April 12, 2016 El Segundo Election Preliminary Results: Boyles, Pirsztuk, and Brann defeat incumbents Fellhauer and Atkinson; Measure B passes

by Michael D. Robbins

April 12, 2016
Updated April 20, 2016 with campaign spending data.


The April 12, 2016 City of El Segundo General Municipal Election preliminary results are in. The ballots were counted in the City Council Chamber at City Hall after the polls closed.

For the three City Council seats up for election, Challengers Drew Boyles, Carol Pirsztuk, and Don Brann are the winners. Incumbents Marie Fellhauer and Dave Atkinson are the losers.

Losers Marie Fellhauer and Dave Atkinson were caught up in a perfect storm that led to their defeat. The police and fire unions were out to defeat them because the City Council did not offer them as big raises as what they demanded during their long and protracted labor contract negotiations. The fiscal conservatives, who push back against the police and fire unions’ excessive and unsustainable pay and pensions, were out to defeat Fellhauer and Atkinson because of their poor judgement, poor decisions, and poor behavior on City Council. And all three challenger candidates – Drew Boyles, Carol Pirsztuk, and Don Brann – ran very strong campaigns, with Boyles and Brann each far out-spending all the other candidates combined.

Boyles came in first place with 2,330 votes after spending a whopping $27,538, and Brann came in third place with 1,439 votes after spending an even larger $29,485.09. These figures are in addition to the $39,247.50 spent by the police and firefighter unions in our local election ($19,033.50 ESPOA plus $20,214.00 ESFA), campaigning for City Council candidates Drew Boyles, Don Brann, and Carol Pursztuk, and for the Measure B tax hike, to provide more tax money for their pay and pension increases.

Carol Pirsztuk came in at a high second place with 2,135 votes after spending only $3,311 and walking the entire city door-to-door.

Marie Fellhauer came in fourth place with 1,238 votes after spending $13,264.31. And Dave Atkinson came in fifth (last) place with 692 votes after spending $527.53 and spending much of his time campaigning door-to-door for the Measure B tax hike.

Another winner in the City Council race, who didn’t spend a dime, was Marie Fellhauer’s newly adopted young baby. Fellhauer carried that baby along the campaign trail as if it was a stage prop, apparently hoping to gain votes. But that may have backfired. Some voters felt sorry for the baby and wondered where its mother would be between her job as an LAPD police officer and City Council meetings if she got reelected.

The following table summarizes the preliminary vote counts and the campaign spending for each City Council candidate and for Measure B, the 50 percent increase in the Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) from 8 to 12 percent.

CANDIDATE/ MEASURE VOTES CANDIDATE SPENDING UNION SPENDING TOTAL SPENDING
Drew Boyles 2,330 $27,538 $20,248 $47,786
Carole Pursztuk 2,135 $3,311 $20,248 $23,559
Don Brann 1,439 $29,485 $23,248 $52,733
Marie Fellhauer 1,238 $13,264 $0 $13,264
Dave Atkinson 692 $528 $0 $528
Measure B 2,197 $0 $12,500 $12,500

NOTES:

  1. Union Spending and Total Spending columns are higher than the amounts shown, due to total ESPOA and total ESFA campaign spending being substantially higher than the amounts they itemized in their FPPC Forms for the three City Council candidates and for Measure B.
  2. The Union Spending amounts for candidates assign the entire cost of a slate mailer to all three candidates rather than one third of the cost to each candidate, on the basis that each candidate gets all or most of the benefit of the entire cost of the mailer.
  3. The amounts are rounded up or down to the nearest dollar to improve readability.

Unchallenged incumbents, City Clerk Tracy Weaver and City Treasurer Crista Binder, easily won re-election as they only needed one vote each to be guaranteed re-election, and they can vote for themselves. Incumbents running unopposed normally get a large majority of the votes, especially if they are perceived as doing a decent job.

Measure B passed, imposing a 50% hike in the Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), from 8% to 12%. Apparently, the most persuasive argument in favor of Measure B was that El Segundo voters would not have to pay it, and that it is paid by the hotel customers like the sales tax is paid by store customers. Voters took the bait of a “free lunch” that someone else is forced to pay for. However, the TOT tax raises the price to the customer for hotel rooms, and raising prices reduces sales. Fewer hotel customers will result in fewer customers and sales for other local businesses.

Perhaps Kip Haggerty said it best in his letter to the editor in the April 7, 2016 El Segundo Herald:

“To my dismay, I see the City Council has come back to us yet again with the immoral proposition of gouging hotel customers for the crime of not being us. The argument in favor is based on the bromide “every one else is doing it.” Anything higher than the sales tax rate is just plain wrong and I hope we have the collective wisdom to vote it down again.”

