NO on Murrieta Proposition C, D & E

If you live in Murrieta, in addition to a slate of candidates for City Council you will find 3 ballot measures on your card – Propositions C, D & E. As always, I encourage you to get all the facts and make up your own mind – but if you’d like a little help deciding what to do on these three – VOTE NO!

Measure C is a term limit proposal that would limit council members to two consecutive terms, then they’d have to take 2 years off before being eligible to run again. It’s a solution in search of a problem. If you look at the current council, the longest serving member is in the middle of his second term. 3 incumbents are seeking their second term this election. If you want to see what a waste of energy this proposition is, go down to city hall and look at the pictures of past councils. Murrieta has enjoyed regular turnover of council members since it’s birth nearly 20 years ago. I would challenge most of you to even recognize those councilmembers who served as recently as 10 years ago.

It’s not a problem – it doesn’t call for this solution.

Furthermore, as a former proponent of term-limits, I’ve seen the harm they can cause. Term limits for our state legislators was supposed to solve all kinds of problems but all it really did was eliminate one problem while creating several more. Instead of people with some institutional knowledge, people working together to get the job done, Sacramento is now stocked with novices who 1) come with their own short-term agenda, 2) are running for re-election almost from their first day in the seat and 3) are more beholden than ever to lobbyists and special interest groups to fund their elections and then educate them on the issues. It hasn’t worked for our state, there’s no reason to assume it would work any better for our cities.

Besides that, if somebody is really screwing up – there are two definite remedies – 1) the regular election process and 2) the recall process, which did remove on Murrieta Council member 5 years ago.They have proven to be quite effective here.

Measure D would cap a council members compensation at 15% of median household income. Murrieta median household income currently stands at about $90,000 a year which means a councilember couldn’t earn more than $13,500. Today a council member who takes full advantage of their position – meaning salary, travel, health coverage and extra pay for outside committee work could benefit by as much as $23,000/year. In reality, all of our council members are employed in their own businesses (we don’t have any career politicians) and no one has been paid more than $15,000. Their monthly council salary is $600 and the budget for city council salary and benefits is less than 1/3 of 1% of the total city budget.  No one is abusing the system ala Bell CA and we have checks and balances in place to prevent that sort of thing anyway – not the least of which is an informed and vigilant population. This is another solution looking for a problem.

Measure E would cap the city manager’s salary at no more than 2.5 times the median household income or about $225,000. Rick Dudley makes somewhat less than that today  – about $210,000 – which is right in line with similar cities. If you factor in his other benefits he would exceed that amount by a bit. The police chief and fire captain are right up there as well but this proposition does nothing to restrict their pay. Should we be hiring bargain basement city managers while allowing people working for them to earn whatever the market dictates? Shouldn’t a city’s decision to hire an effective administrator be based on their needs, as well as the competence and qualifications of the applicants rather than what they can hire under some arbitrary salary cap?

Again, this proposition is poorly crafted, addresses a problem we don’t have, unnecessarily restricts the city’s ability to hire quality employees and could potentially cost the city millions in lost opportunities.

We don’t need them. Vote NO on Murrieta Propositions C, D  & E.

And while you’re voting, keep in mind that SRCAR  supports incumbents Kelly Bennett & Rick Gibbs as well as challenger Allan Long for Murrieta City Council.

10 Ballot measures qualify for November ballot.

November 2010 Statewide Ballot Measure

Proposition 18
Bond Measure
SBx7 2. (Chapter 3, 2009), Cogdill.

Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010

Proposition 19
Initiative Statute
1377. (09-0024. Amdt. #1S) – Final Random Sample Update – 03/24/10

Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed.

Qualified: 03/24/10

Proponents: Richard Seib Lee and Jeffrey Wayne Jones (510) 208-4554

Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Permits local governments to regulate and tax commercial production and sale of marijuana to people 21 years old or older. Prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using it in public, smoking it while minors are present, or providing it to anyone under 21 years old. Maintains current prohibitions against driving while impaired. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Savings of up to several tens of millions of dollars annually to state and local governments on the costs of incarcerating and supervising certain marijuana offenders. Unknown but potentially major tax, fee, and benefit assessment revenues to state and local government related to the production and sale of marijuana products. (09-0024.) (Full Text)

Proposition 20
Initiative Constitutional Amendment
1380. (09-0027) – Final Random Sample Update – 05/05/10

Redistricting of Congressional Districts.

Qualified: 05/05/10

Proponent: Charles T. Munger, Jr.

Removes elected representatives from the process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to the recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission. Redistricting commission is comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four voters registered with neither party. Requires that any newly-proposed district lines be approved by nine commissioners including three Democrats, three Republicans, and three from neither party. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Probably no significant change in state redistricting costs. (09-0027.) (Full Text)

Proposition 21
Initiative Statute
1421. (09-0072) – Final Random Sample Update – 06/10/10

Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs and Grants Free Admission to All State Parks to Surcharged Vehicles.

