Home > NewsRelease > Case for Yes on Prop 6 in Examples of Govt. Waste in Article by Roberto M. Robledo of Salinas Californian from Active Auto Body
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Case for Yes on Prop 6 in Examples of Govt. Waste in Article by Roberto M. Robledo of Salinas Californian from Active Auto Body
Al & Rosie Namdar, Active Auto Body Al & Rosie Namdar, Active Auto Body
Marina Den Rey , CA
Thursday, November 01, 2018

“Mankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity.” Barbara Tuchman

Election Day on November 6, 2018 has one ballot proposition that contains the seeds government spending push back from the taxpayers. Not only does this initiative roll back a series of gas tax and vehicle fee increases, but it also handcuffs the California State Legislature by requiring voter approval for any such notions in the future. Unfortunately, state and local lawmakers to seem to view the citizens as a endless source of money for operations that often prove inefficient, wasteful and not necessary. Their is very little or no incentive for governments to run without waste, for their budgets only seem to get bigger and bigger in order to justify more and more spending.

In the book The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam, the great historian Barbara Tuchman noted that  "Mankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity." True words indeed, ones that come from a lifetime of studying and writing about history.

To highlight their support of Proposition 6, after hosting the October 24 KFI Radio John & Ken/Active Auto Body remote broadcast, is adding the last minute debate by reprinting a newspaper article, Spotlight on Wasteful Spending, written by Roberto M. Robledo of The Salinas Californian just before the November 2018 elections. It focuses on the a report from a taxpayer watchdog group that details some rather egregious examples of government waste and fraud perpetrated by various bureaucrats and elected officials. 

Al & Rosie Namdar have worked for over 35 years building their auto body repair and restoration business by running an efficient operation that delivers quality results which created a loyal customer base. They succeeded despite strangling regulation and over-taxation, not because of it! They succeeded despite burdensome government interference, not because of it!

Here is Roberto M. Robledo's October 2016 article:

It's fitting that a few weeks before election time, a taxpayer watchdog releases its favorite examples of government waste.

The guilty include five cases involving public school funding.

However, not on the list is a high-profile case in this community – the alleged fraud and misuse of funds in the Soledad Unified School District.

The California Taxpayers Association this week came out with its hit list of the "Top 10 Examples of Government Waste in 2016."

"With billions of dollars in tax increases on the state and local ballots in November, it is a good time to review how our government agencies are spending the tax dollars they already receive," CalTax President-CEO Teresa Casazza said in a news release.

CalTax takes its list mostly from some mighty fine watchdog journalism being reported by daily newspapers. Through the use of sunshine laws and the California Public Records Act, the news media are able to gain access to records, reports and other public data. These laws are invaluable public tools. Be sure to support the efforts by the newspaper industry and other watchdogs for keeping them sharp and at the ready.

As for the Soledad schools case, you may recall in July, Superintendent Rupi Boyd became the focus of an investigation into possible fraud and misappropriation of funds. The investigation by the Monterey County District Attorney's Office was prompted by a scathing audit of district finances which showed chronic problems in the district's business department and unchecked spending by Boyd and other administrators.

Boyd was placed on leave in July and later resigned from the job she had held for about three years. It is uncertain whether anyone else has resigned because of the case.

Contacted for comment Thursday, a DA spokesman said the investigation continues and no decision has yet been made as to whether any criminal charges will be filed.

Jorge Guzman, Soledad's interim superintendent, was unavailable for comment Thursday.

Will the Soledad scandal make the Caltax list of wasteful spending in 2017? Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here are some of the cases that were brought to light:

--A state audit found that a division of the California Department of General Services spent $115 million more than its initial estimate of $118 million for construction of a veterans home in West Los Angeles. California State Auditor Report 2015-17, March 15.)

--The South Santa Clara County Courthouse in Morgan Hill, which opened in 2009, cost more than $60 million to build, but now sits almost completely unused. San Jose Mercury News, July 24.)

--The California Public Utilities Commission spent more than $12 million on lawyers without obtaining the authorization required for such spending. Los Angeles Times, June 29.)

--The state government spent $10.2 million on an anti-drug program for prisons, but afterward, drug use and violence increased at the prisons targeted by the program. The Associated Press, June 29.)

Education cases that made headlines:

--UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehiwas resigned after questionable expenses came to light, including: $175,000 to polish UC Davis' online image; $17,000 to send the chancellor's aides to Switzerland for social media training; $174,000 for the chancellor's own international travels. Katehi continues to receive her salary of $424,360 plus benefits for a year, and will be able to serve as a professor at UC Davis. The Sacramento Bee, September 15.

--Sacramento City Unified School District gave teachers a retroactive raise, for work already completed and compensated, that will cost taxpayers roughly $9.8 million. The Sacramento Bee, June 14.)

