If We Say It Enough, They’ll Believe It

The Libertarian Lass, Gayle Falkenthal The Libertarian Lass, Gayle Falkenthal 15 Comments

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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: http://www.twitpic.com/2nfisf

This falls in the propaganda category of “If we say it enough, they’ll believe it.” Please. The Yes on D crowd is desperate to hide the fact this is a GENERAL FUND tax. It cannot be earmarked for anything. Prop D only requires a simple majority vote. A special tax requires a two-thirds vote and there isn’t a chance such a measure would pass.

Even though both lawsuits against Prop D failed, Judge David B. Oberholzter stated on the record in no uncertain terms that:

  • “Proposition D seeks the approval of a half-cent sales tax increase, and nothing else.”
  • “The proceeds will go into the General Fund and are not earmarked for any purpose.”
  • “The tax before us is unquestionably a general tax for general purposes.”
  • “The tax is meant to go into the General Fund – and after that it is untraceable.”

The good news is that voters get it. They are getting madder by the day with a City Council that has to date refused to implement managed competition despite the passage of Prop C four years ago, refused to make meaningful pension reforms, and just this week refused to complete labor negotiations over retiree health benefits until April 2011.  Read the comments after any news media coverage of Prop D online. Scathing hardly describes them.

But some voters may be fooled by this amateurish attempt to scare people into thinking they will “drown, burn, or be shot” as T.J. Zane of San Diegans Against Government Waste says if they don’t pass Prop D. Please be sure to talk with your friends, family, neighbors and colleagues who vote in the City of San Diego and make sure they understand: Prop D is a blank check with no guarantees that any of the money collected will go toward anything other than its pension and benefit obligations.

Get ready for the barrage of televisions full of good looking men and women in uniform, trying to convince you that your family will be in mortal peril without Prop D.

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  3. Gayle:

    It’s good to see you back on the Firing Line.

    Who are the members of the campaign team
    you referenced ?

  4. Jim, the consultants are Tom Shepard, Shepard & Associates, Inc., and Jen Tierney, The Gemini Group. Rachel Laing, deputy press secretary to Mayor Jerry Sanders, announced Friday she is taking a leave of absence to handle public relations for the Yes on D Campaign. Others include Jean Freelove, Freelove Consulting Group (fundraising); Nancy Haley, Scott & Cronin (treasurer); and Jim Sutton, The Sutton Law Firm (legal counsel).

  5. Apparently I offended some union leaders with my comment about their checks. Come on, I didn’t call anyone a drug addict. In turn I believe they called me a Republican (on Twitter). Didn’t they read my moniker? Now I’M offended. Give me a form.

  6. The analogy is, I think, more akin to an alcoholic who promises to go to rehab, but needs a drink for the drive to the facility. Oh, and they’ll drive themself.

  7. Consider just how honest that slogan is. It tells the public precisely what’s at stake and what they’re choosing when they vote for or against the measure.

    The general fund, where the revenue would go, pays for firefighter and police service. If the mayor and council are forced to cut $70 million from that fund — after years of cutting (more than $300 million to date) — it can no longer be done without making steep cuts to the budgets of the police and fire departments. For evidence of that, witness the $11.5 million cut via rolling brownouts in the FY2011 budget. It has already begun.

    Anyone who says public safety can and will be left untouched is living in a fantasyland. That public safety resources are at stake is not a threat. It’s a reality.

    The public deserves to know that, and they deserve an opportunity to avoid that outcome.

  8. How much of the general fund budget is committed to pension obligations? What about in future years? Is this tax truly going to cover public safety costs as Rachel intimates, or is it going to fund pension obligations for public safety personnel?

  9. D7 Voter: We all know the answer. Pension and benefit obligations make up almost 70% of all personnel costs, and the obligation is growing by leaps and bounds. That sales tax will barely make a dent. Reforming these gold-plated payouts (some are more than the individual ever made while working) is the only way to solve the budget problem and put cops and firefighters back on the street, something we all want.

  10. Rachel:

    From time immemorial, ALL tax increases have been
    draped in fire, police, parks and libraries… all the
    services the public likes best. Sometimes the
    public has gone along with the tax hikes as a result.

    But it never ends… the condition of the city’s streets
    has never been this bad, library hours have never
    been this short.

    Now the “raise taxes or you will lose vital services”
    line does not work anymore. Taxes have gone up,
    budgets have soared, and the City deteriorates
    anyway.

    If you are puzzled about voter resistance to this
    Tax Increase, this is the simple explanation. The
    public has taken a “Fool me Once, shame on
    You. Fool me Twice, shame on Me” stance.

    They heard leaders “cry wolf” too many times.
    It no longer is persuasive.

  11. Rachel writes,

    “it can no longer be done without making steep cuts to the budgets of the police and fire departments. ”

    BAH!!!! (or at least half a BAH!!) The FY 2011 budget spends nearly $7 million on Arts program (pg. 337 of the FY 20110budget); continues to operate Torrey Pines as simply a “break even proposition (when Sandpiper GC in Santa Barbara is a plus 5 million a year operation for its owners); Has 12 staff members in library and P&R that make over 100,000 in base salary (not counting benefits). It passes, apperantly over not a loud squawk from hefa sanders, the PDO resolution which will negatively impact TOT. It still has the living wage ordinance on the books and refuses to get serious about managed competition.

    But I don’t begrudge the long-standing city employees who populate the current leadership ranks wanting this. It is in their policy DNA. But the fact that REPUBLICANS like shepherd, sutton, freelove, and haley are eating at the union pig slop on this should be long remembered. Candidates – next time you are shopping for help think about which vendors share your values and which are simply hired mercenaries willing to work to raise taxes in the midst of one of the worst recessions in the last 70 years.

  12. Looks like the Pro-Tax PR campaign is running at full throttle:

    Unions & Todd Gloria balking at landfill. “Mission Accomplished!” How’d that work out for GW? http://tinyurl.com/2a9lm5p

    Union allowing city council the thumbs up. Glad to see who’s running the show here. http://tinyurl.com/2ccf38a

    The way the citiizens are being railroaded by the council / unions / mayor is absolutely vile. Makes me sick to my stomach. I think I may need to run to Roger Hedgecock’s old studio to see if he left behind any bottles of the pink stuff.

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