Qualified: 06/10/10

Proponent: Joseph L. Caves (916) 558-1516

Establishes an $18 annual state vehicle license surcharge and grants free admission to all state parks to surcharged vehicles. Requires deposit of surcharge revenue in a new trust fund. Requires that trust funds be used solely to operate, maintain and repair the state park system, and to protect wildlife and natural resources. Exempts commercial vehicles, trailers and trailer coaches from the surcharge. Requires annual independent audit and review by citizen’s oversight committee. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state revenues of about $500 million annually from the imposition of a surcharge on the VLF to be used mainly to fund state parks and wildlife conservation programs. Potential state savings of up to approximately $200 million annually to the extent that the VLF surcharge revenues were used to reduce support from the General Fund and other special funds for parks and wildlife conservation programs. Reduction of about $50 million annually in state and local revenues from state park day-use fees. These revenue losses could potentially be offset by increases in other types of state park user fees and revenues. (09-0072.) (Full Text)

Proposition 22
Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
1414. (09-0063, Amdt.#1NS) – Final Random Sample Update – 06/22/10

Prohibits the State from Taking Funds Used for Transportation or Local Government Projects and Services.

Qualified: 06/22/10

Proponents: Joshua Shaw, Christopher K. McKenzie, and James N. Earp

Prohibits the State from shifting, taking, borrowing, or restricting the use of tax revenues dedicated by law to fund local government services, community redevelopment projects, or transportation projects and services. Prohibits the State from delaying the distribution of tax revenues for these purposes even when the Governor deems it necessary due to a severe state fiscal hardship. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Significant constraints on state authority over city, county, special district, and redevelopment agency funds. As a result, higher and more stable local resources, potentially affecting billions of dollars in some years. Commensurate reductions in state resources, resulting in major decreases in state spending and/or increases in state revenues. (09-0063.) (Full Text)

Proposition 23
Initiative Statute
1454. (09-0104) – Final Random Sample Update – 06/22/10

Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year.

Qualified: 06/22/10

Proponent: Thomas W. Hiltachk (916) 442-7757

Suspends State laws requiring reduced greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or less for four consecutive quarters. Requires State to abandon implementation of comprehensive greenhouse-gas-reduction program that includes increased renewable energy and cleaner fuel requirements, and mandatory emission reporting and fee requirements for major polluters such as power plants and oil refineries, until suspension is lifted. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potential positive, short-term impacts on state and local government revenues from the suspension of regulatory activity, with uncertain longer-run impacts. Potential foregone state revenues from the auctioning of emission allowances by state government, by suspending the future implementation of cap-and-trade regulations. (09-0104.) (Full Text)

Proposition 24
Initiative Statute.
1412. (09-0058, #1NS) – Final Random Sample Update – 06/24/10

Repeals Recent Legislation That Would Allow Businesses to Carry Back Losses, Share Tax Credits, and Use a Sales-Based Income Calculation to Lower Taxable Income.

Qualified: 06/24/10

Proponents: Robin Johansen and Karen Getman (510) 346-6200

Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to shift operating losses to prior tax years and that would extend the period permitted to shift operating losses to future tax years. Repeals recent legislation that would allow corporations to share tax credits with affiliated corporations. Repeals recent legislation that would allow multistate businesses to use a sales-based income calculation, rather than a combination property-, payroll- and sales-based income calculation. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Annual state revenue increase from business taxes of about $1.7 billion when fully phased in, beginning in 2011-12. (09-0058.) (Full Text)

Proposition 25
Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
1408. (09-0057) – Final Random Sample Update – 06/24/10

Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass a Budget from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority. Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes.

Qualified: 06/24/10

Proponents: James C. Harrison and Thomas A. Willis (510) 346-6200

Changes the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority. Provides that if the Legislature fails to pass a budget bill by June 15, all members of the Legislature will permanently forfeit any reimbursement for salary and expenses for every day until the day the Legislature passes a budget bill. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Unknown changes in the content of the state budget from lowering the legislative vote requirement for passage. Fiscal impact would depend on the composition and actions of future Legislatures. Minor reduction in state costs related to compensation of legislators in years when the budget bill is passed after June 15. (09-0057.) (Full Text)

Proposition 26
Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
1441. (09-0093) – Final Random Sample Update – 06/24/10

Increases Legislative Vote Requirement to Two-Thirds for State Levies and Charges. Imposes Additional Requirement for Voters to Approve Local Levies and Charges with Limited Exceptions.

