OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Measure H’

Capo Unified School District’s newest Bond Tax attempts: An Expensive Bad Idea!

Posted by Craig P Alexander on January 10, 2020

For the March 3, 2020 ballot Capistrano Unified School District is pushing two bond tax measures on the voters. Measure H for San Clemente (except Talega) and Capo Beach property owners and Measure I on the rest of Dana Point, all of Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo owners. If passed both measures would obligate voters to pay (with interest) an additional SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS ($519,000,000.00 for Measure I plus $205,000,000.00 for Measure H) on top of all of the other taxes and bond taxes we already pay.

In this article I will set forth why these bond taxes are NOT a good idea. My knowledge of this subject comes from when I ran for the CUSD Board of Trustees in 2014, being part of a group that opposed CUSD’s Measure M in 2016 and the research I and others have done regarding past and present bond tax attempts. I wish to make three points.

The first is taxes. Or I should say taxes, taxes and more taxes. California residents are already among the highest taxed in the nation.

In 2012 voters passed new “temporary taxes” (Proposition 30) promoted by the teacher unions with a promise these taxes would provide billions of dollars for the school system.  Then in 2016 the same unions and their fellow travelers were successful in passing Proposition 55 resulting in most of the Prop. 30 “temporary taxes” being extended for twelve years.

Again voters were promised this was for public education. These higher income taxes have given California the dubious distinction of having the HIGHEST state income tax rates in the nation. This is in addition to gasoline taxes (second highest in the nation then, as of July 1, 2020, the highest) (Gas Taxes), higher sales and utility taxes, higher DMV fees, etc. with most of these taxes’ deductibility being limited by Federal tax law. It is reported that the state expects a $22 billion operating surplus and to have $20.59 billion in reserves this year. (CalTax ) Voters have every right to ask – where are those tax dollars we have already paid?

CUSD mismanages its funds!

There is one bond tax CUSD would apparently like for voters to forget about – CUSD’s Measure A bond tax passed in 1999. It’s on your current property tax bill and we are still paying for this bond tax (millions are still owed).  Importantly, as part of the 1999 Measure A pitch to the voters, the District listed as reasons for that bond tax the need for asbestos removal/roof repairs/earthquake retrofitting/renovating science laboratories.  Yet for Measures H & I CUSD is still listing these same items as needing repair!  So what did CUSD do with the bond tax money from Measure A?

Why are we being asked to pay twice for the same repairs?

CUSD constantly states it has no money of its own and it is slated via this bond tax to put zero of its own funds into these projects.  Where are our tax dollars CUSD currently receives going?  Over 86% of the District’s funds are spent on salaries and benefits of adult employees of the District.  Thus over the years it does not manage our tax money wisely to plan for building upkeep and maintenance.  For example:

2018 Salary & Benefits:                Regular Salary  & Benefits           Other Pay        Total

Superintendent Kristen Vital:       $333,267.00                                  $91,999.00      $425,266.00

Deputy Supt. Clark Hampton       $241,556.00                                  $58,755.86      $300,331.86

Gov. Edmond Brown, Jr.               $192,442.68                                  $92,730.31      $285,172.99

Thus the Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent each are paid more than the Governor of the State of California!  (Source: http://www.TransparentCalifornia.com).  And in December 2019 everyone at CUSD, including the Superintendent, received raises retroactive to July 1, 2019.

CUSD is a declining enrollment District!

CUSD’s own documents (Declining Enrollment) confirm the District itself knows this. Yet it wants to use these new bond taxes to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into school building projects.   The District, at pages B-3 (Measure H) and B-3 & B-4 (Measure I) list ALL of the existing schools implying all are slated for new construction from bond taxes.  So this raises the question: Why is the District asking the taxpayers to pay for improvements to school sites it will likely need to close over the next few years?  Or is the District not planning to spend the bond tax funds on some of these schools it will be forced to close due to declining enrollment?  If this is the case what is it really planning to do with these taxpayer funds?  Voters deserve straightforward answers on what CUSD intends to do with their bond taxes before they vote to place additional 30 year tax liens on their properties.  Either the District is not planning properly or it is not being forthright with its constituents!

Residents and taxpayers deserve better stewardship of their tax dollars! They deserve transparency from their local government school Trustees and education bureaucrats.   Please vote No on Measures H & I!

For more information go to Capo Kids First! on Facebook.  Learn more by attending the combined Chamber of Commerce Forum on this subject on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. at the City of Laguna Niguel’s Community Room (30111 Crown Valley Pkwy, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677).

Craig Alexander is a Dana Point resident, property owner and an attorney. This post is adapted from a guest column that appears in the Dana Point Times and the San Clemente Times.

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Letter: Vote No on Dana Point Measure H, the Empty Lots Initiative

Posted by Craig P. Alexander on May 9, 2016

Recently the Dana Point Times published my Letter to the Editor.  In it I stated my opposition to Measure H which I call the Empty Lots Initiative.

Below is a part of that Letter:

By Craig Alexander, Dana Point

I have lived in Dana Point since 1999. One of the first things I realized is property development is a hot button issue. Another thing I noted in 1999, which continues to today, are the numerous empty lots and sometimes rundown buildings in downtown Dana Point. Over the years, there have been several studies and many public meetings about how to create a better downtown Dana Point to attract visitors and make it a nice place for residents to enjoy a wonderful shopping and dining experience.

A few years ago, a prior city council led by now Assemblyman Bill Brough, spearheaded the city finalizing what is now called the Lantern District plans after dozens of public hearings at which all citizens of Dana Point were allowed to participate. The plan passed via city council votes, and the city has already spent over $18 million, plus millions of ratepayer dollars from the South Coast Water District, to implement the Lantern District improvements. Part of the Lantern District plan is to recoup part of those funds via development fees and increased property taxes.

Now, unhappy with a few development decisions by the City Council, some members of our community want to implement a ballot box zoning law called Measure H that would have the effect of halting development in the Lantern District. I call this the “Empty Lots Initiative,” because it would make development there so restrictive that no project could financially work, thus the empty lots would stay empty. An obvious result would be the city not receiving back many of the millions of dollars it spent under the Lantern District Plan from development fees and increased property tax revenue. This ballot box zoning measure is like taking a sledge hammer to a problem that needle nose pliers can fix. You might get the result you want but you will also destroy the object you are trying to fix.

If you do not like the City Council and their property development decisions, change the City Council. That is why we have elections every two years in November and term limits as well.

At the very least, before making such a drastic decision, I encourage my fellow Dana Point residents to go to the city’s website (http://www.danapoint.org/) and click on the link to the Town Center Initiative Impact Report. You will find valuable information in that report, which I recommend you seriously consider prior to casting your vote for or against Measure H.

Here is the link to the full Letter to the Editor (Vote No On H, the Empty Lots Initiative)

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