Have the Measure A Supporters Earned Our Trust?

by Michael D. Robbins
Director, Public Safety Project, PublicSafetyProject.org

March 31, 2014

Measure A is at least eleven permanent tax hikes in a single ballot measure – four on residents and seven on businesses.

Four City employee unions have donated $17,500 to the “Yes on Measure A” campaign to raise our taxes and their pay and pensions:

  • The El Segundo Firefighters PAC donated $5,000.00 on 02/11/2014;
  • The El Segundo Police Officers’ Association PAC donated $5,000.00 on 02/24/2014;
  • The El Segundo City Employees Association PAC donated $5,000.00 on 02/28/2014; and
  • California Teamsters Public Affairs Council in Sacramento donated $2,500.00 on 02/28/2014, presumably for the El Segundo Supervisory and Professional Employees’ Bargaining Unit, Teamsters Local 911.

Public Records Act Request Response Documents: 2/27/2014 FPPC Form 460 filed with the El Segundo City Clerk by the “Yes on A” campaign. (532 KB PDF file),
3/27/2014 FPPC Form 460 filed with the El Segundo City Clerk by the “Yes on A” campaign (799 KB PDF file),
3/27/2014 FPPC Form 497 filed with the El Segundo City Clerk by the “Yes on A” campaign (393 KB PDF file), and
3/31/2014 FPPC Form 460 filed with the El Segundo City Clerk by the El Segundo Police Officers Association PAC (372 KB PDF file). );

These four City employee union gave a total of $17,500 to the “Yes on Measure A” campaign to get $6.6 million per year in return for past and future union pay raises and resulting pension increases.

There is an inherent and unavoidable conflict of interest when government employee unions contribute money and provide other forms of campaign support for candidates and ballot measures that will increase their pay and pensions, and then raise taxes on residents and businesses to pay for it.

The “Yes on Measure A” campaign claims Measure A is “supported by people you know and trust”. But if you really knew most of them, you probably would not trust them!

"Measure A - Supported by People You Know and Trust" slogan on a "Yes on Measure A" campaign mailer delivered on 3/29/2014.
“Measure A – Supported by People You Know and Trust” slogan on a “Yes on Measure A” campaign mailer delivered on 3/29/2014.

Looking down their list of supporters, we find:

  • Four were city council candidates sponsored by the fire and police unions, who get huge pay raises in return for their campaign support – Bill Fisher, Sandra Jacobs (one of the two “Yes on Measure A” campaign co-chairs), Cindy Mortesen, and Janice Cruikshank;
  • One tried to steer a city contract to a friend for $120,000 when the more qualified bid was $65,000 for the same job;
  • One was AGAINST the tax hikes when he was a Hacienda Hotel employee, but now, as an ex-employee, he is FOR the tax hikes that will harm his former employer and the entire hotel industry – Joe Harding (one of the two “Yes on Measure A” campaign co-chairs), spoke out strongly against smaller Utility Users Tax (UUT) and Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) hikes at the 8/3/10 El Segundo City Council meeting, saying, “Most of you have seen first-hand what our industry has endured over the past 27 years.” “Our industry just can’t handle any increase.” “You must say ‘No’ to the hotel killer tax.” “A TOT and a UUT would hit us twice. That’d be like kicking us when we’re down, and then running us over for good measure.” “The City must make unpopular and difficult adjustments to their payroll and expenses.” “Leave the TOT where it is.”;
  • One had to resign his elected office due to his long-time persistent affair with a school board member also on the list, which he admitted to in writing, after her husband contacted the City Council regarding the persistent affair with his wife – former City Treasurer Christopher Powell and current School Board Member Laura Gabel
    ( PROOF:
    Public Records Act Request Response Documents: 11/24/2012 email from Laura Gable’s Husband, Greg Gable to the El Segundo City Council and City Clerk (140 KB PDF file),
    11/26/2012 Letter of Resignation from El Segundo City Treasurer Christopher Powell (27.5 KB PDF file), and
    11/27/2012 email from resigned City Treasurer Christopher Powell via City Clerk Tracy Weaver admitting to his extra-marital affair (30.2 KB PDF file). );
  • One is a former elected official who allegedly had an affair with his campaign manager, which allegedly broke up her marriage.
  • One was a no-show city clerk who worked full-time for another city but collected two government paychecks – Cindy Mortesen;
  • One is a school teacher union member who misused School District public facilities, public resources, and students to campaign for a City Council candidate – Ray Gen;
  • One is a police captain who made the news for bullying and harassing a city resident at his workplace for posting the public record police and fire union salaries on his website – Police Captain Robert (Bob) Turnbull;
  • Three crashed and disrupted the meet-and-greet of City Council candidate Mike Dugan, and heckled and interrupted him, causing some of the voters to leave early – City Council Member David Atkinson, City Council Member (and Los Angeles police officer and union member) Marie Fellhauer, and police captain and union member Robert (Bob) Turnbull;
  • One is the election official who runs the entire election and counts all the ballots, and should not endorse candidates or ballot measures in elections she conducts – Tracy Weaver;
  • And missing are the four City employee unions who contributed $17,500 to the Yes on Measure A campaign to raise our taxes and their pay.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Please vote NO on Measure A.

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