One of the things that the Republicans will be remembered for is the radical loosening of boundaries over what can be presented as information. While postcards and flyers sent to voters typically offer facts that are attractive to one side of the argument, the current crop of ads against Measure RE are almost entirely fact-free.
Measure RE is a local tax proposal to add a graduated amount to the sale of properties valued over $1.5 million, it’s not nearly as complicated as it’s being painted.
The big lie is that this is going to affect renters. I simply don’t see how. If you don’t own property, you cannot sell property, and therefore the success of Measure RE costs you nothing, At all. Ever.
Another lie – It’s going to cost you in the long run – again, unless you own property and are currently considering selling it, it’s not going to cost you. It’s only applicable to real estate transactions that ring in at over $1.5 million.
Another lie – “a forever tax that hurts families and small businesses.” That is a weird phrase; forever tax. It’s also a total lie – Measure RE is a one time tax on a one time transaction. The families that live here and the small business that serve them are all going to be needing the city services that this will support.
“A forever tax” is a picture from the same broad brush that tries to frame an “inheritance tax” as a “death tax.” Because only a few are going to inherit, but we are all going to die. So the people passing down inheritance want to make sure the people who are going to die think it causes some problem for them.
If Measure RE fails, it is going to cost all of us. The city’s income has never been more uncertain, and all those services we appreciate – parks and recreation, sanitation, and so on, will suffer.
For the real estate industry, it’s an investment in lobbying that is a gamble to offset a future expense. It’s just business. The current political climate allows for fiscal conservatives to say anything at all in regard to props, measures, candidates or causes. There are no more social standards on honest behavior; it’s just about power and money. And lots of lying.
The thing is, they don’t live here. You do.
If the real estate lobbyists defeat this measure, they can calculate that they will save certain amount over a particular length of time. It’s numbers.
If we have to close parks or or parking garages, if we have to stop delivering food to housebound seniors, if we have to cut bus service or trash collection, we are all going to feel it.
Culver City has an interesting history of always voting to tax ourselves. We like our standard of service.
The proposed tax increase is a symptom of the real problem—Culver City has no effective means to prevent governmental officials who engage in fraud, waste, and abuse or catch and punish them. On September 9, 2019, the City Council vetted and unanimously adopted an independently managed fraud, waste, and abuse program and associated hotline. However, it was secretly hijacked by the City Attorney, City Manager and the Chief Financial Officer. They do not want any independent person questioning their business-as-usual practices, e.g., improper credit-card charges for $4,000 lunches, monthly payments for Orange County toll fees, expensive laptop computers that can easily grow legs.
For more than one year ago, I repeatedly informed the City Council and the public of the Three-Amigos’ disobedient actions.
Don’t cure the symptoms, cure the underlying problem. In the interim, starve the beast.
Les Greenberg, Esquire