Sunday, September 25, 2016

• Measure V, How Are You Voting?

What's your thoughts on higher taxes?

I've never been in a big proponent of them myself. Lower taxes were part of the allure in choosing Wildomar over the surrounding communities when we moved here.

(...and don't bother trying to tell me that bonds aren't taxes. If I'm required to pay the government money —it's a tax, no matter what euphemism you'd prefer.)

What I really hate is when they are pushed on people under the pretext of 
"it's for the children."
If you vote against school bonds, you're a big meanie!

I first heard of Measure V at a recent city council meeting when a spokesman for LEUSD pitched the virtues of the proposed $105,000,000 bond measure. 

At the meeting, it was shown what tax payers of other districts are paying, and those of us in the boundaries of LEUSD were pretty much ridiculed because we've been paying ZERO on school bonds.

Heidi Dodd, LEUSD Board Trustee, was quoted in the Press Enterprise on the subject and seemed to lament that we were one of the few districts that didn't have a school bond.

As if that was a bad thing or something.

“We’re one of the few school districts in the whole county that doesn’t have a school bond.”


LEUSD Board Trustee Heidi Dodd



Before getting all teary eyed about school bonds, and before expecting people to vote for such boondoggles, please do some investigation on the topic. 


To finish building Hillcrest High School, the Alvord district issued a $57 million bond in 2011. By 2046, when the loan is paid off it will have cost taxpayers $375 million – 6.6 times the principal.

Below is a video link with California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer discussing how some bonds work.



On the other side of Ortega Highway is Capistrano Unified School District, which encompasses an area from San Clemente through Laguna Niguel to Aliso Viejo.

They are looking to get a $889 million bond passed, obligating homeowners to $43 per $100k assessed value.

Think about it for a sec. With the cost of houses there, that would be an extra $250 per year... and that's on the lower end.


The bonds that LEUSD are proposing are ONLY going to cost us $19 per $100K... or roughly $50 for the average home.

To have a well run society, it costs money. In fact, it costs a lot of money. Problem is, you can't keep going to the same well constantly looking for more.

If you want more, you need to create more. Not simply squeeze the current taxpayers, all the harder, for a few extra drops of blood.

That goes for a lot of things that our taxes pay for, including ALL public employees... particularly the emerging special class known as first responders. (I love the cops and fire guys, but if you were honest about it, the ever rising costs are way out of control.)

If there isn't enough cash in the kitty to get the things LEUSD wants, then make a better budget, or lobby Sacramento for a better allocation of funds.  
(Too bad school children aren't insignificant fish in the Delta).

But what really has cemented my NO vote on Measure V is the Jean Hayman campus. 

It was closed back in 2008 due to budgetary concerns. The idea was that they would remodel it, then reopen it, when the need arose again.

Lo and behold it was discovered that it was on a fault line (welcome to California, Einstein). So it was forever removed from consideration as a school and has remained dormant ever since.

It just so happens that it would make a great community center for Wildomar (like the old Butterfield campus has done for Lakeland Village). Thing is, the price tag is too steep for the city, and that doesn't count the amount of money it would take to refurbish it.

Since it's been closed, the district has canabalized some parts for other schools, and then there are the copper thieves. 

Excluding the purchase price, it's conservatively estimated to be more than $800K to get it back up to code and ready for use.

Here's a link to a Press Enterprise article discussing the school, and how the district is shopping it around. The 2011 estimated value was $2.5 million. 

That campus needs to be turned over to the people of Wildomar, and at NO COST

The taxpayers already bought and paid for it, and I don't need anyone telling me that Sacramento made up some hokum saying why we don't own it.

I may be the only one in town to tie together Measure V and the Jean Hayman campus, but I can't imagine any Wildomartino voting to tax themselves (at least $50 a year) while they have spent years getting short shrift in regards to that long shuttered, and rapidly deteriorating, campus. 


Thoughts on government agencies that seem to think they're above the very people that pay for them to exist: 

Remember back at September 11th, and how we learned that the FBI and CIA weren't sharing info with each other?

Most of us thought that was absurd when our common needs suffered due to it.

I'm not sure if the LEUSD knows this or not, but they are fully owned by the local taxpayers, and they aren't a private company that should think they actually own anything. 

They are simply chosen stewards of some of the community's assets.

I went over to the "Yes on V" website and I couldn't find a single word about the cost. Not for the face value of the bonds, nor how much to repay them or even how much each homeowner would be responsible for. 

