No on Measure CC
(Parks, not PERKS....   Nature walks, not TAX HIKES!)

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EBRPD Salaries + Benefits EBRPD's Gerrymander

So What Is Measure CC? 

Measure CC is the East Bay Regional Park District's outrageous 15-year bait-and-switch scheme for relieving EBRPD of certain obligations that naturally belong in the District's general fund.  The dollars thereby "freed up" would then be available for another round of salary and benefit increases for an already grossly overpaid full-time EBRPD staff of over 500 individuals who already average over $100,000 annually in salary and benefits!

And EBRPD considers Measure CC just an "an excise tax on the privilege of using... property for residential purposes...." Bet you thought that was a right, not a privilege!

Measure CC is EBRPD's third attempt at an unneeded money grab since 1998.  This time,
they've gerrymandered the vote so that the measure is to be contested only in an artificially
segregated "Zone 1" -- communities that voted 70 - 73% in favor of the Measure K in 2002.


  Newsflash, March 1, 2002:  The Alameda Newspaper Group (including the 
  Oakland Tribune
, Alameda Times Star, Fremont Argus, Hayward Daily 
  Review
, and Tri-Valley Herald) recommended voting NO on Measure K, 
  the East Bay Regional Park District's irresponsible parcel-tax measure.

  Measure K was the predecessor of Measure CC.  Here's hoping the 
  Alameda Newspaper Group is now just as honest as in 2002, since 
  2004's Measure CC is even worse in some respects than Measure K.  


Allied with ACCT in attempting to defeat Measure CC is an organization of long-time EBRPD supporters and local conservationists -- a group that includes EBRPD's retired Personnel Director.  Go to the Friends of Parks site, www.friendsofparks.com

EBRPD GROWTH IN SALARIES AND BENEFITS VS. POPULATION AND INFLATION, 1987-2004

("Y" axis represents multipliers of 1987 base-year values.  See data summary in table below)

 

Inflation: Up 73% since 1987
Population: Up 29%(?) since 1987
Inflation x Population (Compounded): Up 124% since 1987

EBRPD Salaries + Benefits: Up 213% since 1987 !!!

Measure CC is an outrageous assault on taxpayers. Had EBRPD salary and benefit growth been 
limited to the rate of inflation + population increases, EBRPD would have over $18 Million more 
each year in its general fund to spend on park staffing and maintenance -- more than six times 
the proceeds of Measure CC, should this bait-and-switch scheme pass. Taxpayers should just
say "NO" to such double-dip shell games!

 

EBRPD GROWTH IN SALARIES AND BENEFITS VS. POPULATION AND CPI INFLATION 1987-2004 
(Salaries, Benefits, and Population in Millions; CPI = Bay Area Index)

YEAR

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Salaries

$15.55

$16.80

$17.78

$19.12

$20.21

$20.91

$21.70

$23.41

$24.09

$25.11

$25.81

$27.75

$29.16

$30.78

$33.05

$33.67

$36.81

$39.63

Benefits

$4.30

$5.06

$5.78

$6.39

$7.43

$8.31

$9.27

$9.04

$10.04

$11.05

$10.77

$11.93

$12.33

$14.67

$15.45

$17.89

$21.68

$22.49

Salaries 

$19.84

$21.86

$23.56

$25.51

$27.63

$29.22

$30.97

$32.44

$34.12

$36.15

$36.58

$39.68

$41.49

$45.45

$48.50

$51.56

$58.49

$62.12

Below:  Population Increases in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties + Consumer Price Index Growth

Population 

1.949

1.976

2.015

2.060

2.100

2.139

2.176

2.217

2.248

2.226

2.257

2.320

2.363

2.384

2.435

2.416

2.491

2.517

CPI, 
82-84 = 100

115.0

120.1

126.2

131.6

137.6

141.9

146.1

148.1

151.7

155.2

160.0

165.5

171.8

179.1

190.9

193.2

196.3

199.0

The table below reprises the numbers above, now as multiples of 1987 base year figures.
The third row below shows the compounded effect of population increases x inflation.

The last row shows how EBRPD salaries and benefits have grown much faster than the compounded effect of population and inflation.

 

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

Population

1.000

1.014

1.034

1.057

1.078

1.098

1.117

1.138

1.154

1.142

1.158

1.191

1.213

1.224

1.250

1.240

1.278

1.292

Inflation

1.000

1.044

1.097

1.144

1.197

1.234

1.270

1.288

1.319

1.350

1.391

1.439

1.494

1.557

1.660

1.680

1.707

1.730

Compound
Pop x Infl.

