Monday, August 2, 2010

Debate challange Re: new Pacifica hotel tax

Open Letter to Three Pacifica Council Incumbents Running for Re-election

No hiding this election year.

Pacifica Mayor Sue Digre and Council members Jim Vreeland and Julie Lancelle are challenged to debate Pacifica's 20% hotel tax increase they placed on this Nov ballot. This new tax is the first leg in Council's attempt to secure $6 million in new taxes in the next 20 months.

Digre, Vreeland and Lancelle are the three incumbents who are running for re-election after between 8 and 12 years on Council. They also will sign the pro hotel tax ballot statement.

These incumbents apparently don't get it: Calif. has a 12.3% unemployment rate; all other Bay area cities are making budget cuts and staff contract adjustments; we are close to a double-dip rceession. Pacifica picks tax increases with no plans available that demonstrate verifiable economic improvements to boost tax revenue.

Local Pacifica residents Jim Wagner and Mark Stechbart make the debate challenge, particularly after no Councilmember chose to debate Wagner nor Stechbart last year over the ill-fated sales tax increase that was defeated 2-1.

Wagner and Stechbart propose this debate to be patterned after the well attended sales tax debate last year.

1. the debate can be sponsored by the Tribune, Chamber or Pacifica Democrats club.
2. venue: council chamber, on a Saturday and covered by Channel 26.
3. opening statement, a short rebuttal.
4. audience questions: written down, signed by an identifiable person. All debaters answer all questions.
5. closing statements.

All three pro tax incumbents have to attend or no debate. No surrogates. Failure to debate means hotel tax questions asked at every public candidate forum.

Copies of this release to all city council via City Clerk O'connell, Pac Tribune, chamber, Pacifica Democrats, Pacifica Riptide blog, Fix pacifica blog and julie Scott Times.

rock on.

mark stechbart


Steve Sinai said...

They'll send out Mary Ann and someone from the city finance task force.

Anonymous said...

Good idea. If the three incumbents really care about Pacifica. They should attend this important meeting and convince us why they think is good this tax rate. Good luck.

Lionel Emde said...

"Failure to debate means hotel tax questions asked at every public candidate forum."

Debate or not, hotel tax questions, along with other questions such as: "Why did the city council spend two-thirds of our reserves on a structural deficit without doing anything about it through labor negotiations?" should be asked, and asked, and asked.

todd bray said...

How do you debate the Lil' Rascals? With cream pies? I admire the hubris of Spankie and Twitchie but come on guys. Taxes go up when revenues are down. What should be debated here is why public servant wages go up when revenues are down. Solve that puzzle and I'll vote for you no matter how much it hurts!!.

Unknown said...

at least the Lil' Rascals are honest...

Jaded One said...

Sue, being Sue, will take the challenge because she's smart. Jim won't because he's a council god and is not accountable to mere mortals. Julie won't be able to make a decision about debating or not before the election is over.


go away and write a song. Nancy Hall already has the "you're so mean" gig. Or, has Nancy surfaced? If so, could you please explain the Bio boondoggle? That cost the city $150,000. What's that, one year of this tax? You and Mr. Vreeland going to cover the first year of the tax? That's called putting up or shutting up.

Anonymous said...

Lionel pay attention! The council cut to the bone last year. They are in tough negotiations now trying to get more cuts without stupid lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

Steve, no on sends Mary Ann anywhere. She's got her own mind and she is strong. Too bad, she also would do a better debate. Oh yeah, she's got a brain, CAN make a decision, shows up to do the work, AND puts the community first. Wow, she needs help.

Disappointed said...

Anonymous@9:28 PM:
You can shill for Mary Ann all you want but the facts speak for themselves. She has been in office close to two years now with nothing to show for it but the occasional dog and pony show. For example, where's that dog park you promised Mary Ann? All talk and no action! I've seen that before.

I encourage all to look at her endorsements for City Council on her web site:
It looks like a who's who list of Pacificans for Sustainable Development - the very people who created Pacifica's financial mess in the first place!

Kathy Meeh said...

City council should step-up to this hotel tax debate. This is another one of their solutions, cut services, payroll, and tax everyone. Meantime inflation continues and the city rots.

While Todd talks in incomprehensible riddles, the solution to our city financial structural issues is clear enough, and has been for 8 years. Of course each election promises have been made, but not kept-- some of you may have just forgot.

Anonymous said...

Mary Ann Nihart is not one to trust either. You are right " Disappointed , listing her supporters tell us a lot. My opinion I don't trust her. She is too sneaky.

sneaky pete dejarnatt said...

No one can out sneaky the one, the only, the original sneaky Pete.

I challenge anyone.

Anonymous said...

MEAN MEAN Leroy Brown,

What are your ideas for improving Pacifica besides getting Vreeland and the other incumbents out?

Why don't you run?



Anonymous said...

@Anonymous at 8:50 am

Javier Chavaria
Courtney Conlon
Suzan Getchell-Wallace
Linda Jonas
Bob Pickerrell
Susan Vellone

A bunch of flaming environmentalists -- those folks!!

Anonymous said...

