Why Measure C Failed Big Time
by Mark Scaramella, November 5, 2010
Supervisor John Pinches said Tuesday that the reason Measure C went down to a surprisingly large defeat — more than 70% NO — was that “people are maxed out on taxes.”
Others have said that people voted against Measure C in droves because they didn’t like the way the retirement system debt was being handled.
In their campaign ads, the opponents of Measure C claimed that voting for it was “throwing good money after bad,” i.e., too much would go to paying retirement debt that the Supes had supposedly allowed to irresponsibly increase. (Not really.)
Others have said that Measure C might have had a chance of winning if it had been targeted to specific services such as roads and law enforcement.
The Supervisors themselves referred to the proposed sales tax increase as a way to “maintain vital services.” Are we to assume then that the 70% vote against Measure C was a vote against “vital services.”
Remember, about a year ago the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) reported to the Supervisors that they had conducted a survey and that a half-cent sales tax increase would win easily, even if it wasn’t earmarked for certain important services.
All of this misses the point.
Every other sales tax measure put on the ballot in Northern California in 2010, both in June and in November, passed. And most school bond (taxes) passed as well. So Supervisor Pinches’ claim that “people are maxed out on taxes” goes up in the same funny smoke that Proposition 19 went up in.
What nobody wants to say is that Measure C was a referendum on this Board of Supervisors. And the voters voted more than two to one against the Board.
Supervisor Kendall Smith single-handedly accounted for more opposition to Measure C than anyone else in County Government. For more than four years she has blatantly refused to give back over $3000 of travel reimbursement she fraudulently took. And Supervisor Kendall Smith blatantly refused to take a 10% pay cut like almost everyone else on the County payroll. (The one other exception being Smith’s craven political “liberal” ally lame duck Supervisor David Colfax.) Week after week during salary negotiations and in public expression county employees and members of the public pointed out the simple fact that two supervisors (Smith and Colfax) had refused to take their share of the cut.
Also, week after week, no one in Official Mendocino County brought up Kendall Smith’s stonewalling of the Grand Jury’s slam-dunk charge of Smith being reimbursed for over $3,000 in “fictitious travel miles.” No one in authority brought it up, no candidates brought it up, and, very conspicuously, no liberals — not one — have complained about it.
This is Mendo’s idea of fiscal responsibility? This is the way the Board of Supervisors manages taxpayer money?
The message is obvious: some Supervisors see their job as nothing but a vehicle for personal monetary gain — and the rest of official Mendocino County doesn’t seem to care.
But unofficial Mendocino County does care. Mendo may not be paying attention to the arcana of week-to-week minutia about off-site septic leachfields, or Arts Council wine and cheese promotions, or the stalled agreement with the Boy Scouts over who’s going to pay to move their picnic tables so that Scout Lake can be flooded.
But they are certainly paying attention to Mendo’s extravagant money-grubbing officials who can’t even bring themselves to try to recover $3,000 of falsely claimed travel expenses from one of their own.
Mendo to Supervisors: Kendall Smith’s petty greed is not a “vital service.”