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Posts Tagged ‘taxpayers’

Watered-Down SB 350 Still Threatens California

Monday, September 28, 2015
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in the Riverside Press-Enterprise

Once in a while, even in the California state Legislature, we witness democracy in action or a rare moment when a well-intentioned, but harmful, strongly supported and lobbied bill, is rejected due to a lack of votes.

In the final days of the Legislature’s 2014-2015 session, the right number of elected officials listened to their constituents and defeated a costly measure that would have forced every Californian to cut their gasoline use in half and increased the cost of electricity in the Inland Empire and throughout California.

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Jerry Brown Opens Door on New Taxes

Friday, June 19, 2015
posted by Elliot Schroeder

Sometimes I hate being right. Last year, I warned that Brown’s second term would include a tax increase. The GOP candidates didn’t try to get him to pledge again on taxes. He said as much in a press conference. They should of pounded him over and over to at least get another pledge even as their victory was in doubt. This would have been a win for the taxpayers. Now it’s not happening


Scott Crosby, CEO, ABC San Diego / 619-518-3450

(Poway, California) – Hundreds of San Diego Community College students will be prohibited from working on Southwestern College (SWC) Prop R funded construction projects under a proposed Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) to be voted on Wednesday by the SWC Governing Board.

The students will be barred from applying for these construction jobs because the proposed CBA excludes all non-union students. San Diego Community College students are enrolled in state-registered apprenticeship programs affiliated with the Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego, a construction association that includes members who choose not to sign union collective bargaining agreements.


Understanding Employers and Why Republicans Matter

Thursday, July 4, 2013
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed originally appeared in Steve Frank’s California Political News & Views

Common sense dictates that people as well as employers will act in their own best interest.  This is the premise underlying market economies and why they provide more goods, services and improve the lives of all of us, much more so than a command or government manipulated market can.  One of the risks associated with beginning or expanding a business (that is unsupported by government largesse) is in fact, government.  That is, existing regulations and tax structure as well as anticipated or future regulatory and tax structure.  If you are going to invest large amounts of money or throw the dice, you want to be fairly certain of the rules of the game. If the rules change after the dice land, you lose.

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Pension Reform Panel

Thursday, February 28, 2013
posted by Carl DeMaio

SDCTA Breakfast Panel: The Future of Pension Reform: What’s Next?

Date: Thursday, March 14, 2013
Time: 7:00 AM – 9:00 AM

Organizer: San Diego County Taxpayers Association

Sponsor: REFORM San Diego

Panelists Include:
Carl DeMaio – Founder and Chairman of Reform San Diego
Hon. Jan Goldsmith – San Diego City Attorney
Tim Davis – Partner at Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP

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It’s a time-honored New Year’s tradition to review all the new laws taking effect starting on January 1. So I thought I’d get a look at new laws affected Rostrafarians in California. I nearly choked on my breakfast when I looked at the number. There are 837 new laws taking effect as of today. Seriously? Our state was so far askew we needed over 800 pieces of legislation passed to patch us up? Holy moly.


Top Twenty Worst Bills Worthy of the Governor’s Veto

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
posted by Diane Harkey

This op-ed, co-authored with Senator Bob Dutton, originally appeared in the Flashreport

As of today, the Governor has yet to act on any of these bills. When he is done, we will grade Governor Brown on his performance. The Governor’s “letter grade” will be computed using the following scale… If he vetoes 90% or more, the Governor got an “A”, 80% – 89% a “B”, 70 – 79% a “A”, 60 – 69% a “D” and below that, an “F”…

For convenience, we have broken down the bad bills into seven different categories… Next to the bill number and author, in bright red, will appear the action taken by the Governor on each bill (none as of today).

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According to a new Survey USA poll, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders’s proposed public subsidy for a new Chargers stadium is a tough sell to the public.

In the October 13th poll that surveyed 500 adults in the City of San Diego, 70% of respondents opposed an annual $38 million taxpayer subsidy to fund a new football stadium for 30 years. Among those strongly opposed are Independents (80%), conservatives (77%), Caucasians (75%), and women (75%).

The poll references the “rough estimate” recently floated by Mayor Jerry Sanders as the public’s contribution towards the cost of an $800 million stadium in East Village. The annual amount would cover bond debt payments, and would not require higher or new taxes.