Karl Baldwin
Anna Boothe
Clorinda Campagna
May Gee
Stephanie Hamilton
Trish Hudson
Kathleen Manning
Mildred Owen
Lynn Schuette
Remi Tan

Kathy Meeh said...

Anonymous @1:36,1:43pm. 16 centrists vs 107 "flaming environmentalists" endorsements. How do those number work for you?

Although I think you may have missed a few centrists by name, a couple of the names you've mentioned may be marginal centrists. Taking a fair guess, out of 123 endorsements call it 20% centrists, 80% "flaming environmentalists". Even so not exactly balance. Herein is the city leadership problem, spilling-over into a campaign to support the common position of "lets all get along."

Steve Sinai said...

I like what Mary Ann's been doing so far, and if she was running in November I'd vote for her. Like Cal Hinton, one person can only do so much when you have the other four holding you back, but at least she's making an effort.

Kathy Meeh said...

Agreed. And, the magic city council leadership number is 3 of 5 majority. Want a balanced economy in this city? This Fall, don't vote for incumbent city council members and don't believe what they promise-- it never works out well, 8 year proof is enough.

This time vote for known, proven challenger pro-economic city council candidates. Guess we'll know more about that after Friday.

Kathy Meeh said...

Mary Ann has followed her stated campaign 2008 priorities:
* Revitalize aging business districts
* Promote a vigorous economic base
* Protect our hills, open space, & environment

Clarification above 3 council members are a majority, the number of members on city council are 5, for any of you who may not know that.

Look at the city council agenda for next time, (8/9/10) last item redevelopment zone: "public-private partnerships". The nonsense just keeps coming from the current city council. That's private property, and this city council majority plans to cut-the-city-in and establish the rules of development. Oh that should just be swell, developers will just love that one. "Deja vu" GGNRA all over again.

Anonymous said...

If you think a public-private partnership in a redevelopment zone is nonsense, you don't understand what redevelopment is and how it works.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and redevelopment, how has that worked for us? Try $8 million in the hole, never to be seen again.

Anonymous said...

So the quarry should not be in a redevelopment zone?

todd bray said...

I understand staff want to generate revenues for salaries and pensions but this goes too far and is in my opinion grossly unfair to us the residents of Pacifica.

The passage below puts us the citizens of Pacifica on the hook for doing the property owners/developers dirty work with agencies such as the Coastal Commission and United States Fish and Wildlife Service....

"WHEREAS, numerous environmental, land use, political and other constraints exist which restrict the Property’s potential. The EDC believes that the City (through the RBRD) is the most appropriate legal entity to plan and entitle said Property. Doing so will undoubtedly require collaboration with a host of governmental, resource and other agencies as well as the local community."

I do not think the city of Pacifica is the most appropriate legal entity to entitle the property beyond its responsibilities as a local government agency. This resolution, contrary to the staff report by city manager Rhodes sticks us with the burden of walking a project through the entitlement processes of the Coastal Commission, United States Fish and Wildlife and Army Corps of Engineers to name but a few.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon, since you understand how public-private partnerships work, please do educate us. The examples we know about are the biodiesel plant fiasco, GGNRA open space in geographical downtown, the envisioned Livability Center and so forth.

You might also want to describe the beneficial advantages for the people of this city and the private property owner. Public-private partnerships sound more like franchise-fees + ownership, another "free lunch" for the city from the table of the private owner/developer/business; and, an additional surcharge/fee/tax to our residents and visitors. "Win, win" for the underdeveloped city, "lose, lose" for the residents and visitors.

And, will the city design the plan for highest and best use, or will it follow that lame non-professional eco-citizen plan presented to Councilmember Lancelle from Pacificans for (no) Sustainable Development. Big public square, sell hiking supplies and energy bars.

The quarry redevelopment zone has lost money because: "no development". Some of you have worked very hard to assure that success, so you can thank yourselves for that -$8 million victory.

When developed, a redevelopment zone returns to a city about 85 cents on the dollar of tax revenue produced-- plus services and jobs. Thrown-away city advantages here, about 20 years.

Todd, I think the city would not lose money, but would bill the developer and also vest themselves into all sources of income as described above. This is private property, and it seems the city should retain its regulatory distance and "hands off". So for different reasons, we agree this entitlement process does not seem to be an appropriate activity for the city.

Anonymous said...

Todd Bray and Kathy Meeh agree: no public-private partnership for quarry redevelopment

Anonymous said...

"Public-private partnership?"
Instant conflict of interest.
Watch out, Mr. and Ms. Taxpayer, your pocket's about to be picked.

todd bray said...

Unfortunately Kathy and I do disagree Anon. Redevelopment by it's nature is a public private partnership. My concern is the sentence... "The EDC believes that the City (through the RBRD) is the most appropriate legal entity to plan and entitle said Property.' I disagree the city should spearhead the entitlement process for the owner/developer.

Anonymous said...

"Redevelopment by it's nature is a public private partnership." Thanks for agreeing with that.

Kathy Meeh said...