Here are the preliminary election results itemized by precinct and by vote-by-mail or precinct ballots:

Photo of the screen of the laptop PC that was used by the City Clerk's staff to update the vote count on the large screen display on the wall of the City Council Chamber. Photo ©2016 by Michael D. Robbins
Screen of laptop PC that was used by the City Clerk’s staff to update the vote count on the large screen display on the wall of the City Council Chamber. Photo ©2016 by Michael D. Robbins.

Screen shot image from the City Clerk's office of the final preliminary vote count displayed in the City Council Chamber on election night.
Screen shot image from the City Clerk’s office of the final preliminary vote count displayed in the City Council Chamber on election night.

Click HERE to view or download a PDF file made from the spreadsheet file containing the preliminary election results. (Local archived copy.)

This preliminary vote count does not include:

  1. Provisional ballots cast at the polls that need to have the voter’s signatures verified, and
  2. Vote-By-Mail ballots that have not been received or have not had the voter’s signature verified.

However, it is highly unlikely the outstanding ballots will change the election outcome.


Related Article

543 Ballots Remain to be Counted for the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election. They will be canvased and counted on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at City Hall in the City council Chamber.


Posted in California, El Segundo, El Segundo Election Coverage, El Segundo Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), El Segundo Measure B TOT Tax Hike, El Segundo News, El Segundo Tax and Fee Increases | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on April 12, 2016 El Segundo Election Preliminary Results: Boyles, Pirsztuk, and Brann defeat incumbents Fellhauer and Atkinson; Measure B passes

Election Information Flyers Were Distributed Throughout El Segundo

Election Information Flyers were distributed throughout the City of El Segundo to inform voters about Measure B and the City Council candidates before the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election.

Election Flyer #1 was distributed on Sunday, April 10, 2016.
Election Flyers #2 and #3 were distributed on Monday, April 11, 2016.

Click HERE to download a PDF file containing Election Flyer #1.
Click HERE to download a PDF file containing Election Flyer #2.
Click HERE to download a PDF file containing Election Flyer #3.

Click HERE to view Election Flyer #1 as a web page.


Posted in California, Economy and Economics, El Segundo, El Segundo Election Coverage, El Segundo Measure B TOT Tax Hike, El Segundo News, El Segundo Tax and Fee Increases, Elections, Firefighter and Police Union Compensation and Pensions, Firefighter Union Corruption, Fraud Waste and Abuse, Government Employee Compensation and Pensions, Police Union Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics, Union Corruption | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Election Information Flyers Were Distributed Throughout El Segundo

Election Flyer #1 Distributed Throughout El Segundo on Sunday, April 10, 2016

Election Flyer #1 was distributed throughout El Segundo on Sunday, April 10, 2016.

Click HERE to download a PDF file containing Election Flyer #1.

Election Flyers #2 and #3 were distributed throughout El Segundo on Monday, April 11, 2016.

Click HERE to download a PDF file containing Election Flyer #2.

Click HERE to download a PDF file containing Election Flyer #3.


Below is the content of Election Flyer #1.


April 20, 2016 Update:

Note that the El Segundo Police Officers’ Association (ESPOA) and the El Segundo Firefighters’ Association (ESFA), the city’s police and firefighter labor unions, spent more in our City election than the $36,231 cited in the election flyer, which was $17,533.50 ESPOA plus $18,698.00 ESFA spending. That figure was as of March 26, 2016 – the end of the Campaign Disclosure Statement second filing period. It was their combined spending from their second filing period Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) Form 490 – Campaign Disclosure Statement, Summary Page, Line 11 – Total Expenditures Made, Column B – Calendar Year Total To Date.

They actually spent $39,247.50 in our local election ($19,033.50 ESPOA plus $20,214.00 ESFA), based on their reported spending as of election day, April 12, 2016, the end of the Campaign Disclosure Statement third filing period. This higher figure includes the ESFA’s amended FPPC Form 460 for the third filing period, which increased their reported campaign spending by $1,500.00.

That is a huge amount of campaign money for a small city like El Segundo with only 11,604 registered voters. That is five times what is commonly spent on an El Segundo City Council campaign, and two times the cost of a very high-end, expensive City Council campaign. Yet it only cost the estimated 58 police union member campaign contributors $328.16 each and the 37 firefighter union member campaign contributors $546.32 each to potentially get millions more tax dollars in pay and pension increases.


Vote “NO” on Measure B

The Bait-and-Switch 50% Tax Hike !

The Police and Fire Unions Spent $36,231 in OUR City Election.

They Want to RAISE TAXES and THEIR PAY and PENSIONS !

All the firefighters and about three-fourths of the police don’t even live in town.

This grass-roots flyer contains all you need to know about Measure B

YOU MUST VOTE April 12 to STOP IT. All of this information comes from official City of El Segundo public record documents. For more info and proof, see PublicSafetyProject.org.