--A UC Berkeley executive continued receiving his $343,000-a-year salary for 11 months after being demoted for violating sexual harassment policies. San Francisco Chronicle, June 20.)

An administrator in Lamont School District received a $19,000-a-year raise for job he isn't qualified to hold. He resigned after the raise was made public, but received a severance deal of four months' salary – about $48,000 – and kept his taxpayer-funded health benefits for two months. The Bakersfield Californian.

Other budget abusers:

--The city of Perris spent $57,000 on a fake Christmas tree. Riverside Press-Enterprise, Feb. 24.

--The city of Oxnard admitted to violating state law with a $60,000 severance payment to a fire chief who resigned. Ventura County Star, March 17.

--A financial manager for the city of Placentia accused of embezzling $5.16 million was caught not by any internal controls, but because a casino reported suspicious behavior to federal authorities. Orange County Register, June 9;

--In Beaumont, seven former officials have been charged with stealing $43 million from taxpayers. Charges include embezzlement, misappropriation of funds, conspiracy and conflict of interest. Riverside Press-Enterprise, May 18.

--Alameda County Administrator Susan Muranishi is paid $423,664 per year, along with an $8,292-a-year car allowance, and when she retires, her pension will be nearly equal to the pay she receives while working. San Francisco Chronicle, March 25.

--The Westlands Water District loaned one of its executive $1.4 million to buy a luxury home, and the loan remains unpaid nine years later, even though the executive has left the agency. The Associated Press, June 9.

--The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spent $19.7 million on artwork during an 11-year period when veterans were experiencing long waits for health care from the agency, according to an investigation by COX Media Washington, D.C., and American Transparency, which runs OpenTheBooks.com. East Bay Times.

The Five R's — Readin', Ritin', 'Rithmetic, Roberto Robledo — is a weekly column by The Salinas Californian's education and health watchdog reporter. Follow him on Twitter @robledo_salnews #salinas.

Here is the podcast of the full KFI John & Ken/Active Auto Body remote broadcast from October 24, 2018:

Here are details of why Prop. 6 should be passed:

California Proposition 6, the Voter Approval for Future Gas and Vehicle Taxes and 2017 Tax Repeal Initiative, is on the ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment on November 6, 2018. The ballot initiative would repeal the gas and diesel tax increases and vehicle fees that were enacted in 2017 and require voter approval for fuel tax and vehicle fee increases in the future.

A yes vote supports this initiative to:

--repeal fuel tax increases and vehicle fees that were enacted in 2017, including the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (RRAA) and

--require voter approval (via ballot propositions) for the California State Legislature to impose, increase, or extend fuel taxes or vehicle fees in the future.

A no vote opposes this initiative, thus:

--keeping the fuel tax increases and vehicle fees that were enacted in 2017, including the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (RRAA), in place and

--allowing the state legislature to continue to impose, increase, or extend fuel taxes or vehicle fees through a two-thirds vote of each chamber and without voter approval.


How would this ballot initiative impact taxes and fees?

As of 2018, increasing a tax in California requires a two-thirds vote of each state legislative chamber and the governor's signature. Proposition 6 would create the additional step of voter approval (via ballot propositions), along with legislative passage and the governor's signature, to impose, increase, or extend fuel taxes or vehicle fees. The requirement that tax increases receive voter approval would affect taxes and tax rates enacted after January 1, 2017, meaning fuel taxes and vehicle fees that were created or increased in 2017 or 2018 would be repealed. This would have the effect of repealing the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017(RRAA), which the state legislature approved along party lines in April 2017.

What is the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017?

The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (RRAA), also known as Senate Bill 1, was enacted into law on April 28, 2017. The RRAA increased the gas tax by $0.12 per gallon, increased the diesel fuel tax by $0.20 per gallon, increased the sales tax on diesel fuels by an additional 4 percentage points, created an annual transportation improvement fee, and created an annual zero-emission vehicles fee. The RRAA was designed to dedicate the revenue to transportation infrastructure. The increased taxes went into effect on November 1, 2017, one fee went into effect in 2018, and the second fee will go into effect in 2020.

According to the state Senate Appropriations Committee, the RRAA is expected to generate an estimated $52.4 billion between 2017 and 2027.[3] In the California State Legislature, the RRAA had the support of most Democrats (two legislators voted "no"). Most Republicans voted against the RRAA (one legislator voted "yes"). Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed the legislation into law.[4] In June 2018, voters approved Proposition 69, which created a constitutional mandate for the legislature to spend RRAA revenue on transportation-related purposes. The RRAA could have a notable impact on state politics in 2018.

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Anaheim, CA


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Michael Joseph Butler
E.B. Vision Media
Marina Del Rey, CA