November 14, 2008

Commentary:

The Defeat of National City’s Prop. “M”

“A Victory For Carpetbaggers”

By Herman Baca, President,
Committee on Chicano Rights

National City (NC), California, the poorest city (65% Mexican American) in San Diego County, with a median income of under $40,000, a 12% unemployment rate voted (5,154 NO to 3846 YES) to retain Prop “M,” one of the highest sales (8.75%) tax rates.

The reason for the defeat of Prop “M” according to Mayor Ron Morrison was “OUTSIDERS.”

Question to Mayor Morrison: are former Mayor George Waters, the Committee on Chicano Rights (who has been in NC for 40 years), numerous residents that campaigned for the repeal of Prop “M,” and 3846 voters, OUTSIDERS?

While it is true that the Libertarian Party, who placed Proposition “M” on the ballot are “outsiders,” their involvement was minimal and they had NO vested interest in the outcome.

The real question is; who were the OUTSIDERS in the Prop. “M” campaign? The facts are – that Mayor Ron Morrison blatantly collected campaign contributions from OUTSIDERS, and used CARPETBAGGER City employees (especially firemen) to campaign to retain the 8.75% sales tax.

In campaign reports filed with the NC City Clerk, OUTSIDERS contributed $21,562! While the NC grassroots community based Committee to Repeal Prop “M” spent less than $1,000!

Those campaign contributions (not one penny came from NC residents) to retain the tax came from vested interest groups such as the NC Police Officers Association ($4,000), JC Towing from Chula Vista ($5,000), Paradise Valley Hospital ($5,000) and the Sacramento SEIU Union ($7,400). The next filing reports are due on December 2008.

More politically insidious than OUTSIDERS campaign contributions was the use of vested interest CARPETBAGGERS by Mayor Morrison to campaign for the defeat of Prop “M.” Those included, Chief of Police Adolfo Gonzales, Fire Chief Roderick Juniel, (both who do not reside in NC), 121 police employees (only 9 reside in NC), Firemen (only 3 out of 46 reside in NC) and city employees (the great majority do not live in NC).

The fact that CARPETBAGGER city employees campaigned, to simply protect their salaries, free pensions and medical plans has angered many residents. Numerous residents have called inquiring if a proposition can be placed on the ballot that, ALL CITY EMPLOYEES THAT WORK IN NC MUST LIVE IN NC?

The 3,846 voters who voted NO understood that the so-called 1¢ sales tax ($80 to $90 million dollars over a 10 year period) was disproportionally impacting poor residents, little of the money was being spent on residents services, and money that was suppose to be used to deal with the $6 million deficit was instead being spent on:

· A sludge fund by Mayor Morrison to reward supporters; with outrageous $25,000 bonuses to city administrators and managers, salary increases for firemen, police, city employees, a $70,000 statue, and a $2.6 million loan to a foreign developer, etc.

· Continuing the City employees’ union, golden parachute pension fund that allows CARPETBAGGER firemen, police, (most) City employees and politicians to collect 90% of their highest salary (with medical benefits) after 30 years of service - while paying zero into the pension fund!

In my opinion, the defeat of Prop M was a sellout of NC resident’s interests and small businesses by Mayor Ron Morrison, which in the long run will prove to be a HOLLOW POLITICAL VICTORY for Mayor Morrison due to the following:

1. The under-funded City employees’ pension fund will continue to cause deficits to NC budgets until addressed,

2. The economic downturn will result in the collection of less sales taxes, and;

3. NC’s sales tax could increase to 10.25% if the states budget crisis worsens and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “temporary” 1.5% statewide sales tax increase is approved!

In closing, NC’s voters right or wrong have spoken; but for those who were duped or scared into retaining the 1¢ sales tax remember: you will continue to pay for a free pension and medical plan for CARPETBAGGER employees, 2.5¢ extra on each gallon of gas, and an extra 1% tax on the purchase of a vehicle in NC or anywhere in California

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