Background

  • The City lured hotels here with a Business Attraction Program and lower Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT); Now after the hotels are built, the City is trying to raise their TOT tax by 50%, from 8% to 12%, which exceeds the excessive 9% Sales Tax
  • Measure B will DESTROY El Segundo’s competitive edge and longtime reputation as a business-friendly city
  • Measure B piles on top of the new 50% Minimum Wage Hike from $10 to $15 per hour
  • Adjacent Manhattan Beach has only a 10% TOT Tax
  • Measure B will place El Segundo at 24% above the 9.69% average for 483 California cities and counties that have a TOT as shown in the 12/1/15 City Council Agenda Packet
  • Hotel room rates and TOT revenue increased significantly since 1996 (20 years); Annual TOT revenue is UP $1.5 MILLION (38%) since FY 2009-10 Without Raising Taxes (see elsegundoca.OpenGov.com)
  • Hotel Operators OPPOSE Measure B – They Can Only Accept a 10% TOT
    • City representatives met with the Hotel Operators, and they agreed to accept at most a 25% TOT increase to 10%, after being told the City needs the money
    • Tax-and-Spend City Council Members Marie Fellhauer and Dave Atkinson INSISTED on a 50% TOT tax increase, from 8% to 12% (12/1/15 Council meeting)
    • City Council Member Mike Dugan and former City Council Members Mike Robbins, Jane Friedkin, and Dick Switz all OPPOSE Measure B

Details

  • Permanent Tax Hike – No Sunset Clause (Expiration Date), although new development will provide $2.6 Million in new tax revenue, plus $8.5 Million more from Chevron, EACH year
  • TOT Tax is paid by customers – Measure B will Increase Room Prices and Reduce Sales
  • Most or All of the new tax revenue will go to Pay and Pension Increases as in the past
  • Measure B will INCREASE the City’s Funded and Unfunded CalPERS Pension Liabilities, because EVERY pay raise increases both the Funded and Unfunded Pension Liabilities

(CONTINUED ON BACK SIDE)


(CONTINUED FROM FRONT SIDE)

Real and Better Solutions

  • Stop giving Unions and Managers 11.25% to 32.3% in pay raises over three years as was done during the Great Recession while Redondo Beach cut compensation 6%
  • Save > $3.3 Million per Year: Require Employees to Pay Half the Pension Contributions
  • Save several Million more per Year: Eliminate automatic additional yearly 5% “Step” Raises, “Longevity” Raises, and Redundant “Special Compensation”

Non-Binding Resolution on How to Spend the Measure B Tax Money

  • The City Attorney said a resolution on how to spend the Measure B tax money is not binding, and only language in the ballot measure can be binding
  • City Council chose the non-binding route, and proposed a worthless resolution as a ploy
  • The tax hike will pay for past and future pay raises and the resulting pension increases, NOT for infrastructure or more police officers and firefighters

Measure B has Bad Timing

  • It greatly weakens the City Council’s bargaining position as it continues its ongoing Labor Contract negotiations with the Police Union and other City Employee Unions
  • It asks us to raise the TOT Tax before we can see if any cost savings result from those negotiations, or if the unions get more big pay raises as usual
  • City Council can come back with a less extreme measure in November – After it negotiates new long-term union contracts and makes them public

Measure B Does Nothing to Solve the City’s Spending Problems and Actually Delays a Real Solution

  • Once You See What El Segundo Pays Its Police and Firefighters, You Won’t Vote for Any Tax Hikes!   (See http://TransparentCalifornia.com/salaries/2014/el-segundo/)
  • Police and Firefighters are paid total compensation of $150,000 to $375,000+ per year
  • 18 City Employees are paid more than $300,000 per year; 35 more than $250,000; 77 more than $200,000; 118 more than $150,000; and 186 more than $100,000
  • One City Police Employee got a 23% raise in his last year, spiking his pay and pension, and was paid nearly $600,000 total that year! (See PublicSafetyProject.org)
  • City Council raised Chevron’s taxes in 2013 by more than $8.5 Million average per year for 15 years, but the City Council keeps coming back for more taxes!

City Council Controls and Increased Pension Costs in 3 Significant Ways

  • Huge Pay Raises and Redundant Special Compensation increased Pension costs
  • City pays 71% to 94% of total CalPERS pension contributions instead of only half
  • City provides the most extravagant and expensive Pension Plan Options

This flyer is a response to late campaign mailers and late campaign contribution reports.
Check the PublicSafetyProject.org website for documentation and responses to any last-minute hit pieces.
Authored by Michael D. Robbins. Not authorized or endorsed by any candidate or committee.
Paid for by Michael D. Robbins, P.O. Box 2193, El Segundo, CA 90245. 4/10/2016 Rev. 4


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Election Flyer #1 Distributed Throughout El Segundo on Sunday, April 10, 2016

Important Information for the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election


May 4, 2016 Election Update

Final Election Results Certified at the May 3, 2016 El Segundo City Council Meeting

The old El Segundo City Council conducted minimal City business and adopted a resolution certifying the April 12, 2016 General Municipal Election results. The outgoing City Council members stepped down from the dais, the newly elected members were sworn in, and they voted to choose the new mayor and mayor pro tem. Then they voted on a proposal by Mike Dugan and Carol Pirsztuk to change to a rotating mayor and mayor pro tem with only one-year terms.

