several thousand votes in the hole.
    If you're not yet outraged, you have a much greater tolerance for graft than do I.

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  7. Good blow by blow blogging. You guys are golden.

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  8. Though no official word has gone out as far as I know, there is a rumor that City Manager Kerry Miller went on record stating that the City would not exercise its right to vote the numerous ballots that are scheduled to be mailed (or, by this time, have been mailed) to the City itself for each of the parcels of land the City owns. Reportedly City Attorney Glenn Sabine advised Mr. Miller to refrain from the original plan to include those votes in the results.

    This gives rise to several questions, namely:

    1) If we are distrustful of the entity that will count the votes, can we be certain they will not count any votes that are errantly placed by City employees responding to the mailed ballots they receive which correspond to City-owned property?

    2) This seems to be a substantial and material change to the matter that was approved by City Council on Wednesday, January 18, 2006. Doesn't the public have the right to voice its opinion in an open forum, and shouldn't City Council revisit this issue to allow the public the opportunity to give input on this decision that came after the vote?

    3) If this issue is revisited, then the deadline for City Council to receive written notification from the public (if it does not want this tax) should be extended. I contend that the deadline must be extended and I urge everyone to encourage their neighbors to notify Councilmembers that we do not recognize the poorly noticed earlier deadline, and we certainly don't want the tax.

    4) Assuming this rumor is true, which I have every confidence it is, then why has City Council made no attempt to officially notify the public? This is a chance for Council to be open and honest with the public and they are sitting on their thumbs instead of doing what needs to be done. Perhaps Mr. Miller is already interviewing for a position with another city so may not have time to devote to mundane things like this.

    6) And the piece de resistance, how can we be certain the City will do what Mr. Kerry has rumored they will do? If there has been no official announcement, then there is a cloud of impropriety forming around the conduct of this whole ballot business.

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  9. One of the little gems the council didn't include in the Jan. 18 meeting was that with all parcels given a vote, some of the office buildings have suites that each have a parcel number. There may be only one water meter for the building but all of the offices with a parcel number will vote according to the 1 vote for parcel number council rule. Dividing the number of parcel numbers listed for those addresses into the $60 a year fee will mean that the annual fee for those parcels could be anywhere from 95 cents upward. Also, trailer parks, mobile home parks, etc. may also have more parcel numbers than water meters for a piece of property. While the single family residence property owner gets 1 vote and must pay $60 a year, other parcels that pay less also get 1 vote.

    Ask to see the assessment amount for each of the 22,111 parcels listed on the ballot mailing that went out on Thursday. So far, that list isn't available.

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  10. I'm glad anonymous brought up the topic of City offices having separate parcel numbers because it caused me to realize an additional factoid: Not only are we obviously overpaying for City Attorney Sabine's frequently faulty advice to Council, but we paid over $110,000 for Brian Jewett (aka Mr. Muniman) to recommend the ballot include ALL City owned property in the first place.

    Now, if what I hear is true and those City owned parcel votes will not be exercised (because Mr. Sabine finally got something right), then we are also overpaying for the consultants, which many of us already agree were unnecessary in the first place (if the measure is as wonderful as Ms. Guerin claims it to be).

    Makes one wonder how much of the other advice provided by the consultants is worthless, doesn't it? High-priced, but worthless...

    Thanks, anonymous, for your contribution.

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  11. Has anyone noticed the instructions on the back of the ballot, particularly instruction #11 which says "Each parcel upon which the fee is to be imposed has one (1) vote."? Why was this pointed out while we are left to wonder about all those parcels upon which NO fee is to be imposed?

    Should we infer that parcels upon which no fee is to be imposed will receive 0 votes? Or do they receive more than or the same number of votes as those parcels upon which the fee is to be imposed?

    Why mention this at all? Anybody out there understand the legal ramifications of having this statement on the ballot?

    I could see an argument for not allowing the votes to be counted that come from parcels upon which NO fee is to be imposed since the instructions don't assign a value to those votes whereas the instructions do assign a value to the other parcels' votes.

    Why are parcels that don't have a water meter permitted to vote anyway? I heard what MuniMan said, and we've all seen what his opinion is worth (in actual value, not in dollars spent by Councilmembers) but I want to know what the election laws say about it. It is extremely unusual that parcels that ultimately will not pay a fee are asked their opinion while other parties (renters, etc.) who do not own property, but benefit from having clean water, were not asked to vote. What kind of discrimination is this? The kind that includes developers and excludes the rest of the non-land-owning general public?

    And finally, why aren't tourists pulling their own weight? They benefit from a reduction in the number of closed beach days and from a lack of litter on the sand and in the water. Why aren't they subject to a Clean Water Regulatory Area Use Sales or Habitation Tax?

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