Backers of an initiative that would prohibit project labor agreements (PLAs) on City of San Diego construction projects were notified by San Diego City Clerk Elizabeth Maland that the signatures submitted are sufficient to qualify the measure for the next citywide ballot. (The required minimum was 62,057). So it seems voters in the City of San Diego will have the opportunity to consider and vote upon a Fair and Open Competition initiative in 2012.

A bit of poliwonk trivia: the Fair and Open Competition measure is the first City of San Diego initiative to qualify for the ballot via citizen signatures since 1998.


New Groundbreaking Study Reveals “Project Labor Agreements” (PLAs) Increase School Construction Costs by 13 to 15 Percent in California

School projects built under these contracts cost $28.90 to $32.49 more per square foot

JULY 26, 2011 SAN DIEGO – California school construction projects built under contracts that contain provisions known as Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) cost 13 to 15 percent more than non-PLA projects. That is the major finding of a new study published today by the National University System Institute for Policy Research (NUSIPR). This research is, to date, the most expansive review of the use of these agreements on school construction.  It is particularly relevant considering that California voters have approved $64 billion in school construction bonds during the last decade.  Clearly, the facts suggest that enactment of a PLA may have significant financial consequences.


San Diego Public Library Laptops Lifted

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
posted by Bradley J. Fikes

Another illuminating story from the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Watchdog group: 10 out of 25 laptop computers available for use inside the San Diego Public Library have been stolen.

The laptops aren’t labeled with a magnetic security sticker, because the library thinks the stickers might damage the computers, according to the article. But the Watchdog reporter ran that claim past a supplier of the magnetic security systems. The company said the tags should not damage laptops.

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Rostra columnist Jim Sills posted a question on my recent post “Calling San Diego Taxpayers: Oppose the “Jobs Tax” asking San Diegans to oppose a proposal by the San Diego City Council to double linkage fees.

Sills had the courage (and the smarts) to ask an obvious question. What the heck is a “linkage fee”?

I called on Chris Cate, Vice President of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association to get a little schooling on this for Rostra readers. Cate was happy to oblige.

Hey, pipe down there, you in the back. Pay attention – this WILL be on the test!


Labor Council’s “Middle Class Taxpayer Association”

Monday, April 18, 2011
posted by Steve Rider

A colleague sent me a link today to an event posted on Facebook by a group calling itself the “Middle Class Taxpayers Association.” I thought I was acquainted with all the tax activists groups in San Diego and this was a new one on me, so I checked it out with interest.

What a joke. If ever a group assembled under a more inaccurate name, I’d be interested to see it. The “Middle Class Taxpayers Association” isn’t a new voice for responsible stewardship of our tax dollars. It’s a front group shilling for the San Diego Labor Council. The Labor Council doesn’t even try to hide its involvement. It seems silly to use this name, but I suppose there are people or news media who might confuse it with a real taxpayers advocacy group.

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Starting today, an important election involving city finances is taking place in San Diego, but taxpayers won’t be casting the votes.

Nope, this election rests with city employees, who have a week to vote on whether to eliminate a controversial and costly employee benefit – the Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP). 

Yes, in San Diego, employees have the final say when it comes to eliminating their own retirement benefits. Most taxpayers probably have no idea this practice exists, but it’s alive and well – and guaranteed under the City’s Charter.

Specifically, Charter Section 143.1 says:


A fresh face among San Diego’s political wonks is always a welcome sight. So it’s a pleasure to post word that Peter Amaro has been named the new Policy Analyst at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

Amaro’s brief bio: A native San Diegan (hooray!), Amaro received his Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center.  During his time at Georgetown, he worked as a policy analyst with the Harrison Institute for Public Law, where he focused on land-use regulation and environmental policy issues facing state and local governments.  He was also involved with Georgetown’s Environmental Law Society and Habitat for Humanity student groups.  Prior to his legal studies, he worked for AVID Center, a San Diego-based educational nonprofit organization.  Amaro earned his bachelor’s degree cum laude in Comparative Literature and Society from Columbia University.


If you’re the sort who enjoys spending an evening or even an off-the-rails three day weekend pouring through reams of data secured through the Public Records Act to hold public agencies, their staff members and appointed and elected officials accountable (admit it, you’re reading Rostra aren’t you?), Christmas has come early for you thanks to the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.

In support of its mission to promote accountable, cost-effective and efficient government, SDCTA today launched a new online “Data Center” on its website. Included in the SDCTA Data Center are historical budget and audited financial statements, memorandums of understanding (MOUs), state pension system reports, and other government data.

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Thanks to some vigilent citizen watchdogs spreading the word, we learned that Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood called a special meeting of the Oceanside City Council today at 4 p.m. The meeting just barely met the minimum public notice required.

