Stop the Theft of Funds

The “Woe is Me Tour” begins with Long Beach City Management.

The city has been stealing utility funds for over 60 years by their own admission. The Water Department lawsuit is not the cause of the budget deficit; it is the $154 million pension costs that they never talk about. It’s the raises that followed the passage of Measure A that added millions to the pension costs.

The police and fire unions donated $350,000 to help buy passage of the Measure A sales tax increase and they now have donated another $100,000 to pass Measure M.

By law, Long Beach city utilities should not be charging ratepayers more than it costs to operate the utility. The $20-plus million a year the utilities have been transferring to the city’s general fund was and is illegal and it should have been stopped by the lawsuit.

All sources of city income are up dramatically and it is still not enough to provide basic city services. They raised all fees mid-year; that means your fees have gone up twice this year. Oil is budgeted at $45 a barrel, it is now selling for $70 a barrel; that means millions more for the general fund and it’s still not enough!

Whenever the City of Long Beach wants more money from residents they say the new tax or fee is for more police, firefighters, the parks and to repair our crumbling infrastructure; how many times can the city cry “wolf” and not provide what they promised?

Residents need to wise up. The City of Long Beach is run by and for the benefit of city employees, not the residents.

Vote no on Measure M on June 5. Stop the theft of ratepayers funds.

Tom Stout
Long Beach Taxpayers Association

 

Your mayor and city council should be ashamed for not telling you:

  • A brave taxpayer filed a lawsuit to stop them from illegally raiding the water and sewer utilities and required them to return millions of dollars.
  • The city is spending over one-half million of taxes on this measure so they can re-raid those utilities and the gas utility.
  • They squandered all the increased property taxes, sales taxes, and oil taxes. We still don’t have enough police and fire services. Many sidewalks and streets remain unfixed.
  • Instead, they spent your money raising bloated salaries and pensions and paying for extravagant and unnecessary projects. Now they want you to give them more because they don’t know how to manage money.

Wait. There’s more:

  • This measure lets the city increase your water, sewer and gas rates to pay for the massive 12 percent transfers.
  • A 12 percent transfer is the highest percentage transfer by any city on its utilities.
  • This means utility users pay a huge new tax, which property owners pass along to renters. Thanks to higher utility rates, you will also pay more “utility user” taxes which is a “tax-on-a-tax.”
  • California is currently considering a tax on your drinking water.
  • The city collected $600,000 in new “first-responder-fees” plus hundreds of thousands more for 9-1-1 emergency services.
  • The city is expecting millions of dollars in new marijuana taxes.

Vote no. Stop the mayor and city council from their reckless spending and mismanagement of your money.

Diana Lejins, Gerrie Schipske, Joe Weinstein

 
Yesterday I received in the mail ta flier from the City of Long Beach entitled “Long Beach Voter Information on Measure M”. The flier was paid for by the City of Long Beach.

The flier, signed by City Manager Patrick H. West, states the following; “If Measure M passes, the city would continue (emphasis added) utility fund transfers to the general fund practice, subject to a new 12 percent cap on transfers from the water, sewer and gas utility funds.”

This statement is untrue. According to various news reports, and the city’s own statement, in 2017 the city discontinued assessing pipeline fees to the Water Department, in response to a lawsuit which was brought in 2016. In fact, the city agreed to refund $12 million to the Water Department because it was determined that these fees were illegal, and further agreed to pay the plaintiffs in the lawsuit over $400,000 in attorney fees.

So, Measure M is not a continuance of existing utility fund transfers, it is an attempt to restart transfers which have been discontinued (because they are illegal). The flier paid for with city funds is a poorly-disguised effort to hoodwink unknowing voters into thinking that they are merely voting to endorse the status quo, and that in fact it is a good thing because it will cap the transfers at 12 percent. The flier is blatantly misleading and factually incorrect.

The city has the authority to “educate but not advocate” in an election. This flier, paid for with city funds, has clearly violated laws which prohibit the city from advocating in an election. Unfortunately, when the city does this, it is taxpayers/ratepayers like me who will pay for these legal blunders.

Please stop.

Ken Weiss

 

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