For more details and the results, see:

New El Segundo City Council Members Sworn In, Council Voted for Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem


April 21, 2016 Election Update

UNCERTIFIED FINAL ELECTION RESULTS:

The Uncertified Final Vote Count for the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election is now in. The vote counts have increased, but the election outcome has not changed. The campaign spending and the final cost per vote for each candidate and for Measure B have been calculated and summarized in two tables.


April 20, 2016 Election Update

543 UNCOUNTED BALLOTS

543 Ballots Remain to be Counted for the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election. They will be canvased and counted on Thursday, April 21, 2016 at City Hall in the City council Chamber.


April 12, 2016 Election Update

PRELIMINARY ELECTION RESULTS:

And the winners are … challengers Drew Boyles, Carol Pirsztuk, and Don Brann.

And the losers are … incumbents Marie Fellhauer and Dave Atkinson.

And Measure B passed … imposing a 50% increase in the Hotel TOT tax, from 8% to 12%, which far exceeds the excessive 9% sales tax in Los Angeles County.

For more details, see:

April 12, 2016 El Segundo Election Results: Boyles, Pirsztuk, and Brann defeat incumbents Fellhauer and Atkinson; Measure B passes


Election Information Flyers were distributed throughout the City of El Segundo to inform voters about Measure B and the City Council candidates before the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election.

Election Flyer #1 was distributed on Sunday, April 10, 2016.
Election Flyers #2 and #3 were distributed on Monday, April 11, 2016.

Click HERE to download a PDF file containing Election Flyer #1.
Click HERE to download a PDF file containing Election Flyer #2.
Click HERE to download a PDF file containing Election Flyer #3.

Click HERE to view Election Flyer #1 as a web page.


Arguments Against Measure B – El Segundo’s Bait-And-Switch Tax Hike



Once You See What El Segundo Pays Its Police and Firefighters, You Won’t Vote for Any Tax Hikes!

And you will know why the El Segundo Police Officers’ Association (Police Union) and El Segundo Firefighters’ Association (Firefighters Union) PACs spent $30,175 as of March 27, 2016 to influence our votes in this election. (Source: FPPC Form 460 Campaign Finance Statements filed with the El Segundo City Clerk’s office.)

None of the firefighters and only about one-fourth of the police live in our city. (Source: City of El Segundo, in response to a Public Records Act request.)


Articles on the City Council Election and Candidates


Letters to the Editor of the El Segundo Herald and The Beach Reporter

Letters on Measure B


Letters on the City Council Election and Candidates


Letters on Marie Fellhauer’s City Council Agenda Item to Allow Very Large Homes on Small Size Lots, Blocking Sunlight and Air Flow


Letters on Marie Fellhauer’s City Council Agenda Item to Reduce or Eliminate City Council Member Salary and Benefits

(Marie Fellhauer put an item on the April 15, 2014 City council agenda that read, “Consideration and possible action to discuss the salary and benefits that the City Council members receive and whether such should be reduced or eliminated either voluntarily or through formal action.” Note that Fellhauer gets generous pay and benefits off the taxpayers from her police job at LAPD, and she did not include the elected City Clerk and City Treasurer in her agenda item.)


Letters on the City Charging Residents More Than $1,850 for Each Fire Department Paramedic Ambulance Transport to the Hospital

(Incumbent City Council candidates Marie Fellhauer and Dave Atkinson voted to start charging El Segundo residents for Fire Department paramedic ambulance transports to the hospital, and had residents speaking against it at City Council meetings. They had plenty of time to stop charging this fee, but refused to do so. These fees are based on the City paying firefighter union members $150,000 to more than $375,000 each in total annual compensation. See http://TransparentCalifornia.com/salaries/2014/el-segundo/.)


Letters on the Police and Firefighter Associations (Unions)


Posted in Beach Reporter Letters, California, Economy and Economics, El Segundo, El Segundo Election Coverage, El Segundo Herald Letters, El Segundo Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), El Segundo Measure B TOT Tax Hike, El Segundo News, El Segundo Tax and Fee Increases, Elections, Firefighter and Police Union Compensation and Pensions, Firefighter Union Corruption, Fraud Waste and Abuse, Government Employee Compensation and Pensions, Letters to the Editor, Police Union Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics, Tax Policy and Issues, Union Corruption | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Important Information for the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election

Where to Find What El Segundo Pays its City Employee Union Members and Managers

Here is where to find out what El Segundo pays its City employee union members and managers. Make sure to see the explanatory information below to understand what the data represents.

