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Category Archives: El Segundo Tax and Fee Increases
Video – El Segundo City Payroll Gone Mad, featuring Charles Payne and Mike Robbins on Fox Business Network
El Segundo City Payroll Gone Mad, featuring Charles Payne and Mike Robbins on Fox Business Network
El Segundo City Payroll Gone Mad, featuring Charles Payne and Mike Robbins on Fox-T1155
This video features a segment from the Fox Business Network Varney & Co. show that was broadcast on August 17, 2010. The segment is an interview of former El Segundo City Councilman Mike Robbins about the wildly excessive and unsustainable city employee salaries, especially those for the firefighter and police employees.
Note that all the salary figures quoted in the Fox interview are Total Earnings only, and DO NOT include the cost of benefits and CalPERS pension contributions. The much larger Total Compensation figures, which DO include benefits and pension contributions, are available from Mike Robbins at PublicSafetyProject.org.
This video is in part an answer to the totally discredited KCET SoCal Connected propaganda video by producer Karen Foshay titled, “Small Town, Big Oil” produced by Karen Foshay. That KCET video dishonestly and unfairly attacked Chevron and the very honorable City Councilman Carl Jacobson in a very classical news media hatchet-job.
Note that the Fox show was broadcast long before the KCET SoCal Connected propaganda video. The KCET video was based almost entirely on false statements made by fired El Segundo city manager Doug Willmore, whom I have learned is very likely a pathological liar and an unreliable person to use as a basis for any news report or video. In fact, I am quite certain that that Willmore’s habitual lying was one of multiple good cause reasons for which he was fired. The KCET video was also based in part on statements made by an out-of-town, anti-oil political activist that nobody in town has heard of before.
The Fox interview helps explain why the fire and police unions endorse candidates for City Council, and contribute thousands of dollars in cash, campaign mailers, and other campaign support to their approved candidates. The police and fire unions endorse and campaign for the candidates who will give them the biggest pay raises, no matter how excessive and unsustainable, and who will raise your taxes and fees to pay for it.
The fire and police unions are the primary cause of our financial problems in El Segundo, not Chevron, as the fire and police unions want us to believe.
Chevron is a taxpayer, and the fire and police unions are tax takers. Chevron pays plenty of taxes, and the fire and police unions take plenty of taxes – about $8 Million extra per year in wildly excessive and unsustainable salaries, benefits, and pensions. The city does not pay to provide city infrastructure and services on the massive 951-acre Chevron property that it pays a fortune to provide and maintain in the residential and other commercial and industrial areas of the city. In fact, for that reason Chevron’s taxes may actually be too high.
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: … Continue reading
City Manger’s Misconduct
New evidence of fired City Manager Doug Willmore’s misconduct was revealed with the latest public records release of city documents and emails (available at ElSegundo.org and PublicSafetyProject.org).
Willmore politicized City Hall. His secretary, Mickie Tagle, used city-paid time and public resources to do political opposition research against Chevron and against residents who criticized Willmore’s efforts to shakedown Chevron for an additional $10 million per year in taxes. One email showed she even tried to dig up dirt on me! Finance Director Deborah Cullen was also enthusiastically involved in Willmore’s shakedown efforts.
The emails show Willmore was doing Mayor Eric Busch’s bidding, taking direction from Busch in his attempt to extort more money from Chevron, without a majority of Council members even knowing about it. The city manager is legally required to take direction only from a majority vote or consensus of the City Council. Busch and Willmore targeted Chevron because they “can’t move” their refinery, and because of environmental politics.
The emails also show the fire and police unions have been behind this push to raise taxes to pay for their wildly excessive and unsustainable compensation and pensions. … Continue reading
Subject: A Message From Chevron El Segundo Refinery General Manager Frank Semancik
From: Chevron El Segundo General Manager, Frank Semancik (XXXXXXXX@chevron.com)
Date: Friday, March 16, 2012 9:39 PM
Dear Community Leader,
Chevron is proud of the long tradition of trust and mutual respect we have with the City of El Segundo as well as the other neighbor cities and residents in the South Bay. We strive to conduct our business with the high moral values reflected in the community and, we sincerely believe we have demonstrated that commitment consistently over the 100 years our company has operated its facility in our hometown, El Segundo.
That is why it has been so disheartening and disappointing that in recent weeks, some have chosen to use deceptive tactics focused on Chevron to try and sway a local election and pit neighbor against neighbor. “Anonymous” special interests are seeking to drag our community into a debate on issues long settled by the elected representatives of the City of El Segundo. In doing so, they have completely ignored this key fact: Chevron has publicly stated its 100% commitment to work collaboratively with the City of El Segundo to resolve issues about the City’s tax structure discussed at the Council’s December 20, 2011 meeting.
We feel it’s important to set the record straight. Here are the facts:
- The unsubstantiated rumors and allegations concerning the utility user taxes (UUT) Chevron pays in El Segundo are false and fail to accurately reflect the public record.
- The distorted figure alleged to depict our UUT contribution to the City of El Segundo represents only a small portion of the almost $2 million Chevron pays annually in combined UUT’s.
- Chevron’s agreement with the City is not unique, and is in fact similar to the UUT bills companies like ours pay in other local cities, including the City of Los Angeles.
- The UUT issue being deceptively portrayed was reviewed in an open and public process with the full understanding of the City of El Segundo’s elected officials and City legal staff.
- Public records clearly demonstrate that the City UUT ordinance was made available for public review, certified, approved, adopted, signed and attested to during a regular and open meeting of the City Council. And most importantly, the UUT ordinance was approved by every member of the City Council.
We again commit to being open and honest in our communications and, as always, welcome your interest as our valued community partner. Thank you for allowing us to set the record straight.
