Y We Must Say No to Measure Y
October 31, 2012
Some of Culver City’s finest citizens are backing Measure Y, the ½ cent sales tax increase on the ballot on Tuesday.
We must respectfully disagree with them and urge a No Vote on Measure Y.
In practical terms Measure Y will most probably pass but for all the wrong reasons.
Measure Y will not solve the excesses at city hall. It will not solve the cash drain and the dipping into the city reserves that prior city leaders have so painstakingly saved.
To be sure, we believe our city has some of the finest employees in the nation; however both our employees and our residents have been victim of a shill game or in layman’s terms a massive Ponzi scheme.
Here is how it works. When the time comes to evaluate salaries our city contacts neighboring cities including Santa Monica and Beverly Hills to compare salaries. We then adjust our salaries to be competitive. Conversely those cities then contact Culver City to compare their salaries and guess what; they have to increase their employees’ salaries because of Culver City.
Here begins the endless cycle.
Does anyone ever compare the salaries to private industry?
This is why the secretary to the City Manager makes $180,000 per year.
This is why we have firefighter/paramedics making upwards of $60,000 per year in overtime on top of their $100,000 per year salaries.
This is why our Police Chief’s total compensation was in excess of $330,000 last year.
This is why virtually every member of the Culver City Fires Department who made over $85,000 last year receives overtime pay.
This is why over 80% of the Culver City Police Department who make over $85,000 last year received overtime pay.
We do not understand why the city continues to pay millions of dollars each year in overtime. The City of Los Angeles faced this same problem and was forced to bring overtime under control. In private business, overtime must be authorized and approved and if overtime is excessive due to need then more employees are hired at regular pay rates, not overtime rates.
Businesses are closing their doors and residents are losing their homes. Many employers have cut their own salaries and laid off employees during the four- year recession. Why then should government be so bold as to ask for more from Culverites who are making due with less?
The City of Santa Ana, faced with the same problem of rampant salary increases, recently lost its Fire Department. The city saved $10 million each year by turning fire and paramedic services over to the Orange County Fire authority.
Let’s not lose our Fire Department.
Finally, we believe the city will collect nowhere near the $8 million for this tax increase they project.
First, the tax increase will encourage buyers to shop in Los Angeles where the tax increase does not apply or worse push more shoppers to the Internet where the city does not receive one penny in sales tax.
Second, while most retailers in Culver City will be required to collect and pay the increase, only Culver City residents will pay the additional increase on the purchase of new cars. That’s right, if a resident of Los Angeles purchases a car in Culver City, by state law he or she do not pay the additional tax.
Councilmembers rushed to put this measure on the ballot without considering additional budget cuts and alternative, less regressive taxes. They failed to consult business leaders at the Culver City Chamber of Commerce for suggestions.
If you really want to “Save Our Services” then vote NO on Measure Y and tell the city council to get to work and do the job we elected them to do.