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More to ‘Know’

On June 3, 2014, Signal Hill voters will have the opportunity to approve The Taxpayer’s Right to Know and Vote (TRKV), a citizens’ initiative signed by over 1,000 Signal Hill voters. This initiative requires that any new city taxes, new city property assessments, new city property-related fees and new bonds must be voted on in a general election.
The City hired a consultant to analyze the impact of TRKV. The report was incomplete and appeared to simply support the preconceptions and fears of City Hall. The consultant ignored State legislation and the State Constitution. Proposition 13, Proposition 218, and Proposition 26 are all a part of the Constitution. California’s voters approved these propositions in order to curb excessive taxes, property assessments and property-related fees by local government, and they are essential to TRKV.
The City consultant also ignored another key legal component. TRKV requires a vote of the Signal Hill electorate on future City new taxes and property charges. What exists today is not affected by TRKV.

Therefore, many of the consultant’s concerns are moot.
For example:

1. To avoid costly elections, a concern of the consultant, residents can vote on new taxes, new property assessments and property-related fees and bonds at the same time as existing elections. New taxes, new property charges and bonds can be voted upon at the same time we vote to fill council seats.

2. The consultant failed to acknowledge the limited scope of TRKV. The initiative requires a vote by the Signal Hill electorate only on a new City sales tax, a new City use tax (such as a utility use tax) or a new City property tax. All other taxes are not affected by TRKV.

3. TRKV requires that property-related fees and assessments that are “enacted by a vote of the electorate” expire in 10 years from the date Signal Hill voters approve these revenue proposals. The Signal Hill electorate did not vote on any existing City property assessment or City property-related fee. Only future revenue proposals approved by the Signal Hill voting electorate are subject to a 10-year termination date.

4. TRKV sets a 20-year bond time limit. This time limit keeps debt within reasonable costs. The debt will be paid off before more money is required to reinvest in the City project. Adding more than 20 years increases the cost of the bond itself beyond what is reasonable for a public project. Bill Lockyer, the current California Secretary of the Treasury, recommends 20 years because of the high cost of paying debt for a longer time.

Through the former Redevelopment agencies (RDA), cities used to spend the state’s money to fund special commercial projects and provide developers “incentives.” After the RDA was eliminated, the City of Signal Hill approved an ordinance called the Economic Assistance Program. This ordinance gives the City the right to tax and charge residents to pay for development projects. The TRKV initiative gives the residents of Signal Hill a voice as to which projects they want to financially support.
It is important that Signal Hill voters understand that the consultant failed to point out these facts in his report to the Council.
Since the demise of redevelopment, a new way of conducting business is needed— a way that protects the Signal Hill taxpayer. The Taxpayer’s Right to Know and Vote leads that way.

Carol Churchill and Maria Harris
Signal Hill Community First

They love a parade

Thank you for publishing the pictures of local Cub Pack 206 in the Nov. 15 paper. We were honored as an organization to participate in the Veterans Day parade. It is rewarding to see a local paper recognizing young people supporting their community.

Richard Feinberg
Los Fierros District Commissioner
Long Beach Area Council
Boy Scouts of America

Where there’s smoke…

Thanks so much for the publicity [Around Town, Nov. 8, 2013]! We served over 70 people and had a wonderful time getting to know each other. That’s the main purpose of our aspiring restaurant— “A good place to meet good people and eat good barbecue.”

Appie van der Fluit
Wrigley BBQ pop-up
Long Beach

[Ed. note: For more information, see “Wrigley BBQ ‘pop-up’ looking for permanent spot to serve down-home cuisine and get-togethers” in the Nov. 15 issue of the Signal Tribune.

Bar rescue, indeed

I was surprised and concerned that Lona [Lee] needed help [“TV show Bar Rescue renames and makes over cantina located in both Signal Hill and Long Beach; March 22, 2013]!
I was a homeless person in Long Beach between ’07 and ’09 with some California support, and I found her by way of NTN computer games. Being [at Lona’s Wardlow Station] was like I was a human being again. I made some friends there which I have lost contact with, especially with a flight engineer, among others.
I hope [Lona] is doing well. I have no idea why she was having trouble. I wish her well; she has no idea how she and her place helped to get me through it.

Jack Cahill
Albuquerque, New Mexico

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Letters and email