By John Aldaz
Guest Commentary 

City's 'Fiscal Emergency' Claim is Pure Hogwash

Vote ‘No’ on Tax-Hike Measures C and K


November 1, 2018

Many thanks to Observer columnist Neil Rubinstein for his eye-opening report on compensation figures for 27 Culver City municipal employees, ranging from $284,000 to $539,000 per year!

I would have also liked to see a list of the City retirees who get over $10,000 or even $15,000 per month (for life) in pension payments.

Do some of these people really deserve to be paid more than double that of any U.S. congressperson or senator?

Yet, at the same time, our City Council has officially declared a “fiscal emergency,” holding out their tin cup once again with Measure C—a quarter-cent increase in the local sales tax.

Not to be “out-begged,” our School District also is asking Culver property owners to approved a new, $189 annual parcel tax to bail out its generous pension fund.

Based on past experience, Culver City voters are likely to pass both of these measures, having shown a strange proclivity to voluntarily tax themselves to no end.

I wish everyone would get a copy of the salary list that the Observer published. [The Sept. 13 column is online at]

Instead, they have received more of City Hall’s guilt-driven propaganda (paid for with your tax dollars) listing all the catastrophic consequences if we don’t let them pick our pockets even deeper and our bones even drier.

This reminds me of Prop CC, passed only four years ago, where deceptive photos of the long-abandoned Natatorium indoor swimming pool were used to divert an additional $106 million from us. Now they’re asking for yet another parcel tax!

Where did our $106 million go?

City Hall’s Endless Spending

Culver City already has some of the highest taxes in Los Angeles County. From the existing increase in the sales tax, to the highest utility taxes, to the profoundly inequitable parcel tax, to record-high municipal and permit fees, to these abominable red-light cameras,, this City has left no stone unturned to satisfy its insatiable appetite for revenue.

New taxes are always on the table. Decreased spending never is.

Tax revenues naturally go up on their own: With new developments, when more people move into the City, when property values increase, when retail prices go up, etc., all of which are at record highs.

For decades this was the norm and the City balanced its budget accordingly. But its recent spiraling dependency on repeated increases of the tax burden percentage is very different, and symptomatic of something gone extremely wrong.

I’m not sure if this is evidence of short-sighted fixes or really poor administrative skills--in spite of the extravagant compensation packages these people grant themselves--but we citizens have become the servants of these public servants.

Just like Jerry Brown’s gas tax, the vast percentage of the tax revenue generated by Culver’s Measure C and Measure K would end up in the pockets of those same lavishly paid individuals or in the bottomless pit of City retirees pension fund, or used to hire high-priced “consultants” who generate countless “studies” to figure out how much more money can be squeezed out of taxpayers before they break.

Don’t Give City More ‘Whiskey’

Giving the City an ever bigger cut of your hard-earned money is, to quote political satirist P.J. O’Rourke, “like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.”

If you, the voters, don’t put an end to this now, your local government will never stop extracting more and more out of you, especially with a City Council that has recently made such a sharp turn toward social activism.

Unless you need somebody to continue confiscating your wealth and wasting your money, vote NO on C, NO on K. Also, vote YES on 6 (to repeal the 12-cent-a-gallon gas tax).

There is no 'fiscal emergency' – just an accumulation of poor decision-making by City Hall.

It’s time to start voting against any tax increase of any kind. Start when you punch your ballot on Nov. 6.

John Aldaz is a longtime Culver City resident.


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