Sunday, July 28, 2013

Spending your money to tax you

Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 7/23/13.  "Hold onto your Wallets" by Bob Hutchinson 

"Hold onto your wallets, there's a new con game in town. The City of Pacifica has spent $30,000 of your money to run a slick campaign in order to raise your taxes yet again. The sole purpose of this sneaky UUT tax increase campaign is to convince you how great it will be to pay more of your money to the City. They even conducted a phony $20,000 poll with loaded questions so they got the answers they wanted. And this is before they've taken any meaningful steps to reduce their own waste and overspending.
And where is that money going?

Even the way this tax measure was written is deceptive. It says "WITHOUT RAISING THE CURRENT 6.5%". Well, doesn't that just sound like they don't even want to raise your taxes? Very deceptive! The fact is they want to add a 6.5% tax on all your phones which they estimate will cost you $200 more. That's $1,600 or more in extra taxes you'll pay over the life of this measure. And that's IF you believe their low ball numbers.

But the city says "we need the money and we have nowhere else to cut." Deceptive again! Little Pacifica still has over 50 department heads and managers making $100,000 to $200,000 and more in pensions and benefits. And we have an over million dollar surplus and growing.

BUT the city says "we already made big cuts to union contracts." That's deceptive too. The total city wages have actually increased over $330,000 in the past few years, according to the State Controllers website That's in spite of us supposedly laying off 50 (part-time) employees. So we obviously didn't make any real cuts. Our neighbor, the City Millbrae, just negotiated an actual 5% across the board wage reduction. That's what we need to do, too, and we also need to freeze wage & benefit increases for at least five years before we end up in bankruptcy.

Listen, I don't care what you're paying top positions in Pacifica as long as you don't come to me for more tax money to pay these high salaries or try to cut services. If you can't afford to pay that much than you need to negotiate more bigger reductions. Other cities are doing it, why can't you? I know these are your friends and co-workers but you have a much bigger obligation to the citizens not to tax them to death.

The proponents of this regressive tax are also trying to deceive voters when they tell you this tax will go to improve sidewalks, streets, fire and police response and help the poor. They are using scare tactics mostly directed at senior citizens who they think are easy to manipulate. There is nothing in this measure that says where this money must be spent. The fact is it will go in the general fund to pay increased salaries and benefits to upper management. The city made the same promises with the fire assessment tax then they turned around and cut the Fire Dept. Don't believe it.

Meanwhile thousands of Pacifica families and lower income Pacificans struggle to get by. Those are the people this tax is really going to hurt. And Pacifica businesses who will have to pay hundreds more a year. This will hurt our economy at a time we are trying to build it back up. 

Don't be fooled by this slick ad campaign they are waging (with your money). This tax measure is bad for business, bad for people and bad for Pacifica. Tell them where to stick this tax and to live within their means before they try to take more of your money." 

Note:  Graphic from Los Angeles Times/Books, "Money Walks".

Submitted by Bob Hutchinson 

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Tom Clifford said...

Bob, A very well written letter. I would like to speak to you in person.Coffee sometime this week? Call me I am in the Book.

Anonymous said...


Do I get coffee also? And a bear claw?

Tommy Taxed Too Much said...

You can't feed an anonopus. They don't stop eating. Sorta like a cone head.

Great letter, Bob. This is a poorly vetted money grab. They claim to want to take care of essential city services and the Resource Center, yet this tax hurts those most in need in this town. Poorly thought out. Senior exemption at 62! This should have been means based. Not everyone needs an exemption. AND, it's a bad precedent. They'll be after your cable bill next. Water, sewer (yea, how would you like a 6.5% tax bill on top of that bill!), and anything else they can muster up. Taxing authorities have voracious hungers, circa, Detroit, Stockton, et al. Stop them at the gate. Is anyone organizing a counter to the ra-ra from the taxaholics?

Anonymous said...

Some good ideas here.

Anonymous said...

"Is anyone organizing a counter"

Yes, a bunch of swell no-names on this blog that are all hat and no cattle.

Anonymous said...

How many of you commies voted to raise my property taxes???

Phonies. All of you.

Anonymous said...

Lots of good things going on behind the scenes.

Watch wait and learn.

Anonymous said...

It better not be a freakin' dog and pony show to convince us to vote for this tax. What became of those sightings of suits in the quarry last month?

Anonymous said...

The suits bailed, because a very smart man told them to pass on the quarry.

Anonymous said...

How many of you have read last week's favorable article about the outsourcing of the San Carlos, Millbrae, and Half Moon Bay police departments that appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal.

Seems we're all about saving chump change while the aforementioned cities are realizing actual savings.

I'm rather surprised that a reprint of that article (by Michele Durand) has yet to appear on

Anonymous said...

The dog and pony show was that slick marketing piece. First we have a huge surplus, now we have a fiscal emergency.

Council has zero credibility left.

Anonymous said...

They have the reputation of snake oil sales men.

Mary Ann, doesn't even apologize when she pick pockets us.

Kathy Meeh said...

"..surprised that a reprint of that article has yet to appear.." Really, really surprised Anonymous 7:03 PM

And I am really, really surprised you have not submitted that article under your very own real name, Anonymous 7:03 PM. Instructions upper left of the blog. Picture? Send that with the email. Steve "Fix Pacifica Blogmaster" Sinai will receive and consider reprinting.

Anonymous said...

Where's the Chamber of Commerce on this thing? Silenced? Why? Seems to me that council would see the CofC as about the only possible source of organized opposition. They can get the vote out. There was a little flurry from Mr. Wagner at the start and then nada other than Ms. Porter saying they were studying the issue before informing their members. How'd that go? Businesses are definitely paying their share in the "new" Pacifica. Maybe the CofC has come to see this tax as having little effect on their members while giving the public a chance to pay its fair share. We could argue that the public and the CofC are one and the same, but IMHO the more compelling argument for all of us against this tax is that there legally can be no guarantees on how the money will be spent, which programs and services will continue to be funded. No guarantees. And we all should know that once this door is opened, council will be back for more. Why wouldn't they? The scam worked and there are more utilities and services they can tax.

Anonymous said...

If it weren't for the disgusting bargain you old timers are getting on your property taxes, we wouldn't need these stupid new taxes. Unless you are paying property taxes based on the 2013 value of your home (since you're getting 2013 services), you have no right to complain. Pay your way and stop mooching off of the newer home owners.

Anonymous said...

857 that's a crock of crap!

Anonymous said...

Taxes for Prop 13 people doubled with this sewer tax.

For another property I pay 60 bucks a month for unlimited unmetered water, and my sewer tax bill.

The water pipe system and sewer system is in perfect working order with no new sewer plant needed.

Wait until Pacifica tries to offer a placement for $50,000,000 in bond money to fix our state of the art sewer plant.

All fees up!!!

Anonymous said...

Complain, complain, complain. In the words of the great sage, Julie Lancelle...ya know, maybe we just need to pay more to live in Pacifica.
What's wrong with you people? Just shaddup and keep passing your buckets of cash to City Hall. Council will tell you when to quit.