1.000

1.059

1.135

1.210

1.290

1.354

1.419

1.465

1.522

1.542

1.612

1.714

1.812

1.905

2.074

2.083

2.182

2.236

Salaries + Benefits

1.000

1.102

1.187

1.286

1.393

1.472

1.561

1.635

1.720

1.822

1.844

2.000

2.091

2.291

2.445

2.599

2.948

3.131

   Long and short:  EBRPD salaries and benefits have grown much faster than the compounded rate of population x inflation.  Had District  compensation been limited to such natural escalators, EBRPD would now have $18 Million more available per year for park maintenance and other  purposes.  
Instead, EBRPD greed has provoked this third attempt at a parcel tax.

 

Park repairs and maintenance are paid from the same EBRPD General Fund that provides salaries and benefits.  Since 1987, EBRPD's "Repairs and Maintenance" budget, never allocated sufficient funds, has increased from $1.07 Million to $2.93 Million (174%).   The District's budget for salaries and benefits, meanwhile, has exploded upward from $19.84 Million to $62.15 Million (213%) !! Such massive irresponsibility on the part of the tax promoters should NOT be rewarded with new sacrifices by already overburdened taxpayers.  See the graph and table above for fuller perspective.

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EBRPD Salaries + Benefits EBRPD's Gerrymander

EBRPD's "Zone 1" Gerrymander

  EBRPD, frustrated that it couldn't pass   
  a new tax in the District at large, has
  decided to split out portions of the 
  District that voted 70% to 73% previously 
  for new taxes, and to place this latest tax 
  scheme on the ballot only in those areas.  

  They have artificially designated the 
  areas affected as "Zone 1"  These 
  areas are outlined in orange in the map 
  at left:  Alameda, Oakland, Piedmont, 
  Albany, Richmond, San Pablo, Berkeley, 
  Emeryville, Kensington, El Cerrito, and 
  El Sobrante.   EBRPD evidently regards 
  voters in these communities as easy 
  marks.   

  Friends of Parks note that "Only 
  taxpayers from Richmond/San Pablo to   
  Oakland/Berkeley would pay for Measure 
  CC, while park users from Orinda, 
  Lafayette, and Blackhawk, for example, 
  would PAY NOTHING."


EBRPD's Use of Public Funds to Support Measure CC

We find that EBRPD is once again using public funds to promote this latest tax scheme.  

The district's "Measure CC Facts" brochure, for example, enumerates alleged benefits of the measure, with no mention of drawbacks, or the incredibly plush state of existing EBRPD finances.   The district plans to distribute its next issue of Regional in Nature just 13 days prior to the November 2 election.  That issue will likely promote Measure CC at taxpayer expense, without fair representation -- or any representation -- of opponents' arguments.

The League of Women Voters, a private entity which receives $7,000 annually from EBRPD
to assist in publication of the League's allegedly "impartial" Bay Area Monitor, is a signatory to the pro-tax Measure CC arguments.  

An EBRPD consulting firm, the "Strategy Research Institute," noted in 2002 that "THE DISTRICT'S OUTREACH EFFORTS ARE HAVING THE DESIRED 'EFFECTS.' "   The "outreach efforts" also included "taped PSA's (public service announcements) and/or video taped programs that have been aired on CNN..., an in-theater slide between shows at the movies inviting [viewers] to 'Enjoy the Serenity' of the East Bay regional parks and trails."

The "desired effects" included findings of high levels of "support for the proposed tax measure among voters" who've seen one of the three "communication outlets."  Reliable district attorneys, enforcing laws against public funding of tax campaigns, would prosecute agencies that ignore such laws.  As one of our members reminded EBRPD in a letter dated November 26, 2001:

From November 26, 2001 Letter to EBRPD...

California’s Supreme Court has ruled that "in the absence of clear and explicit legislative authorization, a public agency may not expend public funds to promote a partisan position in an election campaign....  A fundamental precept of this nation's democratic electoral process is that the government may not ‘take sides’ in election contests or bestow an unfair advantage on one of several competing factions." Further, "while past cases indicate that public agencies may generally publish a ‘fair presentation of facts’ relevant to an election matter, in a number of instances publicly financed brochures or newspaper advertisements which have purported to contain only relevant factual information, and which have refrained from exhorting voters to ‘Vote Yes,’ have nevertheless been found to constitute improper campaign literature." [Stanson v. Mott (1974), 17 Cal.3d 206, 209-210, 217, 222].

