There they go again
May 21, 2014 | The No on F campaign is in full swing, sowing disinformation to create fear in order to defeat Measure F on the June ballot in Desert Hot Springs.
Briefly, the city of Desert Hot Springs is in financial crisis, and without additional tax revenue it faces certain bankruptcy and possible loss of its status as a city. In addition to severe budget cut-backs, the city council has proposed a measure to increase tax on vacant parcels of land in the city; the increase would expire in 2020.
An organization of anti-tax zealots, the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association, has launched an all-out assault on the measure with the tagline "NO on F — Protect Prop 13."
The latest flyer to appear in my mailbox preys on fear of losing jobs and declining home values as the main arguments against the measure.
The front of the flyer develops the argument that unemployment is really high in the city ("15.3%") and that what we really need is jobs.
Everyone agrees that 15.3% unemployment is too high. The problem is, Measure F has nothing to do with jobs. It applies only to vacant parcels and does not affect businesses. Thus, the measure will have no effect on the unemployment rate nor on job growth. Fearmongering.
Since there are no businesses on vacant parcels, by definition, it's not clear why the Small Business Action Committee thinks it has a dog in this fight.
The opponents are counting on people responding to the fear message rather than analyze the relationship between those fears and Measure F. And that analysis is easy: There is no relationship!
The back of the mailer repeats the argument that Measure F will hurt the economy.
Then it goes over the line with a bald-faced untruth about piling "new taxes onto small businesses and property owners." No business, small or large, will incure any new taxes.
Yes, indeed, some property owners will see increased taxes. That is, people who own vacant parcels of land!
City Hall, the flyer says, has to "tighten its belt." The city has already made drastic reductions in staff, cut compensation by 22-35%, reduced employee benefits and holidays, reformed pensions. I'd say the belt is pretty damned tight already!
And then there's Dot Reed, saying that "Measure F will hurt everyone's home values." This is just more fear mongering since home values are unrelated to the tax rate on vacant parcels of land!
Now, if Ms Reed is really concerned about home values, she might like to consider what will happen to the value of her home if it is located in a bankrupt city, which may become an unincorporated area of the county if it cannot successfully go through bankruptcy.
She might like to consider what is going to happen to the value of her home in a city that can't pay its police force, the value of her home in a city that has no money for vital community services.
Furthermore, I'd like to know who appointed her "Community Leader"!
Meanwhile, the Police Officers Association has sent out a flyer in support of Measure F. Now the police definitely have a vested interest in this measure, since if the measure doesn't pass, the city may very well have to disband its local police force and contract with the county for police services.
Again, it's all fear all the time. The spectre of a city without police services is unsettling to say the least, especially since the city is finally making progress on reducing crime. A few years ago, murders and robberies were frequent, drug traffic was brisk, and gangs struck fear in the hearts of almost everyone.
It should be noted that the city already contracts with the county for fire protection services; it does not have its own fire department. The cities of Indian Wells, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage all have police departments contracted with the county, so if Desert Hot Springs were to contract out its police department it would not be at all unusual or unworkable.
Last updated on Apr 29, 2016