Qualified: 06/24/10

Proponent: Allan Zaremberg c/o Steve Lucas (916) 446-6752

Increases legislative vote requirement to two-thirds for state levies and charges, with limited exceptions, and for certain taxes currently subject to majority vote. Changes Constitution to require voters to approve, either by two-thirds or majority, local levies and charges with limited exceptions. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Potentially major decrease in state and local revenues and spending, depending upon future actions of the Legislature, local governing bodies, and local voters. (09-0093.) (Full Text)

Proposition 27
Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
1451. (09-0107) – Final Random Sample Update – 06/24/10

Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives.

Qualified: 06/24/10

Proponent: Daniel Lowenstein c/o Fredric D. Woocher (310) 576-1233

Eliminates 14-member redistricting commission selected from applicant pool picked by government auditors. Consolidates authority for establishing state Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries with elected state representatives responsible for drawing congressional districts. Reduces budget, and imposes limit on amount Legislature may spend, for redistricting. Provides that voters will have the authority to reject district boundary maps approved by the Legislature. Requires populations of all districts for the same office to be exactly the same. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Likely decrease in state redistricting costs totaling several million dollars every ten years. (09-0107.) (Full Text)

CAR & SCLC Offer Recommendations on June 8 Ballot Propositions

Both the California Association of Realtors and the Southwest California Legislative Council have published recommendations for next Tuesday’s election on the various ballot propositions that you will find. The SCLC is in agreement with the positions supported by CAR and has also staked out positions on a couple of the measures that CAR determined to be ‘Not Real Estate Related’. Feel free to use this voter guide to the upcoming elections and please contact me with any questions. I have also included links to both the CAR and SCLC websites for further clarification on why each organization took the position they did.

Neither CAR nor SCLC endorse candidates in local, state or federal  races. However, CAR does support candidates in local and state races and NAR supports federal candidates with direct contributiuons and, in some cases, independent expenditure campaigns.

CAR Ballot Proposition Positions / SCLC Ballot Propositions

Proposition 13 – CAR: Support    SCLC: Support.
Proposition 13 would prohibit tax assessors from re-evaluating new construction for property tax purposes when the new construction is consider earthquake safety improvements. Tax assessors would only be allowed to re-evaluate for property tax purposes after the building has been sold.

Proposition 14 – CAR: Neutral    SCLC: Neutral
Proposition 14 would require that candidates run in a single primary open to all registered voters, with the top two vote-getters meeting in a runoff. This system would take place in the 2012 elections. This Proposition would not affect Presidential and political party leadership positions.

Proposition 15 – CAR: Not Real Estate Related    SCLC: Oppose
This Proposition was placed on the ballot by legislation (AB 583/Hancock). Proposition 15 would institute a pilot program of publicly-financed elections for the office of California Secretary of State. The publicly-financed election would be funded by taxing lobbyists, lobbying firms and lobbyist employers. The Proposition is currently the subject of litigation.

Proposition 16 – CAR: Oppose    SCLC: Oppose
Proposition 16 is a state constitutional amendment, if passed, would require a two-thirds voter approval before local governments can provide electricity service to customers or implement a community choice electricity program using public funds or bonds.

Proposition 17 – CAR Not Real Estate Related    SCLC: Support
Proposition 17 amends Proposition 103, passed by the voters in 1988, to authorize the use of an additional discount on premiums for automobile insurance policies. In particular, the act would allow an insurer to offer a “continuous coverage” discount to new customers who have maintained their coverage while they previously were customers of another insurer.

CAR Takes Positions on Ballot Propositions

At last weeks Board of Directors meeting the California Association of Realtors® took the following positions on upcoming ballot propositions:

Proposition 14 – Elections: Open Primaries Legislative Constitutional Amendment. Neutral
It was voted in committee and brought forward to the General BOD that this issue was ‘Not Real Estate Related’ but after some floor debate membership determined it has enough impact on real estate to warrant our involvement in the issue.

Proposition 16 – New 2/3 Requirement for Public Electricity Providers: Against
It was determined by committee that this proposition, supported by PG&E, is aimed at stifling competition by privately owned utility companies and could result in higher utility bills for homeowners.

Proposition 17 – Continuous Coverage Auto Insurance Discount Act: Not Real Estate Related

Safe, Clean and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010 (Not yet numbered): Neutral

Proposition 13 – Property Tax: New Construction Exclusion: Seismic Retrofitting ; For

Proposition 15 – Political Reform Act of 1974: California Fair Elections Act of 2008: Not Real Estate Related

On any proposition or legislation evaluated by CAR analysts, the BOD may take any of the following positions:
FOR – implies implicit support of the measure including the possible expenditure of time & money to assure passage.
AGAINST – implies active efforts including the possible expenditure of time and money to insure failure.
NEUTRAL – the measure has some real estate relevance that warrants attention but not enough to spend time & money on.
NOT REAL ESTATE RELATED – arguably any issue can be related to real estate since ‘under all is the land’ but these issues do not have any real estate impact as their primary focus.

As always, we encourage you to examine all propositions and ballot measures on your own and vote your conscience.