The Stanson court reflected in a related footnote upon an advertisement which "did not explicitly urge voters to ‘Vote Yes’ on the bond issue, but stated in large letters that ‘A CLASSROOM EMERGENCY EXISTS NOW AT MADERA UNION HIGH SCHOOL’ and listed a number of reasons why additional funds were needed by the school district.... After reviewing the relevant judicial authorities, the Attorney General concluded that although the advertisement did not explicitly urge a ‘Yes’ vote and did disclose relevant factual information, the use of public funds to pay for the advertisement would nonetheless be improper. The opinion reasoned: ‘Viewed as a whole, the advertisement cannot properly be held to be a publication primarily designed to educate the voters as to the activities carried on by or the conditions of the schools of the district. ... The style, tenor and timing of the advertisement placed by the board of trustees points plainly to the conclusion that the publication was designed primarily for the purpose of influencing the voters at the forthcoming school bond election’" [Stanson v. Mott (supra), 17 Cal.3d 206, at fn.8, citing 35 Ops.Cal.Atty.Gen. 112, 114, emphasis added] .

The Stanson Court also concluded [at 226-227] that "public officials must use ‘due care,’ i.e., reasonable diligence, in authorizing the expenditure of public funds, and may be subject to personal liability for improper expenditures made in the absence of such due care."

Meanwhile, California Fair Political Practices Commission regulations require that "if a mailing or brochure or any other communication taken as a whole unambiguously urges a particular result in an election," the expenditures associated with the communication count toward assignment as an independent expenditure committee, with attendant campaign-finance reporting requirements under law. "The public is entitled to know who is paying to pass a ballot measure, especially if it their own government spending tax dollars to persuade them." In this context, the FPPC’s authority goes only so far as requiring the filing of campaign-finance disclosures, and assessing penalties for failure to file the required statements, whether or not the filing entity is legally permitted to solicit and spend campaign funds. The FPPC fined the Contra Costa Community College District $16,000 for 8 counts of violating these requirements in 1996, after I filed a complaint with the FPPC.

I recommend and request, in order to avoid any taint of impropriety in the March 5 election and the lead-up period thereto, that the projected February 26, 2002 publication of Regional in Nature be delayed until at least March 6, 2002.  I recommend and request further, should the projected January 8, 2002 issue of Regional in Nature contain any mention or implication regarding EBRPD’s new tax measure beyond the simple fact that it will appear on the March 5 ballot, that opponents’ arguments be given fair representation, and equal space as compared with any material that directly or implicitly promotes the tax measure. Other taxpayers and I believe that responsible application of existing resources would obviate any "need" for new sources of EBRPD revenue, and can support that position with relevant facts.

As expected, the District denied any wrongdoing.  EBRPD, for a multitude of reasons, deserves a resounding "NO" vote on Measure CC.


Measure CC's "Sunset Clause"

"Sunset clause"?  As Will Rodgers is reported to have said, there is nothing so permanent in all the world as a "temporary tax."  Bay Bridge tolls, originally 25¢, were supposed to end in 1956.  Today, they're still there, holding up hurried commuters and charging us $3.00 besides -- with even that amount likely to increase again soon.  The tax promoters will take as much as you let them take.  Will you now resist?


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EBRPD Salaries + Benefits EBRPD's Gerrymander

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE CC
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2004

PARKS... NOT PERKS!    NATURE WALKS... NOT TAX HIKES!

LET'S REQUIRE RESPONSIBLE, ECONOMICAL USE OF EXISTING EBRPD FUNDS — NOT INFLATED EMPLOYEE COSTS, MORE BUREAUCRACY, AND NEW TAX INCREASES. 

  • With a $184,434 general manager’s annual salary (exceeding California’s $175,000 limit for governors), six "assistant general managers" making $138,466 to $167,586, and even "administrative assistants" paid $86,632, it’s all-aboard on the gravy train for EBRPD.

  • EBRPD benefits add another 56.7%, bringing average per-employee compensation costs to $92,713 annually. Excluding seasonal and temporary employees, EBRPD’s average compensation costs apparently exceed $100,000 annually! New EBRPD tax increases are NOT "critical," nor even necessary. A wage-benefit freeze is!

  • Measure CC’s $2.9 Million annual bonanza would free general-fund dollars for more irresponsible salary and benefit hikes. And this new tax doesn’t sunset until 2020!

