The following article by the CEO of Herald Publications was published in the El Segundo Herald newspaper (HeraldPublications.com) on Thursday, October 15, 2015 in the Letters section on pages 3 and 13.
EDD and Me
I usually don’t share my opinion in Herald Publications newspapers, but I think this is important, especially to other small business owners.
A few months ago, I received a letter notifying me that Employment Development Department (EDD) wanted to conduct an audit. EDD is part of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and handles the audit and collection of payroll taxes and maintains employment records for California workers.
I had just been audited by State Fund and wasn’t too concerned. Turns out it wasn’t a routine audit. EDD was on a mission to reclassify my independent contractors as employees, which they did. I went from having five part-time employees to over 25 employees and I was fined $13,000. EDD did not discuss their findings with me or ask me any questions related to my Independent Contractors. They reclassified everyone I issued a 1099 in the past three years, regardless of the circumstances. I was stunned and didn’t know where to turn.
I had to hire attorneys to represent me and I reached out to anyone I could think of to help. I contacted my newspaper association California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA), Congresswoman Maxine Waters office, Senator Ben Allen’s office, Assembly Member Autumn Burke’s office, Supervisor Don Knabe’s office and El Segundo Mayor Suzanne Fuentes. Only Mayor Fuentes took action.
Mayor Fuentes reached out and connected me to Assembly Member David Hadley’s office. These two elected officials stepped up and actively helped me. Sarah Wilfong, of Assembly Member Hadley’s office, regularly reached out to me and monitored what was happening, contacted EDD on my behalf and I felt supported 100%.
EDD had made factual and procedural errors in my case and, in my opinion, acted inappropriately. I would have liked EDD to recognize their errors, much sooner, but they had taken a contentious position against me, from the beginning, and dug in their heels. They told me I’d be looking at over a year, before my appeal got in front of a judge and I’d be accumulating fines while I waited. However, due the efforts of Assembly Member Hadley’s office, EDD finally acknowledged they were wrong and reversed their findings. It took EDD three months to back down and my attorney bill was $20,000, but it was over – for now.
I’m certain, that without the actions of Mayor Fuentes and Assembly Member Hadley and his office, my case would have dragged on for over a year and cost me much more money. These are politicians that do care about small businesses and they will help you.
– Heidi Maerker, CEO, Herald Publications
Comments by Mike Robbins
This is undoubtedly only one of many abuses by exceedingly powerful, corrupt, and unaccountable alphabet soup government agencies from whom the Founders tried to protect us.
As Lord Acton famously said,
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
It is quite possible Herald Publications was targeted by the EDD for something printed in the paper that somebody did not like. A legislator or government bureaucrat may have been offended, or a private citizen may have made a false anonymous report to EDD to misuse the powerful government agency as a weapon against this small local newspaper publishing business.
Government cannot abuse power it does not have, so the best way to prevent or minimize government abuse is to limit the power of government to the minimum necessary for it to perform its legitimate and authorized duties. Left unchecked, government tends to grow in size, cost, and power, because other people are forced to pay for it and to suffer its abuses.
The people must wake up to the fact that the Democratic party has been hijacked by socialists and Marxists, whose agenda can be described in in four words: ACCUMULATE AND ABUSE POWER. There is no legitimate reason to accumulate excessive amounts of government power, and those who do so cannot be trusted.
This accumulation and abuse of power occurs at all levels of government – local, state, and federal government – with higher levels of government having greater amounts of power to abuse.
The “Democratic” party, under president Bill Clinton and even more so under President Barack Obama, have effectively weaponized many if not most federal government agencies, including the IRS, EPA, BATF, DEA, and others, using them for domestic surveillance and to harass and punish those who dare to exercise their Free Speech rights to criticize their policies, or to contribute money to opposing candidates. Republicans and conservatives have had harassment tax audits, raids on their businesses, litigation, and criminal prosecution, for political harassment and punishment, with no legitimate justification.
Although the Republican party is imperfect, it is by far the best party for protecting individual liberty and maintaining rational, effective, and productive domestic and foreign policy. The fact that Bernie Sanders, a Marxist who admits to being at least a Socialist, can run for President of the United States and have a chance of winning the Democratic party’s nomination shows how extreme and dangerouss the Democratic party has become. And Hillary Clinton, who together with Barack Obama is one of the most unqualified and unaccomplished presidential candidates, is trying to run to the left of Bernie Sanders on important issues.
The Democratic party is beyond reform. It even purged out Joe Lieberman, who is very liberal on most issues, because he supports Israel, a strong military and national defense, and the war in Iraq.
For many decades, the Democratic party has been relentlessly attacking Four Pillars of Liberty the Founders created for us:
- Limited Enumerated Powers of the Federal Government, e.g., Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution lists the limited powers of Congress, and the Tenth Amendment in the bill of rights makes it clear that powers not explicitly delegated and authorized to the federal government belong to the people or the states.
- Separation and Balance of Powers in the federal government with Checks and Balances, where each branch is supposed to jealously guard its own enumerated powers from encroachment and usurpation by any other branch. Leftist Democrat presidents nominate leftist activist judges who legislate from the courthouse and effectively amend the Constitution, in violation of Article 5 which explicitly defines the only two methods of amending it – and they don’t involve any judges.
- Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms, as a deterrent and a protection against government tyranny. The Second Amendment recognizes a pre-existing God-given Natural Right to self-defense against common criminals, and against government tyrants. Rights given by God cannot be legitimately taken away by man. We cannot trust the Democratic party and politicians, because they take away our protection against government tyranny, and against them. As a minimum, the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear (own, possess, and carry) individual (non-crew-served) dual-use weapons, that have both civilian and military uses. The Democratic party has had an agenda for decades to ban and confiscate traditional self-defense, sporting, and collectable handguns, rifles and shotguns from ordinary non-violent, law-abiding Americans.
- A Love and Passion for Liberty and the Desire and Willingness to Risk Everything Protect and Preserve It. Leftist Democrat teachers and college professors, and propaganda news readers, indoctrinate Americans to devalue and give up their liberty, rather than value and protect it. It is easier to protect and preserve liberty than to regain it once lost, especially without outside help. But who outside America is capable and willing to liberate us if we lose our liberty?
– Mike Robbins