Study their behaviors. Observe their territorial boundaries. Leave their habitat as you found it. Report any signs of intelligence.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Argument Against SCVWD Parcel Tax

I drafted for the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association the following ballot argument against Measure B. The Registrar of Voters instead chose an opposing ballot argument that didn't mention the county grand jury criticisms of SCVWD, and that instead based its opposition only on environmentalism.

The only part of the county not in one of five "flood control zones" is the remote area beyond Mount Hamilton. So you pay for "flood control", no matter how high or dry.

SCVWD says the tax has "helped reduce the flood threat" for only 16,000 parcels. Flood protection should be paid for by the 1% who buy flood-prone property, not by the 99% who don't. The tax is also to "ensure safe, reliable water supply". However, SCVWD already directly bills those who buy its water or pump from its aquifers. Improvements to water reliability or quality should be reflected in water price, in order to promote conservation and efficient use. Instead, SCVWD sells water to farmers at a 90% discount.

Grand jury reports have criticized SCVWD over high salaries and wasteful spending. In "Gold Street Education Center -- $1.38M For What?", a grand jury said "educational efforts should no longer be masqueraded as Environmental Enhancements". It noted the center was built adjacent to a trailer park owned a SCVWD director's family.

In "SCVWD Awash In Cash As County and Cities Drown In Red Ink", jurors said that in 2000 the district "polled the public on price points and found $39 would be what voters would accept. Program funding was NOT based on the cost of needed projects." SCVWD has already spent $27,000 in Measure B polling.

Last time, district employees were fined $24,000 for failing to report 75% of pro-tax contributions.

Last time, tax proponents told us that this parcel tax "will end in 15 years".

What are tax proponents telling us this time that will prove to be false in hindsight? What will the next grand jury report tell us about mismanagement at this district?