I even looked in the FAQ section, and it appears that no one cares enough to ask them such things.
Link to Measure V webpage
Here is a link to the LEUSD's press release on Measure V

Small disclaimer here. I've been meaning to blog about this topic, and it was at the recent Coffee With The Mayor that I decided now was the time. 

A concerned scout mom was trying to talk me into voting for it, she had compelling points, but in the end they weren't enough to bridge the bond morass/chasm (yes, it's both a morass and a chasm at the same time).

For me, it's NOT about the children

It's about the money, and when guys like Herb Calderon (Alvord School District, in Riverside) say things like, "I know the state treasurer is upset with me, he indicated that guys like me, that put these deals together, we should be fired, but people need to realize that —yeah you know your kids are going to be saddled with this debt, and their kids and so forth,  but look what they're getting. They're still getting a quality educational building," it tells me it is all about the money (not the kids)... but from the wrong angle.

Measure EE was a 2014 $144 million Jurupa Unified School District Bond Issue

With all that said, I predict that Measure V will pass. 


Look at the graphic to the left. Bonds of all types have been passing with greater and greater ease the last few years.

It only takes 55% on a bond measure, and if people were suckered into Prop 47, because it was nicknamed "The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act", it's a lead pipe cinch that V will win too.

That doesn't count statewide school bond Measure 51 

That one is for $9 billion and even old Governor Moonbeam is against it: 

  • “I am against the developers’ $9 billion bond. It’s a blunderbuss effort that promotes sprawl and squanders money that would be far better spent in low-income communities.” – Governor Jerry Brown 

One of the few times that he and the Howard Jarvis group are on the same page.

•          •          •

The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.
— Will Rogers, 1879-1935

Wildomar Rap has never believed throwing money at an issue is the answer, but is willing to test the theory if you're will to throw the money this way.

6 comments:

  1. Interesting, you were for a 295 million dollar bond that the current mayor supported and you're against a 105,000 million dollar bond because the current mayor is mad that LEUSD won't give the city the broken down Jean Hayman school site. I suppose you would like the site even better if the school district gave some money to fix it up.
    That's exactly what the county did when they gave us a park site east of the freeway along with 300,000 dollars to do a little work on it (all of the cost for the the land and the 300K was money from the local area in the form of DIF monies. To date nothing has been done with it which is what would happen with the Jean Hayman site. With the lack of any maintenance crews that LEUSD currently provides it would be short order for the buildings to collapse.

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    1. Come on Kenny, let's not put words into my mouth or fail to see shades of gray.

      I don't really know what "the current mayor" thinks about it (I have my own opinions). I do know that this morning she was sharing the Yes on V website on facebook. That, in part, is what prompted me to write this blog today (originally I was going to recap the homeless meeting, but this was more interesting.).

      As for Measure AA, I broke my "no bonds" stance because of the gasbags that were against it. If they were smart, they would have used some reverse psychology and pretended to support it.

      Measure V's $105 million dollars is a lot of money, but at the same time it's not enough to buy anything more than doodads and baubles when it gets spread out district wide. It certainly won't pay for new campuses when you consider they often cost nearly $100 million for a new high school these days.

      With Measure AA, it will actually be for the formation of a new campus.

      I'd also wholly support a bond measure for Wildomar to either fix up Jean Hayman, or buy the current city hall building outright.

      I'm not against wise capital improvements, and renting is a bad long term business plan in my estimation.

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  2. Thank you for sharing your views! I always enjoy reading what you have to say, Joseph!

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  3. A rubberized track and a artificial turf field and no bleachers? Someone screwed up! I can see wanting funds to make improvements on an old school, but to buy luxury items is foolish. The problem is if the school district gets the money the tax payers dont get to vote on what the money is used for.....and buying artificail turf and a rubberized track in place of bleachers is just plain stupid! Keep in mind that you buy a house you pay a lot more than the original loan amount by the time that 30 yrs is up, so it doesn't surprise me that we would end up paying more for a bond than the original amount, however; I think they should put that end amount on the measure not the original amount. By the time the measure is paid off they will another one to improve all the things that have aged 40 yrs!

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    Replies
    1. I like the comparison to a mortgage, that's what bonds are - or at least should be. If the bonds are for true capital improvements (purchasing land, constructing buildings or legitimate remodeling of old structures) that's usually a good and wise investment. Using high cost bonds to pay for things like a rubberized track or new computers is asinine in my view.

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