By far, the police and firefighter employees have the most excessive and unsustainable salaries and CalPERS pension contributions. Most of the El Segundo employee benefits cost is the City-paid CalPERS employer contributions for police and firefighter employees, plus the City-paid CalPERS employee contributions for police employees.

This is discussed further below.


Transparent California Website (TransparentCalifornia.com):

Here are links to Total Pay and Benefits cost data for El Segundo city employees, provided to Transparent California (TransparentCalifornia.com) by the City of El Segundo. The .csv (CSV, or comma-separated values) files can be opened directly from common spreadsheet and database programs, including the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet program.

2014 El Segundo City Employee Total Pay and Benefits:
http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2014/el-segundo/
http://TransparentCalifornia.com/export/el-segundo-2014.csv

2013 El Segundo City Employee Total Pay and Benefits:
http://transparentcalifornia.com/salaries/2013/el-segundo/
http://TransparentCalifornia.com/export/el-segundo-2013.csv

2012 El Segundo City Employee Total Pay without Benefits:
http://TransparentCalifornia.com/salaries/2012/el-segundo/
http://TransparentCalifornia.com/export/el-segundo-2012.csv

2011 El Segundo City Employee Total Pay without Benefits:
http://TransparentCalifornia.com/salaries/2011/el-segundo/
http://TransparentCalifornia.com/export/el-segundo-2011.csv


City of El Segundo website:

http://www.ElSegundo.org/

There is a “City Employee Compensation Information” link near the bottom of the left column:

http://www.ElSegundo.org/home_nav/city_employee_compensation_information.asp

Note that the PDF files mislabeled as “2012 City Total Compensation”, “2013 City Total Compensation”, and “2014 City Total Compensation” contain only Total Earnings, NOT Total Compensation.

Total Earnings = Regular Earnings + Special Compensation + Overtime (at 150% of the regular pay rate) + Vacation and Sick Leave Cash-Out.

Total Compensation = Total Earnings plus all other forms of compensation, including CalPERS pension contributions paid by the City, deferred compensation, healthcare, dental, and vision care insurance benefits, life insurance, car allowance, cell phone allowance, personal membership and subscription costs, etc.

The California Public Employee Retirement System (CalPERS) Employer Contribution is a specified percentage of Regular Earnings plus Special Compensation. It is significantly higher for safety employees (police and firefighters) than for miscellaneous (non-safety) employees. The police and firefighter Employee Contribution has been fixed at 9% of Regular Earnings plus Special Compensation, but the City was been paying all of this 9% for police employees, and is still paying most of it.

The file labeled “CalPERS El Segundo Employer Contribution Rates per Year (last 12 Years)” shows how El Segundo’s CalPERS Employer Contribution percentage increases each year and is projected to be about 50% for 2016:

http://www.elsegundo.org/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=13973

The City of El Segundo was paying about $40,000 to $85,000 in CalPERS pension contributions per individual police and firefighter per year a few years ago, when the employer contribution was only about 26%.


Public Safety Project Website (at PublicSafetyProject.org):

Some of the City of El Segundo employee compensation data obtained by Mike Robbins under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), Government Code Section 6250 et seq., has been posted on the PublicSafetyProject.org website. Some of the union contracts and other information has also been posted at PublicSafetyProject.org. However, many of the documents and data obtained under the CPRA has not yet been posted, but will be as time permits.

Click HERE to see how one El Segundo City employee got a 23% raise and was paid nearly $600,000 total in his last year.

http://publicsafetyproject.org/blog/2014/03/03/which-el-segundo-city-employee-was-paid-nearly-600000-in-last-year/


Additional Information:

The TransParent California website, TransparentCalifornia.com, provides compensation and benefits cost data for government employees of cities, counties, the state, and other government entities.

Transparent California provides Total Pay and Benefits data for the City of El Segundo for the years 2013 and 2014, but does not include the benefits cost for 2011 and 2012.

Also, all of the compensation data does not reflect the full annual salary for employees that did not work the entire year or that got raises in the middle of the year. It is necessary to know the employee start and end dates during the year, and preferably how many days and hours each employee worked during the year.

Keep in mind that El Segundo firefighters are on-duty for 48 hours, and are off-duty for four days. They get payed to sleep and eat, including regularly scheduled overtime at 150% of their regular pay rate.

Also, the data will vary for calendar year (e.g., 2014) versus fiscal year (e.g., FY 2014-15), where the start and end of the fiscal year is determined by the City.

El Segundo police and firefighters get full retirement after only 30 years of service, as early as age 50 (existing police employees) or 55 (existing firefighter employees), with CalPERS pensions paying $100,000 to more than $200,000 per year, plus annual COLAs. If they claim a disability retirement, real or fictitious, as 55% of El Segundo’s police and firefighters do, then half their pension income is tax-free.


