No, Tuesday on Measure P
Long, tired tale of cratered streets wouldn't end with passage of Measure P sales tax increase; City leadership can't be trusted to dutifully manage finances We're saying "No" to Measure P on Tuesday. No to a
Long, tired tale of cratered streets wouldn’t end with passage of Measure P sales tax increase; City leadership can’t be trusted to dutifully manage finances
We’re saying “No” to Measure P on Tuesday. No to a 1 percent sales tax increase! We could end right here, but, we want to tell you why the Compton Herald has taken this position.
Let’s talk about the problem the City of Compton’s leadership has with splurging money, then looking like five deer caught in the headlights when there’s a lack of funds with which to do much of anything in Compton, much less fix the crumbling streets.
Mayor Aja Brown and the City Council have steered residents to a special election on Tuesday, June 7 — to approve or deny the Vital City Services and Neighborhood Protection ordinance, or Measure P.
We dissent with this approach. Property taxes and automobile insurance in Compton are among the highest of any city in California. Now, hard working, taxpayers, notably low-income seniors, are being asked to reach into their pockets to increase the city tax from 9 to 10 percent to repair streets, which was actually a campaign promise by Brown three years ago.
The 1 percent sales tax increase will impact residents and non-residents alike on all sales in Compton stores. It would not affect food and medical prescriptions.
We’re stumped! What happened to the money the City already had in the General Fund coffers for street repair — the money ex-city manager G. Harold Duffey alluded was in the budget back in September 2014?
Was it re-directed on the pretense that it was needed more urgently, elsewhere? That probably happens more often than the public knows. And it isn’t right!
That’s why this penny issue is so bothersome. This 1 percent tax increase is viewed as a kind of “Hail Mary,” an urgent and critical infrastructure remedy to ensure the allocation of millions to repave every Compton street, create jobs, youth job training, implement gang/drug prevention programs, and improve parks.
Mayor Brown said months ago, “This measure will provide funding to meet critical service needs — which our residents deserve — including adding a much-needed fire station on the city’s east side and providing additional sheriff’s personnel.”
That’s a lot of infrastructure. How much, then, would be left for street repair? Your guess is as good as ours.
Perhaps the mayor and council didn’t think this clearly through. The penny tax will only raise money incrementally — one year at a time. Years from now, the current city leadership may be history, leaving a whole new group holding the bag.
“The estimated annual revenue to the City of Compton if passed by voters,” said Brown, will generate over $7 million annually and would require citizen oversight.”
There wouldn’t be a rash of money to pave all of the streets in one clean sweep. It would require years with the 1 percent tax approach. Meanwhile, the city streets will continue to crumble.
And the promise of a Citizen Oversight Committee? The city should have established this committee long ago. We just don’t believe there currently exists an objective select group of overseers. A haphazardly selected oversight group smells of cronyism. That’s been the case in Compton governance for 15 years.
The voters of this city will send a message on June 7 — “No On Measure P!” There can be no additional taxes until Compton residents are assured that our city leadership can handle the fiscal governance in a conservative and frugal manner.
Trust is a very tenuous issue in Compton. And the public trust has been blindsided far too many times.