Ask yourself dear Rostra reader why the council would be in such a big hurry to have an unscheduled meeting on a Wednesday afternoon? Could it be anything to do with the fact a new City Council with a newly elected member will be sworn in the next morning on Thursday, December 2? Hmmm. Could it be anything to do with the fact the Council will vote on three proposed labor contracts with police officers and firefighters?


TONIGHT: Post-Election Analysis with Consultant Hoy, Pollster Nienstedt

Monday, November 8, 2010
posted by Erica Holloway

I’m not exactly the most devoted GOP meeting attendee. But I’ll be there tonight to hear the recap of the wildly dead-on pollster John Nienstedt and Nov. 2 success-story consultant John Hoy.

I had the honor of working with both men on Proposition A – which crossed the finish line easily with more than 70 percent of the vote. Conversely on the difficulty scale, Hoy also consulted the hard-won race for Councilwoman-Elect Lorie Zapf.

Last month, I heard Nienstedt give some quick, off-the-cuff predictions that were eerily correct virtually across the board from the governor race on down to Proposition D.


How taxpayer-friendly is your local representative in Sacramento?

The results are in from the 2010 Legislative Report Card issued by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA), one of California’s oldest and most respected taxpayer advocacy organizations, and San Diego Assemblymember Diane Harkey and Senator Dennis Hollingsworth received the highest “A” grades (94.7% and 96.9%, respectively) within the San Diego delegation!


Yes on A Gets Local, National Attention

Monday, October 18, 2010
posted by Erica Holloway

Not too often that you see a local proposition garner national media attention, but that’s just what the Yes on A camp snagged last week following a feisty debate on KPBS’s “These Days.”

For starters, Construction for Fair Employment in Construction’s Eric Christen went toe-to-toe with Lorena Gonzalez, secretary-treasurer / CEO of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council on last week’s “These Days,” which drew 18 lengthy comments online. A poll on KPBS’s site today showed the proposition getting 65 percent of the yes vote compared to 34 percent.

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Art, Schmart

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A robust public discussion (my favorite kind!) is taking place over the issue of public arts funding. Reporter Lynn Stewart of San Diego 6 aired a story last week pointing out that the City of San Diego had budgeted $300,000 for art at two fire stations, while at the same time fire stations were being shuttered in rolling “brownouts” to save money and taxpayers are being asked for more in sales taxes.  In response, Mayor Sanders has asked the San Diego City Council to suspend public arts funding in the capital improvement budget.


The Yes on D campaign in support of the proposed half-cent sales tax increase in the City of San Diego has finally ginned up its efforts, less than eight weeks before election day. I suppose it took that long for the public labor union checks funding the campaign to clear.

Its first news release announced the campaign’s team members. It wasn’t the names that caught my eye. It was the logo. I nearly shot my coffee through my nose when I saw it. Fair warning to you before you take a look:


In a move that didn’t catch much of anyone by surprise, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association’s Board of Directors overwhelmingly voted to oppose Proposition D, the City of San Diego’s half-cent sales tax increase which will come before San Diego voters on the November 3, 2010 ballot.

Proposition D imposes a half-cent sales tax increase on all eligible purchases within the City of San Diego if city officials meet certain conditions. It is estimated to raise $103 million in funding annually.

Lani Lutar, President & CEO of the Association, said SDCTA’s board cited the following reasons for its opposition to Proposition D:

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Save a dollar, get a dollar. It’s a refreshingly simple approach to solving the City of San Diego’s budget problems proffered this morning by San Diego County Taxpayers Association President & CEO Lani Lutar.

Lutar delivered this memo to Mayor Jerry Sanders and member of the San Diego City Council this morning. So far, Councilmember Carl DeMaio has reacted favorably to the proposal, posting the memo on his Twitter feed (@carldemaio).

When I read something this sensible and fair, my cynical mind thinks, “OK, what’s the catch?” The only catch is that everyone needs to come to their senses, play fair, and try to uphold their end of the deal.


Concerned business owners and citizens will step forward to voice their opposition to a proposed sales tax increase in the City of San Diego prior to a discussion at the San Diego City Council meeting on Monday afternoon, July 26 at 1 p.m. Speakers will call for the City to address pension reform, managed competition and spending cuts before asking taxpayers for any more of their hard-earned money.

The event will take place at the Concourse next to San Diego City Hall, 202 C Street, San Diego, CA 92101.


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