Readers comments 2-21-20
The silent majority
What a pleasure to see the picture of all those people at the city council meeting fighting against the idea of contracting with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department for the policing of Claremont.
With all the letters that are negative about everything and anything the council proposes, I had begun to feel as if something awful was happening to this city. Anyone who follows the news of Los Angeles county knows that replacing our police department with the LA County Sheriff’s Department is a really bad idea.
There seems to be a group of people writing a lot of letters who want to avoid spending money no matter what bad result for the city. I am glad to see there are still people who care about the city.
Join the League
The League of Women Voters turned 100 years strong on February 14, 2020. This election year we will be presenting many interesting programs on the census, non-partisanship presentations on the November ballot propositions, as well as many others.
A recent presentation was given at one of our monthly meetings on a topic of great importance, “solving the homelessness crisis.” Our speaker was Eric Gavin, CEO of Open Door Community Partners. We had officials from cities in our area, community members, League members and a homeless person. It was wonderful to know that there are so many people interested in solving the homeless problem.
Mr. Gavin emphasized the need to focus on problems within cities by getting to know the homeless and coordinating services such as police, fire, social services and housing.
Our next monthly meeting, will be March 28 at 10 a.m. in the Padua Room at the Hughes Center, where we will discuss mental health. Our meetings are free and open to the public. See the calendar on our website for all of our activities.
President, League of
Women Voters Mt. Baldy Area
The best of who we are
I, too, was choked up by Joaquin Phoenix’s speech at the Oscars (available on YouTube) not only because of its profound content but also for the courage, honesty, clarity and compassion that he brought to it.
The personal and collective transformation of our heartset and mindset that he described is no small undertaking but absolutely possible and essential.
I appreciate that he also spoke about the great ingenuity we all possess that is required for manifesting this vision.
I would like to add that we also need to have great courage to acknowledge the truth of our situation as well as the truth and compassion needed to create a collective vision that reflects the wisdom of how to co-exist with all beings and ultimately reflect the best of who we are.
Measure FD is ‘sneaky’
Measure FD, which appears on March ballots here in Claremont, in the unincorporated areas nearby, and in Pomona, is unfair to all of us and should be defeated. Even the Los Angeles Times, writing when the measure was proposed at the county board of supervisors just before Christmas, called the process “sneaky.”
No doubt. This measure is an eleventh-hour attempt by Los Angeles County to sneak yet another annual tax onto your property tax bill. And this new tax will never sunset or go away. Of course, it is framed as a “crisis,” attempting to make it palatable by the recent fires and by appeals to using thermal cameras to save small children, but the fact is it simply provides more money to patch up longstanding mismanagement (think hundreds of thousands of dollars of overtime for individual employees) and to pay for bloated and unsustainable pensions.
Yes, we all appreciate our county firefighters and paramedics, but Measure FD is unfair to you, the taxpayer. It is a levy of $150 for every 2,500 square feet of livable area in your home. If your home is larger, you will pay even more.
And if that’s not enough, there is a guaranteed inflation factor built into the measure which will allow the tax to double and then double again and increase without limit in the next few decades.
While this tax was put on the ballot by the county board of supervisors, and pays for protection of areas county-wide, it will only be imposed on a small slice of county residents—fewer than half.
In fact, it exempts some two-thirds of the richest properties in Los Angeles County. That’s right, more than 70 percent of the economic power of LA County is exempted from paying this tax due to special-interest and geographic carve-outs decided in closed-door meetings you never heard about.
The gleaming skyscrapers downtown are exempt. The University of Southern California and UCLA are exempt. Pepperdine University on the fire-prone bluffs of Malibu is exempt. Those with clout are exempt.
Businesses have been gifted a $6,000 cap on their large buildings, offices, and warehouses, saving them millions every year and shifting their fair share to you. The new $5 billion football stadium in Inglewood, for example, with some 15 or 20 acres under roof will pay a paltry $6,000. The equivalent of just 40 modest-sized homes.
This tax is squarely aimed at individual homeowners. It is aimed at you.
You and your unlucky neighbors alone would be paying for fire and paramedic service for places enjoyed by the entire county such as the Santa Monica Mountains and the Malibu coast, the entirety of Catalina Island, Santa Susanna mountain trails, and recreational areas everywhere within the Angeles National Forest.
The county board of supervisors is demanding that you come up with $134,000,000 the first year in additional funding for the county fire department, increasing without limit after that. In addition, the county tries to claim that this money cannot be used for pensions and other out-of-control expenses. Any accountant will attest that’s an empty promise.
The truth of the matter is all money is the same color and the fire department bureaucrats know this. They are adept at the financial shell game, and will use every accounting gimmick at their disposal to circumvent the false constraints written into the language of the measure.
It is unbelievable that Los Angeles County, with some $34 billion in resources, and amid spiking property tax revenue, cannot fairly fund a general county responsibility with broad-based county money.
Wildfire protection and paramedic service is fundamental in this county, and should be a county-wide responsibility. It is unfair that you are being tapped for this increased cost. Be certain to vote no because the rich and well-connected, whether developers, large corporations, or well-endowed universities shouldn’t get a free pass on paying their fair share for fire protection.
Ludd A. Trozpek