Posted in California, Economy and Economics, El Segundo, Firefighter and Police Union Compensation and Pensions, Firefighter Union Corruption, Government Employee Compensation and Pensions, Police Union Corruption, Politics, Public Records, Tax Policy and Issues, Union Corruption | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Where to Find What El Segundo Pays its City Employee Union Members and Managers

Additional Arguments Against Measure B – El Segundo’s 50 Percent TOT Tax Hike

Here are the Additional Arguments Against Measure B, El Segundo’s 50 Percent TOT Tax Hike from 8% to 12%, on the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election ballot.

These arguments are in addition to the Sample Ballot Argument Against Measure B and Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor of Measure B.


Seven Additional Arguments Against Measure B:

  1. Measure B Piles On Top of California’s New 50% Minimum Wage Hike from $10 to $15 Per Hour The California State Legislature just passed a bill, and Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law, to raise California’s minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. This will be damaging to El Segundo hotels, which employ many unskilled and often poorly educated workers whose labor is not worth $15.00 in a free competitive market. The Measure B TOT tax hike will pile on top of the minimum wage hike, artificially driving up room prices and further reducing room sales.
  2. Measure B has Nothing to Do With Safety and Everything to Do With the Police and Fire Unions Further Enriching Themselves at Taxpayer Expense The El Segundo Police Officers’ Association (ESPOA) and El Segundo Firefighters’ Association (ESFA) are the city’s police and firefighter unions. Their purpose for existing is to maximize their pay and pension increases, to continuously increase their pay and pensions, by raising our taxes and fees to pay for it, no matter how excessive and unsustainable.

    That is why the police and firefighter unions are bankrolling the Measure B campaign. They have already spent more than $36,000 dollars in this election, including Measure B and their support for three City Council candidates. This is a huge amount for small-town El Segundo. (For an unusual change, they are actually supporting the good City Council candidates this time, but for their own reasons.)

    None of the firefighters and only about one-fourth of the police live in town. Yet they want to keep raising our taxes and their pay and pensions. For every thousand dollars of campaign money they spend in El Segundo, they get back millions on an ongoing basis.

    For decades, the ESPOA and ESFA unions have involved themselves in our local city elections although most of them don’t live here. They bankrolled the Measure A campaign in our April 8, 2014 El Segundo city election, with $10,000 plus an additional $7,500 from two other City employee unions. Measure A was ELEVEN TAX HIKES in one ballot measure, on residents and businesses. It would have created new utility user taxes (UUTs) on residents for water, electricity, gas, and all forms of “communication services”, including landline and cellular telephone, Internet, cable TV, and satellite. It would have about doubled those existing taxes on businesses, and increased the hotel TOT tax and business license tax, and created a new parking tax.

  3. Measure B Undermines the City Council’s Negotiating Position in its Ongoing Labor Union Contract Negotiations –

    Measure B will weaken and undermine the City Council’s bargaining position in the ongoing labor contract negotiations with City’s police and other employee unions over pay raises and pension increases. The unions will claim most or all new tax revenue as theirs – to further increase thir pay and pensions. Only the El Segundo Firefighters’ Association (the firefighters’ union) has reached agreement and signed a labor contract with the City Council. The El Segundo Police Officers’ Association (ESPOA – the police union for officers and sergeants), El Segundo Police Managers’ Association (ESPMA – the police union for lieutenants and captains), City Employees Association, and other City unions are still in intense negotiations with the City Council.

  4. Measure B Will Increase El Segundo’s Funded and Unfunded Pension Liabilities –

    Most or all of the Measure B money will go to police and firefighter union and management pay and pension increases. The unions will claim the new tax money as their own. Every union pay raise increases the union member pensions, and also increases the management pay and pensions. This increases the funded and unfunded CalPERS pension liabilities. Vote NO on Measure B to stop this vicious cycle.

  5. Adjacent Manhattan Beach has only a 10% TOT Tax –

    Measure B will send El Segundo’s hotel customers to adjacent Manhattan Beach, which has only a 10% TOT tax and no current plans to increase it. Manhattan Beach has a nicer beach and a pier.

  6. Measure B is an Excessive Tax Hike –

    Measure B is excessive, and the City Council can come back with a less oppressive tax hike ballot measure in November. Representatives from the City of El Segundo met with the Hotel Operators in town. The hotel operators graciously agreed to a maximum TOT increase of 25%, from 8% to 10%, with at most an additional half-percent earmarked to promote tourism in El Segundo, based on the City’s representation that it needs the money. City Council members Marie Fellhauer and Dave Atkinson slapped the gracious hotel operators in the face by demanding a 50% TOT tax hike, from 8% to 12%.