  • Taxes now consume half the next dollar earned by many East Bay families. Many work so hard to pay taxes that there’s little time left to enjoy regional parks!

"ENVIRONMENTAL MAINTENANCE" AND "PUBLIC SAFETY" -- THEIR POLL-TESTED DODGES FOR PEDDLING NEW TAXES -- CONCEAL THE FACT THAT eEBRPD ALREADY COLLECTS $34.77 IN TAXES ANNUALLY PER PERSON IN TWO COUNTIES (PLUS RAPIDLY INCREASING USER FEES). 

  • Just since 2002, when EBRPD last sought new taxes "on the privilege of using… property for residential occupancy purposes," EBRPD’S wage and benefit costs have skyrocketed from $51,562,179 to $62,147,480 — a 20.5% increase! Responsible EBRPD spending could easily compensate for predicted $6 Million state revenue losses.

  • Genuine taxpayer watchdog groups oppose unreasonable tax schemes like Measure CC.

  • Beware of Measure CC endorsements by beneficiaries of EBRPD funding!

UNABLE TO PASS ITS TAX SCHEME IN DISTRICT-WIDE ELECTIONS, EBRPD HAS GERRYMANDERED THIS ELECTION -- APPARENTLY REGARDING
"ZONE 1" VOTERS, AFTER PUSH POLLING, AS EASY MARKS.  WE URGE THE RESPONSE THAT EBRPD'S SPENDTHRIFT HABITS DESERVE... 

NO ON MEASURE CC!


Alliance of Contra Costa Taxpayers               Citizens for Responsible Government
Kenneth E. Hambrick, Chairman                          Kenneth Arras, Chairman

East Bay Libertarian Party                                Save El Sobrante
Curt Cornell, Chair                                                  Marilynne Mellander, Coordinator

Waste Watchers, Inc.
Kenneth D. Steadman, President

 

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE CC
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2004


INFORMED ENVIRONMENTALISTS AND TAXPAYER ADVOCATES AGREE:  MEASURE CC IS A 15-YEAR BAD DEAL FOR EAST BAY HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS -- AND OUR PARKS

EBRPD doesn’t need more money. Instead, the District needs to restore its original environmental vision and purpose: to "preserve, restore, and protect" our parklands.

  • EBRPD’s careless park maintenance policies eradicate native plants, destroy wildlife habitat, increase pesticide use, and compromise public safety.

  • EBRPD’s top-heavy bureaucracy depletes the District’s budget while squandering MILLIONS annually on Public Relations.

  • Daily, non-emergency helicopter surveillance flights disturb wildlife and humans, while wasting MILLIONS annually.

  • Since 1998, EBRPD has already failed twice to pass this new tax. Nevertheless, the District’s general revenues soared from $57 Million in 1998 to $83 Million by 2003 — an average increase of over $5 Million per year, without new taxes!

  • Only taxpayers from Richmond/San Pablo to Oakland/Berkeley would pay for Measure CC, while park users from Orinda, Lafayette, and Blackhawk, for example, would PAY NOTHING.

  • Additionally, EBRPD’s tax contrivance unfairly EXEMPTS COMMERCIAL
    PROPERTY OWNERS
    .

  • This shameful, irresponsible EBRPD tax scheme represents a SOCIAL INJUSTICE that undermines the very structure of our Regional Parks system.

A VOTE AGAINST MEASURE CC IS NOT A VOTE AGAINST PARKSWe signers are environmentalists who work hard protecting our parklands. We want a financially and environmentally healthy Park District. Regrettably, we have no confidence that current
EBRPD management understands how to care for its natural, fiscal, or human resources
.

PLEASE VOTE NO ON MEASURE CC!

For more information:
www.FriendsofParks.com
(510) 636-1005

www.ACCTaxpayers.com
(925) 930-2825


Harlan Kessel — Former EBRPD Director (17 years); Board Member, Regional Parks
Association; Founding Member, Friends of Parks, Oakland

Alan La Pointe — Chairman, Friends of Wildcat Canyon; Co-Chair, Friends of Parks; Board Member, Regional Parks Association, Richmond

Karen Weber — Former Personnel Director, EBRPD (1977-1996); Member, Friends of Parks, Oakland

Paul Merrick — Chairman, Dunsmuir Ridge Alliance; Co-Chair, Friends of Parks, Oakland

Friends of Parks — Greg Schneider, Co-Chair

 

This page was last updated on 10/05/04