Tracy Rafter, founder of BizFed representing tens of thousands of businesses in LA County, and Jack Humphreville, community leader and LA watchdog, laid out a long series of questions to the Board of Supervisors Monday.
Supervisor Gloria Molina eloquently exposed all that is wrong in the proposed storm water runoff property tax increase.
It was like enduring a colonoscopy, two of them actually.
First, the deadbeats of the City Council on Tuesday killed — but only for the moment — the insulting proposal handed to its most junior and obedient members to carry: An ill-conceived and unstudied plan to soak property owners in an iniquitous manner to the tune of $3 billion or $4 billion or $5 billion (who knows?) to fix the streets neglected for nearly 60 years.
Then, the County Board of Supervisors allowed, reluctantly, a couple of hundred angry citizens to speak for five or six hours, a minute at a time, about the insulting, ill-conceived and unstudied plan to soak property owners in an iniquitous manner to the tune of $9 billion (or is it $15 billion) to finally fix the storm water runoff problem after decades of neglect so the pollutants don’t reach the sea and ruin our beaches.
Anybody who doesn’t think those are worthy goals are not worth listening to — a point so clear and obvious nobody among all those opposed to either or both taxes ever questioned the goals.
What they questioned is in the integrity and competence of their government officials — a point of view that was only opposed by those who supported the taxes because they benefited financially, ideologically or in other ways personally, like environmentalists, hillside homeowners and other rich people, S-M Conservancy King Joe Edmiston, unions and trade associations that would get all the billions of dollars in work.
The politicians have not offered a single justification, accepted an iota of responsibility or a word of apology for letting these and other vital problems get so out of hand for so long.
All they wanted was your money, specifically your money if you happen to own property — something that means to them you must be rich so it’s fair to stick a gun in your face and hold you up.
It’s like the Sheriff of Nottingham robbing Robin of Sherwood Forest at sword point, which is what drove him to made adopt the revolutionary posture in the first place.
The revolutionaries in these cases were homeowners, railroad executives, small business owner, school districts and nearly every city in the county except the City of Los Angeles that has never seen a tax it doesn’t love, never seen a tax it wouldn’t kill for, never seen a tax it wouldn’t foreclose your home for, never seen a tax it didn’t desperately need to pay employee salaries and provide the grease that feeds a corrupt system of contractors, consultants, lobbyists, lawyers, P.R. execs and other selfish special interests.
What’s telling is that both the city and county backed away from putting the tax hikes before voters because they couldn’t answer the most basic questions about the proposals: How they came to decide on the amount of the taxes, what projects would be funded, what protections would be put in place to protect the taxpayers’ money from being stolen.
Worst of all, they had to admit in both cases that amount of increased taxes they sought were picked because they thought it was as much as the public would bear. Incredibly, the money would be insufficient to the city’s streets and do nothing to fix the sidewalks and in the county’s case only solve part of the storm water runoff problem.