    Longtime El Segundo resident Kip Haggerty wrote in his letter published in the April 7, 2016 El Segundo Herald:

    “To my dismay, I see the City Council has come back to us yet again with the immoral proposition of gouging hotel customers for the crime of not being us. The argument in favor is based on the bromide ‘every one else is doing it.’ Anything higher than the sales tax rate is just plain wrong and I hope we have the collective wisdom to vote it down again.”

  7. Business Travelers Will Substitute Tele-Video Conferencing for More Expensive Hotel Stays –

    Economics and common sense tell us that customers consume less, make substitutions or do without goods and services when prices increase. Even classified meetings among defense contractors can be conducted using tele-video converencing. I worked on a highly classified program for a local defense contractor where we avoided most travel expenses by investing in an NSA-approved encrypted tele-video conferencing system in a DOD-approved secure conference room, inside a DOD-approved Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility(SCIF).


Posted in California, Economy and Economics, El Segundo, El Segundo Election Coverage, El Segundo Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), El Segundo Measure B TOT Tax Hike, El Segundo News, El Segundo Tax and Fee Increases, Elections, Politics, Tax Policy and Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Additional Arguments Against Measure B – El Segundo’s 50 Percent TOT Tax Hike

Argument Against Measure B on the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election Ballot

Here is the Sample Ballot Argument Against Measure B, El Segundo’s 50 Percent TOT Tax Hike from 8% to 12% on the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election ballot.

This argument is in addition to the Sample Ballot Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor of Measure B and the Additional Arguments Against Measure B.


City of El Segundo, California

April 12, 2016 General Municipal Election Ballot

Measure B – Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) increase from 8% to 12%


From page 11 of the Sample Ballot:

Argument Against Measure B

VOTE NO on Measure B, the BAIT-AND-SWITCH Tax Hike.

The City lured hotels with a Business Attraction Program and a lower competitive Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT).

Measure B is a whopping 50% INCREASE in the TOT, from 8% to 12%.

The TOT is IN ADDITION to the existing property tax, business license tax, and Utility Users Tax (UUT) on hotels for electricity, water, gas, and all “communication services”.

Measure B is PERMANENT! There is NO SUNSET CLAUSE (expiration date), even though new development should provide millions in new City revenue, in addition to millions more from Chevron.

There is NO GUARANTEE any new tax money will go to infrastructure!

Even if some of the new taxes are used for infrastructure, where will the rest be spent by future City Councils – on even HIGHER SALARIES, BENEFITS, AND PENSIONS?

There is NOTHING in Measure B to control discretionary spending.

TWO WRONGS DON’T MAKE A RIGHT. It’s not right to charge high taxes just because “other cities are doing it”!

ALL TAXES COMBINED are MUCH TOO HIGH!

Residents already voted down residential trash fees, the Measure O tax hike, and the Measure A resident and business tax increases that were excessive, but City Councils keeps coming back for more money.

The City Council majority can change every two years.

Any future majority can reverse cost savings from a previous majority and lock-in the City to irresponsible cost increases for many years, expecting to raise taxes and fees on businesses and residents.

VOTE NO on Measure B to tell future City Councils they must be responsible with taxpayers’ money. City Hall should be open on Fridays.

VOTE NO on Measure B to tell Businesses that El Segundo is Stable and OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

Visit NoOnTaxHike.com regularly for more information.

  • Mike Robbins, Former Council Member
  • Jane Waag Friedkin, Former Council Member
  • Charles Wilkerson, 37-Year Resident
  • Marc Rener, 21-Year Homeowner
  • Mike Van Biezen, 27-Year Resident

Additional Arguments Against Measure B:

There are additional compelling arguments against Measure B that did not fit within the word count limit of the Argument Against Measure B in the Sample Ballot, and a most compelling argument that arose after the deadline to submit the ballot argument and rebuttal. Click HERE to see them.


Posted in California, Economy and Economics, El Segundo, El Segundo Election Coverage, El Segundo Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), El Segundo Measure B TOT Tax Hike, El Segundo News, El Segundo Tax and Fee Increases, Elections, Firefighter and Police Union Compensation and Pensions, Fraud Waste and Abuse, Government Employee Compensation and Pensions, Politics, Tax Policy and Issues | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Argument Against Measure B on the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election Ballot

Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor of Measure B on the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election Ballot

Here is the Sample Ballot Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor of Measure B, El Segundo’s 50 Percent TOT Tax Hike from 8% to 12% on the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election ballot.

This rebuttal is in addition to the Sample Ballot Argument Against Measure B and the Additional Arguments Against Measure B.


City of El Segundo, California

April 12, 2016 General Municipal Election Ballot

Measure B – Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) increase from 8% to 12%


From page 10 of the Sample Ballot:

Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor of Measure B

VOTE “NO” on Measure B.

Don’t be fooled by misused economic terms and cherrypicked data!

Taxes are not at “market rate” when politicians unilaterally impose them and use government’s police power to forcibly collect them.