"Now the city can develop the quarry the way we want to with Public-Private Partnerships" (Councilmember Jim Vreeland (about 2/09) Tribune Front page following the successful city council subcommittee (Vreeland, Lancelle) disposal of Peebles follow-up intent to build that quarry village (without Measure L). So, I think the strategy in this city is much closer to the one I described.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Kathy Meeh is opposed to this because the city will screw it up and take something from the developer, and Todd Bray is opposed because the city will succeed and give something to the developer.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon @4:31, here's a good reference for you The Livability Center. Maybe you can "figure it out" from there.

Anonymous said...

Circular reference makes no sense.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon @10:05pm, here's the circle...1/3 vendor, 1/3 organization, 1/3 city for both biodiesel, and "Livability Project". These two examples are financially marginal, and suggest a cozy city (city council), vendor/organizational relationships, flaky financial/expertise, questionable civic appropriate need and/or location.

Other projects may follow the franchise fee example (example trash collection), with the city inserting itself into the "partnership" for a mostly "free ride", while owners/vendors and consumers absorb the additional cost.

For a really clear, bottom-line understanding and explanation, you may wish to check-out Anonymous, 8/6, 8:48am (above).

Anonymous said...

Wow people I guess you are not paying attention. Mary Ann volunteered her own time to talk to Palmetto Businesses and restart the Palmetto Business Association. At that meeting both she and Steve Rhodes gave the time schedule for Palmetto under grounding of utilities. She has already obtained the money for the street lights and they are working on getting more money. Mary Ann is the force behind economic development and in recruiting the members of that committee. She just doesn't constantly toot her own horn, she is out doing the work. As a Palmetto Business Owner, I am behind Mary Ann All the way. She is a great friend to business no matter what you say. Be clear, she is a business owner herself. So don't speak of what you do not know.

Anonymous said...

Also the dog park is in process with the EIR complete and she has voted support. There is quite a list of Mary Ann accomplishments and she has only been in office 19 months. You may not always agree with her but you always know where she stands when she votes and that she does the work. We challenge the person who made the "sneaky" to come up with one example.

Anonymous said...

Kathy, why are you so obsessed with the Livability Project? The city never spent any time or money on it.

Anonymous said...

Given that Nihart seems to be the only one trying to change things, it seems pretty stupid to beat her up.

Kathy Meeh said...

Your reasoning is very strange, Anonymous. Since when does Mary Ann = 8 year city council majority? The "public-private partnership", and cozy city council relationship with the Livability proposed development and the biodiesel fiasco is the issue. The "obsession" and inability to connect-the-dots or deflection (more likely) seems to be your repeated issue.

Anonymous said...

You are assuming all the Anons are the same people. I am one and only wrote one response and have no idea to what kathy's most recent response refers. Who's confused?

Steve Sinai said...

Maybe if so many people stopped posting as Anonymous, there would be less confusion. Surely folks can come up with better pseudonyms.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon, I think you know which one your are, and if you're confused, well as Steve mentioned there's a fix for that.

Anonymous said...

Mary Ann's not running for re-election, although she's the only one campaigning so far.
Pretty weird.

Kathy Meeh said...

I think she isn't campaigning, she's doing the work: Financial Committee, Economic Development Committee, promoting Prop 22, TOT in an attempt to do what she can at this low point to bring-in whatever revenue she can to this city.

Of course, unless these city council incumbents who are directly responsible for the financial malaise of this city over 8 long years are not replaced with pro-economy candidates the city has no chance of whatever recovery can occur, and the financial burden goes to the property owners. Bankruptcy? The property owners still pay.

Anonymous said...

To Kathy Meeh:

"Anonymous @1:36,1:43pm. 16 centrists vs 107 "flaming environmentalists" endorsements. How do those number work for you?"

Why do you assume all the other folks are "flaming environmentalists"? You should assume they are not unless they are actually members/associates of Pacificans for Sustainable Development. (Like this is a bad thing.)

BTW Susan Vellone is not a centrist; she is a republican.

Steve Sinai said...

"BTW Susan Vellone is not a centrist; she is a republican."

Truly an absurd statement. There are plenty of centrist Republicans and Democrats.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon 8/8 @ 10:25pm, criteria all provided by Anon 8/4 @ 1:36pm, 1:43pm. I just provided the calculation. Got a problem with that take it up with Anon @1:36pm, 1:43pm.

Also, "flaming environmentalist" is not my language, but that of Anon 8/4 @ 1:43pm. My reference would be more likely to those who support "nothing for Pacifica", and the major visible players of that philosophy in this city has been 1) 8 year city council, and their supporters, namely 2) Pacificans for (no) sustainable development.

These identifications are "like a "bad thing" (your words) because of the lack of balanced economic development has had has direct consequences affecting our citizens.

PSD has worked to delay and chop EVERY significant planning project in this city during the past 8 years. They have exerted abnormal influence (my view) over city council, the planning commission, planning commissioners, the coastal commission and fish and game. They have twisted information to the public. They worked very hard to defeat both mayor productive tax revenue generating projects proposed for the quarry (2002), (2006). So, lets not kid ourselves about the adverse influence of PSD members, their influence, who they are.