MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — OC Ballot Measures — October 17, 2018

This should be the final episode of the Orange County Voter Guide for the November General Election. The edition below focuses on the various ballot measures around the county for school bonds and city election formats, tax increases, and other proposals.

The days that I’ve been warning about are here. The big open secret is that tax increases through local ballot measures are not for public safety or whatever else sounds manipulatively good enough to garner votes from naive residents. These tax increase requests are to fund overly generous public employee defined benefit pension plans.

I warned this day was coming (see just one of many examples at MOORLACH UPDATE — Pension Boosts are a Bad Bargain). The link includes public quotes of mine from 14 years ago!

Allow me to provide ten general rules and observations, which will hopefully explain my positions.

One: Vote against bonds. For school bonds, increasing property taxes will hurt homeowners and renters, especially new homeowners who have purchased at recent all-time real estate market highs. (Note: Lowell Joint School District is headquartered in Los Angeles County and was not included in my school district Voter Guides.) We’ve shown you that Santa Ana Unified School District is in such terrible shape, the worst by far in the OC, that throwing more money at this mismanaged district would be a huge mistake (see MOORLACH UPDATE — LAUSD vs. OC School Districts — September 18, 2018). Proposition 39 (2000) lowered the 2/3 voter threshold to only requiring 55% of the vote when the school bond measure is on a ballot for a regularly scheduled election.

Two: Vote against imposing term limits. The reason for establishing term limits — with Proposition 140 in 1990 — was to get rid of then-Speaker of the Assembly Willie Brown. But, I’ve seen how it has negatively impacted Sacramento and the OC Board of Supervisors. Term limits are not an appropriate solution to deal with incompetent, overly opportunistic or clinging-to-a-position office holders. In Sacramento, term limits took power and influence away from elected officials and gave it to unelected bureaucrats, staffers and lobbyists.

Three: Vote against corporate cronyism that enriches developers and stresses the existing infrastructure. Opposing Anaheim’s two developmental agreements are easy votes.

Four: Vote against minimum wage increases. The Anaheim measure is a brilliant, but diabolical union money grab that will hurt more than it will help.

Five: Vote against sales tax increases. Poor management decisions from the past should not be your future personal financial burden. The amount of revenues generated could be equaled by the employees of the cities taking a small salary reduction. If this is too difficult for them, the private sector job market is on fire and they can easily find a new job there. They may realize, however, how good their total compensation and benefit package really is and how unfair it is for the taxpayers to underwrite these costs. Special tax increases still requires a 2/3 voter approval to be implemented.

Although Laguna Beach has honorably dedicated their proposed 1% sales tax towards the undergrounding of electric lines, I just voted for, and the Governor signed, SB 901 to provide Cap and Trade funding for this particular infrastructure improvement (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Epilogue — October 4, 2018).

Six: With cities being coerced into establishing districts from which council candidates must arise, why should those candidates have to run citywide? I do not agree with splitting municipalities into districts for many reasons. But, if it is being forced on the electorate, then focusing a candidate’s campaign just on the voters in that district is the fairer approach to pursue.

Seven: If a city wishes to pursue financing that skirts obtaining voter approval, why not require it anyway in the charter?

Eight: Should a city have a separate tax on cannabis? Why set this precedent? What product comes next? All to make the annual pension plan contribution?

Nine: Although taxing tourists is an easy thing to do, should you disadvantage your accommodation providers just to make the annual pension plan contribution?

Ten: Should you approve one massive charter amendment, when some components are questionable? Or should the various components have been provided in separate ballot measures?

School District Measures
Los Alamitos USD
G Los Alamitos USD – Los Alamitos Unified School District  NO
Bond Measure

Lowell Joint School District

LL Lowell Joint SD – Lowell Joint School District NO
Newport-Mesa USD
H Newport-Mesa USD – Newport-Mesa Unified School District  NO
Trustee Term Limits

Santa Ana USD

I Santa Ana USD – Santa Ana Unified School District  NO
Bond Measure

City Measures

J City of Anaheim – Referendum Measure Approving  NO
Development Agreement No. 2016-00001
K City of Anaheim – Referendum Measure Approving  NO
Development Agreement No. 2016-00002
L City of Anaheim – Initiative Ordinance to Increase Minimum  NO
Wage Payable by Certain Hospitality Industry Employers
M City of Cypress – Rezones 3.86 Acres Located at 5081 Orange  YES
Avenue from PS-1A Public/Semi-Public to PC Planning
Community (PC-14) in Compliance with Measure D
Garden Grove (1% Sales Tax Increase)
O City of Garden Grove – Garden Grove Public Safety/9-1-1 and  NO
Vital City Services Measure
Laguna Beach (1% Sales Tax Increase)
P City of Laguna Beach – Laguna Beach Utility Undergrounding  NO
and Fire Safety Measure
Lake Forest
Q City of Lake Forest – Advisory Vote Only: Convert from  NO
By-District to At-Large Council Elections
R City of Lake Forest – At-Large City Council Elections Ordinance NO
S City of Lake Forest – City Council Term Limit Ordinance NO
Newport Beach
T City of Newport Beach – Require Voter Approval Prior to  YES
Issuing or Incurring Certain Debt Obligations
Placentia (1% Sales Tax Increase)
U City of Placentia – 911/Essential Services Measure NO
San Clemente
V City of San Clemente – San Clemente, Initiative for Election of YES
City Council Members by District
Santa Ana (1.5% Sales Tax Increase & Cannabis Tax)
X City of Santa Ana – General Sales Tax Measure NO
Y City of Santa Ana – Commercial Cannabis Business License Tax NO
Z City of Santa Ana – Charter Amendment Measure NO
AA City of Santa Ana – By-Ward Elections YES
Seal Beach (1% Sales Tax Increase)
BB City of Seal Beach – Seal Beach Transaction and Use Tax NO
Tustin (3% Transient Occupancy Tax Increase)
CC City of Tustin – Increase Transient Occupancy Tax NO