Measure B will DESTROY El Segundo’s competitive edge and longtime reputation as a business-friendly city.

Hotel room rates and TOT revenue have increased significantly since 1996 (20 years). Annual TOT revenue is UP $1.5 MILLION (38%) since FY 2009-10 WITHOUT RAISING TAXES (see elsegundoca.OpenGov.com).

The proposed 12% TOT will place El Segundo at 24% above the 9.69% average for 483 California cities and counties.

TAX PERCENTAGE RATES should not keep increasing to pay for excessive increases to already unsustainable government employee salaries and pensions that far exceed the private sector.

One City employee got a 23% raise and was paid nearly $600,000 total in his last year! (See PublicSafetyProject.org.)

Measure B is TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION because it taxes hotel guests who can’t vote on it.

The City Attorney said a resolution on how to spend the money IS NOT BINDING, and only language in the ballot measure can be binding. City Council chose the NONBINDING route!

The hotel industry doesn’t need hotel tax hikes to “promote tourism”.

City Council raised Chevron’s taxes by more than $8.5 MILLION average per year for 15 years in 2013.

Development of the 142 acre Raytheon property will provide El Segundo with $5 MILLION in fees plus an estimated $2.6 MILLION annual tax revenue increase.

VOTE “NO” on Measure B!

  • Mike Robbins, Former Council Member
  • Jane Waag Friedkin, Former Council Member
  • Charles Wilkerson, 37-Year Resident
  • Marc Rener, 21-Year Homeowner
  • Mike Van Biezen, 27-Year Resident

Additional Arguments Against Measure B:

There are additional compelling arguments against Measure B that did not fit within the word count limit of the Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor of Measure B in the Sample Ballot, and a most compelling argument that arose after the deadline to submit the ballot argument and rebuttal. Click HERE to see them.


Posted in California, El Segundo, El Segundo Election Coverage, El Segundo Hotel Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT), El Segundo Measure B TOT Tax Hike, El Segundo News | Comments Off on Rebuttal to the Argument in Favor of Measure B on the April 12, 2016 El Segundo General Municipal Election Ballot

Alert for the Tuesday, April 12, 2016 City of El Segundo General Municipal Election

EL SEGUNDO CITY ELECTION:
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Vote “NO” on the Measure B Tax Hike.

Vote only 2 of 3 City Council votes, for best two: Don Brann and Carol Pirsztuk, or also vote for third best, Drew Boyles, although that is a vote againstBrann and Pirsztuk.

VOTE OUT INCUMBENTS Marie Fellhauer and Dave Atkinson.


Posted in ALERTS, California, El Segundo, El Segundo Election Coverage, El Segundo News, Elections, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Alert for the Tuesday, April 12, 2016 City of El Segundo General Municipal Election

Let’s Be Realistic – Letter to the El Segundo Herald by Jane Waag Friedkin

The following letter to the editor was published in the El Segundo Herald newspaper (HeraldPublications.com) on Thursday, April 7, 2016 in the Letters section on page 14. The El Segundo Herald has a strict 250-word limit, including the title.


Let’s Be Realistic

Incumbent City Council candidate Marie Fellhauer said she “is fighting to get our fair share of the county property tax levy.” That may sound nice as a campaign slogan, but it has little basis in reality.

She compares El Segundo and Manhattan Beach with respect to property tax revenue, but not business tax revenue. Is she willing to give up a share of El Segundo’s massive business tax revenue in exchange for a share of Manhattan Beach’s property tax revenue?

Fellhauer and Dave Atkinson voted to charge El Segundo residents and non-residents fire department ambulance transport fees of $1,850 or more per transport. They had plenty of time to rescind the fees, but did not, even though residents spoke against them at City Council meetings. Is it realistic to believe they might rescind these fees after they are re-elected for another four years?

Is it realistic to believe Fellhauer would have rejected the police and fire union endorsements had they decided to endorse her? Her allies and supporters, former Mayors Eric Busch, Bill Fisher, and Sandra Jacobs, all received police and fire union endorsements and campaign expenditures. The firefighters even delivered and installed their campaign signs.

Fellhauer claims she’s making a sacrifice by declining City Council benefits. She said others should make the same sacrifice. However, she is not making any sacrifice because she gets generous benefits through her LAPD job. City Council pays only about $10,800 per year. Hopefully, the benefits help attract more competent and honest candidates.

– Jane Waag Friedkin


Posted in California, Economy and Economics, El Segundo, El Segundo Election Coverage, El Segundo Herald Letters, El Segundo News, El Segundo Tax and Fee Increases, Elections, Firefighter Union Corruption, Fraud Waste and Abuse, Letters to the Editor, Manhattan Beach, Police Union Corruption, Political Corruption, Politics, Tax Policy and Issues, Union Corruption | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let’s Be Realistic – Letter to the El Segundo Herald by Jane Waag Friedkin