Frank Semancik, on behalf of the Chevron El Segundo Refinery, joined by Rod Spackman, Lily Craig, Jill Brunkhardt and Jeff Wilson Continue reading
By Michael D. Robbins March 15, 2012 Are Chevron’s taxes too high? Possibly. Fired City Manager Doug Willmore gave a PowerPoint slide presentation at the December 20, 2011 regular meeting of the El Segundo City Council. He claimed that Chevron … Continue reading
I laughed when I learned Jan Cruikshank criticized Michael Robbins’ “Candidate Ranking” letter. I will be voting for Robbins’ three top-tier candidates: Carl Jacobson, Dave Atkinson, and Dave Burns.
It’s not surprising Cruikshank supports Robbins’ bottom-tier candidates – Cindee Topar, Cindy Mortesen, and Scott Houston. Houston is allied with the firefighter and police unions. He took police union money and their endorsement in 2010. He read a script almost identical to the fire union representative’s script at the Feb. 15, 2011 City Council meeting, pressuring the city council to enact Measure P into law without letting the people vote on it. And Topar was campaign manager for a firefighter.
Cruikshank was the firefighter union’s candidate back in 1992. … Continue reading
Asked about the lack of response to Willmore and if he had formed a legal opinion on the Chevron matter, El Segundo City Attorney Mark Hensley said he could not disclose information due to attorney/client privilege. However, he pointed out that for events “that happened 20 years ago and based on statutes that go back a quarter of a century, the process of reviewing all that is lengthy. There are statute of limitations issues…Had I been asked about something that happened 20 years ago, it would take a considerable amount of time to study it.”
A Council member in 1993, Mike Robbins confirmed that “the City was going to get sued by MRC, Chevron or both—and reached a legal settlement where the City paid MRC a reduced amount, Chevron effectively paid the City the amount paid to MRC, and Chevron’s future tax liability was more clearly defined.” Robbins went on to describe MRC’s approach as “hostile and aggressive,” and felt the firm “endangered the City’s business retention and attraction program.”
Asked to elaborate why the UUT deal with Chevron was fair, Robbins explained that El Segundo is a low-tax city by choice and can’t be compared to other municipalities. He added that Chevron is a unique case because its giant 951-acre parcel is self-contained. “The City does not pay to provide and maintain all the City infrastructure and services on the massive Chevron property that it provides for all the other business and residential properties in town,” Robbins said. “These include many miles of roads, alleys, sidewalks, storm drains, water and sewer pipes, street lighting, trees, landscaping, street sweeping, residential trash collection, and police patrols, as well as public parks and recreation facilities. It is not fair to charge Chevron taxes for City infrastructure and services that it does not receive.”
Meanwhile Councilmember Jacobson, who was El Segundo’s Mayor at the time of the settlement, described MRC as a “bounty hunter” since the company stood to make a 25 percent fee. “They were trying to charge Chevron for its own gas and the Council didn’t agree,” he said. Jacobson maintained that the Chevron UUT settlement was approved in public—not closed—session. “There was nothing secret about it.” … Continue reading
Are Chevron’s taxes too high?
El Segundo’s shakedown of Chevron under threat of a $10 million annual tax hike must stop, or the city will suffer long-term damage to its reputation. City Manager Doug Willmore used a deceptive, one-sided analysis for the Chevron property, rather than a cost-versus-benefits analysis. It’s dishonest to compare tax revenues generated per acre by the refinery with that of other local businesses. Unlike El Segundo, land use in other South Bay cities is mostly residential. Willmore ignored the cost to provide and maintain infrastructure and services for all the residents and businesses that would otherwise exist on the Chevron property if the refinery never existed. And he reduced Chevron’s tax revenue per acre by failing to account for the area of all the public streets, alleys, parks, and schools that would be needed.
If an accurate analysis shows Chevron’s taxes are excessive, will the City Council reduce Chevron’s taxes and apologize? … Continue reading
In order to pay for 13 Capital Infrastructure Projects the City of El Segundo wants to obtain an approximately $10,000.000 Lease-Revenue Bond using our City as collateral. This $10,000,000 Lease-Revenue Bond over 20 years will cost approximately $15,800,000 with yearly debt service payments of $775,000. Whatever happened to pay-as-you-go?
So why this type of bond? Simple, Lease- Revenue Bonds circumvent Proposition 13’s requirement that taxpayers vote on bonds. These types of bonds are legal gimmicks. … Continue reading
The firefighters’ union has financed a propaganda poll with many false claims to deceive voters into voting for Measure P The pollsters falsely claimed firefighters are paid $100,000 annually.
The firefighters had average total annual compensation of $211,000 (maximum was $342,000), and average annual pension contributions paid by the taxpayers of $42,000 (maximum was $80,000). These figures don’t include Fire Chief Kevin Smith, who had total annual compensation of $358,000 including total annual pension contributions paid by the taxpayers of $84,000.
If Measure P passes, El Segundo will no longer have a Fire Department. L.A. County will provide our fire and paramedic services at a reduced level, without ambulances. … Continue reading
The El Segundo firefighter and police unions are putting our city at risk for their Royal Family sized paychecks and pensions. At the Feb. 7 City Council meeting, City Manager Doug Willmore explained how City Hall will be sold and leased back for twenty years, as collateral for a $10.3 million loan to pay for street resurfacing, other routine infrastructure maintenance and capital improvements.
El Segundo used to be a pay-as-you-go city, paying for infrastructure maintenance and capital improvements with General Fund revenues. But that was before the safety unions became very active in City Council campaigns, hired their own bosses, and ratcheted up their salaries, benefits, and pensions to ridiculous and unsustainable levels. … Continue reading